Today, Happy Birthday to Who? reaches its Journey’s End for 2016 by celebrating two old soldiers. One fought alongside The Doctor in battle, and the other fought against him. Many happy returns to both Bernard Cribbins and Julian Bleach!
This legend surely needs no introduction! Cribbins, who turns 88 today, is a man of many talents. Character actor, voice-over artist, musical comedian… his career spans over 70 years. Cribbins famously narrated The Wombles between 1973-1975 and recorded a series of novelty records in the 1960s. He was also a regular performer on BBC series Jackanory.
Doctor Who fans will know Cribbins best as Wilfred Mott, Donna Noble’s grandfather from the Tenth Doctor era. However, he had previously appeared in 1966 film Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. opposite Peter Cushing’s Doctor. His first new Doctor Who appearance was in Voyage of the Damned, followed by a recurring role in Series 4 up to The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. He would then go on to become a companion himself in David Tennant’s two-part swansong, The End of Time. Famously, Wilf was inadvertently responsible for the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration.
Since Doctor Who, Cribbins has been starring in the title role of Old Jack’s Boat on CBeebies. The series has previously featured Freema Agyeman in a supporting role – the first time these two David Tennant companions had appeared together on screen.
Additionally, Cribbins was awarded an OBE in 2011 for his services to drama. Richly deserved!
Davros made the Daleks, but who made Davros? Why, Julian Bleach, of course – in the new era at least!
Julian Bleach, who turns 53 today, is an English actor famous for playing The Doctor’s greatest nemesis in the modern series of Doctor Who. He first appeared as Davros in Series 4 finale The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End, working with the Daleks to create a reality bomb. Although the Tenth Doctor defeated him with his “children of time”, it was not the last we would see of him. Bleach made an unexpected reappearance in Series 9 opener The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, acting against Peter Capaldi’s Doctor in some hugely compelling scenes. He also reprised his role for the 2008 Doctor Who Prom, appearing live at the Royal Albert Hall. Time will tell whether we will see Bleach return again as Davros…!
Bleach’s connection to the Whoniverse does not end there though. He previously also appeared as the Ghostmaker in Torchwood and as the eponymous The Nightmare Man in The Sarah Jane Adventures. This makes Bleach one of only two actors to appear in not only Doctor Who, but both of its spin-offs (well, before Class came along, anyway!).