Monday, December 22, 2014

Paradise Towers

The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) dreams
of a time when he'll get better guest actors
Four episodes (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four)
First broadcast Oct 5 to 26 1987
Average audience for serial: 4.93m

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!

Richard Briers (Chief Caretaker) Jan 14 1934 to Feb 17 2013 (emphysema causing heart attack)
Doctor Who credits
Played: Chief Caretaker in Paradise Towers (1987)
Played: Henry Parker in Torchwood: A Day in the Death (2008)
Career highlights
Richard debuted in She Stoops to Conquer (1956), followed by roles in Girls At Sea (1958), Murder She Said (1961), Brothers in Law (1962), The Bargee (1964), Charley's Aunt (1965), Rookery Nook (1970), Birds on the Wing (1971), Rentadick (1972), Watership Down (1978), Goodbye, Mr Kent (1982), Minder (1988), Mr Bean (1990), Peter's Friends (1992), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), If You See God, Tell Him (1993), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), Down to Earth (1995), Hamlet (1996), Spice World: The Movie (1997), Victoria and Albert (2001), Peter Pan (2003), Dad (2005), New Tricks (2006), Holby City (2007), Torchwood (2008), Cockneys vs Zombies (2012) and Mouse and Mole at Christmas Time (2012). Richard had very many regular leading roles as one of the UK's most respected and popular actors. His earliest headlining series was The Marriage Lines (1961-66) in which he played George Starling, followed by Reg in The Norman Conquests (1977), Tom Good in The Good Life (1975-78), Stephen Potter in One-Upmanship (1976-78), Ralph Tanner in The Other One (1977-79), Reverend Philip Lambe in All in Good Faith (1985-88), Martin Bryce in Ever Decreasing Circles (1984-89) and Hector MacDonald in Monarch of the Glen (2000-02). As well as live action comedy and drama series, Richard's voice was used on many animated series, including Roobarb (1974) and Roobarb and Custard Too (2005), Noddy (1975), Noah and Nelly in... SkylArk (1976), Alias the Jester (1985), Little Red Tractor Stories (1993) and Bob the Builder (2003-05). He may also be remembered by British readers as the voice of the Midland Bank's Griffin in TV commercials (remember the Midland bank?).
Facts
Richard was married to actress Ann Davies (who appeared in The Dalek Invasion of Earth in 1964 with family friend Jacqueline Hill); their daughter is actress Lucy Briers. Richard's second cousin was film star Terry-Thomas. Richard was awarded an OBE in 1989 and a CBE in 2003. Richard claimed to have smoked more than half a million cigarettes in his lifetime until, in 2001, a routine chest x-ray suggested he would soon be in a wheelchair, and he quit.
This is Your Life: Richard was twice the subject of Thames TV's This is Your Life, firstly on May 3rd, 1972, and secondly on March 9th, 1994 during an interview at the UK Living studios.

Howard Cooke (Pex) Born Sep 29 1960
Career highlights
Howard's only other credits are Pythons on the Mountain (1985), Dempsey and Makepeace (1985) and The Face of Trespass (1988).
Facts
Howard is now a theatrical agent.

Clive Merrison (Deputy Chief Caretaker) Born Sep 15 1945
Doctor Who credits
Played: Jim Callum in The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967)
Played: Deputy Chief Caretaker in Paradise Towers (1987)
Career highlights
Doctor Who was Clive's first TV credit, after which he appeared in Frontier (1968), Counterstrike (1969), Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972), The Glittering Prizes (1976), A Christmas Carol (1977), Prince Regent (1979), The Borgias (1981), Maybury (1981), The Kit Curran Radio Show (1984), Shine on Harvey Moon (1984-85), The District Nurse (1987), The Labours of Erica (1989-90), Chancer (1990), Heavenly Creatures (1994), Space Precinct (1995), The Tomorrow People (1995), An Awfully Big Adventure (1995), The English Patient (1996), Lexx (2001), The Brief (2004-05), The History Boys (2006), Monday Monday (2009), Peep Show (2010), Bert & Dickie (2012), Lewis (2014), The Lady in the Van (2015), Midsomer Murders (2003/2016) and Comedy Shorts: Smutch (2016). He also had the role of Damien Appleby in The Kit Curran Radio Show (1984) and Kit Curran (1986).
Facts
Clive played the role of Sherlock Holmes on BBC Radio against Michael Williams and Andrew Sachs as Watson more than 75 times between 1989-98 and 2002, 2004 and 2008-10, and is the only actor ever to play the detective in all of Conan Doyle's stories. Until she died in 2003, Clive was married to the actor Gillian Barge. Here he is on Twitter.
In 2016 Toby Hadoke released his Who's Round interview with Clive here.

Brenda Bruce (Tilda) Jul 7 1919 to Feb 19 1996
Career highlights
Brenda's earliest appearance was in Laugh With Me (1938), then They Came to a City (1944), A Yank in London (1945), Night Boat to Dublin (1946), When the Bough Breaks (1947), The Final Test (1954), I Spy (1958), Mary Britten, MD (1958), Peeping Tom (1960), Nightmare (1964), The First Lady (1968), The Virgin Soldiers (1969), Budgie (1971), Country Matters (1972), Cheri (1973), Alice Through the Looking Glass (1973), Swallows and Amazons (1974), The Man in the Iron Mask (1977), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1978), Quiet as a Nun (1978), The Home Front (1983), The Mad Death (1983), Connie (1985), Steaming (1985), David Copperfield (1986), The Return of the Antelope (1988), Jeeves and Wooster (1990), December Bride (1990), The New Statesman (1991), Harnessing Peacocks (1993), Growing Rich (1992), Riders (1993), Men of the World (1994-95), The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (1995) and The Vet (1996).
Facts
Brenda's first husband was Roy Rich, one of the BBC's pioneering radio presenters and with whom Brenda hosted a chat show in the 1950s called Rich and Rich, while her second was actor Clement McCallin. She adopted a son with McCallin, but he died of asthma in childhood. Before breaking into screen acting Brenda was a chorus girl. Brenda was awarded Best Television Actress by BAFTA in 1963.

Elizabeth Spriggs (Tabby) Sep 18 1929 to Jul 2 2008
Career highlights
Debuting in Lysistrata (1964), Elizabeth's extensive CV took in All's Well That Ends Well (1968), Work is a 4-Letter Word (1968), Three Into Two Won't Go (1969), Black and Blue (1973), Village Hall (1974), The Glittering Prizes (1976), The Dybbuk (1980), Richard's Things (1980), Bognor (1981), Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981), An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1982), The Haunting of Cassie Palmer (1982), Frost in May (1982), Bergerac (1985), Oranges are Not the Only Fruit (1990), The Old Devils (1992), Anglo Saxon Attitudes (1992), The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992), Jeeves and Wooster (1993), Middlemarch (1994), Takin' Over the Asylum (1994), Martin Chuzzlewit (1994), The Tomorrow People (1995), Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Snow Queen's Revenge (1996), Alice in Wonderland (1999), A Christmas Carol (1999), Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (2000), Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (2001), The Royal (2003-04), Jericho (2005), Love Soup (2008) and Is Anybody There? (2008). She has also enjoyed regular roles as Connie Fox in Fox (1980), the Witch in Simon and the Witch (1987-88), Aunty Peggy in Watching (1988-91), Nan in Shine On Harvey Moon (1982-85/95), Mrs Mullen in Playing the Field (1998-2002) and Toni's mother in Swiss Toni (2003-04).
Facts
The role of the cannibal Chessene in the Doctor Who story The Two Doctors (1985) was originally written for her, but in the end she played a cannibal in another story instead! Elizabeth, who trained as a mezzo-soprano but had to give up singing due to suffering bronchial asthma, was also a respected stage and Shakespearean actress, and in the 1950s and 60s adapted or translated a handful of plays for television. She was nominated for Broadway's 1975 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for London Assurance, and in 1996 was nominated for a Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role BAFTA for Sense and Sensibility.
This is Your Life: Elizabeth was the subject of BBC TV's This is Your Life on November 23rd, 1998, surprised by host Michael Aspel on set for Alice in Wonderland at Shepperton Studios. Doctor Who actor James Ellis paid tribute to her on the show.

Judy Cornwell (Maddy) Born Feb 22 1940
Career highlights
Judy debuted in Friends and Neighbours (1959), followed by a 1960 episode of Dixon of Dock Green, The Younger Generation (1961), The River Flows East (1962), Paris 1900 (1964), Dr Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Mickey Dunne (1967), Cry Wolf (1968), Every Home Should Have One (1970), Wuthering Heights (1970), Man of Straw (1972), Cakes and Ale (1974, for which she was nominated for a Best Actress BAFTA), Supernatural (1977), The Mill on the Floss (1978-79), The Good Companions (1980-81), Good Behaviour (1983), Jane Eyre (1983), Santa Claus: The Movie (1985, as Mrs Claus), The December Rose (1986), Farrington of the F.O (1987), Cry Freedom (1987), Nice Town (1992), Persuasion (1995), The Bill (1998), Mad Cows (1999), David Copperfield (2000), The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003), The Royal (2003) and Birds of a Feather (2014). She had a regular role as Daphne Pegg in Moody and Pegg (1974-75) and Queenie in EastEnders (2007-08), but will always be recognised as Daisy in 44 episodes of the sitcom Keeping Up Appearances (1990-95).
Facts
She has written several novels, including Cow and Cow Parsley (1985), Fishcakes at the Ritz (1989) and The Seventh Sunrise (1996), and an autobiography in 2005 called Adventures of a Jelly Baby. In the late 1950s Judy worked as a dancer and comedienne at the Windmill Theatre in London ("amongst the nudes"!).

Julie Brennon (Fire Escape)
Career highlights
Julie's other TV credits include medical soap Angels (1983), The Front Line (1984-85), Emmerdale Farm (1984-85), Strike It Rich! (1987) and Flying Lady (1987).
Facts
Julie was once married to Mark Strickson, who played companion Turlough in Doctor Who.

Annabel Yuresha (Bin Liner) Born Aug 2 1962
Annabel's only other credit was Unmasked Part 25 (1988).
Facts
Annabel's parents were both ballet dancers: mum Belinda Wright was a prima ballerina, working for companies such as Rambert, Royal Ballet and Ballet de Paris, while Jelko Yuresha was a Croatian born ballet dancer who toured with his wife in the 1960s as the British Government's Ambassadors of Dance. Here they are in 1967.

Catherine Cusack (Blue Kang leader) Born Dec 21 1968
Career highlights
Catherine's first role was in Doctor Who, after which she appeared in The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987), Sophia and Constance (1988), The Chief (1994), Cadfael (1997), Boxed (2002), Finding Neverland (2004) and Doctors (2008/10/12). She also had a recurring role as Frankie Sullivan in Ballykissangel (1999-2001) but will be best remembered as "nanny from hell" Carmel Finnan in soap Coronation Street (1992-93).
Facts
Catherine comes from the prolific Cusack acting family - her father was Cyril, while Sinead, Sorcha and Niamh are her half-sisters, and Padraig her half-brother (as Sinead is married to actor Jeremy Irons, this makes their son, the up-and-coming actor Max Irons, Catherine's nephew). Her husband is actor Alex Palmer.

Joseph Young (Young caretaker) Born Jun 26 1960
Career highlights
Joseph's only other credit is Lytton's Diary (1986).
Facts
These days, Joseph sometimes goes by the name of Giuseppe Marinetti, and is now a composer and sound designer, writing electro-acoustic soundtracks for theatre, TV and film productions, as well as sound-based art installations. His work has been seen (or heard!) at the Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Joseph is a founder member of the Neo-Futurist Collective, which celebrates urban noise in all its forms. Here's his website and Twitter, and you can listen to his work here.

Astra Sheridan (Yellow Kang)
Career highlights
Astra's only other appearances are SWALK (1982), Miss Marple: The Body in the Library (1984) and Dramarama (1987).

Simon Coady (Video commentary) 1949 to sometime after 2008
Career highlights
Simon's other credits include The Man with Two Heads (1972), State of Emergency (1975), The Mouse and the Woman (1980), Elizabeth Alone (1981), Giro City (1982), Milwr Bychan (1986), The Angry Earth (1989), Inspector Morse (1991), Civvies (1992) and Holding On (1997).
Facts
There are reports that Simon died sometime after 2008 (the date of the last electoral roll he was listed on).

CREW

Stephen Wyatt (writer) Born Feb 4 1948
Doctor Who credits
Wrote: Paradise Towers (1987), The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988-89)
Career highlights
Stephen's other writing work includes the Sunday Premiere Claws (1987), The House of Eliott (1994), soap Family Affairs (1997) and several episodes of Casualty (1990-97). He started out in children's and community theatre, and now works predominantly in radio.

Nicholas Mallett (director) May 6 1945 to Jan 30 1997 (AIDS-related illness)
Doctor Who credits
Directed: The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 1-4 (1986), Paradise Towers (1987), The Curse of Fenric (1989)
Career highlights
Nicholas started out as a production assistant on series such as Oppenheimer (1980) and Icebound in the Antarctic (1982) but then graduated to directing on series such as Late Starter (1985), Crossroads (1987-88), Children's Ward (1989), The Bill (1993-95) and Take the High Road (1993-95).

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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