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Former Doctor Who companion Liz Shaw, played by Caroline John

Caroline John 1940-2012

It is with sadness that we report the loss of Caroline John, best known to Doctor Who fans as companion Liz Shaw. As reported by the BBC’s Official Doctor Who Twitter feed, John passed away on June 5th.

As Liz Shaw, Caroline John appeared opposite Jon Pertwee during the Season 7 run of Spearhead from Space through to Inferno. Her character was written out for the following series, in which Katy Manning’s Jo Grant was brought into be a “less clever” companion – Dr Liz Shaw was considered “too clever”, supposedly losing the traditional companion-as-viewer dynamic that isn’t really missing at all throughout the action packed 1970 run of Doctor Who.

In addition to Doctor Who. John had a long-running career as a character actress, appearing in such shows as EastEnders, Wish Me Luck, Casualty, The Bill, Dangerfield, Doctors and Midsomer Murders, as well as appearing on stage. She was also one of the stars of the 1989 TV movie of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, adapted on that occasion by Nigel Kneale.

With a variety of Doctor Who spinoffs from Big Finish and BBV under her belt, Caroline John has remained close to the show over the years since her departure, appearing in The Five Doctors in 1983 and Dimensions in Time ten years later.

Caroline John’s most recent notable appearance was a non-speaking role in the Richard Curtis film Love, Actually where she played Sam’s (Human Nature‘s Thomas Sangster) grandmother.

She is survived by her husband, actor Geoffrey Beevers, and three children.

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Christian Cawley


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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