Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Thursday, 1 September 2005

Michael Sheard (1940-2005)


I was sad to learn of the death of popular character actor Michael Sheard from cancer at the age of only 65. He appeared on television in no less than six "Doctor Who" Stories as well as in a Big Finish audio "Doctor Who" story. To "Doctor Who" fans he will probably best be remembered for his performances as Laurence Scarman in the Tom Baker story "Pyramids of Mars" (pictured) from 1975 and as the doomed Headmaster in "Remembrance of the Daleks", a Sylvester McCoy story from 1988, which, in an odd coincidence for me, I rewatched just a few weeks ago.

As K9 returns to the programme, in episode three of next year's series, it is interesting to note that Michael appeared as Supervisor Lowe in the robot dog's opening story, from 1977, "The Invisible Enemy", a reworking of the Donald Pleasance/Raquel Welch movie "Fantastic Voyage". He also guested as Mergrave in fifth Doctor Peter Davison's opening yarn "Castrovalva" in 1982. Predating all of these are his appearances in the William Hartnell third season story "The Ark" in 1966, as Rhos, and as Dr. Summers in my favourite Jon Pertwee story "The Mind of Evil" in 1971.

As well as appearing in my favourite third Doctor tale, Michael Sheard also guest starred in my favourite "Space:1999" episode "Dragon's Domain" as Dr. Darwin King at the end of 1975. This simple but brilliantly evocative story pre-empts the Alien series of films in its depiction of an entity hellbent on survival at any horrific cost. Just over four years later, Michael popped up in another popular SF series playing Klegg in the second episode of the third season of "Blake's 7" entitled "Powerplay", first broadcast in January 1980.

Over the years he was seen in many of the shows which now have a cult following such as "Adam Adamant Lives!", the original 1970 version of "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)", the "Department S" spin-off "Jason King", the Roger Moore/Tony Curtis vehicle "The Persuaders!", the non-SF live action Gerry Anderson series "The Protectors", "The Sweeney", "The New Avengers", "The Professionals" and "Minder". He made many appearances in "Dixon of Dock Green", "Softly Softly", "On the Buses" and the first season of "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet".

As in "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet", he was often cast as a German and often as that most notorious of all Germans Adolf Hitler perhaps most memorably opposite Peter O'Toole in the television adaptation of Geoffrey Household's "Rogue Male" in 1976. He even played Hitler in a two-part episode of "The Tomorrow People", ITV's answer to "Doctor Who" at the time! Arguably, the most prestigious production he appeared in was Stephen Poliakoff's "Caught on a Train" as Preston, in 1980, alongside Peggy Ashcroft and Michael Kitchen. A remarkable acting career.

To return briefly to Michael Sheard's appearances in "Doctor Who". I mentioned at the start of this piece that he guested in a Big Finish audio. In the eighth Doctor story "The Stones of Venice" he played Count Orsino opposite Paul McGann and this can be heard in exactly a month from now, starting Saturday 01 October, on BBC7 following the conclusion of the Cybermen adventure beginning this weekend.

1 comment:

karensff said...

Such a shmae about Michael Sheard. I really didn't realise that he made so many appearances in Doctor Who. I will definitely make a point of looking out for him in the third season of Blakes7 (when I finally get round to buying it).