Caroline John

Last updated 09 January 2020

Caroline John (1940-2012)
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Caroline Frances John

Born: Thursday 19th September 1940
Died: Tuesday 5th June 2012 (age: 71)

The Guardian (Obituary)

Caroline John was a British actress who played Liz Shaw, the UNIT scientist employed to aid the Third Doctor in his first season.

After training at the Central School of Speech and Drama, she worked in theatre, touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in King Lear, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Merchant of Venice and as Hero in Franco Zeffirelli's production of Much Ado About Nothing.

In 1970 she was cast as Liz Shaw by Derrick Sherwin. However, incoming producer Barry Letts considered her character was unsuitable as she was too much an equal of the Doctor and decided against renewing her contract. 

John reprised the role of Shaw. though, in the anniversary story The Five Doctors (albeit as a fake Shaw) and also appeared as Liz Shaw in the special episode Dimensions In Time (1993), part of the BBC's annual Children in Need appeal. In the 1990s she appeared in a series of straight-to-video releases including The Stranger: Breach of the Peace, and as Liz Shaw in the P.R.O.B.E. stories written by Mark Gatiss and featuring numerous actors from the Doctor Who world.

John was married to Geoffrey Beevers, who played the renegade Time Lord known as The Master in The Keeper of Traken. Beevers appeared with her in the Big Finish audio drama Dust Breeding. They also both had roles in the political thriller A Very British Coup, although they weren't on screen at the same time. Her brother, Nick John, was also an AFM/Location Manager during her time on the show.

Her most recent screen appearances were in the 2003 rom-com film Love Actually (written and directed by Richard Curtis and featuring Bill Nighy as well as Steven Moffat's Doctor Who and The Curse Of Fatal Death Doctors Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Grant) and on TV in the ITV drama series Vital Signs (with Gugu Mbatha-Raw) in 2006 and the BBC daytime drama Doctors (with Malcolm Tierney and Matthew Chambers) in 2008.