Doctor Who takes on Mary Millington

On the face of it there isn’t much that seems to connect Mary Millington to Doctor Who. Sure, a small number of jobbing actors like Alan Lake, Sally Faulkner, Derren Nesbitt and Talfryn Thomas all shared scenes with both Mary and the Time Lord. What’s more intriguing is the fact that ubiquitous hardcore porn actor Tim Blackstone (the male lead in dozens of John Lindsay 8mm productions, as well as appearing with Mary in several magazine photo-spreads) appears as an uncredited extra in 1975’s Genesis of the Daleks. Mary herself was rumoured to play a ‘cleaner’ in 1977’s Talons of Weng-Chiang, although this is simply a case of mistaken identity, since there was another actress called ‘Mary Maxted’ (Mary’s married name) who was doing the rounds at the time.

However, there is another curious crossover between Mary and one of the most famous Doctor Who stories of all time – 1968’s The Invasion, which took me by surprise when watching it recently. This eight-part story, starring Patrick Troughton, sees Cybermen invading London from Outer Space. In the best-remembered scene the silver giants walk in formation down the steps outside St Paul’s Cathedral. Unlike many Doctor Who serials of the ‘60s and ‘70s, the soundtrack was not provided in-house by usual composer Dudley Simpson. The story’s director Douglas Camfield refused to allow yet another one of Simpson’s increasingly camp, over-blown scores to mar his dramatic visuals. Instead he favoured another Australian composer Don Harper (1921-1999) to write the music. It became Harper’s one and only contribution to the series, which is a shame since his menacing score is excellent; the music certainly wouldn’t seem out of place in The Ipcress File or Get Carter. Presuming his score would never be heard again, and still owning the copyright, Harper licensed the material to London-based music library De Wolfe, who supplied music for most British exploitation films of the 1970s. And so it came to pass that some of The Invasion’s more eerie motifs crop up in Ken Rowles’ wonderful Take an Easy Ride (1974) and the jollier moments, strangely adorn segments of 1980’s Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions.

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