Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Zienia Merton

Last updated 14 September 2018


Zienia Merton (1945-2018)
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Zienia Merton

Born: Tue 11th December 1945
Died: Fri 14th September 2018 (age: 72)

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Zienia Merton is a British actress born in Burma

Her mother was Burmese, and her father half-English, half-French. She was raised in SingaporeBorneo,Portugal, and England. She is probably best known for playing Sandra Benes in Space: 1999.

She played Ping-Cho in the 1964 Doctor Who serial Marco Polo and the Registrar in 2009 The Sarah Jane Adventures story The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith. 

Other early television appearances included Strange Report (1968), The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) and Jason King (1971). She was a lead actress as Christina in the Dennis Potter TV adaptation of Casanova with Frank Finlay, and appeared on The Benny Hill Show in 1972, playing the wife of Hill's Chow Mein character. Zienia Merton also featured as Ting Ling in the film The Chairman (1969) with Gregory Peck.

Probably her most memorable role is that of Sandra Benes in Space: 1999, the science fiction series produced by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson between 1973 and 1976, with Martin LandauBarbara BainBarry Morse andCatherine Schell. In 1999 Merton reprised this role in the professionally produced short film Message from Moonbase Alpha, written by series writer Johnny Byrne. This short episode surprised everyone on its debut at the closing ceremony of the Breakaway 1999 convention in Los AngelesCalifornia on September 13, 1999 - the date on which the moon is blasted out of Earth orbit in the pilot episode of the original series. Regarded by many fans as the 49th and final episode, and providing a closure to the series, "Message from Moonbase Alpha" is included as a special feature on the "UFO and Space: 1999 Documentaries" DVD, available exclusively from Fanderson.

Following Space: 1999, Merton appeared in many popular television series including Grange HillReturn of the Saint (1979), Bergerac (1983), Angels (1983), Tenko (1984), Dempsey & Makepeace (1985), Lovejoy (1986), Crime Traveller(1997), Doctors (2001), Dinotopia (2002), Casualty (1986 � 2002), EastEnders (1998 � 2003), The Bill (1999 � 2005), Judge John Deed (2006), Coronation Street (2008) and Wire in the Blood (2008). Merton re-joined fellow Space: 1999star Ian McShane for the 1986 Lovejoy episode "The Axeman Cometh".

In December 2008, Zienia Merton filmed a guest role for the eighth episode ("Samaritan") of the ITV drama Law & Order: UK. Although the series premiered on 23 February 2009, some episodes were held over for broadcast as "Series Two". "Samaritan" was first transmitted on ITV1 on 11 January 2010.