There is never any joy that comes with speaking about death, and this past week saw the loss of two TV greats, one just a tad more recognizable than the other. British television director Derek Martinus died on Thursday at the age of 82 due to complications with Alzheimer’s, which he’d had for years. British actress Kate O’Mara died Sunday morning at 74 of an undisclosed illness. It’s something of a coincidence that both of them are tied to the sci-fi world through Doctor Who, and their combined involvement with the series spans five Time Lords.
O’Mara showed off her evil side as the villainous Rani in two serials, “The Mark of the Rain” with Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor, and “Time and the Rani,” with Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh incarnation. She perhaps would have been in more had the series not been cancelled when it did. The Rani remains a memorable villain both for O’Mara’s performance and because she was a renegade Time Lord, a scientist whose evil-doings were based most in science, like a MacGyver with a chemistry kit. She also appeared in the 30-year anniversary special in 1993. Witness her evil below.
To non-Who fans, O’Mara is probably most recognizable as the duplicitous Caress Morell, Alexis Colby’s sister on CBS’ primetime soap Dynasty. She also starred in popular U.K. dramas Triangle and Howard’s Way, as well as another soapy drama, The Brothers. Her last role was in an episode of Berren Litten’s comedy Benidorm in 2012.
Martinus, meanwhile, got his directing start back in 1965 and helmed multiple serials during the first three Doctors’ runs, including several of the famed lost episodes like “The Ice Warriors” and “The Tenth Planet.” He directed 26 episodes in total, and you can see some of his work in the “Spearhead from Space” trailer below.
Outside of that Doctor Who work, Martinus directed a couple of episodes of the cult series Blake’s 7, the regal drama Penmarric, and the police drama Z Cars. (Side note: O’Mara was also in a couple of Z Cars episodes, but none of the ones that Martinus directed.) His last work behind the camera was for the foster home drama Dodger Bomzo and the Rest in 1985.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of O’Mara and Martinus, and we hope their time in the TARDIS is that much more leisurely now.