been so successful that it has produced
really relaxed atmosphere.
Nathan-Turner is marvelous..."
Flood is an actor who definitely does not fall into that famed category of actors
who talks down to fans, if indeed they talk to fans at all.
to two roles (King John and Kamelion)in Peter Davison's second season 'closer', THE
KING'S DEMONS, Gerald Flood was a rare commodity in DOCTOR WHO.
A class-actor, with a pedigree to match. During the 1960's he was the lead in
several television series that, without archive material remaining, live on in
WHO had been conceived in the 1950s, then Gerald surely would have been
considered for the 'lead'.
We met Mr Flood
on the set of UNDERGROUND (a thriller about 11 people who plan
an elaborate hoax in order to take their revenge on a Nazi concentration camp
officer who had killed their friends or family during WWII) at the York Theatre
Royal on the 10th June 1983.
choice cuts: then click Back to return here
in 1927, Gerald has been acting for 34 years, initially with the Farnham Repertory
Company in 1944.
wanted to be an actor from about 16 but my parents didn’t think it was
good idea; but they never thought anything was a good idea. During the War, I
was known as a ‘runner’. I’d run from air-raid precaution to
air raid precaution post or the scene of an emergency during the air raid. In
Portsmouth, I nearly got killed by a piece of shrapnel from a shell. It missed
my by about 3 inches. After the War, I was called for National Service, during
which I did some amateur dramatics in Singapore. When I was demobbed I thought, “That’s
what I want to do”, so I applied for a Grant. However, at that time with
all the people coming out of the Service, a Grant was virtually impossible to
get. So I decided to do away with the idea of drama school altogether and I worked
with National Cash Registers as a filing clerk, writing to every Rep Company
and eventually I was employed by Farnham Rep., Surrey.”
started there in midsummer 1949, I was playing all sorts of characters for about
3 ½ years. Moving on to Folkestone I was spotted by HM Tennant management
and cast in the Peter Brooke production of HAMLET playing Rosencrantz,
touring Birmingham, Brighton, London and even Moscow.”
TV and Film credits are numerous and include: STEPTOE AND SON, ALL
ABOARD, PATHFINDERS IN SPACE series, THE RAT
CATCHERS, THE RACING GAME, THIRD TIME LUCKY, RANDALL
AND HOP KIRK (DECEASED), RETURN OF THE SAINT, PATTON and THE
current play, UNDERGROUND, is very enjoyable thriller.
very demanding on all of us because we never get off the stage. Only the Guard
and Craig (one of the characters supposedly murdered) get off the stage at all.
I’m playing a cockney character, not one of my usual pinstriped smoothies.
The play is written by film writer, Michael Sloan (MEN FROM U.N.C.L.E.),
and I think it shows.”
Moving on DOCTOR WHO, had Gerald watched the programme in its early years, and
what differences struck him between those stories and today’s.
I did. I didn’t watch it regularly as In was working a lot in the theatre
and so I didn’t see a lot of TV. The changes are obvious. They are spending
so much money and getting a much more expensive cast. I am not knocking Peter
(Davison) at all but I’d much rather have a ‘Doctor Who’ who
was a mature man. In my opinion, I think they have tipped DOCTOR WHO on
its side by having a younger man playing the hero. I think they thought they
were giving the audience some identification but that is underestimating the
intelligence of young people. The young people have to have a figure that they
can look up to. The Doctor is a marvelous character in the way that they have
played it from William Hartnell to Tom Baker. They all played it with a certain
eccentricity and maturity and I think that that is basically the character. I’d
love to play ‘Doctor Who’.”
a history of ‘villainous’ characters throughout his career, how did
his ‘heroic’ character, ‘Good’ King John come about?
accidentally. I was acting in Brighton with Colin Baker (who’d done DOCTOR
WHO before) and the Producer, John Nathan-Turner came to see us. We
were chatting and he suddenly asked if I’d like to do a DOCTOR
WHO. I said that I’d love to and she said “I’d love
to have you”. That was last summer. I’d always wanted to do one.
I knew at the time that I was to do two parts, what I didn’t know was that
they were going to change the serial and keep me onboard. So whether I’ll
go on being the voice of Kamelion, I don’t know; I haven’t had my
Contract yet. I have heard from other sources that filming has begun on the first
four episodes but other than that I don’t know. Originally I was going
to be in that one story. But don’t forget that Kamelion can assume any
guise so he can probably assume my voice. I’m not relying on doing him
in the future, I would very much like to but…”
a series of question we discovered about the typical atmosphere of a typical
DOCTOR WHO production.
location shots were shot at Bodmin Castle which is perfectly preserved 14th century
castle, and at Eastbourne. We had three days of filming which I was involved
in. the first day was quite warm with glorious sunshine but they’d had
a bad day before. I got quite hot in all those furs. It was December and then
on the next day it was so cold and so muddy because it belted down solidly.”
see there were so many problems with using a computer controlled robot in the
series. We had that trouble when we wanted it to turn its head towards the door.
It wouldn’t do it because it wasn’t programmed beforehand, so consequently
we lost a lot of time.”
Director, Tony Virgo was excellent, great sense of humour, great director. Never
worked with him before; hope to again. Very nice bloke.”
Ainley was very nice. He’s a very professional chap. He was extremely kind
to me and welcomed me to the ‘company’. I got on with him tremendously
Tony had been nervous about his horse riding scenes?
I was amazed. As a matter of fact it wasn’t until after the first takes
that I’d seen him on a horse that I said to him that he had a wonderful ‘seat’ on
the horse. Apparently, he was very nervous because he hadn’t ridden before.
He didn’t do much other than walk and trot but I thought he looked magnificent,
as if he’d been riding all his life.”
were a lot of funny moments with Frank Windsor. He couldn’t keep a straight
face in any of the serious stuff at all. The death of Sir-what-ever-it-was, the
one shot with the arrow, the rehearsals for that might have been a Crazy Gang
sequence. I’ve never see three actors laugh so much in my life before.
Tony Virgo had more or less had to give up. He said, “Well, we can’t
rehearse that anymore, let’s go onto something else.”
is a particular DOCTOR WHO atmosphere. It’s been so successful
that it’s produced a really relaxed atmosphere altogether. I don’t
mean relaxed in a sloppy way. John Nathan-Turner is marvelous.”
THE KING’S DEMONS came in the bottom half of the DWAS Season Poll, what
were Gerald Flood’s views on the actual story? Too violent?
way. That’s not violence, that is simply pure blood and thunder, which
is something quite different. Violence is the stuff you see in the streets of
New York or San Francisco. Sadism. It’s not sword fighting.”
Critics have said that the story was ‘wooden’. Gerald became indignant.
did? Cheeky sods. Terrence Dudley’s a bloody good writer and he certainly
doesn’t write wooden dialogue. Actually, it was extremely well directed
and extremely well written. Some people say that they would have preferred more
on the historical side that the actual science fiction side, though. It could
have gone to four episodes; couldn’t it?”
Seasons ago, the Doctor’s first robot companion was written out of the
show, did Gerald think that it was too soon after the removal of K-9 to bring
in another robot?
hadn’t given it a moments thought quite frankly. Kamelion is different
to K-9; a highly intelligent, superior human being, isn’t it? K-9 wasn’t,
he have liked to have been in THE FIVE DOCTORS?
but there would have been no reason for me to do so, would there?”
WHO is, of course, an iconic science fiction series; did Gerald enjoy the genre?
I’m not particularly. Although I say I did enjoy DOCTOR WHO.
I went through a patch of reading quite a lot of science fiction, and I’ve
done Asimov on TV before. I’d like to do DOCTOR WHO again.
I enjoy the ‘company’; its very relaxed.”
Flood was a pure delight; friendly, relaxed and generous with his time.
2004 AFTERWORD -
Following THE KING’S DEMONS, Gerald reappeared (albeit
as a voice-over) as Kamelion in PLANET OF FIRE (and an ultimate
demise), and a final appearance during the Fifth Doctor regeneration sequence
in THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI.
Married, he died
on 12 April 1989.