Doctor Who: The Nearly Leelas

“The Face Of Evil” DVD reveals the full list of 26 actresses who auditioned for the part, and there are some interesting names on there

The story is out on DVD from 2Entertain on 5 March, and in amongst all the usual vast array of extras, the production subtitles reveal a full list of all 26 (inlcuding Lousie Jameson) actresses who auditioned for the part of Leela (it also mentions who producer-at-the-time Philip Hinchcliffe wanted for the role but who proved unavailable… though we won’t give away all the surprises here).

Some Doctor Who fans will already know some of the more familiar names who tried out for the role, but for the rest of us it’s an intriguing list:

Ann Pennington – Nothing too memorable on her CV

Belinda Low – had a few roles on TV in the ’70s, vanished, then reappeared in 1994 small role in The Browning Version

Belinda Sinclair – jobbing guest actress who still pops up in things like Casualty and Doctors today , but her most famous role was in the ’80s ITV sitcom Shelley

Carol Drinkwater – Most famous as the original Mrs Herriot in All Creatures Great And Small

Carol Leader – a long-time Play School presenter

Celia Foxe – a few guest star roles in ’70s and ’80s shows like Minder and The New Avengers

Colette Gleeson – Jobbing actress, eventually appeared in the Tom Baker Who story “Meglos”

Deborah Fairfax – Another jobbing actress, not much of note

Elaine Donelly – Not even listed on IMDB. Bugger

Gail Grainger – Jobbing actress, not seen on screen since the early ’80s

Gail Harrison – Went on to have a pretty successful career with recurring roles in the brilliant sitcom Brass , Game, Set And Match and Hi-De-Hi among others

Heather Tobias – Had a long and successful career that carries on to this day. Highlights include Bleak House (1985), The Singing Detective , Making Out and All The Small Things . She was also the voice of Melody Angel in the CG version of Captain Scarlet

Irene Gorst – After a tiny appearance in Confession Of A Pop Performer in 1975 her screen acting career fizzled

Janet Edis – Had a similar career path to Gorst; after Confessions From A Holiday Camp (1977), zilch

Katherine Fahey – Jobbing actress whose career extended into the ’90s with guest spots on shows like Bergerac and Poirot

Kay Korda – Another TV career that dried up in the ’70s after appearances too minor to mention

Lois Hantz – Ditto

Lydia Lisle – She played John Merrick’s mother in The Elephant Man . That’s a hell of a career highlight

Marilyn Galsworthy – A Bond girl… though a fairly minor one. Stromberg’s assistant in The Spy Who Loved Me

Michelle Newell – Went on to have a very successful career, with highlights including When The Boat Comes In , The Cleoptras (in which Doctor Who ’s Churchill, Ian McNeice, played her son), London’s Burning and Waking The Dead

Pamela Salem – The most famous name on the list, apart from Louise Jameson herself. Roles in The Onedin Line , Blake’s Seven , Into The Labyrinth , Doctor Who (computer voice in “The Face Of Evil”, “Robots Of Death”, “Remembrance Of The Daleks”), EastEnders , The Tripods , etc, etc, etc

Philippa Vaizey – Nothing much of note

Sally Geeson – Sid James’ daughter in the ITV sitcom Bless This House

Sue Jones-Davies – Another successful jobbing actress, but her stand out role has to be Judith in Monty Python’s Life Of Brian

Susan Wooldridge – Still acting today, her long career includes roles in The Jewel In The Crown , the John Boorman film Hope And Glory , How To Get Ahead In Advertising , All Quiet On The Preston Front and Eleventh Hour

Check out the DVD to discover who (other than Jameson, obviously) made the short list, and why Jameson was (deservedly) chosen

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.