Sunday, 9 December 2012

Bernard Horsfall

The Mind Robber marks the first appearance in Doctor Who of Bernard Horsfall. He would appear three further times - and for all four of his roles he was cast by director David Maloney. Directors tended to have a repertory of actors who they would regularly call upon when casting TV programmes.
In The Mind Robber Horsfall is the fictional character Lemuel Gulliver - created by Jonathon Swift in 1726. The Doctor and his companions encounter him, appropriately enough, in the Land of Fiction. All of Gulliver's lines had to come from the book.
Horsfall was born in 1930, in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. His first TV work was in 1957. He played the detective Albert Campion on a couple of occasions, as well as the lead role in Captain Moonlight.
Film roles have included parts in blockbusters like Ghandi and Braveheart. He appears in one Bond film - On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In the Jeremy Brett Hound of the Baskervilles, he was the litigious Frankland.  He was still working as of 2008. He has contributed to DVD releases of his stories.

Despite only appearing in the programme 6 months before, Maloney brought him back for the final episode of The War Games, in which he plays one of the Time Lord judges who tries the War Lord and the Doctor. He would go on to play another Time Lord - or is it the same Time Lord?

His third appearance was as Taron in Planet of the Daleks. Taron is the reluctant leader of the Thal expedition to destroy the Dalek base on Spiridon. Things become more complicated for him when his lover arrives on the planet, and he has to deal with a rebellious subordinate. Horsfall lends the role a steely gravitas. Even when they're victorious, he finds it hard to crack a smile.

His last role to date was as the Time Lord Chancellor Goth, in The Deadly Assassin. He is the natural successor to the outgoing President - but is secretly in  league with the Master to incriminate the Doctor in the President's assassination. Turns out he was going to be passed over for the Presidency. Goth enters the Matrix and fights the Doctor in a nightmare world. In the controversial battle at the end of part three, Horsfall's stunt double is all too obvious. Goth dies when abandoned by the Master.


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    1. Sadly noted - and I did a short post today. A very great shame that so many of the actors who frequented the classic series on numerous occasions have now left us - Freddy Jaeger, Michael Wisher, Philip Madoc, Peter Halliday and so forth.
      It's why I take time out to mention them in posts of their own - they contributed so much.