Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Happy Times and Places - An Unearthly Child

To mark 60 years of Doctor Who, Toby Hadoke has devoted a special five-part instalment of his Happy Times and Places podcast to the very first episode, An Unearthly Child. I'm in part four.

Toby asked a bunch of us to watch the episode then nominate our five favourite things about it, which he then responds to. I won't spoil who else is involved but there are some brilliant insights, underlining my point that there's always being something new to be discovered.

Also by me on this blog:

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Power of 3 podcast #172

I chatted to Kenny Smith for the latest episode of the Power of 3 podcast. As well as asking me about my new book David Whitaker in an Exciting Adventure with Television, Kenny and his co-hosts Dave, John and Steevie discuss their favourite Doctor Who stories written by David.

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Sky at Night: The Art of Stargazing by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

I've just received my copies of The Sky at Night: The Art of Stargazing, a new guide by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock to the 88 constellations of stars. It's a lovely book, each constellation illustrated by Tom Matuszewski and with diagrams by Greg Stevenson. What a fun and informative thing to work on.

Blurb as follows:

"What is the story behind the stars? Many of us gaze up into space and marvel at the Milky Way, but do you know what you're really looking at?

The Art of Stargazing is the ultimate insider's guide to the night sky in which award-winning space scientist and The Sky at Night presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock shares her expertise and unique insights into the marvellous world of stars. Take a tour of the 88 constellations and explore the science, history, culture and romanticism behind these celestial bodies.

In this must-have handbook for budding stargazers - and anyone looking for a little more wonder in their lives - Maggie will help you to identify stars and teach you the basics of naked-eye observation, offering fascinating facts plus advice on kit, 'dark sky' locations and much more. Also included are beautiful illustrations to accompany each constellation and an easy-to-read sky map. With Maggie by your side, the night sky will truly come alive."

My credit in the indicia

It's the fifth book published in the past few months that I've written or worked on - the last year or so has been extremely busy, jumping from project to project. Bit knackered now.

Friday, November 24, 2023

The Daleks in Colour and Kennedy's "Survivors"

Watching the glorious The Daleks in Colour last night, I was especially struck by the bleakness of the story and world, a tale of nuclear holocaust made in an age when that was a stark possibility. As my chum Toby Hadoke pointed out to me a while ago, the second episode of the original serial, “The Survivors” (in which we first see the Daleks), was recorded on the evening of 22 November 1963, just hours after the cast and crew learned of the assassination of President John F Kennedy and the whole world seemed poised on a knife-edge.

This week, a post by Letters of Note started off a chain of thoughts. Following Kennedy's death, his widow Jacqueline wrote to Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union:

“I know how much my husband cared about peace, and how the relation between you and him was central to this care in his mind. He used to quote your words in some of his speeches - 'In the next war the survivors will envy the dead.'”

Khrushchev seems to have been credited for this evocative phrase in the 20 July 1963 issue of Pravda (I've not been able to check this but it says so here). Whatever the case, President Kennedy quickly picked up on the phrase, quoting it on 26 July in his radio and television address to the US people on the nuclear test ban treaty - a transcript and recording can be found on the website of the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

“A war today or tomorrow, if it led to nuclear war, would not be like any war in history. A full-scale nuclear exchange, lasting less than 60 minutes, with the weapons now in existence, could wipe out more than 300 million Americans, Europeans and Russians, as well as untold numbers elsewhere. And the survivors, as Chairman Khrushchev warned the Communist Chinese, 'the survivors would envy the dead.' For they would inherit a world so devastated by explosions and poison and fire that today we cannot even conceive of its horrors.”

These words were very widely reported, such as in the Daily Telegraph the following day (it's a front-page story, but the line about survivors is on p. 16 where the news story continues). That was on Saturday, 27 July 1963 and, despite what Kennedy said, I think people could very well imagine the horrors. Surely it can't be a coincidence that this was probably also the weekend over which Terry Nation wrote his 26-page storyline for a Doctor Who serial at that point entitled "The Survivors".

The storyline does not include a date but we can deduce when Nation wrote it from two surviving documents in the BBC's Written Archives Centre. On 30 July, BBC Head of Serials Donald Wilson produced notes for a preliminary meeting about the promotion of Doctor Who and listed the first three serials then currently planned: the caveman adventure The Tribe of Gum aka An Unearthly Child, the ultimately unmade The Robots and the story that became Marco Polo

The following day, story editor David Whitaker produced one-paragraph synopses of these three stories - plus a newly commissioned fourth one: Nation's serial was now under the title “The Mutants.” So: Nation wrote the storyline over the weekend, surely influenced by the leading news story and Kennedy's evocative phrase, then met with Whitaker on the Monday or Tuesday and was commissioned for the story.

One more thing, which I mentioned yesterday in my interview with BBC News (and tweeted back in July). Nation’s thrilling, 26-page storyline, on the basis on which scripts were commissioned, used the words “execution”, “elimination” and “extinction”. Whitaker summarised the plot in one paragraph for his colleagues, and used a word Nation had not: “exterminated”. 

Source: Asa Briggs, Competition, p. 418. My book David Whitaker in an Exciting Adventure with Television is out now.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Three Counties Radio and Doctor Who @60

The first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast 60 years ago today and there's a whole load of stuff on TV, radio and online to mark the occasion.

This morning, I joined Andy Collins on BBC Three Counties radio to talk about David Whitaker, first story editor of Doctor Who, and how his childhood in places such as Knebworth, Cheshunt and Nasty (as well as living in London) fed into those early adventures - and explains why the Daleks invaded Bedford of all places. You can listen here:

ETA: Danny Fullbrook also interviewed me for the BBC News website about David Whitaker's connection to the area - see Doctor Who: Bedford writer's childhood influenced the Daleks.

The second part of my contribution to the Something Who podcast is also now live. Having tackled 1965 story The Rescue (written by David Whitaker) in part one, me, Richard, Giles and Paul get to grips with 2010's The Eleventh Hour.

More of me rabbiting on about Doctor Who here:

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Zero Room Audio - recording of David Whitaker book launch

John Ryan has posted an edited recording of our launch event for David Whitaker in an Exciting Adventure with Television, hosted at the Portico Library in Manchester earlier this month. I was interviewed by Carol Ann Whitehead - and I think you can hear my jangling nerves.
Excitingly, this recording marks the return of 1980s audio fanzine Zero Room

Monday, November 20, 2023

Something Who #83: Dido Know, Don't Dido?

I joined Richard, Giles and Paul on the latest episode of the Something Who podcast for a deep-dive look at the 1965 Doctor Who story The Rescue by David Whitaker, and the 2010 episode The Eleventh Hour by Steven Moffat.

It's really interesting to compare what seem to be such disparate, unrelated stories and see the different production teams grappling with what's basically the same problem: how to restart Doctor Who with new regular characters and a tone of engaging, fun adventure.

It was also fun to apply the stuff I've learned researching my newly published biography of David Whitaker, almost like an end-of-term test.

Oh, there is a bit where I had to attempt some acting, a good leap out of my comfort zone. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

The Philip Hinchcliffe Years - The DNA of Doctor Who

A Kickstarter has been launched for the first in a new series new series of large-format books on the creative team behind Doctor Who. This first volume examines the years 1974-77, as overseen by producer Philip Hinchcliffe.

From Morbius to Krynoids, Eldrad to Wirrn, ROUNDEL PUBLISHING takes an in-depth look with unrivalled access to the architect of some of the most revered years of Doctor Who's history! 

Available in softback, hardback or deluxe hardback options including the option to receive signed copies, exclusive art prints and even the chance to get a personal message from Philip himself! 

The book is edited by Gary Russell and designed by Will Brooks, with essays on each one of the Doctor Who stories from the period and insights from Hinchcliffe.

I've written the essay on Planet of Evil (1975) and the way this adventure and the production team at the time more generally borrowed from classics of sci-fi. Other contributors include Louise Jameson, Graeme Burk, Hannah Cooper, Matt Dale, Hayden Gribble, Toby Hadoke, David J Howe, Robin Ince, Alex Kingdom, Emma Ko, Trey Korte, Aaron Lowe, Sophia Morphew, Kim Pfeifer-Adams, Mick Schubert, Kenny Smith, Matthew Sweet, Matthew Toffolo and Ian Winterton. 

The Kickstarter runs until 30 November. See the site for loads more details - and to bung us some cash.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

The Naked Sun, by Isaac Asimov

Agoraphobic detective Elijah Baley is sent to the wide open spaces of the planet Solaria to investigate a murder. This is a planet where people don't mix in person, only by remote "tridimensional" video link (think Zoom but in 3D), and there's no sign of a murder weapon. It's a classic locked-room mystery but it takes Baley's outsider's perspective to spot the obvious factor that everyone else overlooks...

It's been fascinating to reread this classic sci-fi murder mystery first published in 1958, which I originally read in my teens. I don't think then that I knew of its obvious influence on the 1977 Doctor Who story The Robots of Death. And I hadn't made the connection before to Baley's frequent exclamation "Jehosophat" and the 1983 Doctor Who story The Five Doctors. When, in that, the Third Doctor exclaims "Jehosophat", I'd thought it showed his intimate knowledge of the past - a reference to the fourth king of Judah in the Old Testament. But used in the same manner that Baley says it, it's a word from the future.

More extraordinary is how modern some of this novel seems. There's a lot on the psychological impact of not meeting in person but communicating remotely, with which we've all got first-hand experience thanks to lockdown. Asimov's view is that the technology enables a phenomenon that becomes self-enforcing: the less people interact in person, the more horrified they are by the prospect of doing so, leading to a whole culture of isolation. Baley, as visitor, becomes attuned to their horror at the very notion of physical contact. Just the suggestion of proximity, the thought of touch and breath and smell from other bodies, can lead to extreme reactions - in line with some recent conversations I've had with friends about how slow we've been to resocialise. 

Extending from this horror of contact, the Solarians struggle to say the word "children" because of what their existence implies; without quite spelling it out, there's an implicit aversion to sex. A key distinction is made on Solaria between "viewing" (remotely) and "seeing" (in person). On page 51, murder suspect Gladia Delmarre steps out of the shower in front of a shocked Baley and thinks nothing of it herself because he's not physically present. On page 118, Baley is quick to stop another woman, Klorissa Cantoro, from undressing in front of him. This stuff, I think, is titillation for the adolescent, male and straight audience assumed to be reading, but any reading is overshadowed by the author's own dealings with women.
"Asimov, who described himself as a feminist, casually groped female fans for years." Astounding, by Alec Nevala-Lee, p. 12.
The women here are certainly objectified. At no point is Baley at risk of seeing male Solarians naked as it would not have the same effect. Also, Solarians recoil at the duty to marry and have children, but there's no suggestion that some of them might do so because they are anything other than heteronormative and sexual. For all the outlandish rules of this society on another world, it takes for granted various social norms that seem rather parochial now.

I'm also stuck by what feels incongruous for a futuristic story: Baley smokes a pipe. Perhaps that's in line with something he says on page 183: "having eliminated the impossible, what remains, however improbable, is the truth." But for all he might be moulded in the form of 19th century detective Sherlock Holmes, only transposed to the future, The Naked Sun is bound up in anxieties of its time.

We're told, for example, that the imposition of marriage and procreation keeps the population stable, and that the murdered man is a fetologist, working to screen and improve the genetic stock on explicitly eugenicist lines. 
"And no one would believe me capable of so seriously psychotic an act as murder. Not with my gene make-up. So don't waste accusations on me." (pp. 126-7)
That idea of purity among the minority elite on Solaria plays against the slave-class majority: we're told (for example, on p. 191) that robots outnumber humans 10,000 to one. The analogy in the book is to the helots, the Ancient Greek people subjugated by the Spartans. But there's surely a more contemporary resonance in what's being described here, to civil rights in the US and anticolonialism abroad. More than proximity, there's a greater terror to this elite - that this majority might become conscious of this gross imbalance of power.
"But what if some human threatened to teach the robots how to harm humans; to make them, in other words, capable of revolting?" (pp. 190-1)
An age ago, when I did my master's degree in science-fiction at the University of Reading, one tutor suggested a good way to grasp the workings of any given utopia: look at how children are raised in it. One thing that's striking now is that Baley (and perhaps Asimov, too) takes for granted the old saying, "spare the rod, spoil the child": it's seen as fundamentally problematic that robots, programmed to never harm humans, won't inflict "discipline" on the children in their care. The implication is that such discipline is physical, i.e. beating the child. 

Just as troubling, we see that children on Solaria instinctively play together in person and need touch and affection (the latter supplied by robots), but are gradually taught to isolate themselves from one another. They are taught to recoil from one another - and to depersonalise others. On page 134, we learn one small boy views Baley as an inferior kind of human because he is from Earth, and therefore someone who, like robots, can be the target of arrows.

This idea of how people can come to be seen is central to a book about exposure under the titular naked sun. Given the careful distinction between "viewing" and "seeing", it's notable that Baley's partner R. Daneel Olivaw is not recognised for what he really is. The Solarians assume (and at one point someone's life depends on thinking) that he is human, when he is a robot. The Solarian robots do not have names and each has a specific function. Yet for all they are treated like appliances, they have feelings - upset if a human does their jobs, or if a human is hurt. Olivaw is a more complicated case: the Solarians unwittingly treat him as a person - but so does Baley, for all he knows the truth. He might be a bit dismissive of and irritated by this robot, but no more so than he is with other humans. Olivaw has some agency but The Robots of Death takes the logical step not taken here: that robots are an oppressed people deserving liberation.

(One day, I'll return to what was meant to be a lockdown project of watching particular episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I have things to say about Data's evident personhood and the repeated efforts by his own employers to deny it.)

Other things are striking about The Naked Sun. The women characters are rather two-dimensional (for all we view them in 3D), Baley is often cross and difficult for no particular reason, and there's no great concern at the end that his actions lead to someone's death. For all it's a murder mystery in the classic style, with various different suspects all (viewed) together at the end as the detective puts his case, I didn't feel we were encouraged to play along in making sense of the evidence and guessing whodunnit.

Yet most striking is Baley's conclusion. He's a maverick loner on an alien world where he doesn't fit in. When he returns to Earth at the end, the suggestion is that his experience means he no longer fits in at home. A lot of classic science-fiction I've read is about maverick individuals, their will pitted against the wider, impersonal system. There's something of that here: in a final twist, Baley makes a decision not to punish one guilty party and to have framed someone connected to but not actually guilty of the murder. 

But that's not what Baley concludes here. He tells his superiors that the people of Solaria have given up,
"something worth more than atomic power, cities, agriculture, tools, fire, everything. [They've given up] The tribe, sir. Cooperation between individuals." (p. 195)

The analogy is to the scientific community, where peer review can point out faults and lead to better progress being made. But I'm struck by this rejection of the individual in favour of the collective. It's surely a rejection of elites living in seclusion and luxury in favour of something more equitable - even socialist.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Doctor Who Magazine #597

The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine is packed with stuff about the forthcoming TV specials that begin two weeks today, and all the other goodies being released as part of the 60th anniversary - including the more than 600 episodes of 20th century Doctor Who added to iPlayer and the new Tales from the TARDIS series.

I've got one thing in this issue: the latest Sufficient Data infographic takes us right back to the beginning of Doctor Who, with everything we know takes place in the Doctor's life before the first TV episode.

But there's also handsome adverts for my two new books, David Whitaker in an Exciting Adventure with Television and Whotopia - The Ultimate Guide to the Whoniverse. In fact, I only realise now, with everything put out on iPlayer, that our new book is the perfect guide to all these episodes, providing loads of ways into it. How clever, and they didn't tell us!

The Doctor Who Magazine website also has a competition to win a copy of Whotopia, open until 8 December. Good luck!

Thursday, November 09, 2023

David Whitaker seen on television

In August 1964, Doctor Who's first story editor, David Whitaker, wrote up a CV for his new agent, Beryl Vertue, ahead of leaving his staff job at the BBC to go freelance. That CV is a key source in piecing together David's wide-ranging career. Before becoming a writer, David had been a professional actor and his CV refers to acting work in both radio and TV - but without saying what this involved.

We know David worked for BBC Radio in Belfast while working on stage at the New Theatre at Bangor, 1954-55, but not the productions or roles. In October 1955, he was one of four unnamed sailors in The Voyage of Magellan produced by Rayner Heppenstall.

As per the Radio Times listing, this play was repeated. That may explain why a recording of it survives - made for this repeat and retained in case of further broadcast. As a result, this is one of two known records of David's voice, and although he's part of the ensemble rather than playing a named character, we can identify him in the crowd thanks to the other recording we have of him. I'll come to that in a moment.

Sadly, the BBC's Written Archives Centre (WAC) in Caversham does not hold paperwork relating to The Voyage of Magellan to give us more information, such as whether it was first broadcast live or recorded in advance. Details of this and any other roles David might have had on radio are not included in the "radio contributions" files for David held by WAC, which instead cover writing work he did for television outside his staff job.

As for the TV acting work he did before 1964, no details are known to survive - though I take an educated guess in my biography, David Whitaker in an Exciting Adventure in Television. But once he'd left his staff job at the BBC, David made a number of other appearances on TV...

Alys and Alan Hayes alerted me to the fact that, on 30 June 1967, David and his wife June Barry were among the celebrities gathered for the 1,000th episode of BBC Two's arts discussion programme Late Night Line-Up. For this, guests from previous episodes (including David Attenborough, Jonathan Miller, Robert Morley, Nyrie Dawn Porter and Ned Sherin) were entertained by comedians Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, assisted by a pre-Monty Python Terry Jones. This programme survives in the BBC archive. Here are two screenshots:

Terry Jones (standing) serves Peter Cook and (his back to us) Dudley Moore, while John Hopkins (with beard) looks on, David Whitaker and June Barry beside him.

Peter Cook standing over Dudley Moore, while John Hopkins, David Whitaker and June Barry watch.

The bearded man sat next to David is the playwright John Hopkins, with whom David worked and corresponded in the BBC script department while they were both on staff there. Hopkins wrote the screenplay for the James Bond film Thunderball (1965), which originally included a reference to Daleks:

BOND (grunts) The Daleks have taken over! 

Here's Hopkins again later the same year that he sat next to David, having just won an award for his script for Talking to a Stranger (available on YouTube), starring Judi Dench - seen second from the left:

TV Awards, 17 November 1967
Eric Portman, Judi Dench, Sydney Newman, Donald Wilson, Basil Coleman, John Hopkins

In the middle of the picture are (in glasses) Sydney Newman, leaving his job as BBC Head of Drama after five years, and beside him tall Donald Wilson, Newman's former head of serials. These two men created Doctor Who and I'm not aware of any other photograph of them together.

Back to David. On 5 March 1969, he was one of the hosts of the Writers' Guild awards held at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The moment that he announced the plaque for 'Best British Light Entertainment Script' awarded to the writing team behind Marty [Feldman] was captured on film and opens the surviving documentary One Pair Of Eyes: No, But Seriously, first broadcast on 7 June. It's the second surviving example of David's voice and you can currently view this on YouTube, but also here is a screenshot:

David Whitaker and Marius Goring
Writers' Guild Awards, 5 March 1969

Beside David is Marius Goring, the actor who'd played a villain in David's TV serial The Evil of the Daleks (1967) and his film Subterfuge (1968, but not released until 1971).

In 1972, David had a cameo role in The Far Country, his own adaptation of the Nevil Shute novel, produced by Eric Tayler for ABC in Australia and first broadcast on 9 February that year. Sadly, David's appearance is not included in the surviving footage from the serial.

Two years later, David wrote another role for himself in the STW-9 series he originated, The Drifter. Again, sadly, this doesn't survive but David's role was covered in the local listings magazine:

'Photo News' from (Australian) TV Week, 4 May 1974

David kept this page from the listings magazine and was also sent the original photograph, plus another one showing him being made-up for this role.

Laurence Hodge, Norman MacLeod and David Whitaker in The Drifter (1974)

David Whitaker made-up for The Drifter (1974)

Although he lived for another six years, these are the latest dated photographs of David Whitaker.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Who's Views interview about David Whitaker

Here's a deep dive interview on YouTube with me about how David Whitaker's years of experience working on variety shows and sitcoms informed how he helped develop the format of Doctor Who. JT at Who's Views has a whole load of interviews and other fun stuff coming up through November.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

James Beck (Walker in Dad's Army) and David Whitaker

Here are two stills from the earliest known TV appearance by actor James Beck, later famous as spiv 'Joe Walker' in Dad's Army.

Ivor Salter, Ronnie Corbett and James Beck
in Crackerjack, BBC TV, 19 March 1958
Michael Darbyshire and James Beck
in Crackerjack, BBC TV, 19 March 1958

This role in Crackerjack is from three years before what's usually cited as Beck's first TV role - as 'Roach' in The Fifth Form at St Dominic's (1961). (Dave Homewood's exhaustive list of Beck's TV credits says Beck might also have been in episodes of I Made News and Fabian of the Yard in the 1950s.)

The Crackerjack sketch, 'Cops and Robbers', was written by its regular comic guest stars Ronnie Corbett and Michael Darbyshire. Darbyshire receives a visit from Beck's 'Police Inspector Bright', who warns him to be on the look out for a dangerous criminal called 'Kelly' (Ivor Salter). Corbett and Darbyshire are excited by the chance to play Sherlock Holmes and catch the crook. Mayhem ensues... 

Radio Times listing for 19 March 1958
with credit for 'David Whittaker' (sic)
Although this sketch was written by Corbett and Darbyshire, I think Beck probably got the part through his friend David Whitaker, who was credited in that week's Radio Times as writer of the rest of the episode. David will have written host Eamonn Andrews's links, the 'party' games played by the child contestants and so on.

Beck and Whitaker met as actors in repertory theatre in Paignton in the summer of 1955. Two years later, still in Paignton, Beck had a role as 'Arthur Leicester' in A Hand in Marriage, a play David wrote and co-directed. Immediately after this production, David began a full-time job in the Script Unit at the BBC, and quickly worked on a wide variety of shows, Crackerjack among them.

A little after this TV appearance, in October 1958, Beck began a long stint at the York Theatre Royal, where he made life-long friends with a number of other cast members, including Jean Alexander (later 'Hilda Ogden' in Coronation Street), Trevor Bannister (later 'Mr Lucas' in Are You Being Served?), June Barry (later 'Joanie Walker', daughter of Annie, in Coronation Street and also 'June Forsyte' in The Forsyte Saga) and Alethea Charlton (an amazing character actress who later played the cavewoman 'Hur' in the first Doctor Who serial).

That last piece of casting may again have come about through David Whitaker, who was story editor on the first year of Doctor Who. Alethea was also bridesmaid when June Barry married David in the summer of 1963, and James Beck gave away the bride. The gang of friends are all visible in the surviving film from the day, some of which is including in our documentary Looking for David included on the Doctor Who - The Collection: Season 2 box-set.

St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington, 8 June 1963
Groom David Whitaker, bride June Barry, bridesmaid Alethea Charlton, ushers Trevor Bannister and  James Beck

According to June Barry, David was also at Beck's home on 31 July 1968 to watch the first episode of Dad's Army go out. More on all this in my book, David Whitaker in an Exciting Adventure with Television, which is published this week.

Monday, November 06, 2023

David Whitaker in Sheffield, 1954

My book David Whitaker in an Exciting Adventure with Television, is published this week, a biography of the first story editor of Doctor Who and a key figure in the early days of that series. 

One key source was actor Alan Curtis (1930-2021), who was interviewed on 9 April 2014 by my friend Toby Hadoke. This was largely about Alan's role in 1966 Doctor Who story The War Machines, but he also mentioned being friends with David and gave some insights into his character. You can hear that interview in full here:

Prompted by Toby, I visited Alan on 16 August 2016. As well as sharing his memories - which I detail in the book - Alan kindly allowed me to nose through his scrapbooks from 1954, when he and David worked together between March and September as part of the Harry Hanson Court Players repertory company, performing a new play every week at the Lyceum Theatre. 

There wasn't a great deal of time and I didn't have the facilities to scan pages from the scrapbook, but I grabbed some snaps thinking I could come back another time - which sadly never happened.

Sheffield Court Plays - 1954:
Douglas Neill (producer); Rex Holdsworth; Anne Sherwin; Iris Gilbert; Carol Howard; Alan Curtis; Lizbeth Cassay; Derek Clark; David Whitaker; Hugh Anthony; Gerard Hely; Mary Clarke; Edouin et Rachelle (in their own arrangements at Two Pianos); settings designed by Robert Pitt; constructed by Joseph Keeley

David Whitaker, a photograph I suspect taken before late 1953 when he underwent plastic surgery on his nose.

"Here Gerard Hely is measured by Iris Gilbert for his costume while David Whitaker, Derek Clark and Louise Jervis break from the Victoria Hall rehearsal to watch."

Cast list for Reefer Girl, a true story by Lorraine Tier, with David Whitaker in the role of 'John Parsons'. It was performed twice-nightly from Monday, 5 April 1954.

Cast list for A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, with David Whitaker in the role of 'Howard Mitchell'. It was performed twice-nightly from Monday, 28 June 1954.

'Five Hours' Emotion Nightly' - review of A Streetcar Named Desire from unknown newspaper, with David Whitaker bringing 'naive simplicity' to his role.

Bookmark flyer for the Harry Hanson Court Players, with David Whitaker credited above the title for  It's A Boy by Austin Melford, beginning week of 2 August 1954.

Cast list for Dracula by Bram Stoker, with David in the role of  'Doctor Seward'.  It was performed twice-nightly from Monday, 26 July 1954.

Cast list for Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring, with David in the role of 'Officer O'Hara'. It was performed twice-nightly from Monday, 9 August 1954.

David Whitaker, standing second from left, in cricket whites and hat as part of the Sheffield Court Players team, which played on Sundays (their day off from the theatre)