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Sep 05

I never met Michael Sheard (1940-2005)

Do You SeePost a comment • 400 views

In 1997 I went up to Edinburgh to sample the Fringe. It was the year that the League of Gentlemen won the Perrier, and I saw their show. Matt Lucas was in the audience laughing his arse off, but i didn’t get much of a kick out of it. Mark Gatiss did his “cave guide” routine. He mentions Cybermen.

We later saw Gatiss again as the guest on Lee & Herring’s TMWRNJ where he feigned to forget the names of the Dr Who books he had written. Now at the time I was living in a shared house with another Who writer who had been commissioned along with Gatiss to write some gay porn – a natural progression for a company publishing Who novels. Anyway, the point being that I was in the embassing position of being able to supply a remarkably informative heckle at this point in the TMWRNJ show.

This appears to have very little to do with Michael Sheard, but it does demonstrate how Dr Who distorted my cultural space-time like a black hole, sucking every context into its own design.

I was staying in Edinburgh with the main reviewer of Who novels for DW Magazine. of course. As he drove us from the station to his a-walk-from-the-Pleasance flat he pointed out some people pushing a Dalek up-hill, and said “I’m meeting up with them later on. We’re hosting a signing of Michael Sheard’s biography!”

He knew my weakness. Mr Sheard has appeared in some great Dr Who moments (The Ark, Mind of Evil, Pyramids of Mars, Invisible Enemy, Castrovalva, Remembrance of the Daleks) and cult tv generally (Space 1999, Blakes 7, The Tomorrow People, Raiders films, a Star Wars film). However going up to someone, especially a someone of this cast of niche interest, and asking for a signed copy of their biography was crossing a line that i somehow imagined i hadn’t crossed by knowing all that i knew about him anyway. I asked our host to get me a copy as we had a booked show to go to. Or some excuse. “Ask him to sign it with something from the Tomorrow People” i added. I am a really hopeless case.

So a sad (yes in all senses) missed opportunity to meet him. Everyone has always said what a thoroughly splendid chap he was. It would have been great to have him back on Nu-Who now that the likes of Gatiss et al have managed to bring it back.

“Nicholas Lyndhurst ha ha ha ha ha – Michael Sheard” is how he signed it.

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