Katy Manning (1990)

Here’s Katy Manning (Jo Grant) telling DWM about getting the job, running into rocks, almost drowning in a bog and working with Patrick Troughton on ‘The Three Doctors’.

“I heard about it terribly late, but I thought ‘I can’t let this one go’ so off I went. I had to use all my feminine wiles on poor ol Barry to get him to hear me, and I think he only gave in to humour me at first. Anyway, I did the thing and went off back home thinking ‘That’s it, Manning, you’ve blown it’, when the very next day the phone rang and it was Barry offering me the part. I think I fainte – or, at the very least, dropped the phone. It was so exciting, it took me hours to get off this tremendous high.

“We did some filming for ‘Terror of the Autons’ at Robert Brother’s circus, which was great fun and really interesting, becuase we met all these completely bizarre gypsy types who’d obviously lived very full lives. At one point during filming, I ran straight into a rock, knocking myself silly, because they wouldn’t let me wear my glasses, thought that’s not surprising, they were so thick! Jon hadn’t yet got the knack of leading me around like a mother hen, which he very quickly adopted to avoid me injuring myself any more than I already had done.

“I remember Roger Delgado once had to hypnotise me in this factory, and they were doing a close-up. He knew this, so when they were focusing on little muggins here, he was off-camera, pulling silly faces Let me tell you, Roger Delgado could pull the most ridiculous faces, and you just couldn’t help laughing at him.

“When we went to do the filming for ‘The Three Doctors’, it was mid-November and I was wearing a nice, warm mini-skirt! Lunatic, really, but there you are. There was no way I could wear the usual thermals, because I don’t think Jo would have looked very glamorous with thick, pink furry material bandaging her legs, do you? So, in effect I had very little on. One of the first shots was of me and Jon waking up in this place and it took ages, because the light was never strong enough. So there I was, lying on this quarry floor thinking ‘What am I doing?’, when I was told my legs were completely blue. Then they put special dark make-up on them, while Jon suggested he could slap them back into colour. I loved Patrick Troughton, he was smashing to be with, and the whole thing was a real kick. Mind you, concerning the mini-skit I wore in that story, there’s a scene where you can see my knickers! Most improper for children’s viewing time, don’t you think?

“For ‘The Daemons’, we had lots and lots of filming, which was all done in this pretty little village near Marlborough, which is where we all stayed. I was quite into the occult at the time, and I found it very interesting and very spooky. The whole area where we filmed is surrounded by those weird stones, which nobody quite knows the purpose of, except that unpleasant things like human sacrifices were supposed to have gone on there. During one of the days when I wasn’t needed for filming, a few of us went to take a look at them, and I found it really creepy – it certainly helped me to get in the right mood for the story. The locals all got involved and it was strange, because we really took over the whole village for about a week, and nobody minded. We were treated like one of the family.

“I loved the Ogrons – the men inside those were taller than Jon, and very menacing. They were always very charming to me, but some of them had, well, shall we say, diverse backgrounds. By which I mean that some knew what the inside of a prison looked like! Those jelly creatures in ‘The Three Doctors’ were hysterical. The actors inside them use to have real problems in seeing where they were going, and when they fell over there was silence, save for the frantic designer who was worried that those funny bubbles on the outside of the costume would have got all squashed up.

“One of my funniest memories of doing a monster scene was the finale to ‘The Curse of Peladon’, which had that furry thing, Aggedor, come crashing into the Throne Room. The extras were all supposed to look very butch and they all had extremely brief costumes on. When this fight scene happens, all these fire irons are being waved about, and suddenly it all went quiet. One of the extras in question piped up, ‘Oh do mind our, dears, or you’ll get yourself burnt in a very nasty place’. The whole studio collapsed in giggles.

“I remember one thing going very wrong on ‘The Sea Devils’. Jon was always very keen on all the action stuff, and he didn’t want them to use doubles wherever possible. So they were going to film this scene where the Doctor and Jo abseil down the side of a cliff, and Jon, having got wind of this, came to me and said ‘Let’s persuade Barry and the director, Mike Briant, to let us do this one ourselves’. Now, stupid old Manning agrees, feeling terribly sporty and brave, but hoping deep down that Barry and Mike will say no. But they didn’t – they agreed. So I did it with very little know-how and my heart in my mouth – and promptly took all the skin off my hands coming down. It was worth it, though – I enjoyed it in the end!

“The other thing that went wrong on ‘The Sea Devils’ was that just about everybody, including the cameraman, got seasick. Mike Briant was okay, and of course Jon was sickeningly cheerful, because years ago he’d been a sailor himself.

“When we were filming ‘Carnival of Monsters’, I had to do this shot where I got stuck in a kind of bog, and the thing was that once in, you got stuck for real! Anyway, they set all this up and did the shot and Barry sad ‘Yes, Katy, very good, lovely. Let’s do something else’, and they all temporarily forgot about me. I was sinking deeper and deeper, not quickly but slowly and stickily and I shouted my head off, demanding to be rescued. I think Jo would have been proud of me!

“I decided to leave, to prove to myself that I could actually act in other things. It was a very hard decision to make. I went to Barry Letts fairly early on in the season and said I was thinking of leaving, and he said that this would probably be a good idea, as by then Jon would have completed four years and it was unlikely that he’d do it much longer. If I was to leave with Jon, Barry pointed out, any potentially good publcity I might get at announcing my own departure would be swamped in the news of Jon’s leaving. It was a career thing, really – I wasn’t fed up with it, and I went on loving it ’til the very last. I adored ‘The Green Death’, it was my favourite along with ‘Terror of the Autons’ and ‘The Daemons’. At the end, I cried buckets.

“If truth be told, I did them (the nude photos with the Dalek) for the money, although I also said to myself when I started acting that, as an actress, I should greet each new experience as it came along. That’s another way of saying I needed the money! No, seriously, I was a bit surprised at all the fuss that ensued. I’d been out of ‘Doctor Who’ for some years when I did the pictures and, let’s face it, you’d need a microscope to spot anything with me! I think people did get a little uptight about it, because ‘Doctor Who’ girls are supposed to have this image of being whiter than driven snow, which is just silly.”

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