Thursday, 18 May 2017

Carrying On with Doctor Who!


I'm afraid Doctor Who is one of those phenomenons which completely passes me by. I've never really understood the appeal although what I do get is that it is very much a peculiarly British show. Since it first debuted back in 1963 it has enthralled, scared, entertained and captured the imagination of each and every generation.

As with many classic series of the era, Doctor Who called upon the talents of many wonderful character actors to add spark and charm to its endless out of this world adventures. And some of these faces will be familiar to Carry On fans, so let's take a look back at some of the Carry On actors who moonlighted across at the BBC in Doctor Who serials! 

We must start with two familiar faces who became the Doctor himself. The first, and the very first to play Doctor Who was none other than William Hartnell. Hartnell had another first of course, playing Sergeant Grimshawe in Carry On Sergeant, the beginning of the franchise in 1958. William played the Doctor in the very early black and white days of the series and its the role he's still best remembered for. 


Fast forward ten years or so another familiar face to pick up the reigns of the series was Jon Pertwee. Pertwee was the third incarnation of the Doctor, playing him between 1970 and 1974. To Carry On fans Jon is best remembered for his cameo roles in Carry On Cleo, Carry On Cowboy and Carry On Screaming before returning to the series in 1992 as one of the few original faces to join Carry On Columbus. 

Wanda Ventham, who had small parts in Carry On Cleo, Up The Khyber and The Big Job, played the character of Jean Rock in the 1967 adventure "The Faceless Ones". A year before, series regular Peter Butterworth, a popular part of the Carry On team between 1965 and 1978, appeared in eight episodes of Doctor Who as the memorable villain, the Meddling Monk. He appeared alongside William Hartnell, Jean Marsh and Peter Purves, the future Blue Peter presenter!


Fellow Carry On regular Bernard Bresslaw played yet another villain in Doctor Who during 1967 when he portrayed the Ice Warrior, Varga. There are some wonderful shots of Bernard getting into costume at the BBC Television Centre. Another veteran of British film, the legendary character actor Victor Maddern popped up in Doctor Who for six episodes in 1968. Victor played Mason in the story "Fury from the Deep". Kenneth Cope, best known for Coronation Street, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and of course Carry On At Your Convenience and Matron, played the role of Packard in four episodes of Doctor Who broadcast in 1981. 

Five years after Kenneth, the brilliant Joan Sims signed up for four episodes, playing the character Katryca in the Colin Baker adventure "The Trial of a Time Lord". According to Joan's autobiography, her appearance left her completely cold as she failed to understand the script or the point of the series! She just said the lines and picked up the cheque - Fair enough! Joan's Carry On Emmannuelle co-star, the lovely Suzanne Danielle also appeared in four Doctor Who episodes broadcast the year after she joined the Carry On team. In "Destiny of the Daleks" she played Agella.


Angela Douglas, the star of four 1960s Carry Ons - Cowboy, Screaming, Follow That Camel and Up The Khyber - played the recurring character of Doris Lethbridge-Stewart in the 1980s adventure "Battlefield". Angela's Up The Khyber co-star and love interest, that multi-talented entertainer Roy Castle appeared in the big screen outing Doctor Who and the Daleks in 1965. This film starred the legendary Peter Cushing as the Doctor while Roy played Ian, the boyfriend of Jennie Linden's Barbara. 

Carry On Jack and Spying favourite Bernard Cribbins holds a unique place in the heart of many a Doctor Who fan. Bernard first joined the Doctor for the big screen follow up to Doctor Who in the Daleks, released in 1966. His film, also starring Peter Cushing as the Doctor, was Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 AD. Cribbins played a young special constable, Tom Campbell. This film also featured future Carry On Abroad cast member Ray Brooks playing the character David. Bernard would return to the world of Doctor Who four decades after making this film, this time on television, playing Wilfred Mott opposite the tenth Doctor, David Tennant. 


Finally, one more cheeky addition before I go. In 2009, British comedy legend June Whitfield guest starred in a two part Doctor Who Christmas Special, "The End of Time". Playing the rather fruity pensioner Minnie Hooper, who rather memorably cops a feel of the Doctor's bottom...

So there you have it, a run down of some of the most famous, familiar Carry On actors to have appeared in Doctor Who over the years. I'm sure I've missed out plenty of others so do feel free to write in and let me know!

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan on Facebook and on Instagram


  1. Julian Holloway has a major role in the Sylvester McCoy TV story "Survival".

    Leslie Phillips has appeared in two Big Finish audio plays as Dr Robert Knox opposite the 6th Doctor (Medicinal Purposes & Assassin in the Limelight).

  2. Windsor Davies appears in the 2nd doctor story The Evil of the Daleks.