Sunday 19 November 2023

Look Who's 60: Part 2

Here is the second past of my list of people from the lgbt+ community who have made a contribution to the world of “Doctor Who”. Unless stated otherwise, all programme titles are of “Doctor Who” or Who-related stories.

21) Nigel Robinson. Writer and editor. In the 1970s Target Books began publishing novelisations of classic “Doctor Who” stories. Between 1984 and 1987 Robinson was Editor in Chief. His first involvement with the series, however, was in 1981 when he published the first of several Doctor Who quiz and puzzle books. He subsequently wrote several Doctor Who audio books and novelisations himself. Robinson is currently Editor in Chief of “Pride Life” magazine and website.

22) Ian Levine (b.1953). Music producer and composer. One of the UK’s leading dance and HiNRG music producers in the 1980s. He wrote the theme music for the one-off 1981 Christmas special “K9 and Co.: A Girl’s Best Friend” starring Elizabeth Sladen, reprising her role as companion Sarah Jane Smith. This was the first Doctor Who spin-off on television (see also Gareth Roberts, no.29 below). Levine also wrote and produced the charity single “Doctor in Distress” in 1986 after the series was suspended for 18 months.

23) Michael Cashman (b.1950). Actor. In 1982 he played Concorde pilot Andrew Bilton in “Timeflight”. In 1987 he became famous for the first same-sex kiss on prime-time tv in the soap “Eastenders”. He is an active lgbt campaigner and was created a Life Peer (i.e. non-hereditary, effectively a senator) in 2014 as Baron Cashman.

24) Peter Wyngarde (1927-2018). Actor. Famous in the UK in the early 1970s as Jason King, the flamboyant secret agent from the tv series “Department S” and “Jason King”. He played Timanov, leader of the Sarns, in “Planet of “Fire” (1984). Also in that story were Anthony Ainley (see no.20 on the previous list) and Dallas Adams (next).

25) Dallas Adams (1947-1991). Actor. He played Prof. Howard Foster, the stepfather of the new companion Peri Brown in "Planet of Fire” (1984). His casting received homophobic criticism from the tabloid newspapers. Also in that story were Anthony Ainley (on previous list) and Peter Wyngarde (above). Adams won the biggest pay-out in a palimony law suit in England in the early 1980s. He died from AIDS-related causes.

26) Grant Morrison (b.1960). Comic artist. His first comic strip for “Doctor Who Magazine” was “Changes” (November 1986). At that time the magazine was published by Marvel UK. Morrison has drawn several more strips for the magazine.

27) Peppi Borza 1936-1990). Actor and circus performer. The first on this 60-name list to play an actual monster. In 1985 he played the chief Vervoid in “The Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids”. His life partner was Tom Springfield, the brother of gay icon Dusty Springfield. When Borza was dying from AIDS-related causes Dusty visited him in the hospice regularly.

28) Alfred Lynch (1931-2003). Actor. Played Commander Millington in “The Curse of Fenric” (1989), a story based on the work of the Nazi codebreakers in World War II. One of the other leading characters was based on the gay codebreaker Alan Turing. Lynch’s life partner was James Culliford (no.14 on the previous list).

29) Mark Gatiss (b.1960). Actor and writer. One of the major names in the current Whoniverse. A lifelong fan of the series he first became involved by writing the novel “Nightshade” (1992) for Virgin Books’ “The New Adventures” series. He then wrote and acted in many Big Finish audio adventures. In 1999 Gatiss appears in BBC2’s “Doctor Who Night” in which he played in several spoof sketches, including one in which he played the Doctor. His first of several script for the television series was “The Unquiet Dead” (2005) (guest starring renowned gay actor and Charles Dickens expert Simon Callow as Dickens). Gatiss’s first acting role in the television series was in “The Lazarus Experiment” (2007). He was writer and producer of “An Adventure in Time and Space” (2013), a dramatized account of the creation of “Doctor Who”. He has also written for “Doctor Who Magazine”. His life partner Ian Halland has also appeared in the series (“Robot of Sherwood”).

30) Gareth Roberts (b.1968). Writer. Roberts began writing for “Doctor Who” with “The Highest Science” (1993), one of “The New Adventures” novels. He wrote the interactive mini-episode “Attack of the Graske” (2005). Roberts’ biggest contribution to the series is as the writer of 8 episodes of the long-awaited Sarah Jane Smith and K9 spin-off series (see also Ian Levine, no.22 above) “The Sarah Jane Adventures”, beginning with the pilot episode broadcast on New Year’s Day 2007. He also wrote what sadly became the last episode before Elizabeth Sladen’s death.

31) Ian Dixon-Potter. Fan. He founded the Sisterhood of Karn, a Doctor Who lgbt fan society, in 1994. It is based in London and as far as I’ve been able to discover, is the oldest existing and longest running lgbt Doctor Who fan society in the world.

32) Paul Magrs (b.1969). Writer. Magrs made his first contribution to “Doctor Who” with the novel “The Scarlet Empress” (1998), part of BBC Books’ “8th Doctor Adventures” series. He has also written several other novels and many audio dramas for Big Finish.

33) James Goss (b.1974). Website producer and writer. When the BBC set up the first “Doctor Who” website in 2000 they chose Goss as the Senior Content Producer. When the series was revived in 2005 he was put in charge of the new “Doctor Who” website (with graphics by Lee Binding, below). Goss has produced many DVD Extras. As a writer he has written Big Finish audio adventures for both “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood”. One notable “Doctor Who” adventure features the gender-ambivalent Chevalier d’Eon, a real historical character.

34) Matt Lucas (b.1974). Actor, best known in the UK for comedy. Before becoming the companion Nardole from the 2015 Christmas special “The Husbands of River Song”, Lucas played in the 2001 Big Finish audio adventure “The One Doctor”.

35) Joseph Lidster (b.1977). Writer. Lidster contributed to the Big Finish short story anthology “Short Trips: Zodiac” (2002). He contributed to eleven more of the “Short Trips” series. Also for Big Finish Lidster has written many audio adventures. For the television he has written episodes for the spin-offs “Torchwood” and “The Sarah Jane Adventures”.

36) Sir Derek Jacobi (b.1938). Actor. In 2007 Sir Derek played the new incarnation of the Doctor’s archenemy the Master. Although this was a surprise revelation, it may not have come as a shock to some fans, because he had played the Master in the 2003 online animated series “Scream of the Shalka”. He has reprised the role in many Big Finish audio adventures since then, as well as appearing in other roles. His first role was in “Deadline” (2003).

37) Russell T. Davies (b.1963). Producer. A whole book can be written on the contribution RTD (as he is often referred as) to the Whoniverse, eclipsing even that of JNT (no.16 in the previous list). RTD is widely regarded as the one person who “saved” “Doctor Who” from being a flop when it was revived in 2005. He acted as showrunner and head writer until 2010. The fact that he’s back to produce the series for the 60th anniversary and onwards is proof of his importance to the series.

38) Lee Binding (b.1974). Artist. Anyone with a DVD collection of “Doctor Who”, “Torchwood”, or “The Sarah Jane Adventures” will know of Binding’s work. He designed most of the covers. In fact, he has designed over 200 covers for DVDs, CDs, Blue Ray, novels, audio adventures, and role-playing games in the “Doctor Who” franchise.  His first work was as design consultant on the BBC webcast “Shada” (2003), animated by James Goss (above), and on the “Doctor Who” website in 2005.

39) John Barrowman (b.1967). Actor. He played the pansexual/polysexual (whatever) space-time agent Capt. Jack Harkness from “The Empty Child” (2005), and returned several times after that. He starred in his own spin-off series “Torchwood” (2006-11) and in related audio adventures. Barrowman has made cameo appearances in “Doctor Who” since the end of “Torchwood”.

40) Euros Lyn (b.1971). Director. He has directed ten episodes of “Doctor Who”, beginning with “Silence in the Library” (2007), which earned him a BAFTA (the UK’s equivalent on US Emmy). He has also directed five episodes of “Torchwood”.

The third and final list will appear on November 23rd, the day of the 60th anniversary.

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