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KNOCK KNOCK, WHO’S THERE?

Owdo me owd butties, as today marks sixty years of hiding behind the sofa and watching Doctor Who through our fingers, I thought you might be interested in a few Shropshire connections to the good doctor.

Shrewsbury lass, Catherine Trimby (nee Childs) worked as an assistant floor manager on the very first episode. She said that William Hartnell would tell her off if she prompted him and also tell her off if she didn’t. During her three years in the position she was asked her opinion on the theme tune and also got to ride in an original dalek.

In the 1970s the third doctor, Jon Pertwee, was the special guest at a car and caravan show, jointly hosted by Greenhous and Salop Caravans (now Salop Leisure) and held at the County ground, Frankwell in Shrewsbury. Children queued to see him in a touring caravan. Jon returned to Shrewsbury in 1984 when he appeared as Worzel Gummidge at the flower show.

The actress Lois Baxter grew up in Worthen where her real life doctor father, Dr John Baxter was the GP. Lois played Lamia in The Androids of Tara alongside the fourth doctor, Tom Baker, who himself was educated and trained as a monk in Shropshire.

In October and November 1984 the sixth doctor, Colin Baker, filmed The Mark of the Rani at Blist’s Hill and Coalport museums. Coalbrookdale school was asked to help supply extras. In 2022 Colin and director Sarah Wellings made a return visit to advertise the launch of a boxset.

Another visitor to Blist’s Hill was Peter Davison, formerly the fifth doctor, who visited in 1986 to open the Victorian Dr’s surgery. Children from St George’s school, dressed in period costumes, assisted him.

In 2014, Bridgnorth firm, Harrop, launched a Doctor Who collection of pewter figurines.

In 2019, Doctor Who writer, Jason Arnopp gave a talk at the Shrewsbury Festival of Literature.

Shropshire also has it’s fair share of Doctor Who superfans. Dave Saunders of Ellesmere owns three daleks and also operated one in an episode with seventh doctor, Sylvester McCoy.

Another Ellesmere resident, Gary Stevens has a full sized 1980s copy. In 2008 he organised a model show at RAF Cosford, including “An Audience with a Dalek”.

Local radio DJ Paul Shuttleworth bought his black 1978 dalek off Elstree Studios for £2,500 and used it to go to the cashpoint in Shifnal.

Jason Wardman of Wellington built a full size 1960s replica TARDIS.

Another Shropshire resident, Mark Venables of Morda, appeared as an extra, running scared from aliens in an episode with the tenth (and fourteenth) doctor, David Tennant.

The Shropshire lad, Toby Hadoke, wrote and performed Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf at the Edinburgh Festival and followed it up with My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver.

Well, that’s enough of my owd chunnerins, thank’ee to anyone who has read this far, and dunna forget to get in touch if you have anymore connections. Okay, back behind the sofa now. – shroppiemon