One of the joys of rummaging occasionally through what might for lack of better term be called ‘vintage’ UK television is in seeing actors associated with Doctor Who after, or in this case, just before their appearance in the classic series. We’ve written about this before and, quite recently, had another serendipitous encounter. ‘Special Branch’ was a UK drama which ran for four series from 1969 to 1974, spanning both black and white, color, and the transition to an all-film format. The penultimate episode of the third season ‘Hostage’ which ran on June 27, 1973 featured, albeit in a small role as an unnamed WPC (Women’s Police Constable), Elizabeth Sladen.
Although the episode screened in summer, it was obviously shot in the late winter/spring of that year, and it was probably made just before (in relative terms) she was cast as Sarah Jane Smith for Jon Pertwee’s final season.
Sladen was not the only person from ‘Hostage’ to have Doctor Who ties either. Mark Eden appeared in Marco Polo and An Adventure in Space and Time, the lead George Sewell appeared in Remembrance of the Daleks, and Michael Gambon appeared in A Christmas Carol.
All in all an unexpected treat!