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Kate O'Mara

  1. Rosemary Nichols, Department S, TV, 1969-70. Kate won the role of Annabelle Hurst - part of Peter Wyngarde’s elite section of Interpol agents. The US backers, however, kicked her out for being too... “exotic.” As if Wyngarde wasn’t! Dynasty loved Kate in 1986.
  2. Candice Bergen, The Adventurers, 1969.       Tested for Paramount’s “biggest picture this year.” Biggest flop, that was. Writer Harold Robbins based his book upon the poor little rich girl, Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton and one of her seven husbands, Porfirio Rubirosa. the Dominican diplomat-playboy with a famously massive penis. (It is the reason Paris waiters called their pepper-grinders, Rubirosas). The mess is among the Top Ten Best Bad Films ever made according to John JB Wilson, founder of the Razzies, the Golden Raspberry Awards.
  3. Sheila Dunn, Doctor Who #54: Inferno, TV, 1970.       Director Douglas Camfield didn’t look far when Kate’s Hammer Films schedule clashed with being Pertra - he simply asked his wife to join Doc3 Jon Pertwee, in the Season 7 closer. By 1993, Kate was the renegade Time Lord, Rani, in Dimensions of Time, a charity short celebrating the series’ 30th anniversary (with Docs 4 and 6, Tom and Colin Baker).
  4. Ingrid Pitt, Countess Dracula, 1971.       Kate turned down a contract for six Hammer Films films against her then hubby’s wishes. She was a classical actress, Shakespeare and all that and Hammer would limit her career chances. “But I did ask if I could be in a couple of the films and that’s how I came to be performing curtesys for the benefit of the cameraman in The Horror Of Frankenstein [and The Vampire Lovers]. Incidentally, I was too innocent to know that when I was doing those curtesys, the camera was focusing on - well, not on my face. But I did, thank goodness, have a no-nudity clause.” So no question of her revamping Hungarian Countess Erzsebet Bathory, forever bathing in virgins’ blood.
  5. Martine Beswick, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, 1971.        Kate fled writer Brian Clemens’ gender-bender because of that no-nudity clause.
  6. Valerie Leon, Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb, 1971.      More (avoided) nudity. And so  Kate passed on the dual role of Margaret Fuchs/Queen Tera.
  7. Adrienne Corri, Vampire Circus, 1972.      Kate moved into much TV instead: Jason King, The Persuaders, The Pathfinders, Return of The Saint and as Joan Collins’ similar bitchy sister in Dynasty.
  8. Colette O’Neill, Doctor Who #124: Snakedance, TV, 1982.      Judi Dench and Carry On star Joan Sims up for the same part  - kidding, right? Nope! Producer John Nathan-Taylor loved rocking the boat. He suggested 14 ladies as Lady Tanha, for when Doc5 Peter Davidson landed on Manussa. The others were , Jill Bennett, Eleanor Bron, Elspeth Gray, Sheila Hancock, Jean Marsh, Anna Massey, Barbara Shelley, Elizabeth Spriggs, Wanda Ventham (the mother of Benedict Cumberbatch) and Fiona Walker. Plus Kate O’Mara, the future Time Lady called Rani. The Scottish O’Neill had scored 77 mainly UK credits by 2016.
  9. Rula Lenska, Doctor Who #133: Resurrection of the Daleks, TV, 1984.       Fourteen ladies, including four 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. Also listed: O’Mara, Polly Adams, Eleanor Bron, Rachel Davies, Diane Keen, Maureen Lipman, Jacqueline Pearce, Sheila Ruskin, Fiona Walker and Penelope Wilton. OMara, ex-sister-in-law of two Whoversers Michael Cochrane and Simon Williams, was The Rani in both #139: The Mark of the Rani, 1984, with Doc6 Colin Baker, and #144: Time and the Rani, 1987, opening the account of Doc7 Sylvester McCoy.
  10. Stephanie Beacham, The Colbys, TV, 1985-1987.  For billionaire Charlton Heston’s British art gallery owning wife, Sable (first cousin of Dynasty’s Joan Collins character), Faye Dunway wanted a bigger payday The budget was already $1m per episode).  Elizabeth Ashley, Angie Dickinson were next up.   Then, the Brits…  Sue Lloyd and Kate O’Mara O’Mara (who became Caress Morrell  in Dynasty during 1986 but fort just 19 episodes, compared to Beacham’s 49).  Earlier, Diana Rigg, Susannah York simply refused the soap.   And later, Beacham l  Dynasty-ed for the 1988-1989 season.

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