Doctor Who lore

I reported the other day that I had discovered some further information about the child who supplied the voice for the mad computer Xoanon at the end of episode three of The Face of Evil. Doctor Who lore records that the voice was provided by “seven year-old Anthony Frieze, who had won a Design-A-Monster competition administered through the BBC exhibitions at Blackpool and Longleat.”

Apart from the child’s name, every detail of that statement is wrong. Anthony Frieze has been in touch with me to tell his side of the story:

…as you have worked out I was older than the website records. In fact I was almost 11 in September 1976 (or “1876” as T[om] B[aker] dated a poster of his he asked me to sign). I have also seen references to winning a competition which may have been the way the director of the Face of Evil series explained my selection. In fact the explanation is somewhat more “young boys’ club”, as it were. The director, a chap called Pennant Roberts – if I recall correctly – had a wife who was a teacher at my school (Belmont Primary School, Chiswick) and she suggested my name having heard me read at assembly. No competition, as such that I was aware of. I had to re-record the the “Who am I” as I had the wrong emphasis.

I hope this has corrected some of the Dr Who lore.

As always, I wonder how the story about the competition got started? Frieze himself suggests it came from Pennant Roberts; why would he have needed to invent such a tale? Was this an evasion of regulations or agreements about the use of child actors? Or then again, is the origin of the story really just some fevered invention of fandom, perhaps a throwaway remark in an early issue of Doctor Who Monthly?

One thought on “Doctor Who lore

  1. Actually it was never open during the 3 or 4 years I lived next to the park. One day my curiosity got the better of me and I went up to the main museum and talked a curator into coming down and opening it for me. He grumbled a bit at first but then was really friendly when I showed genuine interest.

    Are you familiar with the controversy over the nearby Arab slave trader depiction? That is another interesting bit of trivia.

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