Tuesday, 18 July 2017

RIP Trevor Baxter

After the excitement of the announcement on Sunday that Jodie Whittaker will play the 13th incarnation of the Doctor, comes a sad day for us Doctor Who fans as it was announced that Trevor Baxter has died, aged 84.

Baxter has a special place in the heart of fandom thanks to his appearance in the classic 1977 Robert Holmes penned serial The Talons of Weng-Chiang, a Fourth Doctor story set in Victorian London that is widely regarded as one of the finest stories ever to be made in Doctor Who's history. Alongside regulars Tom Baker and Louise Jameson (Leela), Baxter played Professor George Litefoot essentially playing Dr Watson to the Doctor's Holmes and forming an enjoyable double act with Christopher Benjamin's theatrical MC, Henry Gordon Jago. So endearing was this double act that the Who production team considered giving them their own spin-off series, but the plans initially came to naught. In the intervening years, the popularity of the characters increased in fandom leading them to make many appearances in Doctor Who novelisations before Baxter and Benjamin were at last asked to reprise their roles in a series of audio adventures from Big Finish. This led to them finally getting their own series, Jago & Litefoot, since 2009. 

Away from Doctor Who, Baxter was a prolific performer on stage, TV and film. A member of the RSC, he toured the Bard with Sir Ralph Richardson across South America and also wrote a number of plays himself, including Ripping Them Off. He also adapted Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lord Arthur Saville's Crime for the stage in 2003 and 2005 respectively, and the latter was revived with Lee Mead in the lead role in 2010.

His TV credits include appearances in Adam Adamant Lives!, Maelstrom, The New Avengers, Thriller, The Barchester Chronicles, Jack the Ripper and Doctors, whilst his films include Nutcracker, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj.


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