Tag Archives: Quatermass

Latest Updates March 2018


I’m presenting the 7th Dimension again on BBC Radio 4 Extra for three weekends commencing on March 17th. There’s plenty of fabulous stuff for me to chat in between, including a Daphne du Maurier play with Maureen O’Brien and Dinsdale Landen and a horror story involving something being found during the digging of a tube extension (sound familiar…?). Unfortunately my links will not be on iPlayer so you’ll need to listen live!

My forthcoming book on Quatermass benefitted this month from a lengthy interview with – and the seal of approval of – Nigel Kneale’s widow Judith Kerr (who wrote The Tiger Who Came To Tea and the Mog books). She provided some fascinating insights which will doubtless delight my very patient publisher Matt West at  Miwk. I’ll be a bit quiet over the next few months whilst I crack on with the book which I’d like to finish this year.

With the wonderful Judith Kerr.

Two Interviewees from my Who’s Round podcast have died recently. It’s very sad to hear of their passing but fortunately I managed to supply obituaries for them (click on their names for their podcast, and on the paper’s name for the obituary): make-up designer Dorka Nieradzik was remembered in The Guardian and that wonderful actor Peter Miles gets an appreciation in The Herald.

I interviewed the late Dorka Nieradzik (right) and her good friend June Hudson together when they featured on my Who’s Round podcast.

I might just have had a little something to do with the latest Take Back Theatre project Ten Takes On Shelter. It’s all under wraps at the moment (appropriately, because it’s very cold) but worth getting tickets for here.

I play a 9ft tall solar space bear called Oscar McLeod in The Skies of New Earth, part of Big Finish’s Tales from New Earth boxed set which is rather fabulous. It’s a great fun part and I get some marvellous lines and the cherishable character description “ostentatiously belligerent”. I play other bits and bobs too, including the overarching alien baddie and a fellow called Dobtcheff (I know! What’s not to love?). It’s well worth your time and available here. I’m sticking a couple of reviews down here too:

“Toby Hadoke steals the show – Oscar is likely to go down as a fan favourite and will be a perfectly fine reason to start listening”
– Blogtor Who

“A shout out to Toby Hadoke who plays a plethora of parts. I instantly recognised his voice as the debate moderator. But even though I have interviewed him and met him a few times, I would never have guessed him as the Scandinavian Silver haired bear Oscar. A man of many talents indeed and a stand-out character to a lead in any future sets.”  
– Doctor Squee, indiemacuser.co.uk

The fabulous, thought provoking and brutally funny Sean McLoughlin

I’m MCing at the Frog and Bucket on 16/17th March, plus my usual stints at the 99 Club and the Comedy Store. This month at XS Malarkey the headliners whom I will be introducing will be the erudite Matt Stellingwerf, the brutally honest and sometimes dark Sean McLoughlin and the smart and likeable Glenn Moore : rare talents all. More details at the XS Malarkey Website. 



I was rather saddened to recently learn of the death of the actor Richard Shaw. When I first saw the brilliant Quatermass and the Pit many years ago, I was captivated by it, and thrilled at what a complex and sumptuous production it was. I was also taken by many of the performances, but one that really stuck out was that of Richard Shaw as the beleaguered workman Sladden. Initially brought in to do a hush-hush drilling job to get into the hull of the mysterious object buried in Hobbs Lane, he is initially a typical, chirpy, working class character. As the story unfolds, however, he becomes pivotal, being the first to completely succumb to the baleful influence of the Martian inheritance dormant within us all. In a sequence even my Mum remembered from watching all those years ago, he assumes the gait and posture of one of the creatures, as all about him the pit goes haywire. Eventually seeking solace in a churchyard, he collapses to the ground and the gravel beneath him begins to move. Later, under cross examination by Quatermass, he has a vision of life on Mars five million years previously. So many aspects of Shaw’s performance could well have been hokey, and yet he pulled off every one brilliantly. Actors now are well versed in the tropes of science fiction, not so then. It is a performance well ahead of its time, by a largely jobbing character actor who merrily filled the screen both big and small, in roles which similarly filled the spectrum (he has one line in A Night To Remember, and none in The Dirty Dozen, but bigger roles in 633 Squadron and the Doctor Who story The Space Museum in which he was the lead villain). I enjoyed his performance in Quatermass so much that I entered into a correspondence with him. He was the first actor to whom I had plucked up the courage to do this, and the fact that he replied encouraged me to contact more people, and so a teenage pastime was born, which has of course, been greatly useful to me in later life.

As none of my Quatermass archive has been published (bar the use of my photographic collection on the BBC DVD release – in the gallery and booklet), it seems fitting that the original contribution to it should be the first to hit the public domain.

Richard was deeply flattered to have been contacted about his role in the show – “you bring back long lost memories, where have all the years gone?” he asked. Rudolph Cartier had seen him in a play called The Schirmer Inheritance and offered Richard the role of Sladden. “When I read the script I realised it was a very important part and I quote, said thank you, and took the part.” He had fond memories of the cast, and as for producer Rudolph Cartier: “He was the finest director at the BBC, a very hard task master who was a joy to work for and in fact I did eight other plays for him.”

“Sladden was very difficult to play, trying to sustain the level of being twisted and torn by the Martians was very wearing – in those days everything we did was live, though we did do a little on film. During one of my runs through the flying objects I did break my toe. To say it was painful is putting in mildly but I had to keep shooting.” Original Quatermass monster actor Duncan Lamont played Richard’s role in the subsequent feature film, because “I was asked to play it originally but was already committed to another film with Ray Milland so had to say ‘Sorry, I can’t do it’”.

Richard, a humble, charming man, was not one to overplay his importance in the show, and was very happy to be reminded of his work on it, and proud of the serial itself. “I am very aware that I seem to be remembered for my performance in Quatermass, people still come up to me and I am very touched by it. It is gratifying to know my work is appreciated.”

After Quatermass, Richard continued to work over the next few decades, notching up three performances in Doctor Who. His biggest role was in The Space Museum. “Bill Hartnell was a long standing friend and we had worked together many times. When I played Lobos I sustained a severe blow to my left eye which caused some problems for the first episodes but we had to carry on.”

The late Bernard Wilkie recalled that Richard had been extremely co-operative and a joy to work with on his difficult, effects heavy scenes. Patrick Connor (also no longer with us, alas), who played a policeman in the series, also remembered Richard; “He was, to my knowledge, the only actor in the cast to have had only TV and film experience (i.e. none on the live stage). The number of actors without theatre experience had started to grow, and to some degree they were slightly looked down upon by theatre actors. Most of them were a bit aggressive and had a bit of a chip on their shoulder – but I got on with Richard fine”.

Very much one of those “I know the face but…” actors, despite a five decade career in some major productions, it is unlikely that Richard’s passing in April, aged 90, will get the acknowledgement it deserves, so I hope this little corner of the internet serves as some sort of tribute to the man and his work.

Richard Shaw 1920 – 2010, RIP.

Tickets available

OK, it’s official, tickets are available for my two fringe shows.

Now I Know My BBC is a brand new hour which will be performed between 5th-29th August, at 6.55pm at Belly Laugh at The Underbelly. It should contain the same mix of personal, satirical and heartfelt humour as my last show, and it’s been shaping up quite nicely in the previews (of which there are many more to come). It has a much broader scope than Moths, but I’m sure the Doctor will get a mention. Quatermass certainly does, and I can confidently claim I’m the only comic who’ll be doing that this year! Tickets are available from the venue or from the Edinburgh Fringe site.

Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf is definitely winding down, so we’re doing one final Edinburgh performance at the massive Edinburgh International Conference Centre. It should be a huge event, and a final opportunity for many of you to see it live. Tickets are available for the August 20th show from the Edinburgh Fringe site or from the venue.

I haven’t been blogging because, frankly, my writing time has been spent on the forthcoming show, but I have been keeping a diary of the various things I’ve been up to for the Doctor Who DVDs I’ve been working on this month. I will upload the memories from those experiences when the specific releases are announced, but there are some fun tales to tell and I’m really looking forward to them hitting the shops. I’ve been working with two wonderful programme makers, Ed Stradling and Steve Broster, on a documentary feature which is right up my street, and the work progresses well. We have one more shooting day in a week or so, and the boys have been good company as we’ve schlepped up and down the country interviewing people. I have done a commentary for another story (with producer John Kelly, who always gets a good line up) in the past week or so, and am doing another (for one of my favourite stories) with Steve in a week or so.

Also, exciting news about a book I have co-written with Doctor Who writer Rob Shearman will be announced shortly.

I promise to blog with more than pluggage soon, but frankly, I’m knackered.

So I’ll leave you with a fascinating fact – like Leo McKern and Elton John, Mervyn Pinfield, Doctor Who’s mysterious original Associate Producer, was actually called Reginald.

Moths went to Pitlochry last month - a long way, but beautiful.