DAVID ARNOLD - Doctor Who’s Sussex connections

The first Dr Who - William Hartnell
The first Dr Who - William Hartnell
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Though born in Australia, Ron Grainer spent most of his life in Britain.

He is best known for composing the amazing and revolutionary (for its time) theme music for Doctor Who but I was surprised to learn that he also wrote the intro music for Steptoe & Son, Tales of the Unexpected, Man in a Suitcase and the cult series The Prisoner. He died in Cuckfield in 1981.

His film score credits include one of my favourites from the seventies, The Omega Man. It starred Charlton Heston as a character who, as the movie opens, believes he is the last real person alive on earth. Apart from the murderous mutant beings that emerge at night, that is!

Incidentally, the original Dr Who, William Hartnell, lived for a while in a cottage in Mayfield though he died over the border in Kent in 1975.

Hartnell gave up his Dr Who role in 1966, three years after the series had begun.

It was Hartnell who nominated his successor, Patrick Troughton. Ironically, Hartnell’s final acting role would come in 1973 when he again played Dr Who in a 10th anniversary TV special called The Three Doctors.