I have been asked to play a role in the next series of brilliant Australian time travel comedy Night Terrace (as heard on Radio 4 Extra). It stars Jackie Woodbine which means only one thing – Toby Hadoke and Susan off of Neighbours, together at last. There’s more information here, plus details of how you can help with kickstarting production…
I was devastated that Tom Hodgkins, and actor I knew on and off for nearly 30 years, and who I worked with on my favourite ever job – A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Royal Exchange Theatre – died aged just 59 this month. I was able to pay tribute to him in the Manchester Evening News here.
I am writing a script for a new CBeebies series but I’m not sure I can talk about it so, well … hint, hint, nudge nudge. But it has to be in by Monday!
I have just recorded another drama for Radio 4 which will be broadcast in February 2020. I play a Tory MP – the character description was “roguish” which I rather enjoyed. More soon…
I’ve been working as a consultant on the forthcoming animated DVD release of Doctor Who – The Faceless Ones. There’s an exciting new clip of ithere. I chaired a couple of panels at October’s London ComicCon where this was discussed, and the forthcoming release of Fury from the Deep was exclusively announced.
Another month, another Guardian obituary, this one is for that sparkly actress Anna Quayle from Grange Hilland Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Read it here.
I’ll be MCing XS Malarkey as usual. Each Tuesday between now and Christmas we’ll have a fantastic line-up and our guests will include Edinburgh Award Nominees The Delightful Sausage, Dark Lord of comedy Andrew O’Neill and TV’s Harriet Kemsley. Also, in a new initiative to expand our comedy calendar into other days of the week, we’ll present the touring show of Angelos Epithemiou. Listings details are available at the XS Malarkey Website.
The Season 23 Doctor Who Blu-Ray box has been released. I’m on it, presenting a very silly documentary about the Doctor Who Cookbook. It’s not quite as archaeological as my usual fare, but I do get to make soup with Frazer Hines, so, you know… and, bonus, it is narrated by India Fisher off of Masterchef.
I’ve recorded an episode of the Pull Back And Reveal podcast, discussing comedy and sci-fi and all sorts of other stuff. Have a listen here.
And finally … I’m delighted to announce that for writing work I will now be represented by the Independent Talent Group, an illustrious agency and no mistake. Onwards!
It’s Psoriasis Awareness Week (28th October – 3rd November 2019).
I haven’t updated my Psoriasis Blog for a while because there’s not been much change – the usual ups and downs but generally I’m doing well thanks to my treatment regime of biologics. I’m seeing my consultant every six months just to monitor things – my blood sugar is a bit high but that’s because I have started eating biscuits and sweets now that I’m off the booze, and my Vitamin D is low because I’m a hermit who sits in darkened rooms watching Doctor Who. So I need to kick the sweets into touch and gambol in a sunny field if I want to reach peak health but it’s generally an improvement (see previous entries for the up-and-down journey unto this destination)
So I’ll just give the headlines for now :
If the creams aren’t working ask your GP to refer you to a consultant – or certainly to explore other medications.
There isn’t a cure for psoriasis but it’s certainly more a manageable than anyone ever told me in my first 20 years with the condition.
Boringly , things like diet and exercise do make a difference. That said, there’s no clinical proof that avoiding certain foods etc, makes a huge difference (although there are lots of individual anecdotal examples so don’t sniff at it if something works). What is certain though is that keeping healthy lessens the condition’s ability to get a hold of you.
The mental health ramifications of this are huge. Do not be afraid or ashamed of this, and maybe try getting some hep. Being aware that you can trace dark feelings back to your psoriasis is helpful in the management of both.
This year’s Psoriasis Awareness Week is all about its connections with childbirth and pregnancy, so not exactly in my area of expertise. But The Psoriasis Association have produced some useful information, which you can read and download here.
In issue 537 of Doctor Who Magazine I had the opportunity to pay tribute to Pat Gorman.He was the ultimate I-Know-The-Face-But… performer – a familiar figure to TV watchers in the 60s, 70s and 80s, he gave you the nagging feeling that you’d seen him somewhere before. Probably because you had. He was a hotel guest dropping off keys in the Fawlty Towers episode The Builders (1975), he conducted surveillance in the first episode of The Sandbaggers (1978), and served with the Foreign Legion in Douglas Camfield’s BBC Beau Geste (1982). His CV took in pretty much every small screen classic: The Saint (1963), The Forsyte Saga (1968), Adam Adamant Lives (1966-67), The Prisoner (1967), Dad’s Army (1969), Doomwatch (1970), Dixon of Dock Green (1970), Callan (1972), Public Eye (1972), On The Buses (1973), The Two Ronnies (1973), The Tomorrow People (1975/1979), The Onedin Line (1976), I Claudius (1976), Porridge (1976), The Sweeney (1978), Secret Army (1978-79), The Professionals (1978-82), Minder (1979-82), Hammer House of Horror (1980), Day of the Triffids (1981), Blake’s 7 (1978-81) The Young Ones (1982) ‘Allo ‘Allo (1984) The Bill (1984), Miss Marple (1985) Magnum PI (1985 – yes, you read that right, this one was shot in the UK), The New Statesman (1992), Poirot (1992/1993), and Soldier, Soldier in 1994. And thats just scratching the surface! Most importantly to this corner of the internet, he appeared in over 100 episodes of Doctor Who across 41 stories, sometimes with a line or two, sometimes with a credit, and sometimes behind layers of make-up or latex.
In myDWM article, none of which I will replicate here – print media needs supporting and the issue is still available from the publishers, so please buy it if you haven’t already – I spoke to Pat’s friends and colleagues who were fulsome in their praise of him as a company member and as a person. There’s space here, that I didn’t have in DWM, for a few extra thoughts and memories from those tributes here.
When I broke the news of Pat’s passing toDoctor Who director Michael Briant (for whom Pat played a number of roles in 1971’s Colony in Space, and was the first representative of 1972’s The Sea Devils) he said: “How very sad to hear Pat has died. He was a very important part of so many Doctor Who productions back then. A story was not complete without Pat playing some role or other. He was the totally professional extra/walk-on and could always be relied on to do and act what was required. A very nice man and a pleasure to work with. He made a contribution to my era of Doctor Who that was extensive and valuable. And that was why he was used so often.”
For AFM and production manager Margot Hayhoe Pat was extremely helpful in the productions she used him on: “I loved having dear Pat on any show as he was so reliable. He came out to Yugoslavia on [the epic 1972/73 BBC production of] War & Peace to play different soldiers as required. A great charmer, may he rest in peace.”
Production manager Sue Upton worked with him on many shows, including Doctor Who and the Silurians (1970) in which he had a hefty part as the Silurian Scientist: “He was always the number one choice to have around on set and especially away on location in whatever role – and yes, he could speak the odd scripted line too. He was willing to do whatever was needed in whatever location or odd costume he had to wear.”
Since putting the article together I have been in touch with a few more of Pat’s colleagues,including costume designer June Hudson: “Pat loved the job. He had that chameleon quality of absorbing the character, always looking dead right in every costume he wore. If it was Pat, no worries. A sweet friendly artiste, greatly loved and admired.”
Love and admiration for Pat weren’t confined to the worlds of Doctor Who though.Costume designer Maggie Partington-Smith remembers his foray into Shakespeare – albeit dressed head to foot in a bear suit – in the BBC’s A Winter’s Tale (1981) “Lovely man – he nearly suffocated inside the costume but just laughed it off.” Laughter also came in Light Entertainment too, with producer John Adams recalling that he “always gave him parts as an extra because he could, if called upon, deliver a couple of lines. [Pat was] a very charming person liked by all he worked with.”
Actually, such tributes were fairly easy to come by – over the years I’ve interviewed loads of people from that era of television and they’ve always recalled Pat with a smile. Unfortunately, despite much digging, I’d never been unable to find out that much about Pat himself – Births, Marriages and Deaths records are awash with Patrick Gormans so working out which one was him was never going to be easy: I patted myself on the back that, for the DWM article, I’d narrowed his birth date down to 1930-32 and, as you’ll see, I shouldn’t have done.
We never managed to persuade him to contribute to the DVDs or be interviewed forDoctor Who Magazine, and I had not managed to find the unedited versions of the two interviews with him I knew to have been conducted. They’re all we have really – quotes from him about working on 1968’s The Invasion (from David Banks’ Cyberman book), and some soundbites selected for the I Was That Monster feature played before the 1993 Planet of the Daleks repeat (frustratingly I located most of the full versions of all the other interviews conducted for this programme, but not the one with Pat).
Nevertheless, it was good thatDWM were still prepared to run my piece about Pat which took its cue from Eastenders actor, and old mate of Pat, Derek Martin, who described him as “the unknown soldier” of British TV. Always there, doing good work, but not many paid him much attention nor knew his name. Since the publication of the article, I have been contacted by Pat’s family, and they have very kindly allowed us to know him a little bit more.
William Patrick Gorman was born in the East End of London on May 10th 1933 but his was a childhood blighted by sadness. Both of his parents died before he was five years old and so he was sent to live with his grandmother and so separated from his sister (who was housed by an aunt). There was no money and so he had his first brush on the fringes of show business by hanging around at the stage door of the opera house and running errands for pennies (which he would take home and give to his grandma).
Like many East End kids he was evacuated during the war, but unlike some he flourished in the countryside– he struck lucky, billeted to a farm with kindly foster parents he discovered a love for animals, wildlife and the rural surroundings that stayed with him for life.
He went back to live with his grandmother after the war and at school was an extremely proficient sportsman, particularly on the football field.His early promise found him set for a career with Arsenal but unfortunately two injuries to his knee, which resulted in his cartilage being removed, put paid to that. He still played at an amateur level though, and never lost his love for Arsenal – and his fellow extras and East End lads Derek Martin and Steve Ismay attest that even if he didn’t make it as a pro he remained an extremely talented player (they had both first encountered him playing Sunday League football at Hackney Marshes), maintaining a number of contacts in footballing circles.
Inevitably, thanks to time and geography, he also had contacts with the more unsavoury side of East End life: he knew gangster brothers Ronnie and Reggie Kray and their rivals the Richardsons, but always kept his nose clean. Nonetheless there was one occasion when – in a case of mistaken identity – a contract was put out on his head, which was hair-raising for a few days. Fortunately the error was pointed out to the right people and Pat was able to stop looking over his shoulder.
Unfortunate potential contract killings aside, he had a fair few adventures as a young man – he served in the army after leaving school and then travelled around Canada. Without any money – but with a little help from the Salvation Army – he was an itinerant worker, mucking in as a miner and a logger, doing backbreaking work and avoiding grizzly bears. He’d planned to stay in Canada but moved back to the East End to look after his grandma when she was widowed. Whilst working at Smithfield Market he kept noticing a man who was handing out a phone number and asked what it was all about – the man represented an agency looking after extras and stuntmen and so Pat put himself forward and, after a meeting had been arranged, hit it off with the agent.
Having been instructed by the agent to buy himself a posh suit for auditions he did so on his way to the hospital following the birth of his son.His wife Vera remembers being none too pleased when Pat turned up to the hospital with a big bundle – something she assumed was some sort of present to mark the happy moment – which turned out to be his new clobber. At the time jacking in the job on the market didn’t seem like the best decision he’d ever made either – though history now tells us otherwise.
“He absolutely loved the business,” recalls Vera, and it was a business that loved him back.As well as the many, many programmes readers of this blog will doubtless always be delighted to see him turn up in, he did modelling work, adverts (often for foreign countries and unseen here) and networked his way into all sorts of opportunities.”We’ve got all these book covers” laughs his daughter Jackie “someone’s lying dead – [and it’s] Pat with a dagger in his chest or something!” Eventually he didn’t even need an agent – every production team had his number and contacted him directly, handily saving him 10% of a fee he might otherwise have had to give away. He occasionally advertised in the industry directory Spotlight, but not that often. People knew Pat and knew where to find him, and the work kept rolling in.
Although his appetite for the business was huge, Vera says that “at work he was out there and gregarious but once he got home he was a much more quiet and private man”.Jackie agrees “There was a generous, lively side of him who did well in his work but there was the quieter side at home. He was great to have as a father.”
As for his work highlights, Jackie is says that “I think his big love wasDoctor Who. He was very proud that he had the main characters but nobody knew it was him – the werewolf, the sea monster. He sat for hours having this make-up done. He rather liked being these weird, kooky characters – it sort of appealed to a side of his nature”.
As well as playing various monsters, Pat got his face on screen a fair few times, often in featured roles – he’s the UNIT corporal warning the Brigadier about a Stegosaurus around the corner in Invasion of the Dinosaurs (1974), a casually brutal Thal Soldier in Genesis of the Daleks (1975, “Oh kill it off, it’s too slow” he says of a lagging Sarah-Jane), and spends a couple of episodes in a time loop with John Woodvine’s Marshall as the Pilot in The Armageddon Factor (1979). They’re never parts that required showy acting, but if Pat hadn’t been any good we would all have noticed. His solidity, his earthy believability, made him invaluable in these parts – and sometimes the smallest ones with the fewest lines are the hardest to pull off. Television of that period is awash with stiff or stilted cough and spitters, but Pat had a naturalism that made him invaluable. Good acting isn’t just about vocal ability though – physical prowess is important too, and he was just as adept at wearing cumbersome monster costumes well. It’s easy to shamble in latex, but Pat never did.
There were many, many other shows of course – he frequently illuminated the background in long running classics like Eastenders and Z-Cars:“We were tall and short haired so we fit any job” says Steve Ismay, who worked with Pat a lot, “we had many a laugh and a good drink or ten – he was always a laugh and a great friend”. In fact Pat was offered a substantial role in Eastenders but at the same time he was offered extra work on a film in China and took that because the opportunity to travel was an appealing one – “I think at the end of the day that was something he wondered if he should have taken” says Jackie, but on balance reckons it was for the best. “I’m not sure if he really wanted the limelight to be honest,” she says. “I think he quite liked being hidden behind masks and always being in the background. I think he just liked being part of the business as it were. He was in constant work and he enjoyed it.”
His private nature certainly wasn’t a reflection of what he thought of the fans who expressed their interest. “He had so many people sending photographs and he would always sign them and reply. It was important that they got what they wanted. If they were a genuine fan who’d taken the time to contact him then that’s what he was about – he was happy, ” says Jackie. Our lack of interviews with him is another matter. “He was asked to go to so many conferences, and things for the BBC, but he wouldn’t go – that was the quiet side of him. I think he felt he couldn’t really do it. I think once he retired he stepped back from all those things.”
At home though, Jackie happily recalls that “he loved to tell stories about Doctor Who and the hairy things that happened to him at the East End. He was good fun. An incredible sense of humour, that’s something that’s very important about Pat – everybody said how funny he was. Not in a way of wanting to be funny or have people looking at him … it was just natural – these remarks would come out which were hysterically funny. He was very much a people observer as well – he was quite a character.”
Steve Ismay concurs, remembering lots of laughter with his old mate Pat “He made us all laugh – funny git, loved a giggle. I have been to many funerals with him on film – on Steptoe and Son we laughed so much we got a commendation from the director who thought we were crying!”
Pat passed away after a short illness in October 2018, but so long as people are watchingDoctor Who he’ll always be around, even if it’s only for long enough for someone to say “oh, it’s that guy.” “That guy” is now remembered (with the correct birthdate too!) on BAFTA’s In Memoriam page, and quite right too.
Pat may not have been a star, but he was definitely part of the Doctor Who family, and news of his death has even drawn comment from the fourth Doctor himself, Tom Baker. “Pat seemed always to be there,” Tom told me last week. “We took it for granted that his good natured enthusiasm was part of the deal. He liked what I did and told me so, and I found that delightful and I suppose I agreed with him. Of course I have never left and I am sorry Pat Gorman has gone on ahead.”
“There was a sweet quality about him, as if … as if he was quite contented and happy to be in Doctor Who.”
And we were happy to have him.
With special thanks to Jackie Finegan, Vera Gorman and thanks to Tom Baker, June Hudson, Ben Jolly, Margot Hayhoe, Katy Manning, Sue Upton, Michael Briant, Steve Ismay, Derek Martin, June Hudson, Marcia Wheeler, Ed Stradling, John Adams.
HERE’S WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO AND WHERE I MIGHT BE LURKING OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS…
First up … I’m delighted to announce that for writing work I will now be represented by the Independent Talent Group, an illustrious agency and no mistake. They represent Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jed Mercurio, Jessica Hynes, Jeremy Dyson, Patrick Harbinson and Harry Hill and so clearly needed to dilute their talent pool with an under-achiever. Onwards!
I will be be a panellist on Sarah Millican’s new Radio 4 series Elephant in the Room, joining Annabel Giles, Lucy Beaumont and Evelyn Mok and hopefully being funny enough to justify being invited on. I think I’m in episode 3, on July 11th, but am not 100% sure – listen to the whole series anyway as it is very good!
I will be recording another instalment of the ongoing Radio 4 exploits of Tinsel Girl, inspired by and starring Coronation Street‘s Cherylee Houston – this month. Not sure when it is going to be on yet.
I have had to write three Guardian obituaries in quick succession recently. We said goodbye to Blake’s 7’s Avon himself, Paul Darrow, who besides being a hugely entertaining actor whose battle-ready pose upon materialising on a planet is one of the best things ever, was also an enjoyably witty raconteur and very good company. A man with a voice that could move mountains and woo angels, Stephen Thorne was a fine actor whose eulogy at Nicholas Courtney’s memorial service was breathtaking – the only time I’ve ever been moved by the sheer quality of a voice irrespective of what it was saying. I interviewed Stephen for my podcast, and the results can be heard here. Edward Kelsey was an interview subject in my first professionally published piece of writing – best known as Joe Grundy from The Archers he was also the first actor to appear opposite more than one Doctor Who and gave me some great stories from his time on the 1966 adventure Power of the Daleks (and I saw him again when we recorded the DVD commentary for that story a couple of years ago). So I had the privilege of spending time with all three men and enjoyed their company a lot – the acting profession owes them a great deal and I’m lucky to have been in their respective orbits.
The next Doctor Who Blu-Ray box set has been announced. It is Season 10, and this Jon Pertwee fest will feature a documentary fronted by me called Looking For Lennie in which I try to find out all I can about the late Australian director, who died in tragic circumstances and before Doctor Who fandom had a chance to get to know him. It’ll be released this month.
It’s Edinburgh Preview Season at XS Malarkey. I’ll be MCing them all and there are some really big names trying their fringe entries out before August: Tony Law, Sarah Kendall, Sara Barron, Catherine Bohart, Adam Hess and Laura Davies are among those taking part in the next few weeks. Listings details are available at the XS Malarkey Website.
Follow me on Twitter @tobyhadoke and I’m now also on Instagram (though I’m not convinced) at toby.hadoke: it’s currently largely pictures of a bin store I made.
I seem to be doing a lot of podcast interviews at the moment. Here’s one I did about Target books and other things Doctor Who and career related.
I’ve had the sad privilege of doing a couple of obituaries for the Guardian this month. One for Thunderbirds actor Shane Rimmer with whom I did a Doctor Who DVD commentary a few years back, and one for the comedian Ian Cognito who was an old mucker and a colleague I admired very much. I will also be on a forthcoming edition of The Last Word on Radio 4 talking about Cogs.
The next Doctor Who Blu-Ray box set has been announced. It is Season 10, and this Jon Pertwee fest will feature a documentary fronted by me called Looking For Lennie in which I try to find out all I can about the late Australian director, who died in tragic circumstances and before Doctor Who fandom had a chance to get to know him.
I was very honoured to be the subject of the latest episode of Stuart Goldsmith’s highly regarded Comedian’s Comedian Podcast. I talk about the state of the circuit, some of my influences and the background of my shows – amongst quite a lot of other things (it’s quite a long conversation!). It is availablehere.
BBC Sounds currently has every episode of Tinsel Girl – the radio series starring Cherylee Houston about a wheelchair trying to negotiate the world of dating – available to listen to. I pop us as various people in three out of the four series. You can hear them all here
XS Malarkey won Best Comedy Club in the North for a record 15th time in this year’s Chortle Awards. We are promising a fantastic set of line-ups every Tuesday in 2019. I’ll be MCing as always and guests include rising star Sophie Willan. Listings details are available at the XS Malarkey Website.
Also this year…
I notice I didn’t put my monthly updates up as blog pages in Jan, Feb and March so, in brief:
I’m on the DVD commentary for The Macra Terror, which is available now.
I did a nice interview for Neil Perryman’s Perfect Night In podcast here.
I present the documentary A Weekend With Waterhouse on the Doctor Who Season 18 Blu-Ray set.
I have written a tribute to Pat Gorman in Doctor Who Magazine issue 537.
I have recorded more Fantom Films Doctor Who commentaries in their Who Talk series which feature some fascinating folk…
Remembering those from the world of Doctor Who who have passed away this year.
Well, here I am, Maudlin McDoomyguts (thats my real name, but I had to change it because there was already one in Equity) with my annual List of the Dead.
It is an annual thing from me – just my little project to pay respect to this who illuminated my childhood (which is ongoing) and who sadly died this year. They will live forever thanks to crossing paths, however briefly, with the universe’s best time traveller.
I made the decision to include a section featuring those whose deaths were reported late so didn’t feature in earlier videos. I usually only tend to do the people who were missed off because they died at the end of the previous year but there were so many who had slipped through the cracks that I make no apology for giving them a section. I might not always to this (I mean, where do I draw the line? 1963?) but we’ll see. My video, my rules.
I owe many of those featured – Dorka Nieradzik, Peter Miles, Ian, Dow, Rio Fanning, Bill Sellars, Michael Pickwoad, Ian Dow, Pamela Ann Davy – extra thanks because they took part in my Who’s Round project. I’d urge you to seek out those interviews if you haven’t already.
Please spread this as far and wide as you can. Thank you.