Blogtor Who takes a look at one of this week’s Doctor Who guest stars, Phyllis Logan, who plays Andinio in The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos.
Scottish-born actor Phyllis Logan has enjoyed a prolific and diverse career spanning almost forty years. Born in 1956, Logan trained at Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where she was honoured with the prestigious James Bridie Gold Medal for performance upon her graduation in 1977.
Logan’s career has since seen her take on a succession of critically acclaimed and popular roles, mainly in major television projects but also in a variety of highly regarded film and theatre productions.
Read on for just some of Logan’s career highlights!
Phyllis Logan On TV
Logan is perhaps best known as the strict yet kind-hearted housekeeper Mrs Hughes in Downton Abbey. An original cast member, Logan has starred in every series of the ITV period drama, which aired from 2010-15 and followed the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their staff.
As well as managing various domestic crises, Mrs Hughes also has matters of her own to contend with, including a cancer scare during the show’s third series. Happier times for the housekeeper see her develop a close relationship with butler Carson (Jim Carter), who she eventually marries during the show’s final series.
Whilst her role in Downton Abbey saw her in service to the aristocracy, another of Logan’s most memorable roles saw her as a fully-fledged member of the upper classes. The BBC mystery series Lovejoy featured Logan as Lady Jane Felsham, who strikes up a friendship with the show’s eponymous lead character, a roguish antiques dealer played by Ian McShane. Lovejoy ran from 1986-94, with Logan appearing throughout the first five series before returning for the series six finale, which also concluded the show’s run.
Logan has also taken on a stream of one-off appearances and guest stints in some of the UK’s most well known shows, including Inspector Morse, Holby City, Spooks, Wallander, Hope and Glory, Taggart and the Poirot episode Sad Cypress, which also starred former Doctor Paul McGann.
Logan’s more recent shows include the first series of The Good Karma Hospital. The ITV medical drama, which began in 2017, featured Logan as Maggie Smart. The adventure-seeking mother travels to India to attend her daughter’s wedding but later decides to extend her stay in the country, despite dealing with a brain tumour and against the wishes of her husband Paul (Phillip Smart).
Logan’s latest TV role came earlier this year in the ITV drama Girlfriends, created by Kay Mellor (Syndicate, In The Club). The show follows a trio of lifelong friends and the changes they face in their lives as they age, including relationship issues, grandchildren and discrimination in the workplace. Logan plays Linda Hutchinson, who turns to pals Sue (Miranda Richardson) and Gail (Zoe Wanamaker) when her husband Mickey (Steve Evets) vanishes whilst on a cruise.
Phyllis Logan In Film
Whilst Logan is clearly recognisable for her television work, her big breakthrough came with her debut film Another Time, Another Place. Logan starred in the World War II drama as Janie, a young Scottish housewife who embarks upon an affair with Luigi, one of the Italian prisoners-of-war who arrives to work on her and her husband’s farm. Logan’s performance in the film earned her critical acclaim, as well as the BAFTA for Most Outstanding Newcomer to Film in 1984.
Two 90s film roles for Logan, meanwhile, saw her collaborate with future Twelfth Doctor – and fellow Scot – Peter Capaldi. The first of these, the 1992 comedy-drama Soft Top Hard Shoulder, was written by and starred Capaldi as struggling artist Gavin Bellini, the son of a Glasgow ice-cream maker who embarks on an epic roadtrip from London to his hometown to claim his inheritance. Logan features as Karla, a mechanic he encounters along the way.
A year later, Logan played Frau Bunofsky in Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life, a short film written and directed by Capaldi for BBC Scotland. Starring in the titular role was Richard E Grant, a familiar face to Doctor Who fans for his guest role in Series 7 as well as his portrayal of two non-canonical Doctors. The comedy went on to pick up the 1994 BAFTA for Best Short Film, as well as the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film the following year.
Other notable films for Logan include an adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian thriller 1984 – released in the same year – as well as the 1996 Mike Leigh indie Secrets & Lies and the 1999 family comedy Nativity!.
Phyllis Logan On Stage
Logan’s professional stage career began at the Dundee Repertory Theatre, a company she joined after graduating and remained with until 1979, when she left to work on stage in Edinburgh. Past productions for Logan have included the musicals Guys and Dolls and The Hired Man, the Noel Coward comic play Present Laughter, and Shakespeare’s Richard III.
Currently, Logan is starring in the Joanna Murray-Smith thriller Switzerland. The production transferred to the West End last month from its original run at the Theatre Royal Bath. Logan plays the real-life American crime author Patricia Highsmith, best known for psychological thrillers such as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr Ripley. But when Highsmith is visited at her Swiss home by Edward Ridgeway (Calum Finlay), sent from her New York publishing house to talk her into a final novel, she is drawn into an increasingly sinister situation worthy of one of her books.
Switzerland is set to run at London’s Ambassador Theatre until 5th January 2019 – ticket availability for the show’s remaining performances can be found at the venue’s website.
Logan is set to reprise her role as Mrs Hughes for the highly-anticipated film version of Downton Abbey. Written by show creator Julian Fellowes, the big-screen outing reunites all of the show’s original cast alongside several new faces including Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter), Geraldine James (Sherlock Holmes) and David Haig (The Thick of It). With filming now complete, the Downton Abbey movie is due to be released on 13th September 2019 in the UK, with the US release following a week later on 20th September.
A new film project for Logan, Misbehaviour, was announced earlier this autumn. The comedy drama tells the extraordinary true story of the 1970 Miss World beauty pagent, held at a time when such competitions were at their peak. Not only was the event disrupted by women’s lib protests, but the contest’s result was also strikingly controversial for crowning the first ever black Miss World. Logan joins a strong female cast for Misbehaviour, including Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Miss World winner Jennifer Hosten and Keira Knightly as feminist activist Sally Alexander.
The Battle Of Ranskoor Av Kolos
Logan guest stars as Andinio in the Doctor Who Series 11 finale, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos. Answering nine separate distress calls, the Doctor and her friends’ final adventure of the series sees them arrive at a battleground with a series of mysteries to investigate, and a deadly reckoning to face.
Not much is known about Andinio so far, but with a distinctive raised tattoo upon her cheek and a broken locket around her neck, Logan’s character is certainly intriguing – we’ll just have to wait a little bit longer until her role in the finale’s events is revealed…
The adventure continues…
Doctor Who concludes this Sunday at 6.30pm GMT on BBC One and at 8pm EST on BBC America with The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos by Chris Chibnall. For further broadcast times in your region, check local listings. Series 11 stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien) and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair).
The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos guest stars Mark Addy (Paltraki), Phyllis Logan (Andinio), and Percelle Ascott (Delph) and is directed by Jamie Childs.
On the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos, lies the remains of a brutal battlefield. But as the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan answer nine separate distress calls, they discover the planet holds far more secrets. Who is the mysterious commander with no memory? What lies beyond the mists? Who or what are the Ux?
The answers will lead the Doctor and her friends towards a deadly reckoning.