Actress Caroline John has died aged 72. Although she had many acting credits to her name she is fondly remembered for her role as Liz Shaw in iconic science fiction series Doctor Who.
The news was announced by the BBC’s official Doctor Who Twitter account which told fans of the long running BBC series that John died on June 5th.
She played opposite Jon Pertwee in the 1970 series of the original Doctor Who production and reprised the role later for the 20th anniversary and 30th anniversary specials The Five Doctors and Dimensions in Time. The latter a charity cross-over with BBC One soap opera EastEnders.
Her character had also been spoken of in recent times in spin-off show The Sarah Jane Adventures and featured in several video and audio specials of ‘who’ alongside her husband, Geoffrey Beevers. Her short stint in the original series, the first to be produced in colour, was put down to producers finding her character ‘too intelligent’ and thus was written out as a regular.
Caroline’s career was varied, it began at the Central School of Speech and Drama before she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and later the National Theatre. After Doctor Who she became a regular in the third series of ITV wartime drama Wish Me Luck while in recent years she had one-off roles in dramas such as Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Silent Witness and daytime soap Doctors.
“Carry was always delighted to return to Liz Shaw and reprised the role several times in our audio series… She was a brilliant actress and a lovely, kind soul who was a joy to be around and who was interested in everyone. She will be greatly missed.” Said David Parkinson of production company Big Finish who produce the audio versions of Doctor Who.
Fan Gregory told us, “I met her at my only Doctor Who convention back in 2000. When I met her I said she’s hardly changed. She replied, “That’s a lie” but then she smiled and said “Its kindly meant though!”
Steven Moffat, current boss of the revived Doctor Who said via the BBC, “Liz Shaw was not just a sidekick but a scientist in her own right and a match for the universe’s number one know-all. The Doctor’s companions should never be his assistants – they’re the people who keep him on his toes and that’s what Caroline did.”
Her agent, Christina Shepherd, told the press that the actress had died after several years battling cancer. Her funeral was held yesterday.
Caroline John, October 1940 – June 2012