Another very nice obituary …

Another very nice obituary …

… this one in the Daily Telegraph

It’s such a shame that people don’t get to read nice things like this about themselves while they’re alive 🙁

which is what made last Sunday so nice 🙂

The Telegraph makes you register to read their articles online, so in case you don’t want to do that the full text is below …

Stephen Thorne, actor who portrayed some of Doctor Who’s most chilling adversaries – obituary

Stephen Thorne: regarded as a master of audiobook narration
Stephen Thorne: regarded as a master of audiobook narration

17 JUNE 2019 • 7:43PM

Stephen Thorne,  who has died aged 84, was a versatile actor who won critical acclaim for his sensitive recordings of more than 300 unabridged audiobooks, ranging from the works of Thomas Hardy to children’s stories, and was revered by Doctor Who fans as the creator, in the 1970s, of three notable adversaries of the Doctor.

In the 1971 story “The Dæmons”, he played the thunderous-voiced Azal, an ancient horned alien awoken from his centuries-long slumbers in a cavern beneath an English church by the Doctor’s greatest nemesis, the Master (Roger Delgado) posing as the local vicar. The Master covets the Daemon’s powers, spurring the Doctor (Jon Pertwee), Jo (Katy Manning), Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) and their UNIT comrades to thwart his plans.

Thorne’s characterisation was clearly influenced by traditional depictions of Satan, and his towering presence and deep melodious voice were enough to make even the Master cower in one of the more unusual cliffhangers of the period. Filmed at Aldbourne, Wiltshire, “The Daemons” was cited as a favourite story by most of the regular cast.

Thorne returned to the series in 1972 in “The Three Doctors” as Omega, a renegade Time Lord trapped in an antimatter universe, who attempts to force the Doctor (Jon Pertwee with his predecessors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton) into taking his place so he can wreak his revenge. In 2010 Thorne recalled that the restricted vision afforded by Omega’s mask meant that he could barely see and continually found himself between Pertwee and the camera. After the third time Pertwee had moved him out of his shot, Troughton intervened, saying: “Jon, what on earth are you doing? It doesn’t matter where you are, it’s not you they want to see. It’s the monster they want to see.”

In 1976 he pitted his wits against Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor in “The Hand of Fear” as the male incarnation of Eldrad, last of the Kastrians who initially regrows his body from a fossilised hand with radiation into a female form (Judith Paris), due to his taking over the mind of Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen, in her last regular story as a companion) so he can take revenge on his people who sentenced him to death. As with these previous roles he meets his demise in the final episode.

Thorne, as Omega, a renegade Time Lord,  in 'The Three Doctors', with Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee
Thorne as Omega, a renegade Time Lord, in ‘The Three Doctors’, with Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee. Troughton told Thorne: ‘It’s not you they want to see. It’s the monster’ CREDIT: BBC

The ranting megalomaniacs whom Thorne played in Doctor Who were in sharp contrast to the actor himself, an amusing, warm, self-effacing and gracious man whose more typical habitat was the radio rather than the television studio.

Stephen John Thorne was born in London on March 2 1935 and brought up by adoptive parents, a vicar and his wife, in Lancashire. From Liverpool College, and after National Service in the Royal Navy, he trained as an actor at Rada and did several seasons with the the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bristol Old Vic.

As well as his roles in Doctor Who (he also played an Ogron in the 1973 story “Frontier in Space”, making him one of the few guest actors in the series to appear in separate roles during the same season), he appeared in television series including Z Cars, Crossroads, Sexton Blake, Death of an Expert Witness, David Copperfield (as Daniel Peggotty) and Last of the Summer Wine.

His rich tones, however, were particularly well suited to radio. He played a formidable Aslan in an animated version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and reprised the role for radio in The Magician’s Nephew. In more than 2,000 radio broadcasts for the BBC, he was Uncle Mort in the Radio 4 comedy series by Peter Tinniswood; Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings, and Fred Colon (and also Death) in Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards!

Regarded as one of the finest readers in audio, Thorne’s recordings ranged from literary classics, including Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens, children’s stories and novelisations of Doctor Who stories to poetry, modern novels and thrillers. His ear was acutely attuned to the old order of British accents and he was particularly effective in books such as Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village, by Ronald Blythe, leaving reviewers nostalgic for a lost rural golden age.

In 1996 he won the Talkies Award for Enigma by Robert Harris and over the years gained several Golden Earphones awards from Audiofile magazine. He loved the Book of Common Prayer and the Authorised Version of the Bible, having often recorded elements of the latter during his career as an actor. He was a regular communicant at All Saints’ Friern Barnet, where he would read the epistle alternately with his wife Barbara, née Sykes, whom he met at Rada and married in 1958.

She survives him with their two sons.

Stephen Thorne, born March 2 1935, died May 26 2019


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *