Ray Lonnen RIP

posted: August 2nd, 2014

Ray Lonnen RIP

Ray LonnenA couple of weeks ago I was very sad to learn of the death of Ray Lonnen – a fine, understated actor who took part in a couple of television shows that deserve to be remembered for a very long time: namely Harry’s Game and The Sandbaggers. I had the good fortune of visiting Ray a couple of times – most recently an evening a couple of months ago of fish and chips a chatting about his good friend Richard Shaw. Ray had showed me some paintings he had which had been done by Richard and kindly offered to share his memories of the late Quatermass actor. Ray had a lot of empathy for others and behind the considered decency that emanated from him was a twinkle and a wry sense of humour.  He and his lovely wife Tara were extremely hospitable and I had kept in touch with them since I interviewed them both for my Who’s Round project last year. They, along with their good friend Bernard Holley, came to see my West End double bill in November despite Ray being in a lot of pain. I was flattered to have known him and pleased to have had the opportunity to provide Ray’s Guardian obituary here. I can’t thank Tara enough for her help with this – her positive attitude and encouragement for others even shining through at a most difficult time for her and the family. If the world is a bit of a struggle sometimes, following Tara on Twitter is recommended – she’s an empathic person with an infectious optimism : find her at @TaraWardBooks.

My Who’s Round interview with Ray and Tara can be found here.

It’s typical of the fellow that the last contact I had from him was after he found out my other half’s name: it’s unusual and he postulated that it might have been inspired by a film of the same name. I admitted that I thought that that was the case but that I didn’t know much about it. After a short time there was an email from Ray with a link to the movie and everything about it. He was  a thoughtful man for whom nothing was too much trouble.

Rest In peace Ray.

EXCITING NEWS!

posted: July 18th, 2013

BACK IN THE WEST END!

garrick_theatre_london

Well, this is exciting : for one night only Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf and My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver will be in a double bill at the famous Garrick Theatre in London’s West End. It’s a 900 seater. My Mum’s coming, so now we only need another 800 of you to keep her company.

Garrick

We’re gonna need a bigger audience…

There promises to be a bit of an An Audience With kinda vibe, with a number of Doctor Who luminaries on the invite list. It’ll be an ideal warm- up for the 50th Anniversary as the show will be taking place just under a week before that giddy time. So put 17th November in your diary (7pm), and maybe get a ticket for that friend of yours who needs a special present to celebrate this amazing milestone for both Doctor Who and  – thanks to this performance produced by James Seabright and Lee Martin of Gag Reflex – this humble fan.

When tickets went live most of the seats in the front 10 rows were snapped up immediately, and punters from Russia and the USA booked themselves in, so you know, if you think the trip for, say, Kent, is an arduous one, you really have no excuse not to see the show which has won acclaim from press and comics (including Sarah Millican) alike. All the nice things that have been said about it are here.

Tickets are available here.

TOBY HADOKE’S WHO’S ROUND

posted: January 7th, 2013

Toby Hadoke’s Who’s Round

For some background on this foolhardy quest, see here.

The Podcasts themselves can be found on this page.

Detailed listings plus information on the charities recommended by my interviewees are on the Podcast page of this website.

In 2013, with the help and technical support of Big Finish, I will be embarking on a quest to interview as many people as possible from Doctor Who’s illustrious history. The aim being, in 52 weeks, to get a first hand anecdote about every single story. I am providing a list of all the televised adventures here, and will highlight the ones we have covered in red, with the episode number and anecdotee’s name added. For some stories we may get more than one anecdote, because I don’t play by no rules suckas.

UPDATE – As of November 23rd 2013, the show’s 50th Anniversary, this is where my tally stands.  Apart from filling in the names of the latest releases I will not be updating the list after this – so I have just over a month to sort out these last few stories, and won’t reveal whether I have or not until those final podcasts are out. Around 130 interviews have been conducted up until this point, with about 35 released so far: the timetable for hearing them isn’t an exact science. It’s an ad hoc process with an as-and-when release schedule.

 

William Hartnell
An Unearthly Child (Waris Hussein #6)
The Daleks (Clive Doig #12 Brian White #47)
The Edge of Destruction
Marco Polo (Waris Hussein #6, Philip Voss #46)
The Keys of Marinus (Special #11)
The Aztecs (Ian Cullen #4)
The Sensorites (Ilona Rodgers #42)
The Reign of Terror (Clive Doig #12)
Planet of Giants (Clive Doig #12)
The Dalek Invasion of Earth (B Kay #18)
The Rescue
The Romans
The Web Planet
The Crusade (Bernard Kay#18, V Ritelis#26)
The Space Museum (Glyn Jones #3)
The Chase
The Time Meddler
Galaxy 4 (Clive Doig #12)
Mission to the Unknown
The Myth Makers (Barrie Ingham #16)
The Daleks’ Master Plan (Vik Ritelis #26)
The Massacre (Fiona Cumming #23, David Weston #33)
The Ark
The Celestial Toymaker
The Gunfighters (Matthew Jacobs #43)
The Savages (Peter Thomas, A Lodge#15)
The War Machines
The Smugglers
The Tenth Planet

 

 

Jon Pertwee
Spearhead from Space (C Rawlins #19)
Doctor Who and the Silurians (Christine Rawlins #19, Sue Upton #49)
The Ambassadors of Death (Christine Rawlins #19, Gordon Sterne #22, John Moreno #40)
Inferno (Christine Rawlins #19, S Upton #49)
Terror of the Autons (Margot Hayhoe #53)
The Mind of Evil
The Claws of Axos (Bernard Holley #41)
Colony In Space (Bernard Kay #18)
The Daemons (Sue Upton #52)
Day of the Daleks (Valentine Palmer #10)
The Curse of Peladon
The Sea Devils
The Mutants (Fiona Cumming #22)
The Time Monster (Sue Upton #52)
The Three Doctors (Rex & Pat Robinson #45)
Carnival of Monsters
Frontier In Space (Ray Lonnen #27)
Planet of the Daleks
The Green Death
The Time Warrior
Invasion of the Dinosaurs
Death to the Daleks
The Monster of Peladon (Rex Robinson #45)
Planet of the Spiders

 

Peter Davison
Castrovalva (Fiona Cumming #22)
Four To Doomsday (Paul Shelley #38)
Kinda
The Visitation
Black Orchid
Earthshock
Time-Flight
Arc of Infinity
Snakedance (F Cumming #22, Bob Mills #29)
Mawdryn Undead
Terminus
Enlightenment (Fiona Cumming #22)
The King’s Demons (Sue Upton #49)
The Five Doctors
Warriors of the Deep (Tara Ward #27)
The Awakening
Frontios
Resurrection of the Daleks
Planet of Fire (Fiona Cumming #22)
The Caves of Androzani (Martin Cochrane #7)

 

Sylvester McCoy
Time And the Rani (William Dudman #14)
Paradise Towers (Ian Fraser #24)
Delta And the Bannermen (Dudman #14)
Dragonfire (Moore/Mansfield #1)
Remembrance of the Daleks (Ian Fraser #24)
The Happiness Patrol (Moore/Mansfield #1)
Silver Nemesis
The Greatest Show In the Galaxy
Battlefield (Moore/Mansfield #1)
Ghost Light
The Curse of Fenric (Stephen Moore/Susan Mansfield #1, Fraser #24)
Survival

 

Christopher Eccleston
Rose (Russell T Davies #50)
The End Of The World (Zoe Wanamaker #30)
The Unquiet Dead (Russell T Davies #50)
Aliens Of London/World War Three
Dalek (Russell T Davies (#50)
The Long Game (Russell T Davies #50)
Father’s Day
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (RTD #51)
Boom Town (Russell T Davies #51)
Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways (Nicholas Pegg #39, Russell T Davies #51)

 

Matt Smith
The Eleventh Hour (Arthur Darvill #57)
The Beast Below 
Victory Of The Daleks (Nicholas Pegg #39)
The Time Of Angels/Flesh And Stone
The Vampires Of Venice (Arthur Darvill #57)
Amy’s Choice (Arthur Darvill #57)
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood (Arthur Darvill #57)
Vincent And The Doctor
The Lodger (Ben Peyton #34)
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (Simon Fisher-Becker #32)
A Christmas Carol
The Impossible Astronaut/Day Of The Moon
The Curse Of The Black Spot
The Doctor’s Wife
The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People
A Good Man Goes To War (Dan Starkey #35, Simon Fisher-Becker #32)
Let’s Kill Hitler
Night Terrors
The Girl Who Waited
The God Complex
Closing Time
The Wedding Of River Song (Simon Fisher-Becker #32)
The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe
Asylum Of The Daleks (Nicholas Pegg #39)
Dinosaurs On A Spaceship (S Metzstein #13)
A Town Called Mercy (Saul Metzstein #13)
The Power Of Three
The Angels Take Manhatten
The Snowmen (Saul Metzstein #13, Dan Starkey #35)
The Bells Of St John
The Rings Of Akhaten
Cold War
Hide
Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS
The Crimson Horror (Saul Metzstien #13, Dan Starkey #35)
Nightmare In Silver
The Name Of The Doctor (Saul Metzstein #13, Dan Starkey #35)

 

 

Patrick Troughton
The Power of the Daleks
The Highlanders (Fiona Cumming #22)
The Underwater Menace
The Moonbase
The Macra Terror
The Faceless Ones (Bernard Kay #18)
The Evil of the Daleks
The Tomb of the Cybermen (Bernard Holley #41)
The Abominable Snowmen
The Ice Warriors (Sheenagh Wreyford #36)
The Enemy of the World
The Web of Fear (Paul Cole #12)
Fury from the Deep (William Dudman #14, Margot Hayhoe #53)
The Wheel In Space
The Dominators (Philip Voss #46)
The Mind Robber (Christopher Robbie #20, Hamish Wilson 51)
The Invasion
The Krotons
The Seeds of Death (Martin Cort #11)
The Space Pirates (Peter Neill #47)
The War Games (Vernon Dobtcheff #31)

 

 

Tom Baker
Robot (Bernie Newnham #47)
The Ark in Space
The Sontaran Experiment (Glyn Jones #3)
Genesis of the Daleks
Revenge of the Cybermen (C Robbie #20)
Terror of the Zygons
Planet of Evil
Pyramids of Mars
The Android Invasion
The Brain of Morbius
The Seeds of Doom
The Masque of Mandragora
The Hand of Fear (Rex Robinson #45)
The Deadly Assassin (Susan Moore #1)
The Face of Evil (Susan Moore #1)
The Robots of Death
The Talons of Weng-Chiang
Horror of Fang Rock
The Invisible Enemy (Edmund Pegge #37)
Image of the Fendahl
The Sun Makers (Adrienne Burgess #7)
Underworld
The Invasion of Time
The Ribos Operation
The Pirate Planet
The Stones of Blood
The Androids of Tara (Doreen James #25)
The Power of Kroll
The Armageddon Factor (Sue Upton #49)
Destiny of the Daleks (Tony Osoba #9, Peter Straker #28))
City of Death (Doreen James #25)
The Creature from the Pit
Nightmare of Eden
The Horns of Nimon
The Leisure Hive
Meglos
Full Circle (Andrew Smith #2)
State of Decay (Terrance Dicks #55)
Warriors’ Gate (David Weston #33)
The Keeper of Traken
Logopolis

 

Colin Baker
The Twin Dilemma (Kevin McNally #5)
Attack of the Cybermen (Nicola Bryant #47)
Vengeance On Varos
The Mark of the Rani (William Ilkley #17)
The Two Doctors
Timelash (Nicola Bryant #47)
Revelation of the Daleks
The Trial of a Timelord:
The Mysterious Planet
Mindwarp
Terror of the Vervoids
The Ultimate Foe (Ian Fraser #24)

 

Paul McGann
The Only One With Paul McGann In It (Matthew Jacobs #43)

 

David Tennant
The Christmas Invasion (Russell T Davies #51)
New Earth (Zoe Wanamaker #30)
Tooth and Claw (Russell T Davies #52)
School Reunion (Russell T Davies #52)
The Girl in the Fireplace
Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel
The Idiot’s Lantern
The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit
Love & Monsters
Fear Her
Army of Ghosts/Doomsday (Nicholas Pegg #39)
The Runaway Bride
Smith and Jones
The Shakespeare Code
Gridlock
Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks (Nicholas Pegg #39)
The Lazarus Experiment
42
Human Nature/The Family of Blood
Blink (Ian Boldsworth #44)
Utopia (Robert Forknall #8)
The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
Voyage of the Damned
Partners in Crime
The Fires of Pompeii
Planet of the Ood
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky (Dan Starkey #35)
The Doctor’s Daughter
The Unicorn & the Wasp (David Quilter #21)
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
Midnight
Turn Left
The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End (Nicholas Pegg #39)
The Next Doctor
Planet of the Dead
The Waters of Mars
The End of Time (Dan Starkey #35)

 

Ones I Didn’t Have To Do But Have Done Anyway
Doctor Who And The Daleks (film)
Shada
K-9 And Company
A Fix With Sontarans
Slipback
Dimensions In Time
Death Comes To Time (Johnny Candon #47)
An Adventure In Space And Time
The Day Of The Doctor
The Time Of The Doctor
The Five-ish Doctors Reboot
Night Of The Doctor

Oh, and if you know anyone who has been in Doctor Who (looking at that list, preferably loads of them!), do get in touch!

What have I let myself in for … ?

STUPID IDEA

posted: December 31st, 2012

I have decided to do a stupid thing.

A couple of days ago a gentleman called Jon Keefe (@jjkv007) posted on Twitter: Doctor Who 50th; a weekly podcast w everyone thoughout the history of the series interviewed by @TobyHadoke . Make this happen internet Gods. In the absence of input from any such invoked cyberspace deities, I have decided to rise to the challenge myself. Now, I obviously can’t do everyone ever, so what I propose to do is this:

I will post a podcast every week in which I interview someone from Doctor Who. My aim will be to get every single story name-checked over the course of the next 52 weeks; but name-checked through first hand, personal recollection. Big Finish have kindly offered to host the resulting interviews in their podcast. Obviously it would be very simple to go for companions or producers or major contributors, and I am indeed hoping for a full quota of them: but that would be relatively straightforward to achieve and fairly predictable … so I want minnows to rub shoulders with giants – bit part actors, vision mixers, floor managers – anyone with new stories to tell, fresh perspectives or even illustrious careers outside of Who that are so interesting that we barely touch on the Doctor himself during our conversations. And if I do get a companion, I won’t be asking what their favourite story is that’s for sure.

And this is where you come in:

 

Do you have my e-mail address? Give it to Toby!

With the podcasts being so frequent, I haven’t really got time to pussyfoot around and it’s going to have to be achieved in something of a guerrilla style. Therefore, any contacts (preferably e-mail or snail mail) readers may have that will get me to a person direct so I can drop them a line, offer them a pint or two (I’m not getting paid so neither will they sadly) and arrange something quick would be hugely appreciated. Realistically, I can probably only do people in London or Manchester, or arrange something over Skype that I can record. Also, I am cripplingly shy when it comes to making contact with people and haven’t really got the time resources to bounce negotiations back and forth – so if you know the person and could pave the way, explain the scenario and tell them I’m not a dick (I know – lying is wrong, but it’ for a good cause), that’d be even better.

As there is no money changing hands I will be asking each interviewee to nominate a charity at the end of each podcast so anyone who has enjoyed what they’ve heard can make a small donation.

So… do you have any contacts for people – no matter how obscure – who from your dealings might be happy to have me invade their privacy for about an hour? You may know the Chicki from The Macra Terror? Your uncle might have been the call boy on Colony In Space! You may even have had a one night stand with a Lakertyan: well, now’s your chance to give something back and make use of your tenuous Who connection!

If so, give me your details and I will be in touch! Sooner rather than later – I start tomorrow!

 

New Edinburgh Show and Gig List June-October 2012

posted: June 1st, 2012

Well, I’ve bowed to the pressure and am currently working on a sequel to Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf which I have entitled My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver. It will be the story of my life and Doctor Who since the  end of the last show, covering personal triumphs and disasters whilst mentioning Meglos and fuming about The Only Way Is Essex. Like Moths… it will be suitable for a non-Who crowd and its vocabulary and subject matter will be suitable for children (though it is not aimed specifically at them). It’ll get its own page on the website soon, and will be previewing throughout July. In the meantime, tickets and details for the Edinburgh run are here.

I have been ill so sadly took most of May off work, but will be back on my feet by mid June, and so my current gig list has been updated : this includes details of My Stepson… and its preview dates. The gig list is here.

I Know The Face But … (# 2 Ronald Pickup)

posted: January 13th, 2012

RONALD PICKUP

 

If I’d started writing something of this ilk ten years ago, I don’t think Pickup would have been included, but society at large seems able to recognise even our finest thespians with increasing infrequency these days. Despite not being huge theatregoers, my Mum and Grandad would both have been able to identify the likes of Victor Maddern, Cyril Shaps or Michael Bryant without pause. Nowadays our papers and screens seem to have less interest in fine character actors than reality stars, so I am choosing (for this edition of this semi-regular blog) to profile someone whose stature is such that his name is as well-known as his face, but to an increasingly smaller circle of people. This is no disrespect to him, but every disrespect to the coverage of arts and popular culture in this country. Pickup is one of the most respected actors of his generation, with a string of huge stage credits to his name (latterly playing Lucky to the Vladimir and Estragon of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart). He first made a splash working his way up at the National Theatre in the late 1960s, including playing Rosalind in As You Like It. There’s an old fashioned poise and delicacy about Pickup – he is one of those actors whose merest flicker can suggest a chasm of suppressed emotion. He’s proved adaptable as well, mixing classical theatre, popular television and sitcom with equal skill.  A quite brilliant actor: leading man and character player, always lending class to anything he graces with his talent.

Five Pickup performances worth chasing down (a purely personal and not remotely definitive selection):

Prince Yakimov in Fortunes Of War:

Prince Yaki informs mighty character actors Vernon Dobtcheff and James Villiers that they'll have to wait their turn to be featured in I Know The Face But ...

Quite simply one of the greatest television performances I have ever seen. Yaki is at turns dishonest, snivelling, thoughtless and conniving, and yet he remains entirely loveable throughout Alan Plater’s adaptation of Olivia Manning’s Fortunes Of War (custom should dictate I mention the director James Cellan-Jones at this juncture as well, as his work is sublime). It may have given us an early sight of Branagh and Thompson in action, but the performance you remember is Pickup’s. Yaki has a dishevelled charm, an unkempt dignity and an ill-fitting English-toffness that betrays a man who has adopted the mores of the gentry with slightly more affectation than he should (he is a Russian émigré you see, who has learned his Britishisms by rote – slightly too well). This makes the character’s eccentricity genuine and amusing but offbeat and original. It’s a charming, delightful and rather moving performance, and I urge everyone who thinks they are a good actor to watch it, and then think again.

George Orwell in The Crystal Spirit – Orwell On Jura (not online or commercially available I’m afraid). When it was aired in 1985 this created a huge impression upon me. The sight of the consumptive Orwell on a landscape as bleak as both his prospects of a long life and his postulation of the future, is indelible. Alan Plater’s (again) piece vividly draws a picture of a creative talent both blighted and driven by illness, and showed that great masterpieces are wrought at a cost to their creators. Pickup, as ever, fizzes with intelligence and insight, whilst an innate decency washing through him at all times. He shows the human Orwell though: this is no tortured artist cliché, but a story of a man and the dignity of a great mind expressing its creativity to the very end. Orwell was difficult and ill but loved by his loyal friends and family, and in Pickup’s portrayal you can see why.

Fraser in The Worst Week Of My Life. One of our finest classical thesps being brilliant in a sitcom just emphasises how impossible it is to be pigeon-holed when you’re a proper actor. The Worst Week Of My Life is a rare thing: a brilliant television farce. If Geoffrey Whitehead’s terse father-in-law threatens to steal the show with a look, Pickup is on hand as the self-denying Uncle Frazer. He’s a tough, outdoors type, full of military stories and who definitely isn’t gay. And woe betide anyone suggests otherwise. He gets a consort in the shape of the fantastic Terence Hardiman in series two, and the character and situations get even funnier.

The Forger in Day Of The Jackal. It’s all too easy to forget that this veteran of the profession has been gainfully employed, consistently, for about forty years. He doesn’t just do Britishness and nobility, as this early turn as a slimy forger trying to outsmart Edward Fox shows. Pickup has excelled as real people (Orwell, yes, as well as Verdi and Einstein), and brings genuine class to aristocratic roles, but fine actors treat kings and paupers alike, and Pickup can create characters from scratch who are a million miles away from his actual personality.

The Physician in Doctor Who: The Reign Of Terror (the link is to a reconstruction, Pickup appears at 9 mins 31 seconds and it is his TV debut). I mention this only because it is an insignificant role in one episode of a not very well known Doctor Who story, and the episode he’s in doesn’t even exist anymore. Despite that, I suspect he gets more letters about it that he does about everything else he’s ever done put together. I don’t know if that makes me pleased that I’m a Doctor Who fan or ashamed, but I hope it doesn’t annoy the venerable Mr Pickup.

(Addendum: since I wrote this, I have met Mr Pickup and asked him about much of his work, and he was only too happy to talk about it all, including Doctor Who. The latter was his first job: he got it the week he graduated from drama school, and is therefore very grateful to it. What a gent).

 

Fell free to suggest other faces you’d like to get to know the names of.

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