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.