Thursday, 17 March 2011

Michael Gough 1917-2011

The Celestial Toymaker - 1965
I always enjoyed Michael Gough's appearances on TV and film. In a career that stretched over some 65 years he has made countless appearances across several mediums. He will probably be best remembered as Bruce Wayne's servant Alfred Pennyworth in Tim Burton's Batman movies, but to generations before he was the ideal villain of the piece in several cult TV shows including The Avengers and Doctor Who.

In The Avengers he played scientist Dr Clement Armstrong, creator of the dreaded Cybernauts while in Doctor Who he portrayed The Toymaker opposite William Hartnell in the Bill Sellars directed Celestial Toymaker in 1965.

The adventure in which the Doctor gets caught up in a deadly game of survival is perhaps one of the most memorable from the 1960s, not only for its surreal design but for its striking performance from Michael Gough.

Gough's rich vocal tones make the Toymaker's character enthralling and its hardly surprising that at one point in the mid 80s there was talk of The Toymaker's return to the series with a rematch opposite Colin Baker's incarnation of The Doctor. Unfortunately, the series and the story were cancelled and we were denied the pleasure of seeing The Doctor rematched against this formidable enemy.

Only one episode of the original Celestial Toymaker story still exists, the final episode, and its well worth tracking down to view but only a small highlight of Michael Gough's illustrious career.

Check out The final episode of The Celestial Toymaker on the Doctor Who - Lost In Time set and a further appearance opposite Peter Davison as Hedin in Arc Of Infinity.

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