Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dragonfire

The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) gets more
than he bargained for from well-informed
guard Arnheim (Chris MacDonnell)
Three episodes (Part One, Part Two, Part Three)
First broadcast Nov 23 to Dec 7 1987
Average audience for serial: 5.07m

CAST

Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor) Born Aug 20 1943
Doctor Who credits
Played: The Doctor in 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 (1987-89). Return appearances in Dimensions in Time (1993) and Doctor Who (1996)
Career highlights
Sylvester - birth name Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith - started out as a variety performer and comedian, appearing on shows such as Vision On (as Pepe, who lived in a mirror) in the late 1970s and early 80s, as well as Robert's Robots, Tiswas, Eureka, No 73, What's Your Story? and Jigsaw (as one of the two O-Men). Acting roles include Lucky Feller (1975), For the Love of Albert (1977), Dracula (1979), All the Fun of the Fair (1979), Big Jim and the Figaro Club (1979-81), Electric in the City (1980), Starstrider (1984), The Last Place on Earth (1985), Three Kinds of Heat (1987), Jackanory (1979/93), Frank Stubbs Promotes (1994), Leapin' Leprachauns! (1995), Rab C Nesbitt (1996), Spellbreaker: Secret of the Leprachauns (1997), The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1997), Beyond Fear (1997), The Mumbo Jumbo (2000), See It Saw It (1999/2001), Hollyoaks (2002), Still Game (2004), Mayo (2006), The Bill (2002/06), Doctors (2008), The Academy (2009/12), The Christmas Candle (2013) and The Candy House (2015). Aside from the Doctor, his other memorable role is Radagast the Brown in the three Hobbit films - An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies (2012-14). He also appeared in The Secret Policeman's Ball in 1981, on Comic Relief in 1988, Space Cadets in 1997, Hell's Kitchen in 2004 and Tiswas Reunited in 2007. He has regularly played his Doctor in a number of fan audio adventures since 1999, as well as BBCi's webcast story Death Comes to Time (2001).
Facts
Before becoming an actor, he trained as a priest (1955-59), sold insurance and acted as a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones. Sylvester was second choice for the role of Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In the early 1990s Sylvester was to play Governor Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl when the film was to be made by Steven Spielberg, but Disney refused permission and made it a decade later with Jonathan Pryce in the role. His stage name originates from when he was a part of Ken Campbell's variety roadshow, playing a stuntman by the same name (the name was dreamt up by roadshow colleague, actor Brian Murphy).

Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush) Born Jul 22 1964
Doctor Who credits
Played: Melanie Bush in The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 9-14, Time and the Rani, Paradise Towers, Delta and the Bannermen, Dragonfire (1986-87). Return appearance in Dimensions in Time (1993)
Career highlights
Starting out as a child star on series such as Junior Showtime (1973), Bonnie's earliest major role was in the film Bugsy Malone (1976), after which she had her first taste of true fame playing Violet Elizabeth Bott in Just William (1977-78). Further acting credits include Wombling Free: The Movie (1977), Family Album (1991), Goodnight Sweetheart (1999), Agatha Christie's Marple (2006) and Hotel Babylon (2008). She has also made a niche for herself as a dancer, entertainer and presenter on programmes such as The Hot Shoe Show (1983-84), Saturday Starship (1984-85) and Dancing on Ice (2006, in which she came third, competing with Matt Evers; and 2014, in which she came eighth, competing with Andrei Lipanov). She has also played Mel in various fan audio adventures since 2000.
Facts
In 1970 Bonnie won Hughie Green's talent show Opportunity Knocks. Much of her career since the 1990s has been spent on stage, on Broadway and in the West End. In 1995 Bonnie married actor Paul Grunert, at the time best known for his appearances in the National Lottery TV commercials. Bonnie's sister Cherida is married to actor and manager Sandy Strallen, making Bonnie the aunt of actresses Scarlett, Zizi and Summer Strallen. Her mother founded Babette Langford's The Young Set. Here she is, on Twitter!

Sophie Aldred (Ace) Born Aug 20 1962
Doctor Who credits
Played: Ace in Dragonfire, Remembrance of the Daleks, The Happiness Patrol, Silver Nemesis, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Battlefield, Ghost Light, The Curse of Fenric, Survival (1987-89). Return appearance in Dimensions in Time (1993).
Career highlights
Doctor Who was Sophie's acting break; her subsequent acting roles have been in Rainbow (1990), Melvin and Maureen's Musicagrams (1992-96), Zzzap! (1999-2001), EastEnders (1993), Shadow Play (2004), The Search for Simon (2013) and Shadow Season (2013). She has also been a TV presenter, often for children, including Corners (1988-90), Words and Pictures (1993), Tiny and Crew (1995-99) and It's a Mystery (1996), and has also done voice work for Sergeant Stripes (2003), Noddy in Toyland (2008), Dennis and Gnasher (2008), Bob the Builder (2009-10), Bananas in Pyjamas (2010-13) and Tree Fu Tom (2012-14). Sophie has also appeared in a number of Doctor Who spin-off video productions, such as More Than a Messiah (1992), The Zero Imperative (1994), Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans (1994) and Mindgame (1998), and Big Finish's audio plays since 2000. In 1996, she wrote a book, Ace!, based on her time in Doctor Who. She has also presented several BBC Schools radio series, including Singing Together, Music Workshop, Time and Tune and Music Box.
Facts
In 1990 Sophie had an affair with TV actor/ comedian Les Dennis while he was married to his first wife (Dennis documents this in his 2008 autobiography). Les left his wife to be with Sophie, and met Amanda Holden - due to become his second wife - while they were together. In 1997 Sophie married TV quiz show and sports programme presenter Vince Henderson. She shares her birthdate with both Sylvester McCoy and Anthony Ainley. Here's Sophie's website and Twitter.

Tony Selby (Glitz) Born Feb 26 1938
Doctor Who credits
Played: Sabalom Glitz in The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 1-4 & 13-14 (1986), Dragonfire (1987)
Career highlights
Tony debuted in 1955's An Alligator Named Daisy, after which he took roles in An Age of Kings (1960), Teletale (1964), Alfie (1966), King of the River (1966), Poor Cow (1967), The Informer (1967), The Avengers (1968), Witchfinder General (1968), According to Dora (1969), Shine a Light (1970), Catweazle (1971), Villain (1971), Ace of Wands (1970-71), Warship (1973), Reg Varney (1974), Moody and Pegg (1974-75), The Good Life (1975-76), Superman (1978), Jack of Diamonds (1983), Give Us a Break (1983-84), Hideaway (1986), The Secret Garden (1987), The World of Lee Evans (1995), Loop (1997), Holby City (1999), Burnside (2000), EastEnders (2002), Dream Team (2006), My Family (2011) and Cockneys vs Zombies (2012). Tony also regularly played Corporal Percy Marsh in Get Some In! (1975-78), Bert in Mulberry (1992-93), Max Taplow in Love Hurts (1992-94) and Sergeant Nozzer Richardson in The Detectives (1994-97). He was nominated for a 1997 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Supporting in a Musical of 1996 for his role in Paint Your Wagon.

Edward Peel (Kane) Born 1943
Career highlights
Edward's debut came in 1967's The Fellows, followed by Fly Into Danger (1972), Second City Firsts (1973), Treasure Island (1977), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), The Sweeney (1978), A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979), Breakaway (1980), Shogun (1980), Bognor (1981), Strangers (1982), The Fourth Arm (1983), Lassiter (1984), Dempsey and Makepeace (1985), Truckers (1987), The Castle of Adventure (1990), Underbelly (1992), Hillsborough (1996), Clocking Off (2003), The Royal Today (2008), Hollyoaks (2011) and Ripper Street (2013). He regularly played Walter Jackman in By the Sword Divided (1983-85), DCI Mark Perrin in Juliet Bravo (1983-85), the Chief Superintendant in Cracker (1993-95) and John Coleman in London's Burning (2000-01). He has also had two regular roles in rural soap Emmerdale Farm - firstly as the second actor to play Tom Merrick (1980-82) and then Anthony Cairns (1997).

Patricia Quinn (Belazs) Born May 28 1944
Career highlights
Northern Ireland born Patricia made her debut in Parkin's Patch (1969), after which she appeared in Up the Chastity Belt (1971), Up the Front (1972), Van der Valk (1972), Rentadick (1972), Shoulder to Shoulder (1974), The Love School (1975), I, Claudius (1976), Sebastiane (1976), Beauty and the Beast (1976), A Christmas Carol (1977), Fox (1980), Hawk the Slayer (1980), Shock Treatment (1981), Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983), The Box of Delights (1984), Lost Empires (1986), Fortunes of War (1987), England, My England (1995), Tamara Drewe (2010), Mary Horror (2011) and The Lords of Salem (2012). Her most memorable role is as Magenta in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - it's Patricia's lips which can be seen in the film's publicity images.
Facts
Patricia was one of the first London Playbody Bunnies in 1963. Her first husband was actor Don Hawkins while her second was another thespian, Robert Stephens, making her stepmother to his acting sons Toby Stephens (whose wife Anna-Louise Plowman appeared in Doctor Who story Dalek (2005)) and Chris Larkin (who appeared in The Shakespeare Code (2007)). Her marriage to the knighted Robert Stephens leaves her with the title Patricia, Lady Stephens. Her nephew Jonny Quinn is the drummer with the band Snow Patrol, while her other nephew Bradley is the band's official photographer. She had an affair with rocker Meat Loaf while filming The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 2006, Patricia launched herself as a DJ, hosting the monthly Club Myra night at various venues throughout Central London.

Tony Osoba (Kracauer) Born Mar 15 1947
Doctor Who credits
Played: Lan in Destiny of the Daleks (1979)
Played: Kracauer in Dragonfire (1987)
Played: Duke in Kill the Moon (2014)
Career highlights
Scottish born Tony made his earliest appearance in Antony and Cleopatra (1974), and then Crown Court (1976), Target (1978), Charles Endell Esq (1979-80), The Flame Trees of Thika (1981), Educating Marmaldade (1982), The Cleopatras (1983), Brookside (1984), Return to Treasure Island (1986), Gruey (1988), Snakes and Ladders (1989), Making News (1990), Coronation Street (1982/90), Watt on Earth (1991), Between the Lines (1994), Bugs (1997), The Demon Headmaster (1998), Taggart (1999), Family Affairs (2000), Fran's People (2002), Mersey Beat (2002-03), Dinotopia (2002-03), Revolver (2004), Tanner (2007), The Shadow Line (2011) and Extended Rest (2014). He will forever be remembered as Jock McLaren in the hit sitcom Porridge (1974-77) and its spin-off Going Straight (1978). He also had a regular role as Detective Sergeant Chas Jarvis in Dempsey and Makepeace (1985-86).
Facts
Tony's mother Margaret Osoba, a former BBC researcher, popularised the theory that crime writer Agatha Christie "stole" her character Hercule Poirot from thriller writer Frank Howel Evans, who in 1909 published a story featuring a detective named Poiret.
In 2013 Toby Hadoke released his Who's Round interview with Tony here.

Shirin Taylor (Customer) Born 1956
Doctor Who credits
Played: Camper in The Stones of Blood (1978)
Played: Customer in Dragonfire (1987)
Career highlights
Shirin's further credits include Men of Affairs (1974), Crown Court (1982), Nana (1982), Give Us a Break (1983), The Cleopatras (1983), Crossroads (1985), Turn On To T-Bag (1988), Bust (1988), Streetwise (1989), A Touch of Frost (1995), London's Burning (1998), Night and Day (2001), Doctors (2001) and Extended Rest (2014). She may be best remembered as Mike Baldwin's love interest Jackie Ingram in Coronation Street (1990-92).

Ian MacKenzie (Anderson)
Career highlights
Other work includes Doomwatch (1971), Within These Walls (1975), Target (1977), Into the Labyrinth (1981), Made in Heaven (1990) and Bookmark (1992).

Stephanie Fayerman (McLuhan) Born 1947
Career highlights
Stephanie made her debut playing Aggie in Backs to the Land (1977-78), then took roles in Rumpole of the Bailey (1979), Bull Week (1980), Juliet Bravo (1980), Agony (1981), Miracles Take Longer (1984), Ruth Rendell Mysteries (1987), Thin Air (1988), All Good Things (1991), Mothertime (1997), Ultraviolet (1998), Hearts and Bones (2001), The Brides in the Bath (2003), The Inbetweeners (2010) and Doctors (2014).

Stuart Organ (Bazin)
Career highlights
Stuart's earliest role was in Those Glory Glory Days (1983), after which he took roles in By the Sword Divided (1983), Bulman (1985), Casualty (1996), This Life (1996), The Waiting Time (1999), London's Burning (2001), Bad Girls (2004), Mile High (2004), New Tricks (2005), Down to Earth (2004-05), Random Quest (2006), Maxwell (2007), Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007-08), Crime Stories (2012) and Lucan (2013). He also had a recurring role as Kevin Cross in soap Brookside (1984-89), but will forever be remembered as teacher Peter Robson in more than 260 episodes of children's drama Grange Hill (1988-2003). In recent years Stuart has also provided voices for various video games, including Risen (2009), Dante's Inferno (2010), Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011/14) and Assassin's Creed: Unity (2014).

Sean Blowers (Zed) Born Jan 12 1961
Career highlights
Sean made his debut in a 1985 episode of CATS Eyes, then appeared in Me and My Girl (1985), To Have and To Hold (1986), Crossroads (1987), Minder (1988), Bluebirds (1989), Tank Malling (1989), The Krays (1990), Black Beauty (1994), First Knight (1995), Staying Alive (1996), Best (2000), Dalziel and Pascoe (2005), Law and Order UK (2009) and EastEnders (2014). His most famous role was firefighter John Hallam in London's Burning (1988-96).

Nigel Miles-Thomas (Pudovkin) Born Jun 23 1958
Career highlights
Nigel debuted uncredited playing a footballer in Carry On Emmannuelle (1978), after which he appeared in The Dick Emery Show (1980), How's Your Father? (1980), Metal Mickey (1981), Minder (1988), Middlemarch (1994) and 14 episodes of Grange Hill as Mr Davies (1995-96).
Facts
Nigel is now artistic director of Edinburgh Festival specialists Fringe Management as well as performance enhancement training company The Garnett Foundation, after having worked for London Full Circle Productions, which produced theatre for dinner occasions. In 1993 Nigel directed Zsa Zsa Gabor as the Fairy Godmother in a production of Cinderella at Los Angeles' University of California (UCLA) and became a good friend of hers.

Leslie Meadows (The Creature) Born Mar 29 1947
Doctor Who credits
Played: Adlon in Delta and the Bannermen (1987)
Played: The Creature in Dragonfire (1987)
Career highlights
Singer and dancer Leslie's further work includes Half a Sixpence (1967), Up the Junction (1968), Doomwatch (1970), Love Thy Neighbour (1972), The Apple (1980), Mack the Knife (1989) and Peak Practice (1995). He also played Alan Parker in Ours is a Nice House (1969-70).

Lynn Gardner (Announcer)
Career highlights
Lynn's also appeared in On the Black Hill (1988), Tagget (1991) and Alleyn Mysteries (1994).
Facts
Lynn was initially cast as Ray in Delta and the Bannermen (1987) but the role had to be recast when she suffered a bad fall in a scooter accident. As recompense, Lynn was given this role in the following story.

Miranda Borman (Stellar) Born Mar 5 1981
Career highlights
Miranda also appeared in Playbus (1988) and Helping Henry (1988).
Facts
Miranda also appeared as Young Cosette in a London West End run of Les Miserables in the 1980s, after which her family moved to Australia where she studied creative arts. It's difficult confirming facts about Miranda as she has in recent years been the subject of a bizarre identity theft in which somebody has been pretending to be her online. However, the real Miranda Borman is now a comedy cabaret performer going by the stage name Mindi Buttons.

Daphne Oxenford (Archivist) Oct 31 1919 to Dec 21 2012
Doctor Who credits
Played: Archivist in Dragonfire (1987)
Played: Elderly Agatha Christie in The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008, deleted scene*)
Career highlights
Daphne's earliest credit was in a 1949 TV movie called Family Affairs, after which she appeared in Skyport (1960), It's a Woman's World (1964), The Villains (1965), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), The Dustbinmen (1970), The Befrienders (1972), Tarbuck's Luck (1972), The Dick Emery Show (1973), Des O'Connor Entertains (1974), The Nearly Man (1975), Yanks Go Home (1976), Rising Damp (1977), Sweet William (1980), Cousin Phillis (1982), That's My Boy (1984), Victoria Wood As Seen on TV (1985), The Children of Green Knowe (1986), Drop the Dead Donkey (1991), Land of Hope and Gloria (1992), The House of Elliot (1994), How to be a Little Sod (1995), Murder Rooms (2001), Prince William (2002), The Royal (2004), Heartbeat (2005) and Midsomer Murders (2004/06/08). She had recurring roles in a number of series, including Esther Hayes in Coronation Street (1960-63/71-72), Chrissy's mother in Man About the House (1973-76), Mrs Patterson in To the Manor Born (1979-81) and Miss Denham in Fresh Fields (1984-86). Daphne also provided a variety of voices for the animation The Wind in the Willows (1984-88).
Facts
Between 1950-71 Daphne was the voice of the BBC Home Service's children's slot Listen With Mother (opening each edition with the famous lines: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin..."), and between 1956-92 provided voiceovers for What the Papers Say.
* Daphne recorded scenes as an elderly Agatha Christie for The Unicorn and the Wasp, but these were edited out before transmission. You can see it here.

Chris MacDonnell (Arnheim) Born Oct 30 1954
Career highlights
Chris's other work includes Out of Order (1987), Soldier Soldier (1991), The Bill (1993), Wycliffe (1996), The Great Dome Robbery (2002), Down to Earth (2003), Skins (2008), Courage, New Hampshire (2012) and Unlucky Charms (2013).
Facts
His late brother John was a BAFTA-winning film editor. Here's Chris, on Twitter!

CREW

Ian Briggs (writer) Born Oct 31 1958
Doctor Who credits
Wrote: Dragonfire (1987), The Curse of Fenric (1989)
Career highlights
Ian's further screen writing work includes Casualty (1990) and The Bill (1990).

Chris Clough (director) Born Mar 9 1951
Doctor Who credits
Directed: The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 9-14 (1986), Delta and the Bannermen (1987), Dragonfire (1987), The Happiness Patrol (1988), Silver Nemesis (1988)
Career highlights
Further directing work includes Brookside (1982), EastEnders (1985-88), Casualty (1994-95), The Bill (1992-95), Ballykissangel (1996) and Skins (2007). Chris later went into production, handling The Bill (1995-97), Ballykissangel (1998-99), Black Cab (2000), Table 12 (2001), Born and Bred (2003-04), The Ghost Squad (2005), Skins (2007-13), Sirens (2011), Strike Back (2012), Lucan (2013) and The Missing (2014).
Facts
In 2000 Chris won a Silver Spire at the San Francisco International Film Festival for his work on Ballykissangel.

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.

Andrew Cartmel (script editor) Born 1958
Doctor Who credits
Script edited: 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 (1987-89)
Career highlights
Andrew's other TV work includes script editing Casualty (1990) and Dark Knight (2001), after which he left the industry to work on several computing magazines. He has also written comic strips for Doctor Who Magazine (1990-93) and Judge Dredd Megazine (1995), as well as four Doctor Who novels (1992-2005) and four audios (2000/11).
Facts
Here he is, on Twitter, and here's his film review blog.

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