1970s Female Companions Dying

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by TedShatner10, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. TedShatner10

    TedShatner10 Commodore Commodore

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    OK, this a painful topic to go over, but I think it's a very bad run of awful luck that we've had at least three former female companions from the 1970s that have died in recent times.

    Everybody's going to die eventually, but it's still troubling that Mary Tamm and Elizabeth Sladen died roughly two decades or so before the average Western life expectancy in their sixties. Caroline John also died at the somewhat older but still rather saddening age of 71. All from particularly nasty sounding cancers.

    And another former female companion has been diagnosed with cancer recently (and I hope she pulls through).

    Was it something the BBC put in its water? People have pointed at the possibility of asbestos used in the construction material.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  2. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    There was a massive asbestos problem at Television Centre back in the '70s and many of the actors also smoked which also increased their health risk.
     
  3. TedShatner10

    TedShatner10 Commodore Commodore

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    The Babyboomers partying harder than their parents? Hence the wave of strokes/cancers/heart attacks claiming so many so relatively young in their 40s to 60s?
     
  4. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    It's possible, particularly the suggested asbestos link.
    But Carry John did very little work at Television Centre after leaving Who, though she did do a lot for Granada, whose studios were built in the same era so presumably had the same asbestos problem. Arguing against that, you'd expect there to be a lot of casualties among the Corrie cast as a result, and that's not the case.
    Add in on that: there's a trend for women to either live long, into their 90s, or die a little early, in their 60s (average lifespan is only an average), whereas men tend to die closer to the average lifespan.
    A rogue element might be the Fuller's Earth used in FX explosions on Who: it's been blamed for the cancer deaths of the Dad's Army cast (who were already elderly, but who went down to cancer more than averages would suggest, and had waded their way through massive FX explosions for the end title sequence).
    Still, it's probably just a sad set of coincidences. And very probably the smoking.
     
  5. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    I think this is it really. With regard to asbestos it would be interesting to see what the wider situation was with regard to all BBC staff, not just companions; the camera men, lighting technicians, producers, directors, grips, cleaners....obviously a lot of companions and Doctors from that era are still alive and still healthy.

    People die younger than the average every day, it's just more noticeable and harrowing to a wider audience because they're people we saw on the telly.
     
  6. TedShatner10

    TedShatner10 Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, it's not very nice to have a famous person you'd admired or had a crush on die tragically all of a sudden.
     
  7. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    While not female, Ian Marter died on the younger side, too.
     
  8. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    That's not a mystery: he was diabetic, and had a heart attack as a result.
    I'll mention here that I do a bit of help for diabetes uk who can be found at diabetes.org.uk
     
  9. Rarewolf

    Rarewolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If you mean Janet Fielding I believe she's doing ok.

    Reading what her family wrote at the time I think Lis died from a bad reaction to the medication rather than directly due to the cancer, they were hopeful of a recovery before that. I think both Lis and Carrie had fought it before in the 90s.

    Frazer has beaten it too.

    There's probably more Dr Who directors still around from the 60s than 70s and 80s combined, and very few writers from the 60s - but thats mostly an age thing, the show started off with mostly new directors, and JNT prefered to use more experienced ones.

    Its a sad point of note that the first episode to loose its entire credited cast isn't even a Black and White story - it's Spearhead From Space 4 from 1970. Only two actors left from the whole story.
     
  10. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Ouch! Forgotten already? You were just down ther
    I've certainly been a bit freaked out by how we've been losing so many '70s companions. Especially while most of the '60s companions are still with us.

    From the '60s, the living:dead ratio is 10:3.
    From the '70s, the living:dead ratio is 3:5. (5:5 if you count Benton & Yates.)
     
  11. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    er, but you could count Benton and Yates as 60's companions couldn't you? Certainly Benton was definitely around in Troughton's time. And the Brigadier is technically a 60s companion as well.
     
  12. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    The Brig appeared in two serials in 1968, Benton in one. Not again until 1970 and the Pertwee era. All things considered, at most, that's like Donna's appearance in The Runaway Bride before her becoming full-time, proper companion in Series Four. Even that's a stretch, especially in Benton's case. More like Wilf's cameo in Voyage of the Damned, I'd say. But certainly until Spearhead From Space there was no indication that either would ever be anything close to "companion status."

    In either case, Yates wasn't around until Terror of the Autons in 1971.
     

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