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Doctor Who Companions
A Gallery of Portraits
When I worked at Marvel UK as art editor and designer on their licensed Doctor Who magazine, I had the opportunity to take portraits of some of the actors and contributors to the show. This involved attending interviews and BBC press calls. I’ll share a few portraits of some of the actors, who appeared as companions to the Doctor during many of his incarnations. This was up until the show paused for a while (actually more than a while!) in 1989. I’m posting these in order of their appearance on the show.
First up, Peter Purves. I had to lay on the floor to take this one. He probably thought I was nuts, but it made for an interesting angle. Peter played Steven Taylor alongside Maureen O'Brien as Vicki. Both were companions to the first Doctor, William Hartnell. Here they are in The Time Meddler, 1965.
When Maureen O'Brien turned up at the Marvel UK offices for a Doctor Who magazine interview, I took the opportunity to ask if I could photograph her in a makeshift studio in the Marvel Boardroom. Obligingly she said yes, and here's my favourite from the 24 shots that I took.
Below: Maureen appears as Vicki with William Hartnell, and fellow Doctor Who companion, Peter Purves in 1965.
The following photos were taken in the immediate vicinity of the Marvel UK offices in Redan Place, Bayswater, London, sometime in 1987. Louise Jameson who played the memorable companion, Leela to Tom Baker’s Doctor had travelled in to be interviewed by a Doctor Who magazine contributor by the name of Richard Marson. As a change from using the boardroom for the photos, I suggested we venture out, and it turned out to be a fun afternoon, as you can see here.
A wonky self-timer shot, with the camera on a car or a pillar box or something. I’m on the left and Richard is on the right, in stripes.
As you can see here, Louise Jameson has incredibly blue eyes.
Matthew Waterhouse played Adric in the show, and this was the first photo I took for Doctor Who magazine, when he visited the Marvel UK offices. I was trying to be arty by having the show’s logo on the tv in the background, which meant that the lighting setup was kind of tricky if I remember correctly.
Here we have The Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker with Janet Fielding who played Tegan, and Nicola Bryant who played Peri. This photo was taken in front of the Doctor Who Tour bus, which was bound for the USA and was designed by artist Andrew Skilleter.
The voice of Nicola Bryant is trapped inside my answering machine!
A good few years after I took this photo of Nicola, we decided to do another photo shoot. We cooked up a few ideas and were ready to rock, but because of the hectic nature of our lives we kept missing each other, this was not however before we'd left a few messages on each other's answering machines. Despite regularly erasing all of my old messages, for some bizarre reason, the sound of Nicola's voice (and she does have a particularly nice voice) was still there, every time I checked my messages. Spooky or what!?!
Bonnie Langford in one of her first outings as Mel, companion to both the sixth and seventh Doctors, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. This was taken at a BBC press call.
Sophie Aldred who played Ace, alongside Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor, holds the record of being my most photographed person ever. Not only do I have photos taken at the BBC press calls, but along with my good friend and superb makeup artist, Nina Gan, we used to organize fun experimental photo sessions in our spare time. Many of these photos appeared in an exhibition we put together called Sophie’s World in 2013, which I shall most likely feature at some point.
I took these shots of Sophie at Crystal Palace park in June 1990, commissioned by John Freeman, editor of Doctor Who Magazine at the time. The photo below is all over the web, probably scanned from one of the magazines, so I'm presenting it here in decent quality, from my original 35mm transparency.
A zillion years later and we got to hang out again, when Sophie came to LA for the Gallifrey One convention a couple of months ago. Much to the joy of everyone, she’d successfully reprised her role for the 13th Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker, during the last season of the show. On the left is my friend, colleague and art director magnifique, Curtis King Jr.
All photos shown here (other than the two ancient BBC ones, obviously) © 2023 Steve Cook
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