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Harry Towb, 1925-2009

Harry Towb, a Northern Irish actor who made it moderately big on the British stage and screen, died at the weekend (a few days before his 84th birthday), and I just wanted to acknowledge his two roles in Doctor Who - as Osgood, the lunar controller in episode 1 of The Seeds of Death and McDermott, the old-school plastics factory man in episode 2 of Terror of the Autons. In both cases he gets kiilled off pretty early on, but rather memorably so. Osgood has a fairly standard English accent, but McDermott is the only character ever to appear on Doctor Who sounding like he shares Towb's Norn Iron origins.

The Seeds of Death

 Osgood bids his farewell as he heads up to the moon...
...disappearing in the T-Mat booth...
...to find that his management problems...
...have been made worse by...
...the unseen intruders...
...(actually the Ice Warriors)...
...who shoot him. And he dies.

Terror of the Autons

McDermott is puzzled by the plastics factory...
...and the new advisor with the natty beard...
...who wants to show him a new invention...
...the chair you can just sink into...
...this is the forerunner of the bin that eats Mickey in "Rose"...
...and so McDermott dies.

Towb also returned rather bizarrely to play the Brigadier's aged Italian Uncle in The Ghosts of N-Space, Jon Pertwee's last outing as the Doctor, in 1996. There are no pictures from The Ghosts of N-Space, but perhaps that is just as well.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
I remember him as Mr Judd, the armourer for the Section in Callan.
Jul. 29th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
McDermott is the only character ever to appear on Doctor Who sounding like he shares Towb's Norn Iron origins

My memory's a bit fuzzy - but wasn't Declan Mulholland, as the sole survivor of the attack on the Sea Fort in The Sea Devils not have a recognisable Norn Irish Accent. There's also the 'Doctor fan' in the New Who Auton story who got toasted, IIRC he was from Northern Ireland and had the accent.

Even if my memory is playing tricks with me, Northern Ireland's pretty up there in the Who 'cool' stakes: Ability to resist the Master (which was why McDermott was killed) and survive Sea Devil attacks. Let's not mention the New Who episode...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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