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)


Frankymole said...

Fascinating! Great to see those pictures. I already ordered the book :)

0tralala said...

Glad to hear it. I'll share more pictures through the week!