Stairway to Heaven

Found out from DWM #536 the passing of L. Rowland Warne and Gillian James.

L. Rowland Warne was costume designer on Death to the Daleks, Planet of the Spiders, The Brain of Morbius & The Pirate Planet.

He died on January 20 2019 at the age of 89.

Gillian James was make-up artist and worked on The Smugglers, The Tenth Planet, The Power of the Daleks, The Highlanders, The Underwater Menace, The Moonbase, The Macra Terror, The Faceless Ones, The Evil of the Daleks &The Tomb of the Cybermen.

Outside of Doctor Who, her work included Out of the Unknown.

She died on January 18 2019 at the age of 87.

Stephen Thorne has passed away.

Born in 1935, Thorne was the original actor to play the villain Omega in Doctor Who when the character made his debut in the tenth anniversary story The Three Doctors.

Omega would return in Arc of Infinity which started the 20th season but Thorne did not reprise him and was instead played by Ian Collier.
Collier had earlier appeared in Doctor Who playing Stuart Hyde in The Time Monster which ironically was the story that preceded The Three Doctors.

When asked decades later by DWM why he did not return as Omega in Arc of Infinity, Thorne said that he either was not asked to return or was unavailable at the time.

In fact the DVD info text seemed to indicate that the production team went straight into casting a new Omega without first approaching Thorne.

Thorne however did reprise Omega for Big Finish in Gallifrey: Intervention Earth.

However it should be noted that this came after the death of Collier in 2008 as Big Finish had cast him as Omega in the story titled Omega with one key consideration in Collier’s favour being that it starred Peter Davison, the Doctor that Collier worked with in Arc of Infinity.

Thorne had three other roles in the Doctor Who TV series.
The first as Azal in The Daemons and after Three Doctors he was in Frontier In Space playing First Ogron

and briefly towards the end of the Fourth Doctor story The Hand of Fear playing Eldrad taking over this character within the story from Judith Paris.

Thorne later reprise Eldrad for Big Finish in Eldrad Must Die! which has him finally working alongside Peter Davison given what happened in the production of Arc of Infinity.

Outside of the TV series, Thorne reunited with Third Doctor Jon Pertwee (The Daemons, The Three Doctors & Frontier In Space) in the BBC Radio story The Ghosts of N-Space playing Maximilian Vilmius and reunited with Fourth Doctor Tom Baker in the BBC Audio episode The Circus of Doom.

Thorne had two other Whoniverse roles for Big Finish in the Sixth Doctor story The Guardians of Prophecy playing Malador and in the Jago & Litefoot episode The Bellova Devil playing The Club Secretary.

Thorne had one other work for BBC Audio as he read the novelisation of the First Doctor story The Myth Makers.

He was also in Eastenders.

Other work included The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

He died at the age of 84.

Paul Darrow has passed away.

Born on May 2 1941, Darrow had become well known for playing Kerr Avon in Blake’s 7.

He later reprise Avon in Blake’s 7 audio dramas including for Big Finish.
Like his fellow Blake’s 7 cast members he appeared in Doctor Who.

In his case he was in The Silurians playing Captain Hawkins, in Timelash playing Tekker and Guidance in The Next Life.
The Next Life was made by Big Finish before Darrow reprise Avon for them when they picked up the Blake’s 7 licence.

In another audio drama, Darrow played Kaston Iago in the Kaldor City series, a Doctor Who-Blake’s 7 crossover and Iago may or may not have been Avon in disguise.

He was also in Coronation Street.

Other work included The Saint, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, The Legend of Robin Hood playing the Sheriff of Nottingham, a reversal of Blake’s 7, a Robin Hood in space in which Avon was one of the rebels, The Strangerers, Die Another Day & Little Britain.

He died on June 3 2019 just over a month after his 78th birthday.

William Simons has passed away.

Born on November 17 1940, Simons appeared in Doctor Who in The Sun Makers playing Mandrel.

He was also in Coronation Street.

Other work included Dempsey and Makepeace.

He died on June 21 2019 at the age of 78.

Glyn Houston has passed away.

Born on October 25 1925, Houston appeared in Doctor Who in The Hand of Fear playing Professor Watson and in The Awakening playing Colonel Wolsey.

Outside Doctor Who his work included The Blue Lamp, A Stitch in Time (which deals with time travel like Doctor Who), Danger Man, The Saint, Dixon of Dock Green & Keep It in the Family.

He died on July 3 2019 at the age of 93.

Stephanie Niznik has passed away.

Born on May 20 1967, Stephanie appeared in Star Trek:Insurrection playing Perim and then in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode Rogue Planet playing The Wraith.

Stephanie was truly a beautiful woman who I first took notice in her film debut Exit To Eden which included having a beautiful nude pool scene with the equally beautiful Dana Delany.

Stephanie later appeared in the Renegade episode Most Wanted in which she had things in common with regular cast member Kathleen Kinmont.

Both have done nude scenes in their careers. In fact their nude debut saw them being naked with another woman. Kathleen appeared naked with Barbara Crampton in Fraternity Vacation while Stephanie appeared naked with Dana Delany in Exit To Eden.
In fact Exit to Eden was released on October 14 1994 almost a year before the original airing of Most Wanted on October 2 1995.
In fact Fraternity Vacation & Exit To Eden was the first time ever I saw Kathleen and Stephanie respectively. Those movies were also the first time I saw Barbara and Dana naked respectively but I had seen them before elsewhere fully clothed.
So for me Stephanie is Kathleen’s counterpart in Exit To Eden as I initially thought of them as bonus women who got naked with other women that I was already familiar with in the respective movies but eventually liked them as equally as the other women.

Stephanie’s other work included The Sentinel, Sliders. Diagnosis Murder , Grey’s Anatomy, Traveler, & Lost.

She died on June 23 2019 at the age of 52.

It was hard for me to write all this as I love her very much and always will.

She is and always be my wife.

Dana’s tribute to Stephanie on Twitter:

Like Stephanie, Dana is also my wife.

Rutger Hauer passed away on July 19 2019.

In 2013, Hauer was among the sci fi luminaries that wished Doctor Who a happy 50th birthday that year, best wishes that were filmed for the BBC.

It was filmed whilst Hauer was interviewed for the documentary series The Real History of Science Fiction presented by Mark Gatiss.

Hauer’s name had been linked with what became the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie with his agent saying that he was a “major fan”.

However in an interview with Empire Magazine at the time, Hauer said he had never heard of Doctor Who and had no idea what a Dalek was!

I had learnt of his death on August 12 when I just finished seeing him in the movie The Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon (1997) which was narrated by Richard Dreyfuss who coincidentally also wished Doctor Who a happy 50th birthday in that said video.

Born on January 23 1944, Hauer had been well known as Roy Batty in Blade Runner.

Hauer was the first Buffy villain playing Lothos in the original 1992 Buffy movie.

While Hauer did not appear in the subsequent Buffy TV series he did however later appeared in another vampire series True Blood.

His other work included Blind Side, Lexx, Merlin, The 10th Kingdom, Alias, Smallville, Sin City, Batman Begins, The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power, Galavant, 24 Hours to Live & Channel Zero.

He died at the age of 75.

Sheila Steafel has passed away.

Born on May 26 1935, Sheila Steafel appeared in Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. playing Young Woman.
She was also in Quatermass and the Pit playing Journalist.

Her other work included Danger Man, Catch Me a Spy, The Goodies,Keep It in the Family, SuperTed, The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, The 10th Kingdom & Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators.

She died on August 23 2019 at the age of 84.

Jack Donner has passed away.

Born on October 29, 1928, Donner appeared in in the Buffy episode Spiral playing Cleric #1.

He was also in Star Trek in the original series episode The Enterprise Incident playing Tal, in the Enterprise episodes Home & Kir’Shara playing Vulcan Priest and then in the fan made Star Trek: Of Gods and Men playing Special Wedding Guest.

Other work included The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, Mission Impossible, Charmed, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Roswell, According To Jim, Alias, Ghost Whisperer, Bones, Pirates of the Caribbean: Tales of the Code: Wedlocked, J. Edgar, Fear The Walking Dead & Con Man.

He died on September 21 2019 just a little over a month before his 91st birthday.