Blogtor Who takes a look at Art Malik, one of the guest stars in this week’s episode of Doctor WhoThe Ghost Monument.

Art Malik is a veteran of his craft, having starred in numerous film, television and theatre productions throughout his 40-year career. The internationally-renowned actor was born in Pakistan, before moving to and settling in the UK with his parents and brothers at the tender age of three. Raised in Tooting, London, he trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before embarking on a long career sprinkled with many highlights – just a few of which can be found below…

Treading The Boards

Some of Malik’s earliest professional roles were with prestigious theatre establishments such as the Old Vic and Royal Shakespeare companies. As well as roles in Shakespeare plays such as OthelloTimon of Athens and Romeo and Juliet, Malik has also appeared in more contemporary projects. The most recent of these was The Village, an adaptation of Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna relocated to modern-day India in a state of political unrest. Staged at the Theatre Royal Stratford East earlier this month, The Village received rave reviews, with Time Out describing it as ‘relentlessly gripping…elemental and overwhelming‘.

British Raj Breakthrough Roles

Malik’s rise to fame began with parts in three 1984 dramas, all of which centered around the themes and issues surrounding the British Empire’s rule over India and its aftermath. The first of these was The Far Pavilions, a three-part miniseries adapted from the novel by M.M. Kaye, in which Malik played the young Indian soldier Zarin Khan.

Hot on the heels of The Far Pavilions was what has since become one of Malik’s most high-profile projects, The Jewel In The Crown. Based on Paul Scott’s Raj Quartets, Malik took the lead as Hari, a man born in India but educated in England and who finds himself out of place in both countries. The ITV series dominated the 1985 TV BAFTAs, with Malik nominated for Best Actor alongside his co-stars Charles Dance and winner Tim Pigott-Smith.

Malik rounded off his hat-trick of Raj dramas with A Passage To India. The epic historical drama was written and directed by David Lean, who cast Malik in the film on the strength of his performance in The Jewel In The Crown.  An adaptation of the novel by E.M. Forster, A Passage To India starred Malik as Mahmoud Ali, a Muslim Indian barrister who strongly opposed British rule. The film, which examined the delicate balance between the British and Indians during the time of the Raj, was critically acclaimed and was nominated for an impressive eleven Oscars.

Box Office Hits

A Passage To India marked an early big-screen success for Malik, which he went on to follow with several more. One of the most famous of these is the 1987 Bond film The Living Daylights, starring Timothy Dalton in his debut as the secret agent. Malik played Kamran Shah, an Afghan Mujahadeen ally of Bond.

Other cinema roles for Malik are as the Muslim terrorist Salim Abu Aziz in the Arnold Schwarzenegger action comedy True Lies, an Indian mobster in City of Joy and, more recently, as Sheikh Khaled in Sex and the City 2. The past few years have also seen Malik dip his toe into the world of Bollywood, with roles in the biographical drama Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Run Milkha Run) and the romantic melodrama Miryza.

Small Screen Success

For all his success in cinema, Malik’s television work has been even more prolific, with countless roles in a variety of both dramas and comedies. One of the most well-known of these came in 2003, when Malik landed a regular role in the medical drama Holby City. His portrayal of the consultant anaesthetist Zubin Khan gained him many fans as well as the accolade of Best TV Actor at the 2004 Ethnic Multicultural Awards.

Malik’s latest television credits include Mr Amanjit Singh in the continuation of Upstairs, Downstairs, retired Pakistani general Bunran ‘Bunny’ Latif in Homeland, Francesc Gacet in Borgia, the Maharajah in Indian Summers, the prison governor in Sherlock (The Final Problem), and rich businessman Eddie Zubayr in the revival of Cold Feet. His most recent TV role was as the ‘wounded yet dignified‘ Erasmus Nash in the BBC adaptation of The Woman In White, which aired earlier this year.

A Pair O’ Docs

With his large body of work in British TV, it would have been extraordinary if Malik hadn’t encountered a Doctor at some point – and with the comedy spoof Hotel! he got two for the price of one. Airing on Channel 5 in 2001, Hotel! starred Paul McGann and Peter Capaldi as two hotel managers, with Malik as the head of a group of terrorists attempting to take it over. Packed with almost as many Doctor Who actors as dodgy puns, Hotel! also features one of the Doctor’s new friends, Bradley Walsh, as well as Time Heist‘s Keeley Hawes.

Malik went on to work with McGann again several years later, this time in the universe of Doctor WhoThe Skull of Sobek is a 2008 Big Finish audio adventure starring McGann’s Doctor alongside companion Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith), with Art Malik appearing as Abbot Absolute:

Doctor Who: The Skull Of Sobek - (c) Big Finish Productions
Doctor Who: The Skull Of Sobek – (c) Big Finish Productions

Too much perfection’s dangerous.

On the isolated planet of Indigo 3, far out in the wastes of the Blue Desert, lies the Sanctuary of Imperfect Symmetry. It is a place of contemplation and reflection. It is also a place of death.

Something from another time, from another world, has found its way inside the hallowed walls. Something with a leathery hide, a long snout and sharp pointy teeth.

Tick tock. Here comes the crocodile…

The Ghost Monument

Continuing the secrecy of this series, we currently know nothing about Malik’s role in this week’s episode of Doctor Who, save that his character’s name is Ilin. Although remaining tight-lipped on details of his role, Malik has described his time on the show as ‘a lovely, lovely experience‘, and has revealed what led him to take on Doctor Who:

“What appealed to me was that I remember being a child watching the first episode go out. I remember being terrified when I first heard the Daleks say exterminate. When I was asked earlier this year, would I like to be involved in an episode, of course I would! Why would I not?”

Doctor Who continues this Sunday 14th October with The Ghost Monument, starring Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair) and Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien). 

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