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Michael Craze obituary

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1998-12-24 Stage.jpg


Michael Craze, the actor who played companion Ben in the BBC series Doctor Who, died peacefully in hospital on December 7.

Born in Newquay on December 29, 1942, Michael entered showbusiness at the age of 12 as a boy soprano in such West End musicals as The King and I and Damn Yankees!. Juvenile roles in TV soon followed, in programmes such as Armchair Theatre and early science fiction series Target Luna, plus movies including the Max Bygraves vehicle Spare the Rod.

On leaving school, he toured the country with a number of repertory companies, and worked as a guest actor on TV shows including No Hiding Place and Gideon's Way. Called to audition for a part in Doctor Who in 1966, a show of which he was already a keen viewer, Michael was surprised to discover that his character - the h-dropping able seaman Ben Jackson - was to be a regular. Introduced in The War Machines, along with me as upmarket secretary Polly, we proved to be ideal foils for one another. The arrival of Patrick Troughton's Doctor just three stories later marked his happiest times on the show. Ben and Polly's adventures in Time and Space ended in May 1967 when, at the conclusion of The Faceless Ones, the characters put their battles against Daleks and Cybermen behind them.

Immediately afterwards, Michael founded a film company, Mantic, directing an award winning short-film entitled Fragment, which was exhibited at the Commonwealth Film Festival. Roles in Dixon of Dock Green, Z Cars and Crossroads, among others, kept him busy well into the seventies, when he took a Shepperton pub, eventually entering the hotel trade. He continued to make occasional TV and film appearances including BBC1's 1994 serial The Healer.

Michael and I re-met five years ago, when I joined him in making public appearances at numerous conventions all over the UK and the United States. We acquired a huge following of friends and fans and shared a Doctor Who family, also helping to raise thousands of pounds for children's charities. There will be many conventions in 1999 dedicated to his memory.

Michael's generosity of spirit was huge. And those of us who knew him well will feel the deep loss of his immense support, humour and honesty. He was a true friend.

He leaves behind his son Ben, aged 15, with whom he shared many happy hours in their mutual love of fishing.

He will be sorely missed.

Caption: Generosity of spirit - Michael Craze. Picture: Peter Hall

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  • APA 6th ed.: Wills, Anneke (1998-12-24). Michael Craze obituary. The Stage p. 31.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Wills, Anneke. "Michael Craze obituary." The Stage [add city] 1998-12-24, 31. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Wills, Anneke. "Michael Craze obituary." The Stage, edition, sec., 1998-12-24
  • Turabian: Wills, Anneke. "Michael Craze obituary." The Stage, 1998-12-24, section, 31 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Michael Craze obituary | url= | work=The Stage | pages=31 | date=1998-12-24 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=27 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Michael Craze obituary | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=27 May 2024}}</ref>