Casting News via Time Vortex
New Doctor Who Companion, Sarah Jane Smith, to be played by Fawlty Towers’ APRIL WALKER!
Or so the headlines might have read back in 1973.
The secret is out…..according to SFX magazine. Word has it that several days into rehearsals April Walker was dropped and a new Sarah Jane sought. Elizabeth Sladen apparently knew who the mystery actress was but kept the secret for over 35 years. Good for her.
“April Walker, apparently – not a household name, but an actress with a very heavily-populated CV including guest roles in everything from Dad’s Army and Terry And June to Judge John Deed and Waking The Dead. Here’s a clip of her playing Jean Wilson in the Fawlty Towers episode “The Wedding Party” (4m 45 secs in), and in The Two Ronnies.”
“Why was she replaced? Well, the story goes that Pertwee liked his Doctor to be a paternal, protective figure, and felt that his co-star should be young, petite and vulnerable (Sladen’s take on this was that Pertwee was the sort of man who “likes to impose themselves physically on smaller women”). Walker – tall and in her early ‘30s – didn’t fit the bill, as far as the star was concerned. And so her contract was cancelled.”
What would Doctor Who have been like with April Walker as Sarah Jane Smith? Opposite Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker’s Doctor? Would it have worked? What of her stint in modern times as the hero of her own Sarah Jane Adventures? Was it the character or the actress? Or a singular synergy that made Sarah Jane so endurable?
We will never know…
Posted by Rod on Monday, January 9 at 5:21 pm