British stage actor and guest star of 1978’s The Pirate Planet, Bruce Purchase, has died following a short illness; he was 69.
As The Captain in Douglas Adams’ first Doctor Who story, Purchase boomed and blustered his way through a superbly written and acted part, one half of a great double act with The Captain’s first mate, Mr Fibuli.
2003 saw the actor give the first performance of Johnson is Leaving, John Wain’s adaptation of his 1974 biography of Dr Samuel Johnson, at The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. The drama was especially written for Purchase after the two men met in Oxford and Purchase then went on to perform the play around the world. On stage, he also appeared opposite Richard Chamberlain in a European tour of My Fair Lady.
Bruce Purchase’s other television work included I, Claudius, Blakes 7 and Rumpole of the Bailey. His film performances included Richard III and All Quiet on the Western Front.
Purchase’s autobiography Changing Skies was published shortly before his death; he was also an accomplished artist who exhibited in London and abroad.
Puchase was a founder member of Sir Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre, as well as aregular performer with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He became seriously ill last year while touring with David Suchet in a production of The Last Confession.
He lived in Putney with his partner, Sara Hebblethwaite.