Doctor Who News obit-ghughes

Published on July 30th, 2012 | by Christian Cawley

Geoffrey Hughes Dies

Once in a while an actor comes along and despite seemingly playing pretty much the same character across multiple shows (with the only real difference being the character’s name) he or she nevertheless becomes a huge household name.

Geoffrey Hughes, one time Doctor Who guest, is one such actor. Well known for his role as binman Eddie Yates in Coronation Street, snobbish Hyacinth Bucket’s scruffy brother-in-law Onslow in Keeping Up Appearances, The Royle Family‘s ironically named Twiggy and HeartBeat‘s money grabbing Vernon Scripps, the scouse actor who voiced Paul McCartney in the Yellow Submarine film, has sadly passed away.

Let’s not be churlish, of course; beneath the rotund exterior and typical scouse wit Hughes was an extremely good actor, as demonstrated by a career that lasted around 50 years and also took in shows such as Z-Cars, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and The Saint.

For Doctor Who fans, of course, Hughes is known for playing Mr Popplewick, the epicentre of the Valeyard’s Victorian Fantasy Factory in The Ultimate Foe, the conclusion of the Trial of a Time Lord season back in 1986. Popplewick was essentially the Valeyard in disguise, enabling us to argue – for the purposes of this tribute – that Hughes was one of the many actors to play the Doctor!

Sure, it’s tenuous, but for an actor as strikingly familiar as this, we’re going to make an exception for a few hours.

Born in 1944, Hughes effectively retired in 2010 and died over the weekend at the age of 68 from prostate cancer.

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About the Author

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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+.



3 Responses to Geoffrey Hughes Dies

  1. avatar Philip Bates says:

    Such a great actor. I would argue that most villainy expositional scenes on telly would be made 300% better by Onslow suddenly appearing and saying in his sarcastic tones, ‘oh, nice…’

  2. avatar Gavin Noble says:

    I’m going to have to stop watching my Who DVD’s – as soon as I’ve finished watching a story an actor appears to pass away. A few weeks back I watched Season 7 and a few days later it was announced Carry had passed away. Less than two weeks ago I watched The Key to Time and now Mary Tamm has gone. On Friday last week I watched The Trial of a Time Lord…if I was Sylv or Sophie I would start getting worried!

  3. avatar Leo says:

    Great actor-so many iconic roles, pin points so many different era’s of my life as well-wonderfully funny man.

    Just read about Mary Tamm-genuinely shocked.

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