Obituary: Trevor Martin
Although Trevor Martin performed alongside Laurence Olivier, enjoyed long relationships with the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre, and appeared regularly in the West End, his claim to theatrical history rests in his being the first person to play the Doctor in a theatrical version of Doctor Who.
Having already played a Time Lord on the cult BBC show in 1969, Martin stepped in when Jon Pertwee left the role on television to play the eponymous time traveller in Terrance Dicks’ Doctor Who and the Daleks: Seven Keys to Doomsday at the Adelphi Theatre for four weeks in 1974, although a planned tour was subsequently scrapped.
Born in Dundee, he graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as recipient of the first Carleton Hobbs radio award in 1953, which led to a long association with the BBC radio drama department.
He joined the RSC in 1962, appearing as Menelaus in Peter Hall’s revival of Troilus and Cressida, with recent appearances with the company including Peter Barnes’ Jubilee (2001) and Antonio in Much Ado About Nothing (2002). In 1963, he was seen as Sir John Brute in John Vanbrugh’s The Provoked Wife at the Vaudeville Theatre for Prospect Productions before joining Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre to play the courtier Voltimand alongside Peter O’Toole’s Hamlet and the Archbishop of Reims to Joan Plowright’s Saint Joan in George Bernard Shaw’s play.
In 1965, Martin created the role of Rodas in the original production of Peter Shaffer’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun at the Old Vic Theatre. He later returned to the play as Francisco Pizarro for a 1972 tour by Prospect, with whom he appeared regularly, including as Kent to two King Lears: Timothy West (1971) and Anthony Quayle (1978).
He was an admired Pozzo in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot at the Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead (1980), a vivid Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Arts Theatre and was seen in the British premiere of Herb Gardner’s Conversations with My Father, directed by Alan Ayckbourn, in Scarborough in 1994 and at the Old Vic the following year.
Notable recent appearances included Dominic Dromgoole’s 2003 revival of The Cherry Orchard for the Oxford Stage Company, Richard Bean’s The English Game, (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, 2008) and, his swansong, Adam in As You Like It at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2009.
His screen career spanned six decades and included several roles in Z-Cars, spells in Orlando (1966) and Coronation Street (1984) together with episodes of Inspector Morse, The Bill, Whitechapel and Call the Midwife.
Film appearances included Olivier’s Othello (1965), Absolution with Richard Burton (1978), The House of Mirth (2000) and Babel (2006).
Trevor Gordon Martin was born on November 17, 1929, and died on October 5, aged 87. He is survived by his second wife, the actor Hermione Gregory, and four children from his first marriage. His son, Sandy, was elected Labour MP for Ipswich in the general election earlier this year.