Dame Penelope Wilton

  1. Polly James, Doctor Who #131: The Awakening, TV, 1984.        Imagine Glenda Jackson and Helen Mirren up for the same Whoverse role! Plus Bond ladies, Honor Blackman, Judi Dench, Diana Rigg and Pamela Salem. Well, producer John Nathan-Taylor had a female casting/dart) board, as well as ne for the guys.   As proved by his 18 choices for Jane Humpden in Doc5 Peter Davison’s four-parter. The others wrere Lynda Bellingham, James, Eleanor Bron, Pauline Collins, Diane Keen, Jean Marsh, Sheila Ruskin, Barbara Shelley, Sylvia Syms, Wanda Ventham (the mother of Benedict Cumberbatch), Fiona Walker, Penelope Wilton.
  2. Rula Lenska, Doctor Who #133: Resurrection of the Daleks, TV, 1984.        Fourteen ladies, including three Bond Girls and a future M (Honor Blackman, Jenny Hanley, Joanna Lumley, Pamela Salem and Judi Dench) were in the melting pot for Dr Styles… strangely lacking any scenes with Doc5 Peter Davison. Also listed: Wilton, Polly Adams, Eleanor Bron, Rachel Davies, Diane Keen, Maureen Lipman, Kate O’Mara, Jacqueline Pearce, Sheila Ruskin and Fiona Walker. Wilton was UK Prime Minister Harriet Jones in #160: Aliens of London, 2005, and #:161: World War Three, 2005, both with Doc9 Christopher Eccleston. Followed by the debut of Doc10 David Tennant (tackling the Sycorax) in #167: The Christmas Invasion, 2005, and #198: The Stolen Earth, 2008.
  3. Fiona Walker, Doctor Who #150: Silver Nemesis, TV, 1988.        Stumped!  Infamous producer John Nathan-Taylor usually got his way. But he couldn’t get his main choice for Lady Peinforte. He couldn’t arrange get cameos from Queen Elizabeth II orr Prince Edward, either – nor even permission to shoot some of the 25h anniversary chapter inside Windsor Castle. Wilton became a Dame in 2016 for her services to acting (and indeed actors ! She wed two (Ian Holm, Daniel Massey) and, of course for The Queen’s favourite series, Downton Abbey, 2010-2015. Wilton played Isobel Crawley. Like I always say… you can never go wrong with a Crawley. She finally entered the Whoverse as UK Prime Minister Harriet Jones in the #160 two-parter: Aliens of London and World War Three, in 2005, with Doc10 David Tennant.
  4. Vanessa Redgrave, Venus,  2005. “I think he is genuinely crazed. It’s like dealing with a six-year-old. He is clearly under the illusion that he is a genius. Alas, his last good film was 20 years ago.” Notting Hilldirector Roger Michell’s diary notes about Peter O’Toole’s final film. “He made the whole process… as miserable as possible from practically the first moment.” He interferred with the script – and casting, refusing to allow Wilton to portray his ex-wife. “He made the whole process… as miserable as possible from practically the first moment,” wrote Michell, who even discussed replacing O’Toole.  “Don’t see the point of juggling yoghurt with this mad fucker any longer.”

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  4