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Ian Marter in 1983
|Born||Ian Don Marter
28 October 1944
Coventry, Warwickshire, England, UK
|Died||28 October 1986
London, England, UK
|Cause of death||Heart Attack|
|Other names||Ian Don|
|Spouse(s)||Rosemary Heyland (1968–1986; his death)|
Ian Don Marter (28 October 1944 – 28 October 1986) was an English actor and writer, perhaps best known for his role as Harry Sullivan in the BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who, from December 1974 to September 1975 as a regular, with a one story return in November and December 1975. He sometimes wrote under the pen name Ian Don.
Born in Warwickshire, the son of Donald Marter and his wife Helen Donaldson, after graduating from Oxford University in 1969, Marter initially worked at the Bristol Old Vic theatre, where he was a stage manager as well as acting in various minor roles. To support his low actor's wages, he also worked for a time as a milkman and a schoolteacher.
In 1971 he auditioned for the regular role of Captain Mike Yates in the eighth season of Doctor Who and was offered the part, but was unable to accept due to a prior commitment. The production team were sufficiently impressed that they kept him in mind and cast him in a supporting role in the 1973 story Carnival of Monsters, broadcast as part of the tenth season of the programme.
The following year, he was cast in the role of Harry Sullivan, a character developed by the production team when they planned that the incoming Fourth Doctor would be portrayed by an older actor, and thus would not be able to handle the more physical action scenes (This was similar to the original TARDIS crew when the Ian Chesterton character was written to handle the more physical scenes over William Hartnell). However, after forty year-old Tom Baker was cast, this was no longer an issue and Harry was written out after only one season.
Marter remained involved with Doctor Who after his departure from the cast. He co-wrote the script for a potential feature film version, provisionally titled Doctor Who Meets Scratchman, also known as Doctor Who and the Big Game, in collaboration with Baker and film director James Hill, although this never came to fruition. The intention was to have Baker's Doctor come face to face with Scratchman (an ancient term for the devil). The finale of the film was to have taken place on a giant pinball table, the holes in the table being portals to other dimensions. The project fizzled out due to lack of funding.
He later became involved with the writing of novelisations of Doctor Who television stories for Target Books, penning nine adaptations in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Marter's novelisations were somewhat controversial, most notably for his use of the word 'bastard' in his novelization of the 1967 story The Enemy of the World.
The last of Marter's Doctor Who novelisations was The Rescue, which had to be completed by range editor Nigel Robinson due to Marter's unexpected death. Marter was one of a small group of Doctor Who actors to write licensed fiction based upon the series.
He also wrote an original spin-off novel for Target, Harry Sullivan's War, starring the character he had played on screen, which was published in 1986 and was one of the earliest original Doctor Who-related novels ever published. Marter was planning both a sequel to this and an adaptation of the unused Doctor Who Meets Scratchman script at the time of his death. In addition to his Doctor Who novelizations, he wrote adaptations of several 1980s American films such as Splash and Down and Out in Beverly Hills for Target and their Star Books imprint. Some of these books were published under the pen name 'Ian Don'.
Marter's acting career outside of Doctor Who consisted mainly of guest roles in episodes of series such as the BBC's Bergerac (in 1981) and Granada Television's The Return of Sherlock Holmes (in 1986). He also had minor roles in several films, such as The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and The Medusa Touch (1978). He lived and worked in New Zealand in the early 1980s, appearing in the New Zealand soap opera Close to Home from 1982.
Marter married Rosemary Heyland in 1968, and had two sons, Rupert and Toby. He died suddenly at his home in London on his forty-second birthday in 1986, after suffering a heart attack brought on by complications of diabetes.
- Doctor Who stories
- Carnival of Monsters (as John Andrews)
- Robot (as Harry Sullivan)
- The Ark in Space (as Harry Sullivan)
- The Sontaran Experiment (as Harry Sullivan)
- Genesis of the Daleks (as Harry Sullivan)
- Revenge of the Cybermen (as Harry Sullivan)
- Terror of the Zygons (as Harry Sullivan)
- The Android Invasion (Episodes 2–4) (as Harry Sullivan)