Caroline John 1940-2012

From BBC News…

British actress Caroline John, known to many for playing Doctor Who assistant Liz Shaw, has died at the age of 71.

A funeral was held in south-west London on Wednesday for the Yorkshire-born actress, who starred opposite Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in the BBC series.

John played Liz Shaw in four Doctor Who adventures in 1970, later reprising her role in 1983’s The Five Doctors.

Doctor Who chief writer Steven Moffat paid tribute to “a brilliant actress” and “tremendous co-star” for Pertwee.

He said Liz Shaw was “not just a sidekick but a scientist in her own right and a match for the universe’s number one know-all”.

“The Doctor’s companions should never be his assistants – they’re the people who keep him on his toes and that’s what Caroline did.”

Both John and husband Geoffrey Beevers went on to work on several Doctor Who audio and straight-to-video spin-offs.

Born in October 1940, John trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and went on to be a member of the National Theatre company under Sir Laurence Olivier.

As Elizabeth “Liz” Shaw, John made her first appearance alongside the newly-regenerated third Doctor in the story Spearhead from Space.

Her character witnessed the reawakening of an ancient race in The Silurians and stopped an insane scientist from cracking open the Earth’s crust in Inferno.

She also got to drive Bessie, the Doctor’s canary yellow roadster, despite the actress not having a driving licence at the time.

In recent years, John was seen in episodes of Doctors, Midsomer Murders and Silent Witness.

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