Wolverhampton Grand at 125: Out of this world

By Marion Brennan | Wolverhampton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

For a few months 30 years ago, one of television's biggest science fiction icons stepped out of our TV screens to appear on stage – Daleks, Tardis and all.

Colin Baker and Rebecca Thornhill come to Wolverhampton's Grand in 1989

And Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre was among the 20 theatres around Britain chosen to host the spectacle which began its UK tour on March 23, 1989.

Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure initially starred Jon Pertwee, who had played the Third Doctor in the series, but he fell ill and, on June 5, Colin Baker, who had played the Sixth Doctor, took over the lead until the run ended on August 19.

The play was adjusted to suit the Sixth Doctor's persona – an arrogant, flamboyant character who wore brightly coloured, mismatched clothes and whose brash, often patronising personality set him apart from all previous doctors.

The production, which came to The Grand at the start of July, involved an alliance between the Daleks and the Cybermen who joined forces to kidnap the American envoy and ruin a peace conference on Earth.

The Doctor was joined by a singer named Crystal, played by Rebecca Thornhill. The time travellers were captured briefly by the Daleks but our hero eventually won the day, defusing a bomb by putting it in a teapot.

Colin Baker, who appeared in three seasons, wanted to dress his Doctor in black velvet to reflect his character's darker personality but the producer had other ideas. He opted for a deliberately tasteless costume with clashing colours which Baker later described as "an explosion in a rainbow factory".

The picture is reproduced here as the E&S joins with the Grand to celebrate the theatre’s milestone 125th anniversary.

* If you have memories or pictures, email or write to 125 Memories Project, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, WV1 1DE.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.


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