Friday, November 29, 2013

Anneke Wills biography

Anneke Wills (Polly) Born Oct 20 1941

Doctor Who credits
Played: Polly in The War MachinesThe SmugglersThe Tenth Planet, The Power of the Daleks, The Highlanders, The Underwater Menace, The Moonbase, The Macra Terror, The Faceless Ones (1966-67)
Anneke also appeared in archive footage/ images in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984) and the minisode Meanwhile in the TARDIS Part 2 (2010)

For the first three years of her screen acting career, Anneke went by the professional name of Anneke Willys (she was born Anna Katarina Willis), starting with her first role in the BBC's Impostor's Gold, aged just 12. Shown as part of the children's slot on April 29th, 1954, Impostor's Gold was an adventure play by Paul J Watkins set on a Californian ranch. Anneke was Sybil, daughter of rancher Jack Hughes, played by Gordon Bell and Rosemary Hughes, played by Beatrice Munroe. Also on the bill were Christopher Langley, Keith Grieve, Shaw Taylor and Neil McCallum.

This was followed on July 22nd, 1954 by The House with a Secret, also part of the children's slot, in which Anneke played Robina in an adventure written by Theodora Caldwell. The story was set in a house in Edinburgh in 1870, and was repeated the following Sunday.

Anneke (left) in Child's Play (1954)
Anneke's final work in 1954 was the 68-minute British comedy film Child's Play, from a story by Australian Don Sharp. It starred Anneke as Alice Nightingale, with Christopher Beeny, Ernest Scott, Ballard Berkeley, Peter Sallis (The Ice Warriors, 1967), Joan Young (The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, 1966) and Robert Lankesheer (The Crusade, 1965). In a report in the Australian Women's Weekly in November 1952 (when they began to film Child's Play), Sharp said: "It is a comedy with a strong vein of satire about a bunch of precocious youngsters led by spectacled child 'professor' who discovers the secret of atomic energy to make popcorn." Interestingly, the report is sent from London to Australia by Bill Strutton, who wrote Doctor Who story The Web Planet in 1965.

Anneke continued her connection with the BBC children's slot with Alibi Children, shown on May 15th, 1955. It was a detective drama by Wendy Cooper, and Anneke played Molly Wilson, alongside Will Leighton, Robert Sandford and Mary Allen. It was repeated on June 9th. Soon after she appeared in BBC's children's adventure Remember Jane by Joan Paulin, shown on July 17th, 1955. Anneke played Jane Eyre, a pupil at the story's Lowood School in Yorkshire, set in 1828. Also appearing in the production was John Woodnutt (several stories between 1970-81). It was repeated on August 11th.

From August 21st, 1955, the BBC serialised Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper in six parts, and a 13-year-old Anneke played Lady Jane Grey in episode 1, Exchange. It also featured Colin Douglas (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68, and Horror of Fang Rock, 1977) and Seymour Green (The Seeds of Doom, 1976, and The Twin Dilemma, 1984). It was repeated on April 6th the following year.

On September 30th, 1955, Anneke played Henriette de Chamborde in Passage of Arms, an adventure play set in the time of the Napoleonic wars, also starring Arthur Lowe, Frederick Hall (The Awakening, 1984) and Richard Warner.

The Blakes was a four-part children's serial broadcast between October 2nd-23rd, 1955, adapted by Muriel Levy from Alison Wright's book. The story concerns a man who loses his job and buys an old bus, setting out with his family driving through England in their new home on wheels - a road trip for the 1950s! Robert Raglan played Jim Blake, who was joined by Betty Woolfe, Martyn Anderson, Douglas Hankin, and Anneke as Jean Blake. Co-stars included Philip Ray (The Seeds of Death, 1969), Eileen Way (100,000 BC, 1963, and The Creature from the Pit, 1979) and Peter Bathurst (The Power of the Daleks, 1966, and The Claws of Axos, 1971). All four episodes of this serial are now missing from the archive.

On March 13th, 1956, Anneke was back on the BBC's children's slot for African Holiday, written by J Potter Brown, starring Barbara Cavan as Mrs Wyndham, and Richard Peters and Anneke as her children Tony and Megs. Also in the cast was Margot Hayhoe, who would go on to become a floor manager and production manager on Doctor Who between 1966-83. Also on the cast list was Noel Coleman (The War Games, 1969).

Just a few weeks later, on April 4th, 1956, Anneke had a guest slot in the soap The Grove Family as Olive Green, accompanied by Edward Evans (Image of the Fendahl, 1977), Ruth Dunning, Christopher Beeny and Peter Bryant (who'd go on to produce Doctor Who between 1967-69). The writers were Michael and Roland Pertwee, Third Doctor's brother and father respectively. Naturally, this episode is missing from the archives.

Anneke (left) appeared on the cover of
the Radio Times for The Railway
Children in 1957
The next project for Anneke, now 15, was an eight-part adaptation of E Nesbit's The Railway Children for the BBC. Running between March 3rd and April 21st, 1957, the serial starred Jean Anderson, Cavan Kendall (The Myth Makers, 1965), Sandra Michaels and Richard Warner, with Anneke playing Roberta/ Bobbie. Also on the cast list were Donald Morley, John Baskcomb (Terror of the Autons, 1971), Ysanne Churchman (The Curse/ Monster of Peladon, 1972/74), Alan Curtis (The War Machines, 1966), Clive Dunn and Ivor Salter (The Space Museum, 1965; The Myth Makers, 1965; and Black Orchid, 1982). The serial was a great success and was repeated between October and December that year. You guessed it: all eight episodes are now missing.

The seven-part serial From Cover to Cover kicked off on ATV on February 14th, 1958, in which various authors or fictional characters appeared in a library. It featured Robert Cartland (Galaxy 4 and Mission to the Unknown, both 1965) as the commentator, with Deidre Day, George A Cooper (The Smugglers, 1966) and William Simons (The Sun Makers, 1977). Anneke played Girl in episode 1.

As from 1959 - the year she turned 18 - Anneke changed her professional name from Anneke Willys to Annika Wills, which she kept for the next five years. Her first credit as such was the ITV sitcom Don't Tell Father, written by Barry Baker and starring Julia Lockwood, Colin Gordon (The Faceless Ones, 1967), Joan Benham and Jill Booty, depicting the amusing adventures of a screenwriter and his daughter, who live on a barge on the Thames. Anneke appeared in episodes three and four (June 15th and 22nd, 1959) of the six episodes (now all missing) playing Diana.

On January 27th, 1960, Anneke appeared in her first of two episodes of police series No Hiding Place, entitled The Final Chase (the final episode of series 1, now missing). She played Glenda Williamson and co-starred with Cyril Shaps (several roles between 1967-78), Lorne Cossette (The Sensorites, 1964) and Julian Fox (Death to the Daleks, 1974).

As with a number of Doctor Who's earliest companions, Anneke appeared on pop panel show Juke Box Jury, her first appearance being on March 5th, 1960. Hosted by David Jacobs, Anneke's fellow panellists were comedian Spike Milligan, bandleader Jack Payne and journalist Nancy Spain.

On March 14th, 1960, Anneke appeared in her first of three Probation Officer episodes. In episode 27 (now missing) of series 1, she played Miss Shirley, joined on screen by Keith Anderson (The Reign of Terror, 1964) and Donald Bissett (The Highlanders, 1966-67).

On April 10th, 1960, Anneke appeared in the now-missing BBC Sunday Night Theatre play Glorious Morning, written by Norman Macowan and directed by Rudolph Cartier. She played Katrina Hoefler and was joined by Tom Fleming, Albert Lieven, Laurence Payne (The Gunfighters, 1966; The Leisure Hive, 1980; and The Two Doctors, 1985), Alan Haywood (The Myth Makers, 1965), Kevin Stoney (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66; The Invasion, 1968; and Revenge of the Cybermen, 1975), Gertan Klauber (The Romans, 1965, and The Macra Terror, 1967) and Eileen Way (100,000 BC, 1963, and The Creature from the Pit, 1979).

Anneke next appeared in two episodes of the medical soap Emergency Ward 10, broadcast on April 19th and May 17th, 1960 (both now missing). Anneke played Clarissa Wallace and was joined on the bill by John Dearth (The Green Death, 1973, and Planet of the Spiders, 1974).

Next up were Anneke's other two episodes of Probation Officer. In episode 3 of series 2 (missing), broadcast on September 26th, 1960, she played Miss Field, alongside star John Paul, Derek Benfield, Arthur Ridley and Richard Vernon, while in episode 8 of series 2 (missing), shown on October 31st, 1960, she played the part of Sheila.

Anneke sitting (somewhat uncomfortably)
on Bernie Winters' knee in The Strange
World of Gurney Slade, episode 6
The Strange World of Gurney Slade was a curious series devised by and starring Anthony Newley and written by Sid Green and Dick Hills. It was a six-part sitcom which broke all the rules by smashing down the fourth wall and also including various bizarre, sometimes surreal elements. Anneke appeared in episodes 2 and 6 (shown on October 29th and November 26th, 1960) as Girl on Airfield, and was joined on the cast list by Hugh Paddick, Edwin Richfield (The Sea Devils, 1972, and The Twin Dilemma, 1984), Bernie Winters, Douglas Wilmer, Charles Lloyd Pack, Una Stubbs and James Villiers. All six episodes, made by ATV, are available to buy on DVD.

On February 23rd, 1961, Anneke had an uncredited bit-part in an ITV Television Playhouse made by Granada called Ben Spray, about a man who starts the day with everything and ends it with nothing, written by Peter Nichols and starring Ian Hendry in the title role. Anneke played Woman in Coffee Bar, and was joined on the cast list by John Arnatt (The Invasion of Time, 1978), Philip Bond (The Daleks, 1963-64) and Derrick Sherwin (Doctor Who producer, 1969-70).

Anneke and Scott Forbes
in The Primitive
On July 25th, 1961, Anneke appeared in her first of two ITV Plays of the Week, playing Kathleen Short in the now missing The Primitive, also starring Scott Forbes, Stephen Lewis, Campbell Singer (The Celestial Toymaker, 1966) and Barbara Young. Here's a picture of Anneke with Scott Forbes from a newspaper cutting of the time.

Golden Girl told the adventures of a woman (played by Catherine Boyle aka Katie Boyle) who suddenly becomes the richest in the world, and ran for 12 episodes on the BBC between 1960-61. All episodes are now missing, including the first episode of series 2, Ward of Court, shown on July 29th, 1961, in which Anneke played Minty. It also featured Patrick Barr (The Moonbase, 1967) and Robert Cawdron (The Ambassadors of Death, 1970).

Peggy Mount and Avice Landone
Fresh from one sitcom, Anneke next appeared in ATV's Winning Widows, a sitcom starring Peggy Mount (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, 1988-89) and Avice Landone as two sisters who had each survived three husbands. Anneke appeared in the episode The Young Niece (shown October 21st, 1961, now missing) playing Sheila. Interestingly, it was written by Sid Green and Dick Hills, the masterminds behind The Strange world of Gurney Slade the year before.

Anneke next appeared in a six-part serialisation of Henry Garnett's English Civil War novel Gamble for a Throne for the BBC, adapted by Barbara S Harper. She played Kaye Chance in four episodes - Prison Over the Porch (broadcast November 11th, 1961), Witch of Hangman's Hill (November 18th, 1961), The Affair at Worcester (November 25th, 1961) and Death of a Dictator (December 9th, 1961). The serial was repeated in August and September 1962. All six episodes are now missing. Co-stars included Donald Pelmear (The Time Warrior, 1973-74), Colin Douglas (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68, and Horror of Fang Rock, 1977), John Woodnutt (several roles between 1970-81), Ivor Salter (several roles between 1965-82), Peter Diamond (several roles between 1965-69), Dennis Cleary (The Reign of Terror, 1964), Reginald Barratt (Planet of Giants, 1964), Derek Smee (Spearhead from Space, 1970), Barry Letts (Doctor Who producer, 1970-74), Joseph Greig (The Sensorites, 1964) and Trevor Martin (The War Games, 1969, and the Doctor on stage).

Anneke in Candidate for
Murder (1962)
In Candidate for Murder, an Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre production adapted by Lukas Heller and directed by David Villiers, Anneke played Jacqueline in a story about a man who hires a German assassin to murder his wife, who he suspects is having an affair. But when the assassin decides to kidnap rather than kill her, but still claim his fee, the husband demands proof of a body...

It starred Michael Gough (The Celestial Toymaker, 1966, and Arc of Infinity, 1983), who would go on to marry Anneke in 1965 (they first met on this production), as well as Erika Remberg, Paul Whitsun-Jones (The Smugglers, 1966, and The Mutants, 1972) and Pamela Greer (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66). The short film was released by Merton Park Studios in January 1962.

In June 1962, Anneke appeared as Anne in the Clive Donner-directed musical film Some People, which told the story of three teenage layabouts who are persuaded to form a rock group to keep them out of trouble.

Anneke in Some People, sitting
in a bath to shrink her jeans and
make them skin-tight!
Shot entirely on location in Bristol, the film was a thinly veiled advocate for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, and starred Kenneth More, Ray Brooks (Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD, 1966), Angela Douglas (Battlefield, 1989), David Hemmings, Harry H Corbett, Richard Davies (Delta and the Bannermen, 1987), Fred Ferris (Planet of Giants, 1964) and Cyril Luckham (The Ribos Operation, 1978, and Enlightenment, 1983).

With the tagline "From the land of the Beatles came the young rebels... wild and explosive", the film generated income for both the DoE scheme and the National Playing Fields Association.

Anneke in The Sentimental Agent
Next up was an episode of ATV/ ITC drama The Sentimental Agent, which starred Carlos Thompson as an import-export agent in London. In the first ever episode, All That Jazz (broadcast September 28th, 1963), Anneke played Sarah, alongside co-stars Burt Kwouk (Four to Doomsday, 1982), Jeremy Bulloch (The Space Museum, 1965, and The Time Warrior, 1973-74), Hugh Futcher (The Sea Devils, 1972), David Blake Kelly (The Chase, 1965, and The Smugglers, 1966) and Brian Cant (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965, and The Dominators, 1968). All 13 episodes have been released on DVD.

On October 1st, 1963 Anneke appeared in her second No Hiding Place, The Smoke Boys, co-starring Terence Brook (Planet of Evil, 1975), Alan Haywood (The Myth Makers, 1965) and Victor Winding (The Faceless Ones, 1967). Predictably, this episode is missing from the archives.

Anneke as Pussy Cat in The
Avengers (1963)
On December 28th, 1963, Anneke appeared in her first of two episodes of The Avengers, entitled Dressed to Kill written by Brian Clemens. Anneke played Pussy Cat, one of seven prospective land owners invited to a New Year's Eve fancy dress party aboard a train which stops at an abandoned station - where the passengers begin to get bumped off one by one! Anneke's fellow cast members included Honor Blackman (The Trial of a Time Lord, 1986), Leonard Rossiter, Richard Leech (The Sun Makers, 1977), John Junkin and Leon Eagles (The Face of Evil, 1977).

Nothing But the Best was a Clive Donner-directed film released on March 10th, 1964 (based on the 1952 short story The Best of Everything by Stanley Ellin) and starring Alan Bates as chancer Jimmy Brewster, who gets embroiled in romance with his boss's daughter, as well as a bank robbery and murder. Anneke sadly didn't have a very big role (simply "Girl"), but it also featured Denholm Elliott, Harry Andrews, Millicent Martin, Godfrey Quigley (Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD, 1966), Nigel Stock (Time-Flight, 1982), James Villiers, Alan Rothwell, Angus Mackay (The Deadly Assassin, 1976, and Mawdryn Undead, 1983), Howard Lang (100,000 BC, 1963), Donald Pickering (The Keys of Marinus, 1964; The Faceless Ones, 1967; and Time and the Rani, 1987), Julian Holloway (Survival, 1989), Gabriel Woolf (Pyramids of Mars, 1975, and The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit, 2006) and the Eagles. Music was by Ron Grainer. The film was also nominated for a BAFTA for Nicholas Roeg's cinematography.

Anneke in The Likely Lads
Anneke's next role was in an episode of the BBC sitcom The Likely Lads entitled Other Side of the Fence, broadcast on January 6th, 1965 and starring James Bolam and Rodney Bewes (Resurrection of the Daleks, 1984), with Don McKillop (The Daemons, 1971), Bartlett Mullins (The Sensorites, 1964), Eric Dodson (The Visitation, 1982) and Michael Sheard (various roles between 1966-88). Anneke played Judith Francis, alongside Didi Sullivan, two girls who are romanced by Terry and Bob at work.

Anneke's second ITV Play of the Week was the now missing No Baby, No Baby At All, broadcast on February 8th, 1965, in which she played Chris Durley. Joining her on the bill were Jane Baxter, Jeremy Burnham, Gretchen Franklin, Richard Vernon and Hazel Williams.

The Pleasure Girls (released December 3rd, 1965) was a film that gave Anneke a major role, playing Angela, one of the female cast in a story all about the Swinging '60s scene. It also starred Francesca Annis, Rosemary Nicols, Ian McShane, Mark Eden (Marco Polo, 1964), Klaus Kinski, Carol Cleveland, David Graham (Dalek voice artist), Yvonne Antrobus (Dr Who and the Daleks, 1965), Julian Holloway (Survival, 1989), Hugh Futcher (The Sea Devils, 1972), Peter Diamond (various roles) and Brian Cant (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965, and The Dominators, 1968). The film is available on DVD, but here's the scene where Annis's character meets all her new friends in London, including Anneke:

On February 28th, 1966, Anneke appeared in the now-missing Thirty Minute Theatre Keep On Running, written by Vickery Turner and directed by Michael Hart (The Space Pirates, 1969). She played Julia alongside Sally Goldie, Neville Smith (The Reign of Terror, 1964) and Bridget McConnell.

Toddler on the Run was a Wednesday Play written by 18-year-old Shena Mackay featuring Anneke as Leda, alongside Ian Trigger, Jerome Willis (The Green Death, 1973), Stanley Lebor, Iain Cuthbertson (The Ribos Operation, 1978), Renu Setna (The Hand of Fear, 1976) and narrated by Michael Robbins (The Visitation, 1982). Shown on May 25th, 1966, the BBC play still exists in the archives. It's synopsis read: "Morris, a homunculus, is under suspicion of having stolen the swimming pool fund from a girls' school".

The very next day after Toddler on the Run was televised, Anneke (along with fellow actor Michael Craze) was contracted to appear in 18 episodes of Doctor Who as new companion Polly. These first 18 episodes would take up four stories, including the first story featuring new Doctor Patrick Troughton. Anneke began recording her first story, The War Machines, on June 10th, 1966, and on June 23rd, there was a photo call to introduce Anneke and Michael Craze to the press, to publicise The War Machines episode 1 two days later. In total, Anneke played Polly in 40 episodes transmitted between June 25th, 1966 and May 13th, 1967, with her final day of recording being April 8th, 1967.

Anneke with William Hartnell and Michael Craze, filming
The Smugglers (1966)

Anneke in The Saint (1969)
On October 28th, 1966 - the day before episode 4 of the Doctor Who story The Tenth Planet was aired - Anneke's appearance in an episode of ITC's The Saint starring Roger Moore was shown on ITV, called The Helpful Pirate. She played Fran Roeding alongside Redmond Phillips as her father, Professor Roeding, and the cast also included Vladek Sheybal, George Pravda (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68; The Mutants, 1972; and The Deadly Assassin, 1976) and George Roubicek (The Tomb of the Cybermen, 1967). You can watch the episode on YouTube, but unfortunately with one of those bizarre borders and a reduced viewing area:

Anneke as Judy in The Avengers (1967)
Three weeks after wrapping on Doctor Who, Anneke appeared on her second Juke Box Jury, broadcast on April 29th, 1967, the same day as episode 4 of The Faceless Ones. The pop panel show was shown on BBC1 at 5.15pm, followed by a 10-minute news bulletin, and then Doctor Who, but sadly Anneke wasn't in that week's Doctor Who (Polly only appears in episodes 1 and 2, and then episode 6 to say farewell!). Anneke's co-panellists were American singer Vikki Carr, along with Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch from the Shadows.

Soon after Anneke completed production on Doctor Who, she landed her second role in The Avengers, in an episode written by Roger Marshall called The £50,000 Breakfast. She finished filming on July 20th, 1967, and the episode debuted on October 12th, 1967. Anneke (sporting notably shorter hair) played boutique owner Judy, starring alongside Diana Rigg (The Crimson Horror, 2013), Jon Laurimore (The Masque of Mandragora, 1976), Nigel Lambert (The Leisure Hive, 1980), Yolande Turner, Pauline Delaney and Cardew Robinson.

On July 7th, 1968, Anneke appeared on the final episode of series 3 of the panel game Call My Bluff (now missing), alongside team captains Drusilla Beyfus and Kenneth Horne, and guests broadcasters Jean Metcalfe and Cliff Michelmore and journalist Milton Shulman. The BBC made 25 series of this show between 1965-88, but only seven episodes survive from the first eight series (1965-74)!

The next role would actually turn out to be Anneke's last screen acting job to date, in the ITC series Strange Report. Anneke played series regular Evelyn McLean alongside Anthony Quayle and Kaz Garas, who investigated bizarre mysteries in Swinging Sixties London. The 16-episode series was filmed between July 1968 and March 1969 and saw the team (although too often just the men) investigate everything from World War Two skeletons to student riots, abducted beauty queens to witchcraft.

Over the course of the series, Anneke appeared in an episode written by Bill Strutton (The Web Planet, 1965), and a great many Doctor Who actors turned up too, including Julian Glover (The Crusade, 1965, and City of Death, 1979), Sylvia Sims (Ghost Light, 1989), Derren Nesbitt (Marco Polo, 1964), Keith Barron (Enlightenment, 1983), Hugh Burden (Spearhead from Space, 1970), Lisa Daniely (The Space Pirates, 1969), Peter Jeffrey (The Macra Terror, 1967, and The Androids of Tara, 1978) and John Bennett (The Talons of Weng-Chiang, 1977) among many others.

The original intention was to make more than 16 episodes, but when plans fell through to film the latter episodes in the US, the entire series was cancelled when Anneke and Quayle opted out of a second series. Episode 1 (Murder Shrieks Out by Morris Farhi) was broadcast on September 21st, 1969 and was shown weekly (except on November 16th) through to January 11th, 1970. It received its American transmission between January and September 1971.

Anneke on Clive James on TV (1998)
and in An Adventure in Space and Time
Since giving up acting Anneke has appeared in numerous Doctor Who related documentaries, including a notable appearance on a science-fiction special of Clive James on TV on December 21st, 1998, alongside Sophie Aldred (Ace), Nicola Bryant (Peri) and John Scott Martin (Dalek operator).

She also had a brief cameo in the 2013 drama An Adventure in Space and Time as an uncredited party guest. In the drama her younger self was portrayed by Ellie Spicer.


In the 1970s, Anneke gave up acting and moved to Norfolk to run a craft shop, and in 1977 moved to Belgium, then India (where she became part of the infamous Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh cult) and the US. She then settled in Canada in the 1990s to work as an interior designer, and it is during this period she was filmed for the fan video Bidding Adieu, which follows Seventh Doctor actor Sylvester McCoy from the UK to Vancouver to film the 1996 TV movie. Anneke, who now lives in Devon, was married to actor Michael Gough between 1962-79, who appeared in Doctor Who himself in 1966 and 1983. At the age of 17, Anneke was thrown out of RADA for "behaving badly" with actor Edward Fox, and in 1959 she had an abortion after falling pregnant with actor/ singer Anthony Newley, who left her for actress Joan Collins. Despite the Newley/ Collins relationship, Anneke fell pregnant with Anthony again - she kept the baby, christened Polly, who was subsequently adopted by Gough. Polly tragically died in a car accident in the 1980s.

Anneke pictured with Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi during
a set visit in early 2017

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome! If you have corrections or amendments, please quote/ link to your source.