Farewell, Philip Madoc

R.I.P. Philip Madoc – Dr. Mehendri Solon and the War Lord from Doctor Who, also Lutzig – “Don’t tell him, Pike!” in Dad’s Army, David Lloyd George in The Life and Times of David Lloyd George, and many others.

When I was a kid, in the days before video cassettes and DVDs, I made an off-air recording of the Doctor Who serial The Brain of Morbius, guest-starring Philip Madoc. I don’t know how many times I listened to that tape – it broke several times and I lovingly spliced it back together on every occasion. I still have it somewhere. Besides Doctor Who, that recording helped feed my love of soundtracks and audio plays and, in Madoc’s superbly villainous guest star turn, an appreciation of the importance of character actors, of excellent supporting players. And Madoc was a superb British character actor.

In his performance as Dr. Mehendri Solon, a sort of outer space Dr. Frankenstein, he was sublimely villainous and held his own opposite Tom Baker in no uncertain terms. His beautiful voice, his utterly convincing insanity and, duplicitous determination still give me the creeps. (He also guested in the Doctor Who stories The Krotons, the War Games and The Power of Kroll and played a sinister, self-serving black marketeer in the Peter Cushing movie Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150AD.)

I loved it when I realised this was the same guy who played the German officer in a classic episode of BBC comedy Dad’s Army – “Vhat are your namez?”  “Don’t tell him, Pike!” Maybe you had to be there. He even turned up opposite Martin Landau in Space: 1999 as Landau’s character’s predecessor as commander of Moonbase Alpha. Over the years, I had fun spotting him in the many, many genre shows he guest-starred in. Oh, and he also played British prime minister David Lloyd George in an esteemed BBC drama – and his theme tune was written by Ennio Morricone. I’ll always think of Madoc when I hear that.

Thank you, farewell, and godspeed Philip Madoc.

Philip Madoc 5 July 1934 – 5 March 2012

Nick Abadzis is an internationally published cartoonist and writer. Brought up in Britain, he lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.


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