Ian Marter

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Ian Marter
Ian Marter.jpg
Marter in 1983
Born Ian Don Marter
(1944-10-28)28 October 1944
Coventry, England
Died 28 October 1986(1986-10-28) (aged 42)
London, England
Cause of death
Diabetes-influenced heart attack
Residence London, England
Other names Ian Don (pen name)
Education University of Oxford
Alma mater Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
Occupation Actor and writer
Years active 1969–86
Known for Appearing in, and writing novels based on, Doctor Who
Spouse(s) Rosemary Heyland (m. 1968)
Children 2 sons
Parent(s) Donald Marter and Helen Donaldson

Ian Don Marter (28 October 1944 – 28 October 1986) was an English actor and writer, known for his role as Harry Sullivan in the BBC science-fiction television series Doctor Who from December 1974 to September 1975, with a non-regular, one-serial return in November and December 1975. He sometimes used the pseudonym Ian Don. Marter died suddenly in 1986 after suffering a heart attack.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Warwickshire, the son of Donald Marter and his wife Helen Donaldson, Marter graduated from the University of Oxford in 1969 and started work at the Bristol Old Vic theatre, where he served as a stage manager in addition to acting in minor stage roles. To support his low actor's wages, he also worked for a time as a milkman and a schoolteacher. In 1968, he married Rosemary Heyland, with whom he had two sons. Marter died suddenly at his home in London in 1986, on his 42nd birthday, after suffering a heart attack triggered by complications of diabetes.

Involvement with Doctor Who[edit]

As actor[edit]

In 1971, Marter auditioned for the regular role of Captain Mike Yates in the eighth season of Doctor Who. He 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, Marter was cast in the role of Harry Sullivan, a character developed by the production team after they decided 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. After 40-year-old Tom Baker was cast, such concerns were allayed and Harry was written out after only one season.[citation needed]

TV appearances

As author[edit]

Marter remained involved with Doctor Who after his departure from the regular cast. He co-wrote the script for a feature film version, provisionally titled Doctor Who Meets Scratchman (also known as Doctor Who and the Big Game), in collaboration with Baker and director James Hill; due to a lack of funding, the project was ultimately abandoned.[1] Marter's plot concerned Baker's Doctor coming face to face with Scratchman (an ancient term for the Devil); the finale was to have been acted out on a colossal pinball table, with the holes in the table being portals to other dimensions.

He later became involved with the writing of novelisations of Doctor Who TV serials for Target Books, penning nine such adaptations in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Marter's novelisations were somewhat controversial,[citation needed] most notably when "bastard" appeared in his novelisation 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 on the series.

Marter also wrote an original spin-off novel for Target, Harry Sullivan's War, featuring the return of his character, which was published in 1986[2] and was one of the earliest original Doctor Who-related novels to be released. Marter had been planning both a sequel to this novel and an adaptation of his unused Doctor Who Meets Scratchman script at the time of his death.

Books written

After Doctor Who[edit]

As actor[edit]

Marter's acting career beyond Doctor Who comprised mainly 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 Doctor Faustus (1967), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), The Medusa Touch (1978), and the comedy short The Waterloo Bridge Handicap (1978) starring Leonard Rossiter. Marter lived and worked in New Zealand in the early 1980s, appearing in the soap opera Close to Home from 1982.

As author[edit]

In addition to his Doctor Who novelisations, Marter wrote adaptations of several 1980s American films such as Splash and Down and Out in Beverly Hills for Target and its imprint, Star Books. Some of these books were published under the pen name Ian Don.


External links[edit]