And so it’s part two of my interview with fantastic production designer Roger Murray-Leach whose work I have long admired: it was a real thrill to be able to talk to him about his work on the show and – of course – his illustrious career beyond time and space. His charity is Hope & Homes For Children. As ever it is not mandatory but if everyone who listened gave a quid on behalf of this free podcast then a lot of good causes would benefit substantially without anyone having to dig too deep.
A prime scalp in this week’s edition of Who’s Round: a very talented designer with an amazing career outside of the show and whose work on the series itself is of the highest quality. It’s a two parter and involves tales from a golden period in the Doctor Who’s history. He’s one I never thought I’d get and this interview just goes to show what can happen if you aim high.
Continuing my repositioning of the early Who’s Round blurbs from the Podcast page into the blog (because it was taking up a lot of space and has been superseded by the brilliant work of Ian Atkins at Big Finish – he has done a definitive list):
Episode Six: Waris Hussein
Only the first ever blooming director of Doctor Who! And a timely interview because he was fresh from the readthrough of An Adventure In Space And Time, the Mark Gatiss docu-drama about the genesis of Doctor Who. So we discuss that, being an outsider and passing up A For Andromeda… Chosen charity: Cancer Research At The Royal Marsden.
Episode Seven: Adrienne Burgess and Martin Cochrane
Two for the price of none as a pair bonded thesp couple share their memories of working on two very different scripts from the same writer (Adrienne was Veet in The Sunmakers, Martin was Chellack in The Caves Of Androzani). I talk acting with a deaf person, managing a star and boring three-shots with a delightful couple who straddle some of the more sublime and ridiculous moments of Doctor Who. Chosen charity: The Fatherhood Institute.
Episode Eight: Robert Forknall
He may only have been credited as “Guard” but this charming fellow has loads of stories about fulfilling his lifelong ambition of being in Doctor Who. From accosting the director on a train to coming out to David Tennant and chaperoning Tom Baker, the show runs through this chap’s veins and he proves to be the most enthusiastic company in what is currently the Who’s Round with the most background noise (it took place in Patisserie Valerie on Leicester Square, fact fans). Chosen charity: World Wildlife Fund or Save The Snow Leopard.
Episode Nine: Tony Osoba
One of “those” actors : a ubiquitous face who has cropped up in everything. He has appeared in iconic comedies and prime time dramas – if he wasn’t in them, they weren’t really worth bothering about. So what a treat to discuss white costumes, not being dead and the wonder of the motor car with a genuine TV icon. Chosen charity: MacMillan Nurses and Guide Dogs For The Blind.
Episode Ten: Valentine Palmer
Another recognisable character actor – he had a major role in Day Of The Daleks but didn’t feature on the DVD. Outisde who he has notched up a number of high profile credits in the 70s before getting bored and forging many different paths which ultimately took him to the John Lewis cafe near Tottenham Court Road to chat about Jon Pertwee, Jeremy Brett not being allowed in the sun, and the conspiracy theories that surround the Titanic. Chosen charity: Medicins Sans Frontieres.
This week’s Who’s Round continues my chat with George Gallaccio, whose career as a BBC producer after his days as Doctor Who’s production associate took in all sorts of classics including Bergerac, The Omega Factor and Miss Marple. He was also offered the top job on our beloved show and explains his reasons for not doing it :
I am updating my website and as Big Finish* have now put up a handy alphabetical link of every Who’s Round episode and accompanied each one with the relevant charity link, I’m taking my incomplete list off my Podcast page. Instead of wasting them I shall post them here as they may be useful for wandering web tourists. Click on the episode to take you to it: same with the charity.
Episode One (Jan 7th 2013) – Susan Moore & Steve Mansfield
7th Doctor era model makers Steve and Sue argue their way entertainingly through tales of melting heads and blue demons, but there’s time for a couple of Tom Baker story anecdotes too (ooh, and a borderline Davison – good start). Chosen charity: The Alzheimer’s Society.
Episode Two (Jan 11th 2013) – Andrew Smith
4th Doctor writer Andrew Smith – the first fully paid up Doctor Who fan to get a writing job on the series (there may have been one or two since though, you know) talks policing, reading things about himself that he doesn’t remember in someone else’s autobiography, and Max Sammett. Chosen Charity: The Lily Foundation.
Episode Three (Jan 15th 2013) – Glyn Jones
The earliest surviving writer from Doctor Who, Glyn Jones, has the other distinction of being only one of an illustrious triumvirate to have both written for and acted in the series. Glyn talks about his native South Africa, looking like the Michelin Man, and why he regrets making Xeros for boys only : and does so all the way from Crete) Chosen Charity: Forgot to ask so the default is The Psoriasis Association. (Post script: Glyn sadly passed away on 2nd April 2014)
Episode Four (Jan 26th 2013) – Ian Cullen
Ian Cullen has had an impressive career which began as a boy actor in 1952 and continues apace today. We met up in Surrey where he teaches drama to youngsters and talked colourful costumes, Jon Pertwee’s sense of humour and being killed off shockingly in both Blake’s 7 and Z-Cars. Oh, and about playing Ixta in the classic story The Aztecs of course. Chosen Charity: Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Episode Five (Feb 12th 2013) Kevin McNally
Four episodes of Doctor Who are just a tiny speckle on the CV of one of the country’s most respected character actors. He’s such a coup for this free podcast that even my 12 year old son was impressed when I showed him this picture of an illustrious thesp with whom I discussed pirates, bad acting and sex .. or to be more precise, Mr Sex! Oh, and looking like a “dream sequence char-lady” in The Twin Dilemma. Chosen Charity: forgot to ask so I’m going to nominate The Psoriasis Association as I am involved with them and they do very good work.
*(namely Ian Atkins who does the online production of the podcast)
Ray Lonnen RIP
A 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.