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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 48 - The 2018 Yearbook > In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Tributes to the Doctor Who luminaries who passed away between December 2016 and November 2017.

21 November 2016

Ron Thornton

Born in London in 1957, Ron Thornton went to see Alien 22 years later and was inspired to enter the world of visual effects. Having contacted the BBC’s Mat Irvine, he was soon put to work as a freelance on the Doctor Who serial Warriors’ Gate (1981). Joining the BBC Visual Effects Workshop, he contributed to Castrovalva (1982) and other stories, as well as doing plenty of model work on Blake’s 7; then in 1985, by which time he was a freelance again, came The Two Doctors. Moving to the USA, he became a pioneer in computer-generated effects on such series as Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Voyager, winning an Emmy award for the former and setting up Foundation Imaging with Paul Beigle-Bryant. Among his other credits were Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the millennial reboot of Captain Scarlet, and the 2009 feature film The Crazies.

3 December 2016

Johnny Dennis

In the 1987 story Delta and the Bannermen, Johnny Dennis gave a memorable performance as Murray, an effervescent but ill-fated Nostalgia Tours bus driver. Born in London in August 1940, on stage he was a music-hall regular at the Players’ Theatre in Charing Cross, while on TV he cropped up in The Enigma Files, Dempsey and Makepeace, The Endless Game and Surgical Spirit. In addition he was the Voice of Lord’s, well known to fellow cricket enthusiasts for over 30 years, 18 of them as the MCC’s senior match-day announcer.

8 December 2016

Peter Messaline

Born in London in April 1944, Peter Messaline dubbed himself ‘Joe Ordinary’. Though spending much of his life and career in Canada, he gained his first screen credit in his native England – providing, along with Oliver Gilbert, idiosyncratic Dalek voices for the 1972 serial Day of the Daleks. Subsequent TV credits included Warship, Avonlea, RoboCop, Forever Knight and Goosebumps. He also published several books about the nuts and bolts of the acting profession, notably The Actor’s Survival Kit, written with his wife, Miriam Newhouse.

3 January 2017

Rodney Bennett

Born in March 1935, Rodney Bennett got his start in BBC Radio before venturing into television in 1969, directing various instalments of Z Cars and Thirty-Minute Theatre. In later years his deft directorial touch attracted plenty of big names, among them Francesca Annis as Madame Bovary, Ian Carmichael’s definitive Lord Peter Wimsey in Murder Must Advertise, Ian Holm as JM Barrie in The Lost Boys, Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet for the BBC Shakespeare project, Denholm Elliott in Gentle Folk – and in the 1980s he twice directed Alec Guinness, in the standalone TV films Edwin and Monsignor Quixote. The last of these brought Bennett his second BAFTA nomination; the first was for the 1979 eight-parter The Legend of King Arthur. His roster of classic novels transferred to the small screen was similarly impressive, among them North and South, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Sense and Sensibility, Stalky & Co and Dombey and Son. In the middle of all this he was responsible for three of the Fourth Doctor’s most powerful early adventures. In 1975 The Ark in Space, grisly and studio-bound, and The Sontaran Experiment, recorded entirely on location in Bennett’s native Devon, were second and third in line for the new Doctor. The Masque of Mandragora, filmed on location in Portmeirion, followed eight stories later in 1976. Among his latterday TV credits were Rumpole of the Bailey, The House of Eliott and The Darling Buds of May (for which he helped to ‘discover’ Catherine Zeta-Jones), and in retirement he wrote several children’s books.

5 January 2017

Peter Thomas

The craggy, hangdog features of Peter Thomas were ideal casting for the remorseless Captain Edal in the First Doctor story The Savages (1966). He had first encountered William Hartnell several years before in an episode of The Army Game; his other TV credits ranged from multiple appearances in No Hiding Place, Dixon of Dock Green and The Avengers to recurring roles in Walk a Crooked Mile, No Cloak No Dagger and Big Breadwinner Hog. To fans of British horror he was also well known for fleeting roles in the films Witchfinder General (as a loquacious horse dealer) and Tales from the Crypt (as a sepulchral undertaker-from-beyond). In the mid-1970s, however, he decided to quit acting in order to care for his terminally ill wife, only returning, in short films and various commercials, some three decades later. He died less than three weeks before what would have been his 81st birthday.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

At the end of 2017 a remarkable chapter in the history of Doctor Who drew to a close. Two incarnations of the Time Lord overcame an existential threat... before the arrival of the Thirteenth Doctor heralded a bold new era for the programme. The latest Special Edition of Doctor Who Magazine is a unique souvenir of the Twelfth Doctor’s final adventures, from The Return of Doctor Mysterio through to Twice Upon a Time. Packed full of all-new features and previously unseen images, this is the essential guide to the year in Doctor Who.