Isla Blair (2008)

Isla Blair was only in one ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The King’s Demons’, but I’m adding this interview partly because she talks about so many other interesting ‘Who’-related things, such as Julian Glover getting cast in ‘For Your Eyes Only’ on the basis of ‘City of Death’. You can read the full version of this here, as usual I’ve only taken the ‘Doctor Who’ related part.

Q: I understand from Julian (Glover) that you were supposed to play his wife in the Doctor Who story “City of Death”?

A: I was, and that was a great shame. I can’t remember what happened now. I think something overlapped, and I couldn’t do it, and it was all really sad. I did want to do it because it was a terrific part, and it would have been nice to have been with Julian in that, and it was one of the Doctor Whos I quite enjoyed. Did he tell you that he got the part of the villain in the James Bond film [For Your Eyes Only] from that?

Q: No, he didn’t tell me that.

A: Yes, I think he was filming a film about Alexander the Great and going out to Greece, and he got this call because Cubby Broccoli and his wife Dana had been in– Birmingham I think– and they were in their hotel and they happened to turn the television on, and it was “City of Death,” and they were watching it, and Dana Broccoli turned to Cubby and said, “that guy, I think he’d be perfect for Kristatos.” And he said yes, so Julian was flown back from Greece to test for this Bond film, and to our astonishment and delight he got it and that was all through doing “City of Death.” So you don’t know, anybody could be watching you at any time, anywhere in the world.

Q: There you go. Carrying on with Doctor Who, you were in “The Kings’ Demons.”

A: Yes, I was. We filmed most of that near Bodiam Castle in Sussex, and it was terribly cold, and there weren’t a lot of wraps, and we were sitting outside– you know what it’s like, filming– for hours not moving, and again there was a lot of ice-cube-sucking going on to show that we weren’t that cold. Who was in that actually? Gerald Flood? And of course there was Anthony Ainley…

Q: Another tragic loss.

A: Yes, that was very sad. Such a shame. Very sudden. But he was very good, he was the Master, and what was good about that story was that it was very different, being set in medieval times, and all that jousting, and tournaments and things like that. I don’t know if that’s been seen before, but it wasn’t a very usual story for Doctor Who. That was nice.

Q: But of course your husband was in a medieval-set Doctor Who story, “The Crusade.”

A: Oh yes, of course, he played King Richard the Lionheart, didn’t he? What a coincidence, he played King Richard, and I met King John.


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