The Almost Infinite Degrees of Doctor Who Separation - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The Almost Infinite Degrees of Doctor Who Separation

Inspired by the ever-popular ‘Famous People Who Guest Starred on Star Trek’ post that regularly tops our polls, and the ‘Six Degrees of Lwaxana Troi’ piece from Gail, Tony’s been playing ‘The Almost Infinite Degrees of Doctor Who Separation.’

Start with one star or guest actor from a particular series, and keep going till you come back to the same story. Every actor must have had their own role in Doctor Who, but the connections need not be strictly Who-related. Give it a go for yourself!

Let’s see…

Kylie Minogue played one-shot companion Astrid Peth in Voyage of the Damned, alongside

Bernard Cribbins, in his first outing as Wilf Mott, grandfather to

Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble, who first starred in Who in The Runaway Bride, where she was menaced by the Empress of the Racnoss, played by

Sarah Parish, who also starred in sit-com W1A, alongside

Hugh Bonneville, who played Henry Avery in The Curse of the Black Spot. Bonneville’s most widely known for Downton Abbey, in which he starred alongside

Penelope Wilton, Harriet Jones, Prime Minister. One of Wilton’s first breakout TV roles was in Ever Decreasing Circles as Anne Bryce, wife to Martin, played by

Richard Briers, Paradise Towers’ Chief Caretaker. One of Briers’ leading TV roles was as Tom Good, alongside

Felicity Kendal, who played Lady Eddison in The Unicorn and the Wasp, in which Reverend Golightly was played by

Tom Goodman-Hill, who now stars in Humans, as does

Danny Webb, who played Mr Jefferson in The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit, with

Claire Rushbrook as Ida Scott. Rushbrook also had a recurring role in Whitechapel, alongside

Phil Davies, who was Lucius Petrus Dextrus in The Fires of Pompeii. Davies was in Alien 3 (as were both Danny Webb and Paul McGann), which also starred

Brian Glover, Griffiths from Attack of the Cybermen. Glover starred alongside

Fifth Doctor Peter Davison in Campion, Episode 3 of which included

Michael Gough, who played both the Celestial Toymaker and Councillor Hedin. Gough had a criminally small part in the George C Scott version of A Christmas Carol, which starred

Mark Strickson, known to Who-fans as Vislor ‘SulkyPants’ Turlough, as Young Ebenezer. Turlough spent three stories in thrall to the Black Guardian, played by

Valentine Dyall, who was in the film Britannia Hospital with

Fulton McKay, who played Doctor Quinn in The Silurians. McKay had two big roles in pop culture – as the Captain on Fraggle Rock, and as Mr McKay on Porridge, which also starred

Tony Osoba as McClaren. Osoba has appeared three times in Doctor Who – in Destiny of the Daleks, Kill the Moon and as Kracauer in Dragonfire, which also starred

Patricia Quinn as Belazs. While best known for her Hammer work and for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Quinn also starred in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, alongside

John Cleese, who had a bit part in The City of Death, critiquing the Tardis with

Eleanor Bron, who returned to Who in the more substantial role of Kara in Revelation of the Daleks. If you wanted to, you could close the loop here by saying she starred alongside Clive Swift, who played Jobel, and went on to star in Voyage of the Damned as Mr Copper, alongside Kylie Minogue...

But let’s instead say Eleanor Bron starred alongside

Jenny Tomasin, who played Tasambeker, but was more internationally famous for her role as Ruby in Upstairs, Downstairs, alongside Tooth and Claw’s Queen Victoria and one-time potential companion Pauline Collins, whose most famous film role was as Shirley Valentine – giving you another chance to loop the link home, as she co-starred with George Costigan, who played Max Capricorn in Voyage of the Damned, alongside Kylie Minogue. However, just for fun, let’s say Tomasin also starred alongside series co-creator

Jean Marsh, who also played companion Sara Kingdom and villain Morgaine in Battlefield, waging war against

Angela Bruce as Brigadier Winnifred Bambera. In 2000, Bruce was in several episodes of Eastenders, playing DS Langford, alongside

Louise Jameson playing Rosa. Jameson is well known to Who-fans as Leela of the Sevateem, but is also famous from Tenko and Bergerac, on which she played opposite

Terence Alexander, who played Lord Ravensworth in The Mark of the Rani, which introduced

Kate O’Mara as the amoral Time Lord Scientist of the title. Back in 1970, in one of her first movies, O’Mara shared a comical seduction scene in Hammer classic The Vampire Lovers with

Ingrid Pitt, Warriors of the Deep’s karate-kicking Dr Solow (and The Time Monster’s Queen Galleia). Her co-conspirator in Warriors was

Ian McCulloch, as Nilson. McCulloch though is far better known as Greg Preston from Survivors, where he appeared in various episodes with Dennis ‘The Awakening’ Lill, and

John Abineri, because you really can’t play this game without John Abineri. In one of his four Who stories, Death To The Daleks, the Dalek voices were delivered by

Michael Wisher, who would go on to play the original Davros in Genesis of the Daleks. You can go to either the first or second Sixth Doctor story here, through either Gharman, played by Dennis Chinnery, who went on to play Professor Sylvest in The Twin Dilemma, or, for preference, to

Vengeance on Varos through Sevrin, played by Steven Yardley, who played Arak in the televised torturefest. There are so many ways to go here – Yardley played the nemesis and cuckold of Tom Howard (played by Lytton actor Maurice Colbourne, and alongside The Fires of Pompeii’s Tracy Childs), while in Varos he was husband to Etta, played by Sheila Reid, who would later play Clara Oswald’s gran in The Time of the Doctor). But let’s go backwards, and say Varos was ‘ruled’ by a governor played by

Martin Jarvis in his third Who role. In his second, as Butler in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, he again opens up many possibilities. Carmen Silvera as Ruth takes you back to The Celestial Toymaker. Professor Whittaker, played by Peter Miles, takes you back to Genesis, and on to The Twin Dilemma via the Chinnery connection. Genesis can even take you back to the Celestial Toymaker via Guy Siner, who gets you back to Carmen Silvera through their Allo Allo connection. But simply because you can’t really play this game without him either, let’s say Jarvis starred in Dinosaurs with

John Bennett, who of course also played Li H’sen Chang in The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Bennett played roles in a huge range of shows – in just one connection, he’s a bridge to Blake’s 7, and so to Michael ‘Sun Makers’ Keating, to Paul ‘Timelash and Silurians’ Darrow, to Jacqueline ‘Two Doctors’ Pearce. But Bennett also had a role (as Gaius Stertinius Xenophon) in I, Claudius, which is an even richer treasure trove. From I, Claudius, you can cherry pick the likes of John ‘War Doctor’ Hurt, BRIAN ‘Yrcanos’ BLESSED, Patricia Quinn again, Fiona ‘Keys of Marinus and Silver Nemesis’ Walker, George ‘Full Circle’ Baker, Kevin ‘The Invasion, Dalek Master Plan and Revenge of the Cybermen’ Stoney, and more. But simply on the basis of going for star billing, let’s say Bennett advised the Emperor Claudius to fart more. The Emperor Claudius of course being played by

Derek Jacobi, who would go on to play Professor Yana/The Master in Utopia. Jacobi’s another treasure trove of potential connections. To keep it simple, let’s say he starred in sit-com Vicious with

Sir Ian McKellen, voice of the Great Intelligence in The Snowmen. McKellen’s career also offers plenty of options, but let’s say he took the lead role in Mr Holmes, which also starred

Frances Barber, Madame Kovarian in Matt Smith’s Series Six. Back in 1987, Barber appeared in the dramatically-titled Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, with

Meera Syall, who then played Nasreen Chaudhry in The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. Syall starred in Asian comedy sketch show with her husband,

Sanjeev Bhaskar, who played Colonel Ahmed in Death In Heaven. Another Goodness Gracious Me alumnus,

Nina Wadia, played the doctor giving Rory a ticking off in The Eleventh Hour. Wadia went on to star as Mrs Hussein in sit-com Still Open All Hours, in which one of the pivotal characters, Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, was played by

Lynda Baron, who, besides singing the entirely godawful ‘Ballad of the OK Corral’ at the drop of a garter throughout The Gunfighters, was also Captain Wrack in Enlightenment and Val in Closing Time. Baron guest starred on Dinnerladies, the Victoria Wood sit-com, on which both Anne ‘Curse of Fenric and Smith and Jones’ Reid and

Thelma Barlow were regulars. Thelma Barlow was for years a Coronation Street regular, but she also starred as Lady Thaw in The Lazarus Experiment.

And on Christmas Eve 1971, Thelma Barlow played Letitia Haynes in The Stalls of Barchester, a dramatization of an MR James ghost story, alongside

Clive Swift as Dr Black. The same Clive Swift who would later play Mr Copper in Voyage of the Damned, opposite Kylie Minogue.

Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the 70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By day, he runs an editing house, largely as an excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book. With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at

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