Last weekend BlogtorWho was lucky enough to be at the BFI Southbank for the screening of ‘The Sea Devils‘. Throughout the day there were a number of interview sessions on stage. For the benefit of those who were not in attendance we present some highlights from those sessions.

Following the first two episodes of ‘The Sea Devils’ Dick Fiddy interviewed Hugh Futcher who had appeared as Hickman in the story before meeting an untimely end at the hand of a Sea Devil. Dick Fiddy first of all asked about working with director Michael Briant;

Yes. He was very good to me as an actor. I was happy to do it. This morning I was aware of all those wonderful actors. Those charismatic actors who are sadly no longer with us. Some of the finest actors were involved in Doctor Who and I’m so grateful to have seen them today.” – Hugh Futcher

Just out of interest, did you do any live television?” – Dick Fiddy

Yes I did.” – Hugh Futcher

So working on Doctor Who where you had quite tight turnarounds and they didn’t really stop if you made a mistake, was that similar?” – Dick Fiddy

There was a relaxed atmosphere, particularly working as I did with Declan [Mulholland who played Clark in ‘The Sea Devils’] who was an absolute joy to work with. I didn’t become addicted to gambling but he tells me that afterwards he knew more about the way to play poker than he ever had done before. He was a nice, nice man.” – Hugh Futcher

Doctor Who: The Sea Devils BFI screening – Dick Fiddy and Hugh Futcher (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

The other Seventh Doctor?

That wasn’t of course your only involvement with Doctor Who. You were very nearly cast as The Doctor?” – Dick Fiddy

I was, along with four other actors, considered to be the next Doctor Who. I can’t remember the name of the Producer [ed. John Nathan-Turner], he came to see me in a play that I was doing at the time; ‘The Secret Garden’. All of a sudden, as one was discussing the production, he then took this [scarf] off and without any warning whatsoever he placed it around my neck. And then sadly added ‘I’m sorry Hugh. It didn’t go your way.” – Hugh Futcher

So the scarf was a consolation prize?” – Dick Fiddy

I hope Sylvester is well this morning!” – Hugh Futcher

I’m sure he is. Was it a terrible disappointment to you?” – Dick Fiddy

Yes it was. It’s just one of those things. I’m very fortunate and very lucky that I’ve had a career spanning so many years but I think more than anything else it just proved to me something like that is life changing. A chap who was in a movie that I was lucky enough to be involved with in Austria, he was just one of the boys. He didn’t do anything in the film but he was there. It was fine, we had a nice friendship. Because I believe he walks out of a door in Star Wars, he travels the world! So I find that awful thing called Facebook, I can’t bare it, he’s in another country! But I do hope he’s well.” – Hugh Futcher

The quality of Doctor Who

I’m pleased that you’ve got over your disappointment enough that you’re still happy to be associated with Doctor Who and to come and talk to us about it.” – Dick Fiddy

It had a quality, there on the screen today. Which, I think, in my opinion is sadly lacking today.” – Hugh Futcher

As you mentioned, charismatic acting goes a long way when you’ve got limited resources. The actors have to carry a lot of the weight.” – Dick Fiddy

Yes, and there were so many of them in that one episode. I could name five of them. Splendid actors. Roger Delgado for instance.” – Hugh Futcher

Sadly missed, as they all are. But they live on in Doctor Who and the legacy is enormous. As you can see all this time later what a huge interest there is and you were a part of that. So it must be rewarding?” – Dick Fiddy

It’s very flattering. In the last couple of months, I find that when the agent phones and you think ‘Joy, it’s another job!’, it turns out to be my past catching up with me! I was lucky enough to be involved in seven of the ‘Carry On’ films. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to promote the box set for ‘Rattle of a Simple Man’. Has anyone even heard of that film? But it’s joyous to be still around to talk about them!” – Hugh Futcher

I think it’s the nature of our industry now that the past still lives on in all the re-releases. The fact that you have extras on physical release and sometimes extras on screen as well. It’s so lovely of you to come and talk to us about it. Thank you so much!” – Dick Fiddy

Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 9 (c) BBC

Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 9 is available to preorder now from AmazonZavvi and HMV in the UK, and Amazon in the US ahead of its release on 20th March 2023.


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