Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

Mags (Jessica Martin) was not all
she seemed...
Four episodes (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four)
First broadcast Dec 14 1988 to Jan 4 1989
Average audience for serial: 5.43m

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).

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.

TP McKenna (Captain Cook) Sep 7 1929 to Feb 13 2011
Career highlights
Irish born Thomas Patrick (TP) McKenna appeared in over 120 productions beginning with Broth of a Boy (1959), then The Siege of Sidney Street (1960), The Quare Fellow (1962), Ferry Cross the Mersey (1965), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), The Beast in the Cellar (1970), Straw Dogs (1971), Villain (1971), Callan (1972), Napoleon and Love (1974), Rooms (1975), Beasts (1976), The Duchess of Duke Street (1977), Blake's 7 (1978), Holocaust (1978), Silver Dream Racer (1980), The Outsider (1980), Nancy Astor (1982), The Scarlet and the Black (1983), Give Us a Break (1984), The Doctor and the Devils (1985), Jack the Ripper (1988), Parnell and the Englishwoman (1991), The Scarlet and the Black (1993), Kurtulus (1994), Kavanagh QC (1996), The American (1998), DDU (1999), Longitude (2000), Ballykissangel (2001), Rockface (2003), Fair City (2004), The Libertine (2004) and Death's Door (2009). He also regularly played Patrick Canty QC in Crown Court (1975-82) and Colin Fowler in The Chief (1991-94).
Facts
His child Breffni is also an actor (his actor son Kilian died in 2014). After his death, tributes were paid to him by Prince Charles and then Irish President Mary McAleese.

Jessica Martin (Mags) Born Aug 25 1962
Doctor Who credits
Played: Mags in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988-89)
Played: Voice of the Queen in Voyage of the Damned (2007)
Career highlights
Jessica is best known as an impressionist (including mimicking Doctor Who's very own Bonnie Langford - see the linked list here), starting out on the Edinburgh Fringe circuit with fellow mimic Rory Bremner and then providing voices for Spitting Image (1985-88), and appearing on Copy Cats (1985-86), And There's More (1985), Bobby Davro on the Box (1986) and Bobby Davro's TV Weekly (1988). She also gave her voice to the 1988 animation PC Pinkerton, and her rare acting performances include The White Lady (1986) and Tonight at 8.30 (1991). She has also leant her vocal skills to video games such as Flight of the Amazon Queen (1995) and Dragon Quest VIII (2004). Jessica has also had considerable success on the musical stage in productions such as Me and My Girl, Mack and Mabel, Spamalot, South Pacific and Sunset Boulevard.
Facts
In recent years she has branched into the world of comic books, including It Girl about silent movie star Clara Bow, Vivacity about Vivien Leigh, and the graphic novel Elsie Harris Picture Palace.

Chris Jury (Deadbeat) Born Sep 28 1956
Career highlights
Chris made his debut in Maybury (1981), then appeared as Mr Knowles in school drama Grange Hill (1983-84), and later took roles in What If It's Raining (1986), A Very Peculiar Practice (1988), Stay Lucky (1989), Heartbeat (1994), The Big Game (1995), The Innocent Sleep (1996), Noah's Ark (1997), Starting Out (1999), Season of Mists (2009) and The Final (2010). His most memorable role was Eric Catchpole in 55 episodes of antiques drama Lovejoy (1986-94). Chris is now a writer, director and producer, penning scripts for The Bill (1998-99), Casualty (2000-01) and Doctors (2004/06); directing episodes of Crossroads (2002), The Courtroom (2004), EastEnders (2000-04), Doctors (2007-08), I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (2008) and The Royal Today (2008); and producing for EastEnders (2004), The Final (2010) and In Good Faith (2011).
Facts
Chris continues to work in independent film production and in 2015 debuted a new play called Nadya, about the life of Stalin's wife. He also lectures in recorded media and has his own political philosophy blog.
In 2014 Toby Hadoke released his Who's Round interview with Chris here.

Ian Reddington (Chief Clown) Born Sep 25 1957
Career highlights
Ian debuted in a 1984 Play for Today called Hard Feelings, then took roles in Highlander (1986), Casualty (1987), Yellowthread Street (1990), Inspector Morse (1992), The Sculptress (1996), Snap (1997), Peak Practice (2000), The Queen's Nose (1998/2000), Playing the Field (2002), Being April (2002), Shameless (2005-06), Jane Hall (2006), Robin Hood (2009), Benidorm (2011), Sex, Drugs and Veggie Spring Rolls (2014) and Zoe and the Astronaut (2015). Ian has the distinction of having regular roles in the UK's top two soaps - Richard "Tricky Dicky" Cole in EastEnders (1992-94) and Vernon Tomlin in Coronation Street (2005-08).
Facts
In the 1970s Ian was a member of performance art band Musical Vomit alongside Glen Gregory, who later fronted Heaven 17, and Ian Craig Marsh, a founder member of The Human League. The band specialised in stage stunts such as vomiting soup, and singing about masturbation and necrophilia, and were once described as the "very first punk band" by punk rocker Poly Styrene. Ian was a percussionist and backing vocalist. Ian has not left his musical roots behind, though - he has written and recorded singles for his beloved Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, including Steel City (Move On Up) (as Hillsboro Crew and featuring Heaven 17); If It's Wednesday It Must Be Wembley (as Hillsboro Crew, for the 1993 FA Cup Final); Oh Yes (as the Wednesday Kop Band, 1997); and Euromania (as Elevenveeeleven, 1996). In 2008 he wrote a song for his Coronation Street character to sing and wanted to release it to hit the UK Christmas singles chart (not sure that ever happened!). The song was called (Don't Fall Into) The Mason's Arms.

Ricco Ross (Ringmaster) Born Apr 16 1960
Career highlights
Chicago-born Ricco made his debut as Tyler Bragg in Hill Street Blues (1982), then appeared in The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985), CATS Eyes (1985), Death Wish 3 (1985), Aliens (1986), Slipstream (1989), Sleepers (1991), Jeeves and Wooster (1992), The Tomorrow People (1992), Westbeach (1993), Hackers (1995), Highlander (1996), Mission: Impossible (1996), Fierce Creatures (1997), Babylon 5 (1997), Wishmaster (1997), Beverly Hills 90210 (1999), ER (2006), Santa Croce (2007), Bite Me (2012), Match (2014), Caper (2014), Hidden in the Woods (2014) and Story of Eva (2015).
Facts
Ricco is also a trained dancer and singer. Here he is in a 1988 TV commercial for Bounce. And here he is on Twitter!

Deborah Manship (Morgana) Born Sep 25 1953
Career highlights
Deborah first found success as Valerie Price in Angels (1979-81), then secured a second regular role as Nesta Mogg in The District Nurse (1984) before further roles in Star Cops (1987), Billy's Christmas Angels (1988), Grange Hill (1993) and The Bill (1994).
Facts
In 1989 she established Role Call, a training consultancy specialising in providing role-players for training courses in both the public and private sectors.

Christopher Guard (Bellboy) Born Dec 5 1953
Career highlights
Christopher debuted at the age of 13 as the title role in David Copperfield (1966), then appeared in Great Expectations (1967) as Young Pip, Tom Brown's Schooldays (1971), Village Hall (1975), I, Claudius (1976), A Little Night Music (1977), Secret Army (1977), Les Miserables (1978), Shoestring (1979), Memoirs of a Survivor (1981), Wilfred and Eileen (1981), John Diamond (1981), My Cousin Rachel (1983), A Woman of Substance (1984), The Tripods (1985), Return to Treasure Island (1986), Blackeyes (1989), She-Wolf of London (1990), Casualty (1993), The Haunting of Helen Walker (1995), Bugs (1997), The Worst Witch (2000) and Doctors (2001). He also provided the voice of Frodo Baggins in the 1978 animation of The Lord of the Rings.
Facts
He was married to actress Lesley Dunlop (who appeared in Doctor Who in Frontios (1984) and The Happiness Patrol (1988)), while his brother is actor Dominic Guard (who appeared in Terminus (1983)). His cousin is actress Pippa Guard, while his current partner is actress Cathy Shipton, best known as Duffy in Casualty (he met Cathy on the set of Casualty and walked out on his wife of 18 years, Lesley Dunlop. Christopher and Cathy had a child together in 2001). Christopher also a singer and songwriter, formerly for the bands Indians in Moscow and Gregoryz Girl, and more recently for Leapfrogtown (here's their video for the 2013 single Dreaming in Public).
In 2014 Toby Hadoke released his Who's Round interview with Christopher here.

Gian Sammarco (Whizzkid) Born Feb 18 1970
Career highlights
Gian found fame as the title character in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ (1985) and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1987), and also became a presenter on Saturday morning children's series Get Fresh (1986). Other acting appearances include Space Station: Milton Keynes (1985), Crossroads (1986), The Two of Us (1989), Press Gang (1990), Jackson Pace: The Great Years (1990) and The Law Lord (1992).
Facts
He gave up acting to become a psychiatric nurse in Northampton. In 1989 Gian released a very limited edition album of "experimental abstract techno music" called Art Montage Terrorism under the band name Motivate Hallucinate (Gian did the music while partner Matthew Langhorne did vocals). Songs included Staring at the Pebble and The Gay Assassin. In 1990 Gian married Adrian Mole fan Stephanie Bates, with whom he had a child. They divorced in 1998 and Gian has since remarried.

Daniel Peacock (Nord) Born Oct 2 1958
Career highlights
Daniel is an actor, writer and director who made his thespian debut in 1978's Plain Murder. He went on to appear in Quadrophenia (1979), Riding High (1981), Gandhi (1982), Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), The Young Ones (1984), Just Good Friends (1984), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), Only Fools and Horses (1985), Robin of Sherwood (1986), The Kenny Everett Television Show (1983-86), Super Gran (1987), Valentine Park (1987-88), Mr Majeika (1989), I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990), Jackson Pace: The Great Years (1990), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991),Carry On Columbus (1992), One Foot in the Grave (1993), Teenage Health Freak (1991-93), Men of the World (1994-95), Sister Said (1998), Billie: Girl of the Future (2005), Coming of Age (2011), Starlings (2012-13), Toast of London (2014) and Foyle's War (2015). He also appeared in nine episodes of The Comic Strip Presents (1982-2012) and provided the voice for the Beeposaurus in The Beeps (2007-08). As a writer he has penned Party Party (1983), The Comic Strip Presents... The Yob (1988), Jackson Pace: The Great Years (1990), Very Big Very Soon (1991), Teenage Health Freak (1991-93), Men of the World (1994-95, for which he also wrote the main title theme), Mud (1994-95), For Amusement Only (1995), Harry and Cosh (2002, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA), Cavegirl (2002) and Billie: Girl of the Future (2005). He also directed for these latter three series, plus Anything's Possible (1995), Sister Said (1998) and Morris 2274 (2003).
Facts
His father is the actor Trevor Peacock, of The Vicar of Dibley fame, while his brother is actor Harry Peacock (who appeared in the Doctor Who story Silence in the Library/ Forest of the Dead (2008)). In the 1980s Daniel appeared in a memorable TV commercial for the DIY firm Do It All (alongside Dimensions in Time's Ron Tarr!), as well as another for Birdseye Steakhouse grills.

Dee Sadler (Flowerchild)
Career highlights
Dee made her name as Tracy Crabtree in sitcom No Place Like Home (1983-84), and also appeared in The Little Drummer Girl (1984), Travelling Man (1985), All Creatures Great and Small (1990), Wycliffe (1994), Pie in the Sky (1995), Ultraviolet (1998), five episodes of The Bill (1994-2001) and Witless (2010).
Facts
Dee is married to actor Derek Thompson, best known for playing Charlie Fairhead in medical drama Casualty.

Peggy Mount (Stallslady) May 2 1915 to Nov 13 2001 (stroke)
Career highlights
Peggy's debut came with The Cabin in the Clearing (1954), then Dry Rot (1956), Sailor Beware (1956), Your Past is Showing (1957), The Adventures of Mr Pastry (1958), Inn for Trouble (1960), Ladies Who Do (1963), One Way Pendulum (1965), Hotel Paradiso (1966), Oliver! (1968), John Browne's Body (1969), The Chiffy Kids (1978), Stargazy on Zummerdown (1978), The Trial of Klaus Barbie (1987), All Change (1990), Inspector Morse (1991), T-Bag's Christmas Turkey (1991), Virtual Murder (1992) and The Tomorrow People (1994). She made her name in comedy roles, notably as Martha in Winning Widows (1961-62), Ada Larkin in The Larkins (1958-64), Gabrielle Dragon in George and the Dragon (1966-68), Maggie Robinson in Lollipop (1971-72) and Flora Petty in You're Only Young Twice (1977-81).
Facts
She received an OBE in 1996, but sadly had to give up acting when she lost her sight during a performance of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in 1998. She subsequently suffered a series of strokes. Peggy is name-checked in the 1985 Half Man Half Biscuit song I Love You (Because You Look Like Jim Reeves). In the 1970s she unofficially adopted a teenage boy whose mother had died and whom she regarded as a son.

Dean Hollingsworth (Bus conductor) Born May 26 1961
Doctor Who credits
Played: Android in Timelash (1985)
Played: Bus Conductor in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988-89)
Career highlights
Debuted in Doctor Who, and also appeared in Casualty (1987).
Facts
Dean left acting in the 1990s and went into business intelligence, and today specialises in designing and training in IBM Cognos business insight tools, having worked for the likes of BAE Systems, G4S Security and Vodaphone. He is now based on Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

David Ashford (Father Ragnarok) Born Oct 16 1941
Career highlights
David debuted in The Vanishing Trick (1965), then Up Jumped a Swagman (1965), No Hiding Place (1967), Strange Report (1969), The Pathfinders (1972), The Edwardians (1972), Dickens of London (1976), Agony (1979), Quatermass IV (1979), The Gentle Touch (1982), Angels (1982), Scoop (1987), Casualty (1987), Indiscreet (1988), Sitting Pretty (1992-93), Keeping Up Appearances (1995) and Down to Earth (2000/04). His most memorable role was as Charles Lotterby in over 120 episodes of Crown Court (1972-78).

Janet Hargreaves (Mother Ragnarok) Born 1937
Career highlights
Janet's other credits include The Avengers (1962), Compact (1963), The Doctors (1969), The Doctors (1971), Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), Bottle Boys (1984), Forever Green (1992), Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1997), Poirot (2000), Baby Blues (2002), Doctors (2001/05) and Stranded (2012). Janet's most memorable role was as Rosemary Hunter in soap Crossroads (1971-80).
Facts
She now works as a communications coach, as well as a writer and poet.

Kathryn Ludlow (Child Ragnarok)
Kathryn's only other credit is as Gudrun in Courage Mountain (1990).

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.

Alan Wareing (director) Born Aug 16 1943
Doctor Who credits
Directed: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988-89), Ghost Light (1989), Survival (1989)
Career highlights
Alan had earlier been production assistant on The Keeper of Traken (1981), after starting as assistant floor manager on Survivors and The Onedin Line in the 1970s. He also performed production manager duties on Juliet Bravo (1981-82), Tenko (1982), Miss Marple (1985), the Doctor Who story Timelash (1985), Lovejoy (1986) and EastEnders (1986), before graduating to director on Rockcliffe's Folly (1988), The Bill (1989-90), London's Burning (1996), Wycliffe (1997-98), Casualty (1987-2001), 100 episodes of Coronation Street (2001-10) and over 200 episodes of Emmerdale (1993-2015).

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.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this - the Greatest Show is my favourite episode so far.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd like to say thanks for this as well!

    ReplyDelete

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