Zienia Merton

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Zienia Merton
Born (1945-12-11) 11 December 1945 (age 69)
Nationality British
Occupation Actress
Years active 1962 – present
Television Space: 1999

Zienia Merton (born 11 December 1945) is a British actress born in Burma. Her mother was Burmese, and her father half-English, half-French. She was raised in Singapore, Borneo, Portugal, and England. She is probably best known for playing Sandra Benes in Space: 1999.

Early career[edit]

Merton's first significant science-fiction credit was as Ping-Cho in the 1964 Doctor Who story Marco Polo, long since lost in its original form. Her other early television appearances included Strange Report (1968), The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) and Jason King (1971). She was a lead actress as Christina in the 1971 Dennis Potter TV adaptation of Casanova with Frank Finlay, and appeared on The Benny Hill Show in 1972, playing the wife of Hill's Chow Mein character. Her film roles included Catch Us If You Can (1965), a brief appearance as an oriental high priestess in the Beatles' film Help! (1965), as Ting Ling in the film The Chairman (1969) with Gregory Peck, and The Adventurers (1970).

Space: 1999[edit]

Probably her most memorable role is that of Sandra Benes in Space: 1999, the science fiction series produced by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson between 1973 and 1976, with Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Barry Morse and Catherine Schell. In 1999 Merton reprised this role in the professionally produced short film Message from Moonbase Alpha, written by series writer Johnny Byrne. This short episode surprised everyone on its debut at the closing ceremony of the Breakaway 1999 convention[1] in Los Angeles, California on September 13, 1999 - the date on which the moon is blasted out of Earth orbit in the pilot episode of the original series. Regarded by many fans as the 49th and final episode, and providing a closure to the series, "Message from Moonbase Alpha" is included as a special feature on the "UFO and Space: 1999 Documentaries" DVD, available exclusively from Fanderson.

Other performances[edit]

Following Space: 1999, Merton appeared in many popular television series including Grange Hill, Return of the Saint (1979), Bergerac (1983), Angels (1983), Tenko (1984), Dempsey & Makepeace (1985), Lovejoy (1986), Crime Traveller (1997), Doctors (2001), Dinotopia (2002), Casualty (1986 – 2002), EastEnders (1998 – 2003), The Bill (1999 – 2005), Judge John Deed (2006), Coronation Street (2008) and Wire in the Blood (2008). Merton re-joined fellow Space: 1999 star Ian McShane for the 1986 Lovejoy episode "The Axeman Cometh".

In December 2008, Zienia Merton filmed a guest role for the eighth episode ("Samaritan") of the ITV drama Law & Order: UK. Although the series premiered on 23 February 2009, some episodes were held over for broadcast as "Series Two". "Samaritan" was first transmitted on ITV1 on 11 January 2010.

In May 2009, Merton returned to the world of Doctor Who, 45 years after her appearance in Marco Polo, to record a special episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures (starring Elisabeth Sladen). In the two-part episode "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith", broadcast on BBC One on 29 and 30 October 2009, she worked alongside special guest star David Tennant.



Year Title Role Notes
1962 Masters of Venus Marla
1965 Catch Us If You Can Allison
Help! High Priestess
1969 The Chairman Ting Ling
1970 The Adventurers Dax's Sister
Wenn du bei mir bist Princess Tamani German film
1977 Cosmetics Revolution Lucy Ferner Norwegian film


Year Title Role Notes
1964 Doctor Who Ping-Cho Season 1: (7 episodes)
The Indian Tales of Rudyard Kipling Kashmiri girl Season 1, Episode 7: "Mark of the Beast"
1969 The Troubleshooters Liane Season 5, Episode 23: "It's a Very Bad Day for Travelling"
Thirty-Minute Theatre Rachel Season 5, Episode 6: "Trespassers"
Omnibus Noel Season 3, Episode 9: "F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Dream Divided"
Strange Report Zeba Hameed Season 1, Episode 7: "Report 3424: Epidemic - A Most Curious Crime"
The Root of All Evil? Medeline Season 2, Episode 5:"Floating Man"
1970 The Six Wives of Henry VIII Annette TV Mini-series
W. Somerset Maugham Malay girl Season 2, Episode 8: "The Door of Opportunity"
ITV Playhouse Leila Season 3, Episode 10: "The High Game"
1971 Casanova Christina Season 1; (6 episodes)
1972 The Benny Hill Show Mrs. Chow Mein Season 3, Episode 4: "Down Memory Lane"
Jason King Zenia Season 1, Episode 24: "Zenia"
Crime of Passion Nicole Martine Season 3, Episode 3: "Modeste"
1973 Madigan Natalia Season 1, Episode 4: "The Lisbon Beat"
Ego Hugo Guernsey Maid TV Movie
Beryl's Lot Katy Papademitropoullos Season 1, Episode 1: "Getting Up"


Space: 1999 Sandra Benes Season 1: (24 episodes)

Season 2: (11 episodes)

1976 Journey Through the Black Sea Sandra Benes TV Movie
Alien Attack Sandra Benes TV Movie
1978 Destination Moonbase-Alpha Sandra Benes TV Movie
Wilde Alliance Dolores Season 1, Episode 7: "Well Enough Alone"
Return of the Saint Mila Season 1, Episode 2: "The Nightmare Man"
Thank You, Comrades Olga TV Movie
1979 The Other Side Kieu Season 1, Episode 5: "Contacts"
1980 Escape Unknown Season 1, Episode 2: "Hijack to Mogadishu"
1981 The History Man Miss Ho TV Mini-series
1982 Cosmic Princess Sandra Benes TV Movie
1983 Bergerac Cora Season 2, Episode 7: "A Miracle Every Week"
Angels Sister Davis Season 9, Episode 25
1984 The Brief Mrs. Francis Season 1, Episode 8: "Terry"
Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense Nurse Lee Parquet Season 1, Episode 5: "The Late Nancy Irving"
Tenko Nun Season 3, Episode 9
1985 Dempsey and Makepeace Lei Shan Season 1, Episode 7: "Make Peace Not War"
Grange Hill Mrs. Wallace Season 8, Episode 15
1986 Lovejoy Miss Taylor Season 1, Episode 2: "The Axeman Cometh"




Casualty Hotel Receptionist

Dr. Helen Billington


Season 1, Episode 13: "No Future"

Season 6, Episode 11: "The Last Word"

Season 7, Episode 5: "Cherish"

Season 17, Episode 2: "Protection"

1989 Capital City Melinda Lau Season 1, Episode 5: "Pension Fund"




The Bill Surgeon


Dr. Morgan


Season 10, Episode 32: "Day of Reckoning"

Season 15, Episode 43: "Big Fish"

Season 17, Episode 4: "No Victim"

Season 21, Episode 34: "307"

1995 Chiller Maria Monsanto Season 1, Episode 1: "Prophecy"
1997 Crime Traveller Receptionist Season 1, Episode 7: "The Lottery Experiment"
1998 Peak Practice Jennifer Kemp Season 6, Episode 5: "Another Day of Life"
Heaven on Earth Barbara Tucker TV Movie



EastEnders Dr. Stokeley

Reception sit

Season 1: (6 episodes)
1999 The Lakes Guest 2 Season 2, Episode 9
2000 Family Affairs Doctor Morrisey Unknown


Doctors Ms. Reed

Dr. Sarah Reed

Helen Waterman

Season 2, Episode 115: "Father's Day Too"

Season 3, Episode 2: "A Twist of Fate"

Season 13, Episode 82: "Life Extinct"

2002 Dinotopia Teacher TV Mini-series
2006 Judge John Deed Dr. Dolores Bleach Season 5, Episode 5: "One Angry Man"
2008 Coronation Street Doctor Season 1: (3 episodes)
Wire in the Blood Magistrate Season 6: (2 episodes)
2009 Law & Order: UK Judge Katerina Rose Season 2, Episode 1: "Samaritan"
The Sarah Jane Adventures Registrar Season 3: (2 episodes)
2013 Wizards vs. Aliens Tseringma Season 2: (2 episodes)


  1. ^ Willey, Martin. "Breakaway: 1999 Convention Report". The Catacombs: International Guide. Retrieved 2009-19-17.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

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