Donald Sumpter

  1. Gareth Thomas, Blake’s 7, TV, 1978-1981.      Still going strong in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and TV’s Game of Thrones 34 years after rejecting Roj Blake, head of what Terry Nation (also the creator of Doctor Who’s Daleks) called The Dirty Dozen In Space… Sumpter’s rivals included Tom Adams. Alun Armstrong, Warren Clarke, Maurice Colbourne, Brian Croucher (he played Travis for six episodes), Paul Darrow (who became icy Avon), Peter Egan, Martin Jarvis and Christian Roberts. Welshman Thomas quit after 28 of the 52 chapters when the BBC wouldn’t let him direct. He never did direct for TV – never watched himself on the box, either.
  2. Keith Drinkel, Doctor Who # 122: Time Flight, TV, 1982.        As many as 25 casting (or dart) board regulars were up for any (or all!) of three characters in Doc4 Peter Davison’s tale about a missing Concorde. Sumpter, Dallas Adams, Sean Arnold, Colin Baker, Andrew Burt, Tom Chadbon, Michael Cochrane, Ian Collier, Forbes Collins, Eric Deacon, Jack Galloway, Richard Heffer, Paul Jerricho, Ian McCulloch, Clive Merrison (BBC Radio’s Sherlock Holmes), Terry Molloy (aka Davros), Edward Peel, Martin Potter, Jeff Rawle, Carl Rigg, Patrick Ryecart, Malcolm Stoddard, Robert Swann Malcolm Tierney, Stephen Yardley – they were all up for Flight Engineer Scobie…    
  3. Michael Cashman, Doctor Who # 122: Time Flight, TV, 1982.      … and for First Officer Bilton
  4. Michael McDermott   Doctor Who # 122: Time Flight, TV, 1982.      … plus Sheard – which wasn’t even offered to another Whoverse favourite, Michael… Sheard.
  5. Maurice O’Connell, Doctor Who #132: Frontios, TV, 1984.       Seventeen possibles for Cockerill opposite Doc6 Peter Davison. O’Connell won. And lost. Most of his work was cut. Huge sigh of relief from…   Sumpter, Alun Armstrong, Nicholas Ball, Jim Broadbent, Tom Chadbon, Maurice Colbourne, Forbes Collins, Michael Elphick, Michael Gothard, John Hallam,. Del Henney, Philip Jackson, Alan Lake, Terry Molloy, Tony Osoba, Edward Peel, and Stephen Yardley.
  6. Nigel Humphreys, Doctor Who #130: Warriors of The Deep, 1984.     The 17 choices for Bulic were Sumpter, Richard Heffer, Roger Lloyd Pack, Bruce McCulloch, Terry Molloy, Stephen Rea, Carl Rigg, Dave Warwick, Steve Yardley – plus Nicholas Ball, Tom Chadbon, Maurice Colbourne, Paul Darrow, Michael Gothard, Tony Osoba, Edward Peel from the astonishing army of 203 candidates for just 18 roles in that year’s Lifeforce movie. The difference being Who was sf as in science fiction and Lifeforce was as in science fart.
  7. Jack Galloway, Doctor Who #131: The Awakening, TV, 1984.    Up for Joseph Willow in the Doc5 Peter Davison trip – Sumpter, Galloway, Alun Armstrong, Nicholas Ball, Jim Broadbent, Tom Chadbon, John Hallam, Prentis Hancock, Del Henney, Roy Holder, Alan Lake, Terry Molloy, Edward Peel, Jeff Rawle, Carl Rigg, Paul Shelley, Malcolm Tierney were familiar names from the infamous producer John Nathan-Taylor’s casting/dart board. He also voted for three newcomers: Geoffrey Bateman, Scott Fredericks, Ian Talbot.
  8. Robert Glenister, Doctor Who #135: The Caves of Androzani, TV, 1984.      When Christopher Gable was switched from Major Salateen to Sharez Jek, eight regular Whovians had to bow to newcomer Glenister – Sumpter, Nicholas Ball, Ralph Bates, Christopher Cazenove, Tom Chadbon, Nicholas Clay, Brian Cox.
  9. Stephen Yardley, Doctor Who # 138: Vengeance on Varos, TV, 1984.      quite matching the Lifeforce battalion but as many as 58 guys were seen for just three roles in this Doc6 Colin Baker episode – the majority being Lifeforcers! (They did not share the same casting director, so how did Cannon get hold of the Whoverse lists?) For example, there were 19 contenders for Arak… Sumpter, Yardley, Alun Armstrong, Nicholas Ball, Jim Broadbent, Andrew Burt, Tony Caunter, Tom Chadbon, Peter Childs, Kenneth Cope, Paul Darrow, Tom Georgeson, John Hallam, Brian Miller, Tony Osoba, Edward Peel, Carl Rigg, Colin Scully, Dave Warwick.
  10. Forbes Collins, Doctor Who # 138: Vengeance on Varos, TV, 1984.      Sumpter was also among the 20 names rung up the flagpole for the treacherous Chief Officer…Sumpter, Collins, Tony Caunter, Tom Chadbon, Peter Childs, Michael Culver, James Ellis, Tom Georgeson, John Hallam, Terrence Hardiman, Don Henderson, John Hollis, Ronald Lacey, Edward Peel, Clifford Rose, John Savident, George Sewell, Patrick Stewart, Malcolm Tierney – and Stephen Yardley, who played Arak. Sumpter joined the Whoverse three times, across 47 years and ten Doctors…starting as early #43: The Wheel in Space, 1968, with Doc3 Patrick Troughton… or an unconscious double as Troughton was on holiday at the time. True.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  10