The actress Caroline John, who played the character Liz Shaw in some of the 1970-1971 episodes of television's Doctor Who, has died aged 71.
Caroline John (born Caroline Frances John on 9 September 1940) passed away in June. However, the official announcement was not made until July 8, as reported by a tweet from the official BBC account. Caroline was an English actress best known for her role as Liz Shaw in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who.
Caroline John played the character Liz Shaw, who was a companion to Jon Pertwee, the third actor to play Doctor Who, The Guardian reports. The character played a key role in the re-launch of Doctor Who as the series moved from a black-and-white production to color episodes. The producers at the time felt that the series had become a little weary, and altered the premise whereby the Doctor was rooted on Earth and became a more flamboyant figure, utilizing a range of 'James Bond' style gadgets.
The other change was the move away from the archetypal 'screaming girl' companions who were there for the purposes of plot exposition in asking the Doctor questions like 'what does this do?', to a more independent minded companion who was, on several levels, the equal of the Doctor. This change was embodied in the character that Caroline John played: Liz Shaw, a scientist with UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Task Force).
Current Doctor Who producer Steven Moffat is quoted by the BBC as saying that the character of Liz Shaw was "not just a sidekick but a scientist in her own right and a match for the universe's number one know-all. For the first time, the Doctor had an assistant who was basically an equal and he treated her as an equal”
After leaving Doctor Who, DW News recounts that Caroline John's work was mainly in the theater, although she did feature occasionally in television dramas like "Agatha Christie's Poirot", "Doctors", "Midsomer Murders", "Silent Witness" and the political satire "A Very British Coup".
Latterly, Caroline John had returned to her Doctor Who character and had recorded some audio dramas, the last of which, " The Last Post", has yet to be released.