Tag Archives: Doctor Who actor Obituaries

Pat Gorman – Who’s “That Guy”

PAT GORMAN

“It’s wotsisname.” The instantly recognisable Pat Gorman in 1981.

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. 

A mosaic, by the talented Ben Jolly, of some of Pat’s Doctor Who appearances: The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Mission to the Unknown, The War Machines, The Abominable Snowmen, The Enemy of the World, The Invasion, The War Games, Doctor Who and the Silurians, Inferno, Terror of the Autons, Colony in Space (twice!), The Sea Devils, The Three Doctors, Frontier on Space, The Green Death.

In my DWM 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 to Doctor 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.”

Pat turns up in the first episode of The Sandbaggers.

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.”

Mr Gorman is checking out of Fawlty Towers, probably because he’s got a gig somewhere else…

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 for Doctor 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 that DWM 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.

Pat Gorman in a rare appearance as himself talking about the time when I Was That Monster (1993 – BBC1).

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.

Pat advertises an upcoming TV appearance in The Stage in 1978

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 did’t really need to advertise so this blurred still from the set of 1976’s Rogue Male was used by Pat in the 1978/79 edition of Spotlight.

“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.”

Pat’s name didn’t always make the credits, but here it is at the end of episode 4 of the Doctor Who story The Armageddon Factor.

As for his work highlights, Jackie is says that “I think his big love was Doctor 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.”

Both screen legends in their own way – Pat Gorman, in a rare credited movie role, as the policeman in The Elephant Man, alongside Anthony Hopkins.

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.”

Pat’s last credited TV role, in an episode of Soldier, Soldier (1994)
He’s still at it. Pat, turning up in a recently rerun 1989 episode of Eastenders.

 

 

 

 

 

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!”

Ben Jolly’s second mosaic of Pat’s Doctor Who appearances: Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Planet of the Spiders, Robot, Genesis of the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen (twice), The Seeds of Doom, The Masque of Mandragora, The Deadly Assassin, The Invisible Enemy, The Ribos Operation, The Armageddon Factor, City of Death, Warrior’s Gate, Enlightenment, Attack of the Cybermen.

Pat passed away after a short illness in October 2018, but so long as people are watching Doctor 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.

Pat Gorman, remembered by BAFTA.

Doctor Who In Memoriam 2017

Victor and Deborah

From Sir John Hurt to Deborah Watling, via Trevor Martin and Victor Pemberton, and not forgetting Paddy Russell and Dudley Simpson, we lost a lot of Doctor Who luminaries last year.

I have done a video commemorating those good people from the world of Doctor Who who passed away in 2017. I hope you like it. If like is the right word – but you know what I mean.

You can watch it here.

Peter Thomas RIP – Hartnell villain passes away

Peter Thomas – actor from missing William Hartnell story The Savages – dies.

Peter Thomas as Captain Edal in The Savages
Peter Thomas as Captain Edal in The Savages

Peter Thomas, who played Captain Edal in The Savages, has died at the age of 80. He had worked with Christopher Barry prior to the making of the story and so was in the director’s mind when it came to casting the chief of the security forces on the unnamed planet where all is not what it seems. With Frederick Jaegar, ostensibly the story’s lead villain, spending much of the action impersonating William Hartnell’s Doctor it is Thomas  who provides most of the thuggishness. He’s the enforcer and easily the story’s most unpleasant character – and unusually, he survives at the end, in a story which has no fatalities. Thomas had to undergo golden facial make-up but that wasn’t his biggest problem on the show: “Bill Hartnell and I did not get on that well in The Army Game – I fell out with him during rehearsals. He used to shout, and if you forgot a line or miscued him he would tell you! Literally in our last episode of Doctor Who I think he forgave me: in the final scene, owing to the pressure of work instead of “Grab him and strap him to the trolley”  I said “Strab him and grap him to the trolley” – but it did get a laugh even from Bill Hartnell.” The finished result wss good though – the audience research report for The Savages finds the viewers singling out the performances of Hartnell and Thomas for the most praise.

Thomas trained at LAMDA from 1952 and upon graduation did a short stint in rep at Lancaster before National Service (the RAF) intervened. Having done his duty (and performed onstage in RAF variety shows and stage productions while he was doing so) he returned to the theatre and then broke into television where he made something of a career of playing bad guys. His TV roles included Probation Officer (1959), Walk A Crooked Mile (1961), Z-Cars (1962),  No Hiding Place (4 different characters 1962/65), The Plane Makers (1963), No Cloak, No Dagger (1963), The Avengers (three times – 1966/67/68) and Big Breadwinner Hog (1969) with Peter Egan, whom he had encouraged to become an actor when Egan was a young lad. In this excellent but very violent series Thomas is unmissable as a leather clad thug with a teddy boy quiff and a flick knife.

In Tales From The Crypt (1972), one of his last roles before leaving the business for 30 years
In Tales From The Crypt (1972), one of his last roles before leaving the business for 30 years

After the film Tales From The Crypt (1972) and an episode of Crown Court (1976) he disappeared from the acting profession for about thirty years due to the unfortunate illness of his wife. Having established himself as an onstage comedy stooge (he worked with Hancock, Benny Hill, Graham Stark and Jimmy Jewel) he had to turn down 35 weeks touring alongside Bob Monkhouse – such a commitment was impractical with two young children and a terminally ill partner and so he made the difficult decision  to sever ties with his agent and accept no more offers.

In the early 80s he started a production company, and he kept his hand in the performance side of things when he provided the voice overs and the occasional presentation spot for the corporate videos that they made. Approaching the age at which most people retire, and with his children now grown up, he began to work professionally as an actor again and was very proactive in getting his own work – doing short films and modelling shoots whenever he could, and creating a character called Mr Grumpy.

Peter in a recent advertising campaign
Peter in a recent advertising campaign

In 2013 his face adorned the London underground as part of the Turn2US charity campaign, one of many posters he featured on in recent years (he also showed up for the NHS carers recruitment  campaign and the Oxford Hearing Centre). He also contributed to advertising campaigns for Heineken (a James Bond/Skyfall tie in) and French Netflix. This sort of work was a callback to the 60s when he had a high old time appearing in adverts for all sorts including Don Carlos Cigars, Remington Razors, Rich Tea Biscuits, Black & Greens Tea, Guinness and Bilslands Bread. He was also an able guitarist and folk singer.

714694_8204319He was happy to be associated with Doctor Who, and kept up with it over the years: “It was caught the atmosphere of the 60s – and when they brought it back years later it was an instant success. One of my favourite Doctor Whos was Jon Pertwee and in the newer versions it has to be David Tennant. It was a good show”. Peter recently joined me and Kay Patrick to discuss The Savages for one of Fantom Films’ forthcoming Who Talk releases: he was sprightly and full of memories so the news of his passing was as surprising as it was saddening..

With thanks to Paul Dunn.

Peter Thomas took part in a Who’s Round which you can listen to here.

Kay Patrick an myself with the late Peter Thomas on 23rd November 2016. just two months before his death. Photo: Simeon Carter/Fantom Films.
Kay Patrick an myself with the late Peter Thomas on 23rd November 2016, just two months before his death. Photo: Simeon Carter/Fantom Films.

You can see my video of the Doctor Who names we lost in 2016 here.

Philip Bond RIP – The Daleks guest star dies aged 82

EARLY DOCTOR WHO GUEST STAR DIES.

Philip Bond as Ganatus in The Daleks
Philip Bond as Ganatus in The Daleks

The actor Philip Bond has died suddenly whilst on holiday on the island of Madeira. He was 82.

He will be known to Doctor Who fans for his important guest role in the second ever story, The Daleks (1963/4). He played Ganatus, who accompanies Ian and Barbara on their deadly mission through the perilous environs of Skaro in order to defeat the Daleks. During the mission he witnesses the death of his brother Antodus (Marcus Hammond) and develops a soft spot for Barbara. Bond, who was cast late in the day after original choice Dinsdale Landen became unavailable, gives a great performance. Whilst some of the members of his tribe have an element of mannered, misty eyed 60s-ness about them, Bond capers about gamely and is clearly the “one to watch”. He has an energy and vitality which make his very naturalistic performance work 50 years later and his character is certainly the perkiest and most likeable of those encountered by the TARDIS crew during this groundbreaking 7 part story. More recently he lent his vocal talents to the Torchwood audio adventure Forgotten Lives (2015) meaning that he hold the record for the longest amount of time between performances in the series and/or its spin offs.
He told me in 2012 that he had accepted the part (whilst appearing at the Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre) without looking at the script  and that he “enjoyed many a pint with William Hartnell during lock-ins at The Black Prince after recording”. As for Jacqueline Hill – “loved her” which might explain their chemistry on screen and they, along with William Russell (whom he had known since 1955) and Verity Lambert socialised together a lot. “We knew we were at the start of something after the Daleks first appeared,” he remembered. We discussed his doing a Who’s Round recently but geography – he spent his latter years based in a remote village in Wales – was making it tricky. He had, however, agreed to come and do a Who Talk commentary over some of his episodes when he returned from holiday later this month and indeed only recently did a signing for Fantom Films (who produce them).
Born in Burton-on-Trent to Welsh parents, he attended Burton Boys’ grammar school which he where he got his first taste of the stage. He studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama and one of his early theatre roles was playing Jean to the Miss Julie of Sonia Dresdel in Edinburgh in 1956.
Philip Bond was still working.
Philip Bond was still working.
He never returned to Doctor Who on but carved himself an impressive television career including regular roles in 199 Park Lane (1965), The Onedin Line ((1972, as Albert Frazer), The Main Chance (1970 as Peter Findon). He also cropped up in everything from Peter Cushing’s TV Hound of the Baskervilles (1968, as Stapleton) to Midsomer Murders (2007), taking in such varied fare as The Avengers (1969), Doomwatch  (as Inspector Drew in The Human Time Bomb, 1971), The Children of the New Forest (1977), Diana Rigg’s Hedda Gabler (as Lovborg, 1981), Only Fools and Horses (1985), Shakespeare : The Animated Tales (1994), Fever Pitch (1997) and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (2001) along the way.
The BBC cameraman Roger Bunce worked with Bond often and remembers him as “a really nice, humorous guy – and a classic actor. A likeable hero in the The Onedin Line, a dastardly villain in The Hound of the Baskervilles. I think I first worked with him on a TV play called The Pistol Shot in which he played a callous cad – so different from the real person. A great character range.”
Philip's daughter Samantha in The Sarah Jane Adventures
Philip’s daughter Samantha in The Sarah Jane Adventures
Philip Bond died surrounded by his children Matthew, Samantha (known in the Doctor Who universe as Miss Wormwood in The Sarah Jane Adventures) and Abigail and his long standing partner Elizabeth. They survive him, as do his grandchildren Molly, Tom, Nancy, Bill and Ivan.

Philip George William Bond, born 1st November 1934 – died 17th January 2017

There’s a more detailed article about Mr Bond on the superb Avengers Forever website here. Thanks to Gavin Gaughan.

Thanks To Roger Bunce.

You can see my tribute video to those from Doctor Who who died in 2016 here.

Doctor Who In Memoriam 2016

Doctor Who In Memoriam Video 2016

_76881435_yeti13At the end of the year I always to a video tribute to those people from the Doctor Who universe who have left us. I had trouble uploading this so it didn’t go up on New Year’s Eve as hoped. Anyway, it is here now, and I hope it does its job.

 

 

FRANCES PIDGEON RIP – actress and Lennie Mayne’s widow dies.

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Frances Pidgeon photographed by Ken Russell in 1956, the year she married Doctor Who director Lennie Mayne (© Topfoto)

The actress Frances Pidgeon who appeared twice in Doctor Who has died at the age of 84. Her first role was an uncredited one, as the non speaking handmaiden of Queen Thalira in The Monster Of Peladon (1974). Her second role was more substantial, as Miss Jackson, the assistant to Professor Watkins in The Hand Of Fear (1976). The uniting factor of these two stories was director Lennie Mayne, to whom Pigeon was married until he was lost at sea in an accident in 1977.

Born in Epsom in May 1931, the tall, athletic and beautiful Pidgeon was a ballerina and dancer in musicals : an early appearance was in 1947-48 in Alice In Wonderland at the Shakespeare Memorial theatre (later the Royal Shakespeare Company) at Stratford-Upon-Avon. Mayne was an Australian who also began his career as a dancer and the pair worked together on stage, notably in 364 performances of Cole Porter’s musical Can-Can at the Coliseum in the West End in 1954/55. They married in 1956 and had twin girls in 1964.

Ken-Russell-photo-of-Ball-005
Pidgeon demonstrates an “Alternative Use For A Hip Bath” in another of Russell’s experiments in still photography (© Topfoto).

In 1956 she was picked by Ken Russell to be the subject of various photographs he took which showcased her beauty and married it with surrealistic props – in one her bare legs emerge from beneath a tin hip bath, in another she wears a lampshade as a skirt. She and Russell had danced together at the London Theatre Ballet and hung out together at the Troubadour coffee bar.

On screen she danced in Love From Judy (1953), many episodes of On The Bright Side (1959) with Stanley Baxter and Betty Marsden, This Is Bobby Darin (1959), Die Kleinste Show Der Welt (1960), Up Jumped A Swagman (1963)  Were Those Days (1969) and and episode of Omnibus about the waltz (1969). She also choreographed a sequence for an episode of Are You Being Served? (1976) and an Alan Plater penned Play Of The Week in 1978 called Night People (1978).

She was one of the supporting ensemble in the Mike Yarwood and Lulu vehicle, the series Three Of A Kind (1967) and gradually began to take small roles on television, often in productions directed by her husband such as Doomwatch (1971/72) and The Brothers (1975).

Jackson_hand_of_fear
Pidgeon as Miss Jackson in Doctor Who’s The Hand Of Fear.

There is no particular of nepotism here because Mayne – a universally adored figure – surrounded himself by people he knew when he was working, whether he was married to them or not. The number of productions in which Pidgeon and Mayne’s names also intersect with those of Denys Palmer, Rex and Pat Robinson (Patricia Prior) or Laurie Webb (all of whom appeared in Mayne’s The Three Doctors) are numerous and comprised a mutually supportive and respectful unit of artists and friends. The Robinsons and the Webbs lived very close to Mayne family as well and helped to provide a support network for Pidgeon after Mayne’s tragic death.

She had been in ill health for some time and passed away in December. The twins survive her.

FRANCES PIDGEON 1931-2015