Thursday, October 23, 2014

Frontios

The Doctor's new companion had trouble
operating the TARDIS controls, what with
his cumbersome flippers and all...
Four episodes (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four)
First broadcast Jan 26 to Feb 3 1984
Average audience for serial: 6.80m

CAST

Peter Davison (The Doctor) Born Apr 13 1951
Doctor Who credits
Played: The Doctor in Logopolis, Castrovalva, Four to Doomsday, Kinda, The Visitation, Black Orchid, Earthshock, Time-Flight, Arc of Infinity, Snakedance, Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment, The King's Demons, The Five Doctors, Warriors of the Deep, The Awakening, Frontios, Resurrection of the Daleks, Planet of Fire, The Caves of Androzani (1981-84). Return appearances in Dimensions in Time (1993), Time Crash (2007)
Career highlights
Peter's earliest screen appearance was in a 1974 episode of Warship, after which he popped up in The Tomorrow People (1975), Saint Joan (1979), The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981), Anna of the Five Towns (1985), Magnum PI (1985), Kinsey (1992), Harnessing Peacocks (1993), Black Beauty (1994), Jonathan Creek (1998), Wuthering Heights (1998), Parting Shots (1998), The Mrs Bradley Mysteries (2000), The Complete Guide to Parenting (2006), Marple: At Bertram's Hotel (2007), Fear, Stress and Anger (2007), Unforgiven (2009), Miranda (2009), The Queen (2009), Sherlock (2010), New Tricks (2011), Pat and Cabbage (2013) and Death in Paradise (2014). Peter, whose birth surname is Moffett, has had lead or regular roles in many series, starting with Tom Holland in Love for Lydia (1977), Russell Milburn in Holding the Fort (1980-82), Brian Webber in Sink or Swim (1980-82), Dr Stephen Daker in A Very Peculiar Practice (1986-88) and its spin-off A Very Polish Practice (1992), Albert Campion in Campion (1989-90), Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small (1978-90), Ralph West in Fiddlers Three (1991), Clive Quigley in Ain't Misbehavin' (1994-95), David Braithwaite in At Home with the Braithwaites (2000-03), Bill Shore in Distant Shores (2005-08), DC "Dangerous" Davies in The Last Detective (2003-07) and Henry Sharpe in Law and Order UK (2011-14). He also appeared in a number of fan spin-off videos in the 1990s, and was the mastermind behind the Doctor Who 50th anniversary project The Five(ish) Doctors (Reboot) (2013).
Facts
Peter composed and sang the theme tune for the 1978 comedy Mixed Blessings and the 1980 children's series Button Moon. Between 1978-94 Peter was married to American actress Sandra Dickinson. In 2003 he married actress Elizabeth Morton. In 2001 Peter (on Twitter here) hit the headlines when he made a citizen's arrest after a 15-year-old youth allegedly stole a video camera from his car in Belsize Park, London. Peter gave chase and restrained the youth for 10 minutes before police arrived. Peter's daughter (with Dickinson) is actress Georgia Moffett, who appeared as the title character, Jenny, in The Doctor's Daughter (2008). As if to make matters even more complicated, Tenth Doctor David Tennant married Georgia in 2011 - making him Peter's son-in-law! - and the couple had a daughter together in 2011, Olivia. All this means that Olivia has a Doctor for her father and her grandfather, and the "Doctor's daughter" for her mother! Time for a lie-down...

Janet Fielding (Tegan) Born Sep 9 1953
Doctor Who credits
Played: Tegan Jovanka in Logopolis, Castrovalva, Four to Doomsday, Kinda, The Visitation, Black Orchid, Earthshock, Time-Flight, Arc of Infinity, Snakedance, Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment, The King's Demons, The Five Doctors, Warriors of the Deep, The Awakening, Frontios, Resurrection of the Daleks (1981-84). Return appearance in The Caves of Androzani (1984), as well as the Jim'll Fix It sketch A Fix with Sontarans (1985)
Career highlights
Prior to Doctor Who, Australian born Janet had appeared in the Hammer House of Horror episode Charlie Boy (1980), and subsequent credits include Shelley (1982), Minder (1984), Hold the Back Page (1986) and Parnell and the Englishwoman (1991).
Facts
After training as an actor Down Under, Janet moved to the UK in 1977, but in 1991 gave up acting to work for pressure group Women in Film and Television. In the 1990s she became an actors' agent, representing Paul McGann when he was cast as the Eighth Doctor in 1996. In 1982, Janet married Daily Mirror and World in Action journalist Nicholas Davies, who later became notable for allegations of being an arms dealer and Mossad agent, as well as one of Diana, Princess of Wales's lovers. They divorced in 1991. Janet reprised her role as Tegan in 2006 for the Big Finish audio adventure The Gathering, and has played her ever since on audio. In 2012 it was revealed that Janet was fighting cancer. She is heavily involved in the community scheme Project MotorHouse in Ramsgate, UK, and successfully organised two fundraising events in 2013 which reunited firstly five Doctors (numbers 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10) and then 12 companions (along with Peter Davison).

Mark Strickson (Turlough) Born Apr 6 1959
Doctor Who credits
Played: Vislor Turlough in Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment, The King's Demons, The Five Doctors, Warriors of the Deep, The Awakening, Frontios, Resurrection of the Daleks, Planet of Fire, The Caves of Androzani (1983-84)
Career highlights
Before Doctor Who Mark had appeared in Angels, Strangers and Juliet Bravo (all 1982), and later took roles in A Christmas Carol (1984), Bergerac (1985), David Copperfield (1986), Strike It Rich! (1987), Flying Lady (1987), Casualty (1988), Minder (1993) and Police Rescue (1993).
Mark's first acting job in 1980 was as part of the Mikron Theatre Company, which travelled the canals of Britain on a narrow boat performing up and down the country. He wrote many of the plays and songs performed by the company over the two years he worked with them (they were even committed to tape at Abbey Road Studios - listen to him singing Superhutch). He gave up acting to go into TV production, specifically that of wildlife documentaries, after emigrating to Australia in 1988 and studying for a degree in zoology (his thesis was on the over-wintering biochemistry of the light brown apple moth!). He has worked on Australia's Kangaroos (2000), Industrial Revelations (2002), Nature (2003), Mark Williams on the Rails (2004), Massive Engines (2004), Up Close and Dangerous (2006) and Dark Days in Monkey City (2009).
Facts
It was Mark who was responsible for bringing the late naturalist Steve Irwin into the public gaze in series such as The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World. Mark has revisited the character of Turlough in Big Finish audio plays since 1999. Between 2001-04 Mark was head of programming for Oxford Scientific Films in New Zealand, where he oversaw a range of productions, from natural history to presenter-led science and history films. He has since worked for stations such as Al-Jazeera and the Discovery Channel.

Jeff Rawle (Plantagenet) Born Jul 20 1951
Doctor Who credits
Played: Plantagenet in Frontios (1984)
Played: Mr Harding in The Sarah Jane Adventures: Mona Lisa's Revenge (2009)
Played: Mervyn Pinfield in An Adventure in Space and Time (2013)
Career highlights
Jeff is one of the busiest actors in the UK, having debuted in the title role of Billy Liar in 1973, after which he took roles in Bedtime Stories (1974), Van der Valk (1977), A Hitch in Time (1978, alongside a very Doctorish Patrick Troughton), Home Before Midnight (1979), Crystal Gazing (1982), Angels (1983), Remington Steele (1985), The Doctor and the Devils (1985), Fortunes of War (1987), The Gift (1990), Rides (1992), Moon and Son (1992), The Chief (1994), Take a Girl Like You (2000), Blackball (2003), William and Mary (2004), Spooks (2005), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Sea of Souls (2006), The Last Detective (2007), Fear, Stress and Anger (2007), Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2008), My Family (2011), The Charles Dickens Show (2012), You, Me and Them (2013) and Redistributors (2015). Jeff's other memorable roles include Paul Cooper in Faith in the Future (1995-98), George Dent in satirical show Drop the Dead Donkey (1990-98), the narrator of children's series Budgie the Little Helicopter (1994-96), Colin in Microsoap (1998-2000), Roger Fenn in Doc Martin (2004-07) and Silas Blissett in soap Hollyoaks (2010-12). He also put pen to paper to write The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1995), Mrs Meitlemeihr (2002) and The Charles Dickens Show.
Facts
Jeff's brother is artist and writer Graham Rawle, who for many years produced the Lost Consonants column in The Guardian. His wife is actress Nina Marc.

Lesley Dunlop (Norna) Born Mar 10 1956
Doctor Who credits
Played: Norna in Frontios (1984)
Played: Susan Q in The Happiness Patrol (1988)
Career highlights
Debuting in A Little Princess aged 17, Lesley's CV includes roles in Crown Court (1973), Oranges and Lemons (1973), The Adventures of Black Beauty (1974), South Riding (1974), Haunted (1974), My Brother's Keeper (1975), Our Mutual Friend (1976), The Onedin Line (1977), A Little Night Music (1978), Penmarric (1979), Dick Turpin (1979), The Elephant Man (1980), The Monster Club (1981), Smuggler (1981), Waters of the Moon (1983), Thirteen at Dinner (1985), Capstick's Law (1989), Silent Witness (1996), Wokenwell (1997), The Phoenix and the Carpet (1997), My Uncle Silas (2000/03) and The Many Lives of Albert Walker (2002). Between 2000-06 Lesley appeared as Anna Kirkwall in the drama Where the Heart Is, after first achieving recognition as Zoe Callender in the sitcom May to December (1990-94). Since 2008 she has been playing Brenda Walker in soap Emmerdale.
Facts
Lesley was once married to actor Christopher Guard, who appeared in Doctor Who: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy in 1988/89 (this also made her sister-in-law to actor Dominic Guard, who appeared in 1983's Terminus, and his wife, the actress Sharon Duce, who was in 1989's Ghost Light). She is now in a relationship with fellow Emmerdale star Chris Chittell. Lesley's father was TV writer Pat Dunlop, who contributed uncredited to the script for the 1966 Doctor Who story The War Machines. Lesley's face is also associated with Kleenex toilet tissue in the UK due to her TV commercials in the 1990s (directed by Mike Leigh).

Peter Gilmore (Brazen) Aug 25 1931 to Feb 3 2013
Career highlights
German-born Peter debuted in the series Ivanhoe in 1958, and went on to appear in The Rag Trade (1961), Bomb in the High Street (1961), Master Spy (1964), Seaside Swingers (1965), The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966), I've Gotta Horse (1966), Doctor in Clover (1966), Oh! What a Lovely War(1969), The Doctors (1971), The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971), Warlords of Atlantis (1978), The Manions of America (1981), The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987), Casualty (1992), Heartbeat (1993) and On Dangerous Ground (1996). Peter appeared in 11 Carry On films between 1963-92, but made his name playing James Onedin in over 90 episodes of the drama series The Onedin Line (1971-80) and Ben Bishop in One By One (1985).
Facts
All three of his wives were actress: Una Stubbs (between 1958-69), Jan Waters (1970-76) and Anne Stallybrass (married 1987). His Onedin Line success made him very popular in maritime circles, and in 1974 he released a solo album entitled Songs of the Sea, followed by 1977's Peter Gilmore Sings Gently.

William Lucas (Range) Apr 14 1925 to Jul 8 2016
Career highlights
Prolific William's first credit was in Portrait of Alison (1955), and he later took roles in Postmark for Danger (1955), The Strange World of Planet X (1956), X: The Unknown (1956), Crime of the Century (1956-57), Solo for Canary (1958), The Infamous John Friend (1959), Sons and Lovers (1960), I Promised to Pay (1961), The Shadow of the Cat (1961), Sir Francis Drake (1962), United! (1965), Night of the Big Heat (1967), The Sky Bike (1967), Parkin's Patch (1970), Doomwatch (1970), Doctor At Large (1971), Horror on Snape Island (1972), The Hanged Man (1975), Squadron (1982), Vampire Cop (1990), On the Up (1990), Last of the Summer Wine (2003) and The Bill (2005). William found fame playing Dr James Gordon in The Adventures of Black Beauty (1972-74) and The New Adventures of Black Beauty (1990-91), but may also be remembered as George Hayward in The Spoils of War (1980-81) and Stanley Webb in the soap Eldorado (1992-93).
Facts
William's appearance in Frontios was a long time coming - he'd previously been shortlisted for roles in Doctor Who in 1964, 1977 and 1983. However, he only got this role after the actor first cast, Peter Arne, was murdered in August 1983, following his costume fitting for Range. William's birth name was Clucas.

Maurice O'Connell (Cockerill) Born Jan 8 1941
Career highlights
Maurice's CV stems from his debut in 1972's Villains, after which he appeared in The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), The Protectors (1974), The Sweeney (1975), Van der Valk (1977), The New Avengers (1977), The Medusa Touch (1978), Out (1978), The Bitch (1979), Angels (1981), The Borgias (1981), Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), Tucker's Luck (1984), Inspector Morse (1987) and Zorro (1990). He also played Harry Rawlins in Widows and Widows II (1983/85).

Richard Ashley (Orderly)
Career highlights
Richard's other credits include Moonfleet (1984), Dempsey and Makepeace (1985), Rumpole of the Bailey (1987), The Vampyr: A Soap Opera (1992), EastEnders (1987), Sanhedrin (2004) and O Sole Mio (2013). He also gave his vocal talent to The Smurfs and the Magic Flute (1976).

John Gillett (The Gravis) Born Nov 8 1958
Career highlights
John debuted in A Last Visitor for Mr Hugh Peter (1981), and then appeared in Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime (1983), Juliet Bravo (1985), Resort to Murder (1995), EastEnders (1997), Doctors (2003), Hustle (2004) and Benjamin Britten: Peace and Conflict (2013).
Facts
Acting teacher John wrote the book Acting on Impulse: Reclaiming the Stanislavski Approach in 2007, revised in 2014 as Acting Stanislavski.

George Campbell (Tractator)
Career highlights
George also appeared in Centre Play Showcase: The Squad in 1976.

Michael Malcolm (Tractator)
Career highlights
Michael's only other credit was in Gnaw: Food of the Gods II (1989).

Stephen Speed (Tractator) Nov 6 1955 to Nov 11 2014
Career highlights
Professional ballet dancer Stephen was chosen by none other than Rudolph Nureyev to be the Little Drummer Boy in a production of The Nutcracker, and he also worked with Margot Fonteyn, Wayne Sleep and Natalia Makarova. Stephen worked extensively in musical theatre and for the English National Opera and was a dedicated revival choreographer for The Mikado worldwide.

William Bowen (Tractator)
Career highlights
William was actually credited incorrectly on Frontios as his real surname was Bower. William was previously production assistant on 1979's H.O.T.S.

Hedi Khursandi (Tractator) Born Jul 19 1953
Career highlights
This is Hedi's only screen credit. Iranian born Hedi is a Royal Academy trained dancer who has worked with the Vienna Festival Ballet and worked with Rudolph Nureyev. He has taught ballet in Australia, Orlando, Alabama and Florida. Of his time wearing a Tractator suit on Doctor Who, Hedi said: "It was very tedious. But on TV, it was very effective. I still get mail asking for my autograph."

Alison Skilbeck (Deputy) Born 1945
Career highlights
Debuting in Clayhanger (1976), Alison's further credits include Crown Court (1984), The Beiderbecke Affair (1985), Lovejoy (1986), The Fear (1988), Head Over Heels (1993), No Bananas (1996), Soldier Soldier (1996), Peak Practice (1998), He Knew He Was Right (2004), The Phantom of the Opera (2004), New Tricks (2006), Law and Order UK (2009) and Wimpole Street (2013).
Facts
Alison began her professional career presenting a BBC Spanish language programme. As well as being an actor, Alison gives workshops all over the globe, and is also a member of the audition panel for RADA.

Raymond Murtagh (Retrograde)
Career highlights
Raymond's other acting roles were in Crown Court (1978), Taggart (1983) and Juliet Bravo (1985), while he also wrote the TV play Requiem Apache (1994).

CREW

Christopher H Bidmead (writer) Born Jan 18 1941
Doctor Who credits
Script edited: The Leisure Hive, Meglos, Full Circle, State of Decay, Warriors' Gate, The Keeper of Traken, Logopolis (1980-81)
Wrote: Logopolis (1981), Castrovalva (1982), Frontios (1984)
Career highlights
Christopher originally trained as an actor and enjoyed roles in series such as Emergency Ward 10 and Waggoner's Walk. After that he moved into script writing, on series such as Harriet's Back in Town (1973) and Rooms (1975), and then started writing for scientific journals, something he continues to do, particularly on the magazines Wired and PC Plus.
Facts
The H stands for Hamilton. Here he is, on Twitter.

Ron Jones (director) Aug 6 1945 to Jul 9 1993
Doctor Who credits
Directed: Black Orchid (1982), Time-Flight (1982), Arc of Infinity (1983), Frontios (1984), Vengeance on Varos (1985), The Trial of a Time Lord (1986)
Career highlights
Starting out as production manager on Bergerac in 1981, Ron's few other directing credits include Juliet Bravo (1985), the German soap Lindenstraße (1987-88) and the TV movie Burg Wutzenstein (1988). In the 1970s Ron worked as a researcher and writer on the children's show Blue Peter.

John Nathan-Turner (producer) Aug 12 1947 to May 1 2002 (liver failure)
Doctor Who credits
Floor assistant: The Space Pirates (1969, uncredited)
Assistant floor manager: The Ambassadors of Death (1970, uncredited), Colony in Space (1971, uncredited)
Production unit manager: Horror of Fang Rock, The Invisible Enemy, Image of the Fendahl, The Sun Makers, Underworld, The Invasion of Time, The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Stones of Blood, The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll, The Armageddon Factor, Destiny of the Daleks, City of Death, The Creature from the Pit, Nightmare of Eden, The Horns of Nimon, Shada (unbroadcast) (1977-80)
Produced: The Leisure Hive, Meglos, Full Circle, State of Decay, Warriors' Gate, The Keeper of Traken, Logopolis, K-9 & Company, Castrovalva, Four to Doomsday, Kinda, The Visitation, Black Orchid, Earthshock, Time-Flight, Arc of Infinity, Snakedance, Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment, The King's Demons, The Five Doctors, Warriors of the Deep, The Awakening, Frontios, Resurrection of the Daleks, Planet of Fire, The Caves of Androzani, The Twin Dilemma, Attack of the Cybermen, Vengeance on Varos, The Mark of the Rani, The Two Doctors, Timelash, Revelation of the Daleks, The Trial of a Time Lord, Time and the Rani, Paradise Towers, Delta and the Bannermen, Dragonfire, Remembrance of the Daleks, The Happiness Patrol, Silver Nemesis, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Battlefield, Ghost Light, The Curse of Fenric, Survival (1980-89), plus Dimensions in Time (1993)
Wrote: Dimensions in Time (1993)
Career highlights
John started out as an assistant floor manager on Doctor Who, and also worked as a production assistant on programmes such as The Pallisers (1974), Barlow (1975) and How Green Was My Valley (1975-76). He soon graduated to become production unit manager on Doctor Who, as well as on series such as All Creatures Great and Small (1978-80) and Flesh and Blood (1980). After Doctor Who was taken off air in 1989, John maintained his links to the series by producing a number of special video releases, such as The Years Tapes which included various single episodes from partly lost 1960s stories, as well as the 1992 release of Shada.
Facts
John's long-time partner was Gary Downie, who acted as production manager on some of the 1980s serials. In the 2013 book The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner, author Richard Marson alleges that John and partner Gary "preyed" sexually on young male teenage Doctor Who fans. The gay age of consent in the 1980s was 21.

Eric Saward (script editor) Born Dec 9 1944
Doctor Who credits
Script edited: Castrovalva, Kinda, Black Orchid, Time-Flight, Arc of Infinity, Snakedance, Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment, The King's Demons, The Five Doctors, Warriors of the Deep, The Awakening, Frontios, Resurrection of the Daleks, Planet of Fire, The Caves of Androzani, The Twin Dilemma, Attack of the Cybermen, Vengeance on Varos, The Mark of the Rani, The Two Doctors, Timelash, Revelation of the Daleks, The Trial of a Time Lord (1982-86)
Wrote: The Visitation (1982), Earthshock (1983), Resurrection of the Daleks (1984), Attack of the Cybermen (1985, uncredited), Revelation of the Daleks (1985). He also wrote the BBC Radio story Slipback (1985), and the Jim'll Fix It sketch A Fix with Sontarans (1985)
Career highlights
In the 1960s Eric worked for a time as an estate agent before training to become an English teacher, but around 1975 decided to go into writing, and wrote a number of radio plays before being approached to get involved with Doctor Who. Since leaving the series (acrimoniously) in 1986, Eric has continued to write mainly radio scripts, often for German radio.

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