DWM 483 Outside the Box

‘Leslie Grantham.’

‘Obviously. Ooh, and the woman who killed Dirty Den. Tracy Ann Oberman.’

‘June Brown.’

‘Louise Jameson was in it for ages.’

‘The bloke who played Caleb in Face of Evil with her was in EastEnders at the same time. Leslie Schofield.’

‘Anna Wing from Kinda.’

‘Jo Joyner was Lynda-with-a-Y.’

‘Lucy Benjamin played young Nyssa in Mawdryn Undead. She had a different name then but it was definitely her.’

‘Right. The guy from Colony in Space and Enlightment. Oh, and The Crusade. Can’t remember his name. You know, Roy Evans.’

‘Oh! You mean Trantis.’

‘No, he played Roy Evans, not was played by Roy Evans. Honestly, not everything’s about Dalek Delegates.’

‘Ha, that’s all you know! I see your Roy Evans and raise you Johnny Clayton!’

‘Who?’

‘He played the Dalek Delegate with the pointy face who looked like the one later played by Roy Evans, and he was a corpse in the very first episode of EastEnders. Ha!’

Oh, hello there, readers. You join us right in the middle of a game of Who was in Who?, in which a programme is chosen at random – maybe by sticking a pin in the Radio Times (other listings magazines are available), maybe by sticking a pin into a nearby person until they choose a television programme for you – and each player has to name an actor who was in both that programme and Doctor Who. A player is out when they give a wrong answer, or can’t come up with an answer at all. See if you can guess what programme we were using in the exchange above. You may possibly get a clue from the character names ‘Dirty Den’ and ‘Roy Evans’, or perhaps from the fact that we actually say the name of the programme. Twice. Yes, it’s EastEnders, of course. I wouldn’t recommend you start off with that one, though, because with two very long-running BBC shows the game can go on for hours, and that’s not counting all the time you’ll have to spend debating if you can count Barbara Windsor for the bit in Army of Ghosts where there’s a pretend clip of EastEnders, or whether Dimensions in Time is ‘canon’ in Doctor Who. Or, indeed, if you’re feeling particularly ingenious, whether it’s canon in EastEnders.

I won’t say it’s the best game ever invented, but when you have a long train journey, or the battery on everyone’s tablet has run out at the same time, it can fill a few minutes. Back in the three-channel, rare-repeats past, spotting a Doctor Who actor in something else was actually a bit exciting, as I was reminded over Christmas when husband and I watched an old Two Ronnies Christmas Special featuring a certain Patrick Troughton as a judge. It was first broadcast in 1984, a time when aside from The Five Doctors I had barely seen any episodes with the Second Doctor in, so spotting a Doctor on telly gave you a strangely comforting link to the show’s past. Nowadays, you’d be struggling to find a day’s telly schedule without a Doctor appearing in it somewhere (could be wrong, but I get the impression there may be an entire channel devoted solely to David Tennant). Actually, here’s a demonstration, just looking through the Radio Times (other listings magazines are available) for the next few days on the five main UK channels gives me Private’s Progress (Hartnell), Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War (Capaldi), Broadchurch (Tennant), W1A (Tennant)… the list could go on. Nevertheless, despite this surfeit of riches the habit of going ‘ooh!’ whenever a Doctor pops up on screen continues – and appears to be catching, as we found out when we went to see the film of Paddington during the Christmas hols. ‘It’s the Doctor!’ said Fan Twin excitedly as Peter Capaldi appeared as Mr Curry (sorry, fellow patrons, he’s usually a model of considerate behaviour in the cinema and to be fair (a) it was rather exciting, (b) he didn’t say it that loudly and (c) if there were any members of the audience who were going ‘where have I seen that actor before?’ he was actually carrying out a useful service). What was the other film we went to see over Christmas? Ah yes, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. And who’s in that? Only Sylvester bloomin’ McCoy, that’s who! ‘Ooh!’ we all said, even though it wasn’t that much of a surprise as he’d been in the previous two Hobbit films. It was still nice though – the Seventh Doctor on the big screen. Big warm glow inside for everyone.

Doctor spotting. It’s a bit like birdwatching, only it’s done indoors and you don’t need binoculars. Be sure to make a note of when you next set eyes on a Lesser Spotted Pertwee or a Great Crested Baker.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Ben Morris did a wonderful illustration for this of Dot Cotton/Lady Eleanor, the original of which was presented to June Brown. How lovely is that?

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