14 Doctor Who Actors… in Star Wars!
Last week, we flagged up that Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker’s name had been posted on IMDB in the cast list for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII film and invited fellow Kasterborites to come up with other Who-Star Wars links. You did good work… but now we’re going for the MOTHER LIST:
1. Peter Cushing
Our first is a bit left-field as the Grand Master of Hammer Horror, while starring as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope, was never in Who per se. But he did star as the similar-but-different character “Doctor Who” in two movie spin-offs. Perhaps a bit wide of the mark but as silver screen royalty, we can make allowances for Cushing. Grand Moff Tarkin was the Commander of the Death Star and destroyed Princess Leia’s homeworld, Alderaan on an evil whim. Reportedly Cushing negotiated to wear his slippers for shots above the knee as the Death Star regulation boots were too uncomfortable!
Here’s a fan edit neatly summing up Tarkin’s hubris. But hang on – who’s the familiar-looking chap that analysed their attack?
2. Leslie Schofield
As noted by your good selves, Leslie starred alongside Cushing as the imaginatively named Commander #1 in Episode IV. And Mr Schofield has sterling Who credentials having starred in both 1969’s The War Games as a nineteenth century confederate soldier and in 1977’s The Face of Evil as Sevateem back-stabber, Calib.
He was also JONNY BRIGGS’S DAD in the mid-80s series of the same name… which will mean more to you if you had to live through 1980s TV rather than sampling the highlights (Classic Who’s back catalogue) from a safe distance.
3. Celia Imrie
Wait what??! I know – this icon of British cinema and TV comedy (I’m thinking of Victoria Wood and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel here). I can scarce believe it either. You’ll recall her recent turn as the high-camp, high-altitude villain, Miss Kizlet in 2013’s The Bells of St John. But she also starred in Episode I: The Phantom Menace… I don’t have a copy to hand (like I’d admit to that) but the sizzling Miss Imrie starred as Naboo Fighter Pilot Bravo 5. In fact, because three female actors scenes were cut from the original Star Wars films, Imrie was the first female fighter pilot ever to appear in the franchise. Who knew?
She even has an entire backstory on Wookieepedia (beware, it too can be edited by anyone).
4. Gurdeep Roy
Kenyan-born Indian-Engish character actor “Deep” Roy played the sinister Mr Sin in 1977’s The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Swapping the homicidal pig-brained cyborg for something lighter, he briefly appeared a topless jazz musician in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Roy doesn’t get much screen time before things get dicey in Jabba’s palace but you might recognise him from Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where he stars as ALL of the Oompa-Loompas.
5. Jeremy Bulloch
Before turning to the dark side as faceless bounty hunter, Boba Fett in Star Wars Episodes V and VI, Bulloch battled Commander Lynx alongside the Third Doctor as Hal the blonde-bombshell in 1973’s The Time Warrior. Prior to that he’s notched up another Doctor Who appearance as Tor in The Space Museum. Looking at Bulloch’s acting career he seems something of an English everyman having played Q’s assistant, “Smithers” in James Bond: Octopussy and getting his first big break starring in 1963’s Summer Holiday as a friend of Cliff Richard’s central character.
6. Hugh Quarshie
Venturing into more recent cross-overs, Quarshie, best known in the UK for his role as surgeon Ric Griffin in Holby City, starred in 1999’s Episode I: The Phantom Menace as Captain Panaka, head of Queen Amidala’s guard (who, incidentally would go on to become another Grand Moff). He went on to play Solomon in 2007’s two-parter Daleks in Manhattan/ Evolution of the Daleks where he was arguably a highlight of an otherwise muted outing for the Daleks in series 3. However Quarshie’s sci-fi credentials pre-date Star Wars with appearances as Professor John Galt in The Tomorrow People (1992) and an immortal in Highlander (1986).
7. Michael Sheard
Speaking of Daleks, it’s time to bring out the Big Guns. 1989’s Remembrance of the Daleks featured not only the beefed up Special Weapons Dalek but the wonderful Mr Sheard as the sinister Headmaster acting under the remote-control of Davros and the Imperial Daleks. He has an impressive list of Who appearances spanning the First to the Seventh Doctor. Most notably he portrayed the ill-fated Laurence Scarman in 1975’s Pyramids of Mars alongside Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen. He too is an actor with an impressive sci-fi portfolio having appeared in The Tomorrow People, Blake’s 7 and Space: 1999.
Sheard is well known for playing thoroughly nasty chaps (including an uncredited cameo as Hitler in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and probably most familiar to those of us in the UK (of an age) is his portrayal of another Headmaster, Mr Bronson in the school drama Grange Hill. Topping the bill of cinematic roles is his turn as Admiral Ozzel where, not satisfied with being crushed between Osiran servo-robots dressed as Mummies, he is asphyxiated by science-fiction’s most prolific remote-choker (see below… but who’s the General loitering outside Vader’s egg?)
8. Julian Glover
Another huge name in British acting history, Glover played General Veers in 1980’s Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, seen in the clip above. In fact he apparently provided the voice for the same character in 2012’s Lego version, Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out…. Which is nice.
Glover is probably best known for his roles as the immortality-seeking villain, Walter Donovan, in 1980’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (see No.7 above), and Bond baddy, Aristotle Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only the following year. But long before he became one of our finest acting talents he starred as Richard the Lionheart in 1965’s The Crusade and later returned to villainous form as Skaroth, Last of the Jagaroth in 1979’s City of Death – or at least as two of Skaroth’s human disguises. He also went to my school. Which brings me to…
9. David Prowse
Another chap who went to my school, dontcha know, and was apparently in the same class as Julian Glover. Prowse, like several of our cross-overers, never showed his face in Star Wars but was none other than the actor behind Darth Vader’s mask. While the voice was down to the rumbling tones of James Earl Jones, the swagger and remote-choke was the work of body-builder and Green Cross Code man, David Prowse. His Who connection is playing the Minotaur that guarded the crystal of Kronos in 1972’s The Time Monster.
And now we’re going to pick up the pace…
10. Graham Ashley
Starred in 1967’s The Underwater Menace as the Overseer of Atlantis and ten years later in Episode IV – A New Hope as ‘Gold Five’ a fighter pilot with the Rebel Alliance’s Gold Squadran. He met his end in the Battle of Yavin (for the uninitiated, this was where Luke used the force and blew up the Death Star at the end of the first film) Let’s stay on target…
11. John Hollis
Played ethically-minded scientist Professor Sondergaard in 1972’s The Mutants. He later played Lobot, cyborg PA to Lando in the floating cloud city in 1980’s Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. Again Hollis has excellent sci-fi pedigree dating back to the 60s with roles in A is for Andromeda, Adam Adamant Lives (a forerunner to both Doctor Who and Austin Powers no less!), The Tomorrow People, Blakes 7, Day of the Triffids (TV series) and Superman.
12. Ayesha Dharker
A lesser known actor but with a firm connection from more recent productions. Dharker portrayed Queen Jamillia in 2002’s Episode II – Attack of the Clones, successor to the throne from Queen Amidala. She also starred alongside David Tennant in series 4’s Planet of the Ood as company PA Solano Mercurio.
13. David Tennant
Speaking of Mr Tennant, he himself has, ooh, a loose connection with both franchises, having voiced ancient Jedi-training droid Huyang in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, for which he won an Emmy in 2013 no less (see the clip below). He’s also had some vague role in Doctor Who. For four years. And now to round off our Mother List another voice artist. Allons y!
14. BRIAN BLESSED
And what a voice! The thundering vowels of Mr Blessed are an institution of their own and both Who and Star Wars are luck to have had him. He voiced the underwater Gungan King, Boss Nass in 1999’s Episode I – The Phantom Menace. In the world of Who he played King Yrcanos alongside the Sixth Doctor and Peri in Trial of a Timelord: Mindwarp.
Today, prudence will be our watchword…
So, Kasterborites – any we’ve missed?
There are quite a lot of Brits in the original three Star Wars films. It’s been suggested on the forum that this simply made sense given that the films were shot in Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire – sourcing local talent in the same way Welsh accents crop up fairly often in New Who. But then there’s the suggestion that British accents sound * more evil *.
Does the Queen’s English sound more sinister? Star Wars villains were usually Imperial leaders and my (very uninformed) understanding is that Queen’s English was an affectation put on by the Victorians who were ALL about Empire. That said, a lot of Who baddies are a bit “posh”. What are your thoughts Kasterborites?