LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Doctor Who Legend Katy Manning - Part 1
By James Whittington, Tuesday 26th May 2015
Multi-talented Katy Manning has been acting and directing for over 40 years but to Doctor Who fans across the globe she will always be associated with the character of Jo Grant.
Companion to the Third Doctor, Jo was brought vividly to life by Katy and so became a fan favourite. We’ve been lucky enough to chat to Katy and here in the first part of an amazing interview she chats about her early career and how she became part of the Doctor Who family.
HC: How did you get your big break into acting?
KM: I had, and I saw it for the first time only recently, I did a Softly Softly, I keep forgetting about that one, and then I had a part in Man At The Top which was the hottest thing on TV at that time, the huge follow up to Room At The Top which contained all that gritty stuff that hadn’t been seen on telly before. I was given the lead of Julie and I was so thrilled! That was my big break!
HC: Before you starred in Doctor Who were you a fan of the series?
KM: Bearing in mind I knew of it and of course watched it, it was great television and there was nothing like it but you used to just watch it but I wasn’t a huge fan. Back then you kind of just watched stuff and moved on. You just watched it, it was great television, there was nothing else like it and it was really cool, I loved it. I was a fan but not a “fan” if you know what I mean? I didn’t think, “Oh my God! I hope I’m home to see that!” You know, I come from a very sporting family and the Football Results were important and I think that’s how we got a lot of fathers watching in the end because of the football results!
HC: The important news of the day!
KM: (laughs) Yes, exactly, that was the most important news in my family! (laughs)
HC: Can you remember what you felt like on your first day on set when making Doctor Who?
KM: I wasn’t on set the first day, we shot film first so it was on location.
HC: So was this for your first story?
KM: Yes, it was Terror Of The Autons and I met everyone on filming but I knew Jon from before. We had met at the BBC when I was up for Softly Softly and he had already told producer/director Barry Letts that he had seen somebody fabulous and he said no and they had already got it down from 500 auditions to 3 when I came along as I was doing Man At The Top when the auditions were held. So I arrived late, after they shortlisted it without my glasses, got terribly lost couldn’t read the script and improvised for them and the next day I got a call to say I got it!
HC: Do you think your improvising skills got you the part?
KM: You know, when you’re young you don’t think about things, you just do. The less you know the more just do on instinct and I had already been spotted in America some years before and been offered a contract for MGM a few years then I came back and went to drama school that’s all I wanted to do in the whole wide world. I just didn’t think of anything I just “did” and still do. I’m not a career planner and back then you never said anything like, “I’m going to be a star” you just thought, “I’ll be bloody lucky if I worked!” that’s what they taught you at drama school back then.
HC: Talking about show business, how do you think it’s changed over the course of your career?
KM: Oh, massively. Styles of acting have changed. You’ve only got to look at old films and listen to how people spoke on that level its changed and you have to go with that fashion and if you don’t change then you’re not going to keep going are you? Back then there wasn’t so much concentration on television and film, it was mostly on theatre that you were being trained which is a God send because that was going to make up a large part of your career. Everybody can do television for years and then bang they’ll end up, maybe after a television series having to go and do theatre and you need a lot more training for theatre. You know? Vocally, like in the days when I was doing my first West End play a lot of people they had seen had been in television and didn’t have the vocal ability to go into theatre. Now, people concentrate a lot more on television and things like that when training.
HC: I have to ask, which media do you prefer, television or theatre?
KM: Well I started in television, I did nearly 10 years in television before I did my first stage play which ran in London for over three years. There are three things I believe in with this business, you have to have determination, dedication and discipline all underlined six times! That’s what we had back then you couldn’t have a day off when you were feeling unwell in the theatre, who wants their understudy to go on and do good and secondly you didn’t even consider not going on. If you were throwing up you went off threw up in the wings and went back on! I trained that way. When my father died I was on stage 15 minutes later. Because that’s what you do and apart from which if I hadn’t he would have killed me anyway (!) because we were very much a working family, we were all dedicated to what we did. So I know on that level, when I was living in America and someone would say, “I don’t feel good, I can’t go in tonight”, I would never say that, I would have to be in Intensive Care not to go on stage (laughs)
HC: Or in a box?!
KM: Perhaps but I’d still probably have something to say! (laughs) When I was in Drama School we had to learn to do everything, we had to do hair, we had to do make up, we had to do directing we had to do every single part of the business and when I went into television I was so interested in everything about all parts of the business, what the cameraman was doing, how you’d edit. It was a God send for when I was asked to direct a musical I knew how to light scene, I knew these things, I was ready to go I didn’t have to study it. There’s a lot of acting schools that don’t do that they’re separate categories you either do the technical side or the acting side where as we were expected to do everything.
HC: You knew the mechanics.
KM: Yes, and I believe that is vital because if you love this business you love every part of it and I’m passionate about what I do, I’m passionate about all aspects of the business. Television is my favourite I sort of missed out in the film area. Had I accepted my five year contract with MGM I may have done one film, I may have done none, I may have done a lot so I never really explored film like I explored television. When I went into theatre director Douglas Camfield said, “I can’t bear theatre, I hate theatre I can’t believe you’re going into theatre” I asked why and he said, “A lot of people shouting in long shot!” He was wonderful. I never did a Doctor Who with him but I did TARGET where I played a junkie and often forgotten I was the first full lesbian on British television and I played an Australian in a court case where I had been found out having an affair with another woman I wanted full custody of the children. Quite a heavy piece. I was also doing an arts and crafts programme called Serendipity teaching people how to use apoxy resins and semi-precious stones and weaving and sculpting so I don’t think I got typecast! (laughs)
HC: What was it like working with Jon Pertwee?
KM: I think it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I had worked with a leading man prior to this, I won’t mention his name, who was incredibly difficult and I just assumed that’s what leading men were. Jon was absolutely wonderful and we hit it off from day one. On day two I was taught to do a stunt to jump from an all be it slow moving car I managed to pull every single ligament in my foot, didn’t tell anybody because we had to do it again by which time they had to cut my boot off as my leg was so swollen and Jon realised at that time that I couldn’t see so Jon became my eyes and held my hand and was always by my side. He taught me so much and he was the one who encouraged me so much with my voices and took me years to realise I could work in entertainment with my voices and used to just make them to make everybody laugh. So Jon I did voices together, make characters and things he was so wonderful. I learned more from him that I probably did than at three years at Drama School.
HC: Do you think it’s the chemistry between you two that’s makes your era so successful?
KM: Absolutely. You can see it in every photograph ever taken. There was just a thing we just found in each and that the people we were working with we loved that was so strong and it was a blessing and as Barry Letts often said that’s what a director absolutely prayers for is that he picks people who are going to have chemistry and it makes a huge difference on screen, it really, really does. And that chemistry stretched as far as Roger Delgado, Nick Courtney and Richard Franklin we were strong and between Jon and I in particular because we just adored being together and we adored working together. We did everything together.
HC: This really comes across as your era is classed as one of the golden eras of the series isn’t it?
KM: It’s just the chemistry, it really is. Yes there was some great stories and so on and it was a wonderful time to be in it because they were upping the ante as we had just gotten an older audience. We were just starting to become “cult” in Jon’s second season. They has a special budget, 2 and sixpence for our special effects, I was like a guinea pig for CSO now known as blue screen or green screen, I knew it as Colour Separation Overlay. So I worked with the experimentation of that. It was a very exciting time. The make-up ladies used to do all the masks and they went over to the special effects department, everything was changing. They brought in real Army and real Navy to give the stories much more validity and also, I though, interestingly setting it on Earth for his first season only was terrific as no one expects to see Autons in the High Street so its slightly more frightening than if you go to another planet and you’d expect what you get!
HC: People took it a lot more seriously then too as it had that Quatermass feeling to it.
KM: Exactly. You know, policemen ripping off their faces! Hello!
In the next part of this interview Katy talks more of her time on Doctor Who and her thoughts on returning to the part of Jo Grant.
Related show tags: DOCTOR WHO, TERROR OF THE AUTONS MORE ARTICLES This summer, the original hero in a half-shell returns!
Posted in News, Monday 24th February 2020
For the first time ever worldwide, Arrow Video has collected together all twelve tales of the adventures of everyone's favourite titanic terrapin, in one deluxe Blu-ray box set. Japanese icon Gamera first appeared onscreen in 1965, and gave homegrown creature-feature favourite Godzilla a run for his money, going on to become one of the most beloved movie monsters of all time.
This deluxe, limited edition collectors' set traces the decades-long evolution of Gamera, from the "friend of all children" in his more light-hearted earlier films, to the Guardian of the Universe in the groundbreaking 1990s reboot series, often hailed as three of the best kaiju films ever made...SHARE: READ MORE Obituary - Director Mojica Marins known to millions as the creator of Coffin Joe
Posted in News, Thursday 20th February 2020
Pop culture icon and global genre star, Mojica Marins, known to the world as Coffin Joe, sadly died recently aged 83. He had been suffering from pneumonia after wrestling with ill health for several years.
Here, Betina Goldman from One Eyed Films pays her respects.With sadness and regret we would like to share the sad news of the passing away yesterday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, of the filmmaker Mojica Marins, legendary Master of horror Cinema, Director, actor and creator of the memorable evil, cult character Coffin Joe.
With of over 40 feature films as Director and over 60 films as actor, working in extreme financial challenging conditions in Brazil, in a long and twisting road that ev...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel gets beastly in March with Creature Feature season
Posted in Features, Thursday 20th February 2020
Carnivorous sandworms, murderous ant hybrids, a giant snake and deadly creepy spiders... Horror Channel gets beastly this March with a Creature Feature Season - a monstrous collection of creature carnage, which includes the UK TV premieres of It Came From The Desert, Marko Makilaakso's smart, funny and very creepy homage to Ray Harryhausen, and Micah Gallo's skin-tingling directorial debut Itsy Bitsy, every arachnophobe's worst nightmare.
Broadcast on Friday nights throughout the month, the season also includes the channel premiere of Tremors, Ron Underwood's affectionate throwback to 1950s creature features, starring Kevin Bacon, and the star-studded jungle snake nightmare Anaconda, s...SHARE: READ MORE Discover how to create incredible SFX with this new guide
Posted in , Thursday 20th February 2020
Ever wanted to try your hand at creating movie-standard SFX? Well now you have the information at hand!
Uncover the secrets of horror makeup in the third volume of the acclaimed special effects makeup series. Learn how to apply gory, realistic, and captivating scar and wound makeup from leading Japanese special effects makeup artists. Discover the hidden tricks behind special effects makeup, mask-making, and more.
Acclaimed as the best book series ever published on Special Effects Makeup - whether you are a beginner preparing for a Halloween party, or interested in more complex techniques, this is the definitive guide covering everything from basic facial makeup styles, and simple sc...SHARE: READ MORE Dorothy McShane is back. Do you know "Who" she is?
Posted in News, Thursday 20th February 2020
Past, present and future collide as the Thirteenth Doctor meets classic Doctor Who companion Ace - in the first epic novel from the woman who played her, Sophie Aldred; Doctor Who: At Childhood's End.
Once, a girl called Ace travelled the universe with the Doctor - until, in the wake of a terrible tragedy they parted company. Decades later, she is known as Dorothy McShane, the reclusive millionaire philanthropist who heads global organisation A Charitable Earth.
Dorothy is haunted by terrible nightmares, vivid dreams that begin just as scores of young runaways are vanishing from the dark alleyways of London. Could the disappearances be linked to sightings of sinister cr...SHARE: READ MORE Is home where the heart is? Not in smart sci-fi shocker, Vivarium
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th February 2020
Following rave reviews at the BFI London Film Festival (2019), sci-fi thriller Vivarium will be released in UK and Irish cinemas and on digital on 27th March 2020 courtesy of Vertigo Releasing and Wildcard Distribution. It will also open the Virgin Media International Dublin Film Festival on the 26th February, and will be shown at the Glasgow Film Festival on the 27th and 28th February. The film stars The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg and Green Room's Imogen Poots, and is from the producers of cult hits Mandy and The Void.
The movie won the Gan Foundation Award at Cannes Film Festival (2019), and Imogen Poots was awarded Best Actress at Sitges International Film Festival ...SHARE: READ MORE New anthology that will enchant and thrill!
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th February 2020
"It's the prick of blood, the bite of an apple, the evil eye, a wedding ring or a pair of red shoes. Curses come in all shapes and sizes, and when you least expect them..."
Editors Marie O'Regan and Paul Kane present Cursed, an anthology of unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse from an exciting line-up of bestselling and award-winning authors. From the traditional to the modern, this collection gives us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables from a carefully cultivated selection of brand-new stories, folk-horror poetry and modern classic tales.
Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, and they will all impress you with their origina...SHARE: READ MORE Ravers! A movie we'll drink to!
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th February 2020
Party like there's no tomorrow with Ravers, the blissfully violent and drug-addled horror set in the shady underground of illegal raves!
A group of clubbers descend on an abandoned warehouse for a night of twisted techno and hedonistic drug-taking, but the illegal rave takes a blood-stained turn for the worse when the whacked-out partygoers discover a case of energy drink 'Renergize'.
Little do they know, the experimental drink caused a factory worker to butcher his colleagues months earlier and soon the party descends into violent carnage. Caught in the middle of the slaughter is Becky (Georgia Hirst), a germaphobic journalist who must overcome her crippling-fea...SHARE: READ MORE The hunt for Vlad the Impaler will begin in March.
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th February 2020
Game of Thrones meets Vikings - with a Dracula origin story - in this thunderous tale of seven fierce warriors in 15th Century Turkey, tasked with hunting down the vicious warlord Vlad the Impaler, to put an end to his cruel reign of terror.
Think of The Magnificent Seven crossed with Conan, as the unstoppable wing-backed warriors close in on their foe - with and a superbly sinister performance from Turkish star Erkan Petekkaya as the villainous Vlad Dracula, the 'heir of the devil', and the inspiration for vampire mythology.
In the middle of the 15th Century, in the depths of Turkey during the Ottoman Empire, the land is torn apart by horrendous atrocities and bloody murder...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Tuesday 18th February 2020
Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.
It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...SHARE: READ MORE Chilling modern folk horror coming from T. Kingfisher
Posted in News, Friday 14th February 2020
The Twisted Ones is the celebrated debut from T. Kingfisher. Published last year in the US, The Twisted Ones was shortlisted in the Goodreads Reader's Choice for horror and received rave reviews, now Titan will be bringing it to the UK market for the first time on 17th March.
When Mouse's dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother's house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be? Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather;s journal, which seems like nonsense until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described. Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face...SHARE: READ MORE The Breach - brand new fiction from M.T. Hill
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020
Award-winning author M.T. Hill returns with a new science fiction novel that blurs the lines between reality and fiction in a gripping exploration of the dangerous underground world of urban exploration. With hints of the claustrophobic terror of Sarah Lotz's The White Road blended with Philip K. Dick-esque imaginings, The Breach is genre-bending, pageturning read that aptly demonstrates why Hill is one of today's most exciting new voices in weird fiction.
Freya Medlock, a reporter at her local paper, is down on her luck and chasing a break. When she's assigned to cover the death of a young climber named Stephen, she might just have the story she needs. Digging into Stephen's life, Frey...SHARE: READ MORE Articles Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Monday 2nd March
Saturday 7th March
Sunday 8th March