Tag Archives: Lennie Mayne

JULY 2019 UPDATES

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!

The Independent Talent Group. My new agent!

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!

Recording Elephant on the Room at The Lowry with producer Leanne Coop, host Sarah Millican and guests Evelyn Mok, Annabel Giles and Lucy Beaumont.

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.

Edward Kelsey, whom I photographed as he and Anneke Wills chatted about their memories of working on Power of the Daleks when we recorded the DVD commentary for that story in 2016.

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.

I go Looking For Lennie on the next Doctor Who Blu-Ray set, but will I find anything?

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.

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.

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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).

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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