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My Dr Who axing will hit cot death cash (1987)

1987-01-07 Sun.jpg

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Day Two of another Sunsational exclusive

My Dr Who axing will hit cot death cash

TV role helped raise thousands, says Colin


COLIN BAKER fears his sacking as telly's Dr Who will hit research into Cot Death Syndrome—the killer that claimed his baby son, Jack, two years ago.

Colin and his wife, Marion, were devastated when Jack, their first child, died peacefully while sleeping just a couple of yards from his mother.

And grief-stricken Colin threw himself into helping the Foundation For The Study Of Infant Deaths. He says: "Naturally, being Dr Who helped my efforts. Having one of the most coveted roles on TV. I was able to raise thousands of pounds for the Foundation.

"Now, of course, that will all end, although I will always work for them."

Colin and Marion now have a beautiful, bouncing baby girl, Lucy, who is 21 months. But they know they will never get over losing Jack.

"When something like that happens, it puts everything into perspective." Colin says.

"It certainly made me able to cope with the likes of Michael Grade. He might be the Controller of the BBC, but even he can't hurt me.

Fate

"When Lucy was born, we were naturally both unbelievably happy, but I was very protective about her.

"I wouldn't tempt fate by allowing pictures to be taken of her. I kept her birth very low key.

"We were both terrified that something might happen. You never think it will happen to you. It never occurs to you that a six-month-old baby will stop breathing for no reason.

"The death of a child, especially an unexplained death, often kills the marriage as well.

"But in our case, it has brought us incredibly close. Marion has given me tremendous support throughout all this Dr Who business.

"She was as shocked as I was by the news, but I know that whatever I do, she will be beside me.

"To be honest, there have been times when I felt like just throwing everything in. I have considered selling our cottage, packing up and moving to a little place in Cornwall.

"I wouldn't mind running a corner shop and living an ordinary life. When I suggested this to Marion, she said, 'Okay Colin, whatever you want to do, we'll do it.'"

One thing Cohn still wants to do is discover the reason why Michael Grade sacked him.

Upset

He says: "I have never been one to keep my mouth shut. Perhaps that is the answer.

"The producer of the show, John Nathan-Turner, once asked me, 'Have you ever done anything to upset the man, Colin?'

"And the answer is that I don't believe I ever have. I've thought about it a lot and sometimes wondered if it is because of my ex-wife, Liza Goddard.

"When Grade was the Controller of London Weekend TV, Liza worked there a lot. Perhaps that coloured his vision of me.

"Grade has been knocking the show so publicly, and for so long, that I believe he had to be seen to do something.

"What could he do more publicly than sack me?

I'm just a scapegoat.

"What people don't know is that Dr Who is one of the BBC's biggest money spinners.

"In American sales, it earns £1 3/4 million a year—which is considerably more than it costs to make the show.

"Grade just doesn't care about that. When I was in America, TV companies told me they were crying out for more episodes of the show.

"I was approached personally to make a plea to Grade to make more shows.

Dream

"But this was not well received. In the gospel according to Grade, actors have got their place—and it isn't the role of negotiator."

Cohn says the trauma of losing his job still gives him nightmares.

He says: "I honestly do still dream that Grade will turn up on my doorstep and say it has all been a terrible mistake, but I realise that this will never happen now."

"I can honestly say that working on Dr Who was one of the happiest working experiences of my life. It was a fantastic team and there were always plenty of pranks.

"Once when the production team discovered I was terrified of spiders, they set me up.

"I arrived in my dressing room to find they'd festooned the place with massive plastic spiders, even to the extent of filling the loo with them.

"On another occasion, I was supposed to have my face caked in mud. The prop man pointed out the pile of dirt I was supposed to spread on my face, but he failed to tell me a dog had passed by.

"They all thought it was very amusing that I had dog muck all over my face.

"A lot of things have been said about my weight, and I would be the first to admit that on Dr Who we would often indulge in pudding-eating competitions.

"I won fair and square one night by eating three in a row.

Cover-up

"There was never any bitchiness on the set—un-like a lot of BBC series.

"The only cover-up was when the BBC told my first assistant, Nicola Bryant, that she mustn't reveal that she was married.

"The poor girl had to keep her old man under wraps.

"After Nicola, we got the lovely Bonnie Langford, who I am happy to see is being kept on for the next series.

"I wish her luck."


Strange gifts galore

LETTERS from the show's thousands of fans have consoled Cohn.

He says: "I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from viewers. Fans have made the job, really worthwhile.

"Some of them have sent me strange gifts, like the boy who gave me some flesh-eating plants—he thought it was an another-world sort of present. I thought It was too violent to be kept at home, so I kept it at the BBC—a much more fitting place.

"Other fans touched me with their gifts, like the American who bought me a very beautiful print, which I had been bidding for myself.

"She carried on bidding and ended up paying £145. She then presented me with It. It was really very touching."


Captions:

MICHAEL GRADE "He wanted Who to fail"

LIZA GODDARD "She worked for Grade"

Smiles after tears ... Colin and Marion adore little Lucy—but can never forget

Proud parents ... before cot-death tragedy struck

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Carroll, Sue (1987-01-07). My Dr Who axing will hit cot death cash. The Sun p. 12.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Carroll, Sue. "My Dr Who axing will hit cot death cash." The Sun [add city] 1987-01-07, 12. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Carroll, Sue. "My Dr Who axing will hit cot death cash." The Sun, edition, sec., 1987-01-07
  • Turabian: Carroll, Sue. "My Dr Who axing will hit cot death cash." The Sun, 1987-01-07, section, 12 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=My Dr Who axing will hit cot death cash | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/My_Dr_Who_axing_will_hit_cot_death_cash | work=The Sun | pages=12 | date=1987-01-07 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=18 November 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=My Dr Who axing will hit cot death cash | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/My_Dr_Who_axing_will_hit_cot_death_cash | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=18 November 2017}}</ref>