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Zienia Merton as Operative Sandra Benes On Space: 1999
|Died||14 September 2018(aged 72)|
Merton was the daughter of Minny and Cecil Burton. Her mother was Burmese, and her father was a half-English, half-French merchant. She was raised in Singapore, Portugal, and England. She was educated at first in Portugal, but was later sent to Arts Educational school (today the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts) in Hertfordshire. Her first stage performance was as a dancer (playing a rat) in a Christmas 1951 production of The Nutcracker ballet at the Royal Festival Hall.
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).
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 in Los Angeles, California on 13 September 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.
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).
In December 2008, 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 in the two-part episode The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, broadcast on BBC One on 29 and 30 October 2009.
In 2018, Merton narrated BBC Audio’s release of the novelisation of Marco Polo. This turned out to be her final professional engagement.
Merton was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2017, and died 14 September 2018.
|1962||Masters of Venus||Marla|
|1965||Catch Us If You Can||Allison||Uncredited|
|1969||The Chairman||Ting Ling|
|1970||The Adventurers||Dax's Sister||Uncredited|
|When You're With Me||Princess Tamani||West German film|
|1972||Henry VIII and His Six Wives||Annette||(scenes deleted)|
|1977||Cosmetics Revolution||Lucy Ferner||Norwegian film|
|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||6 part BBC serial|
|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"|
|1975–1977||Space: 1999||Sandra Benes||Season 1: (24 episodes)|
Season 2: (11 episodes)
|1976||Journey Through the Black Sun||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"|
|1986–2002||Casualty||Manson / Dr Helen Billington / Dr. Helen Billington / Hotel Receptionist||4 episodes|
|1989||Capital City||Melinda Lau||Season 1, Episode 5: "Pension Fund"|
|1994–2005||The Bill||Registrar / Dr. Morgan / Magistrate / Surgeon||4 episodes|
|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|
|1998–2003||EastEnders||Receptionist / Dr. Stokeley||Season 1: (6 episodes)|
|1999||The Lakes||Guest 2||Season 2, Episode 9|
|2000||Family Affairs||Doctor Morrisey||Unknown|
|2001–2011||Doctors||Helen Waterman / Dr. Sarah Reed / Ms. Reed||3 episodes|
|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)|
- Hadoke, Toby (18 September 2018). "Zienia Merton obituary". The Guardian.
- "Zienia Merton 1945 - 2018". The Doctor Who News Page. 16 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
- "E' morta Zienia Merton, la Sandra Benes di Spazio 1999 - Universal Movies". Universalmovies.it (in Italian). 14 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- "Zienia Merton dead at 72". Hollywood.com. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- Hadoke, Toby. "Zienia Merton obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
- Willey, Martin. "Breakaway: 1999 Convention Report". The Catacombs: International Guide. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-17.