Saturday, 22 July 2017

Deborah Watling (1948 - 2017)

Sad news to report today - the death of another companion actor. Debbie Watling, who played Victoria Waterfield during the classic monster era of the Second Doctor, has passed away.
She joined the series in Evil of the Daleks, and accompanied Patrick Troughton and Fraser Hines aboard the TARDIS until Fury of the Deep, when she screamed herself out of the series. In between. she met Cybermen, Ice Warriors and Yeti, as well as a villain who looked just like the Doctor.
One of those Yeti encounters also meant working alongside her dad - actor Jack Watling, playing Prof. Travers.
Sadly, Debbie's period on the show has been one of the hardest hit when it comes to the loss of episodes from the archives, but we did get that 11 episode batch returned in 2013.
I came to the programme just after she had left - my earliest memories are of The Wheel in Space - but many of the stories featuring Victoria were novelised early on when I started to collect the Target books, so I have always had a soft spot for the character.
After leaving the series Debbie mostly worked in theatre, and she returned to play Victoria in the Dimensions In Time CiN special, as well as the video spin-off Downtime.
Fans can enjoy seeing the young Debbie if you tune into the Talking Pictures channel - where they are regularly showing The Invisible Man TV series in which she was a semi-regular.
Next time you play those DVDs of her stories which have survived, stick on the audio commentary and have a listen to what she has to say about her time on the programme. She was only there for a year, but it clearly meant a lot to her ever since.
Rest in Peace Debbie.

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