22 June 2012 2:56 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Actor best known for her role as the scientist Elizabeth Shaw in Doctor Who

The actor Caroline John, who has died aged 71, was best known for defending Earth from alien invasion alongside Jon Pertwee's Doctor in the first colour series of Doctor Who, broadcast in 1970. As Dr Elizabeth Shaw, she provided brains, cool-headed intelligence and maturity where once the Doctor's female companions had screamed and asked questions.

John was born in York, one of eight children. Her father was an actor who was instrumental in the creation of Coventry's Belgrade theatre, and her mother had been a dancer. She originally wanted to dance herself, but eventually trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama, in London. After graduating, she landed a job with the Royal Court theatre before doing rep in Ipswich, Oxford and Sheffield. In the late 1960s, during a four-year stint with Laurence Olivier »

- Toby Hadoke

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