Katy Manning, who played Jo Grant on Doctor Who, has finally begun to open up to fans about her fascinating life, both in print and in person.
Jamie McLoughlin of the Liverpool Echo recently requested reader questions for an interview that was conducted this week with Katy Manning, who played UNIT employee and Third Doctor’s companion Jo Grant on Doctor Who, as well as appearing on The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Regarding which of the Doctor’s outfits that Manning likes best aside from the Third Doctor’s, she said that she likes the Twelfth Doctor’s because it is reminiscent of the Third’s, but that each Doctor’s wardrobe suited them “exactly right.” She discussed how she enjoyed the time that she had her picture taken with, and gave posing pointers to, Peter Capaldi.
A reader asked if Manning would ever consider reprising the role of Jo Grant, either on Doctor Who or a spin-off, and invoked her guest appearance on The Sarah Jane Adventures. She replied that while being on TSJA “was an extraordinary” experience, she feels that the character is probably too old now.
She refused to choose just one Doctor from the revival of the show with whom to travel, citing the greatness of all of the actors who have depicted the single individual. Also, she has enjoyed the opportunity to work both on screen and the audio adventures with many of the actors who have played the role.
“People tell me I should have been doing these shows for years”
IF your sole knowledge of Katy Manning’s life and career is based on her Wikipedia page – she’s got news for you.
“None of it is true!” she told the Echo from her London home. “They’ve got my wrong age, my wrong date of birth and apparently, I’ve been married five times. I have never been married to any of my partners, it’s news to them when they see it on the page.
“And another one is Google. There’s a photo on there that says it’s me – and it’s Nanette Newman! I have never had dark hair!
“I loathe things that claim to give you information. You can only trust it if you put it up there yourself.”
Which makes Saturday’s event at St George’s Hall an opportunity for the former Doctor Who actress to set some of the records straight. An Evening With Katy Manning is a chance to hear recollections and anecdotes from a life just as fascinating as her varied career, taking in homes on three continents, raising twins and having a Hollywood legend organise their Christening.
But she had to be persuaded to do it in the first place. Seriously persuaded.
Katy, who played Jo Grant, the companion to Jon Pertwee’s Doctor from 1971 to 1973, explained: “They asked me to do it, to have an evening like this and I told my agent ‘no’, that’s not my thing.
“I do talks at Doctor Who conventions and I sort of go into manic overdrive. When I talk, I freefall and I’ll leap on a new subject like a seagull on a hot piece of fat. Also, I live very much in the ‘now’ and not the past so all I could think of was, ‘why would they want me?’. Then my agent said, you have had an extraordinarily interesting life, you have a plethora of stories. So for some reason, I said yes. I’ll do it. It’s not my comfort zone, I don’t really do ‘me’.
“But I adore people, I get very excited and the energy becomes quite manic and I just go with the flow. People tell me I should have been doing shows like this for years but I’ve told them, I’m just doing it in Liverpool and I’m never doing it again.”
Merseyside has featured heavily in Katy’s life this week. Her chat with the ECHO came after a very long recording session with Tom Baker, the city-born fourth incarnation of the Time Lord but you’d have to scroll back a lot further to find the last time she visited the city for a professional engagement.
“I did a play in rep in Liverpool many years ago,” she remembered. “I’ve done a couple of Doctor Who conventions here too but the thing with conventions is that you arrive somewhere, then you do it, get up and go straight back out again so you never see the place you’re visiting.
“It’s a wonderful city and I’m very excited about coming here, the music in particular is my era.
“I did Educating Rita for three years too when I was in Australia. I did the Liverpudlian accent and I got a lot of good feedback about it. There are a lot of Liverpool people in Australia and they were coming up to me after the show, saying ‘we never knew you were from Liverpool’ and I’d tell them ‘I’m not, doing voices is part of my job’. It was lovely, I never got one negative word about my Scouse accent! I’ve never met Willy Russell but I think he writes wonderfully for women and I’ve directed Shirley Valentine as well.
“I’m not getting a lot of time in Liverpool this weekend as I’m working right up until Friday night when I leave for this, then I’m leaving again early on Sunday morning but that is my life really, working. I haven’t had a proper holiday since 1976 but I’ve lived overseas, lived in three different countries and people say to me how lovely it is that you’re going to these places but it’s work. I love working and I’m not a great holidayer.
“I have travelled back and forth on planes on my own with twins (Katy’s children) – and I have lots of stories about that, believe me.
“But where my children are concerned, that is where I feel blessed to have been part of such an extraordinary programme as Doctor Who. I say to them, I will always have something to leave you to remind you of me. They’re two plastic figurines of Jo Grant and a sheet of special stamps that I’m on where my head is bigger than the Queen’s!”
In advance of Saturday night, it’s important Katy keeps the powder dry where her anecdotes are concerned – but she did have one last appeal for the people of the city: “I hope people will come to see me and everyone’s going to get a big hug.
“I want it to be as intimate as possible and I may run into the audience and sit on a few laps.
“And if you want to know the real facts about me, go to my website!”
With that our talk was at an end but even though she had yet to leave London, the Mersey influence on Katy’s week continued unabated.
Later that evening, after the final whistle went on the Europa League leg at Old Trafford, she posted on her Twitter account: “Well done Liverpool ! You’re through ! Just seen football & now long day endeth & bed is beckoning ! Night night xxx”
If we’re thinking of making anyone an honorary Scouser…
To find out what links Katy to the Australian soap Neighbours, how she helped Peter Capaldi strike a pose and why she couldn’t make Liza Minelli’s wedding – click here to see the answers she gave to our readers’ questions.
Posted on March 20, 2016, in Doctor Who, Science Fiction, Uncategorized and tagged BBC, Doctor, Doctor Who, doctorwho, fandom, Jo Grant, Katy Manning, Peter Capaldi, TARDIS, The Doctor, Time Lord. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.