|Happy Early Birthday,Katy Manning!|
The daughter of a sports columnist,Katy attempted an American acting career through MGM following a year long recuperation from a car accident she was involved in at age 16. Perhaps this made her closer than others to injured and afflicted youth. After a five year stint at MGM Katy returned to England to study at the Webber Douglas Academy Of Dramatic Arts. That was followed by a three year stints with the Wolverhampton repertory company. She joined the cast of Doctor Who in 1971 as a replacement for Caroline John. She along with Courtney (as the Brigadier) John Levene (a Sgt. Benton) and Richard Franklin (as Mike Yates) are often known as the UNIT family,the core part of the doctors task force on Earth. Known for her occasionally clumsiness on set due to her poor eyesight,she became close to the cast as she continued. In particular with Jon Pertwee. This led to a similar interaction between the doctor and her character Jo Grant.
Though Katy Manning herself didn't consider feminism a particularly important element for her character to contend with,as would be the case with Elizabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane Smith,Jo Grant is often written off as a companion who seemed to exist primarily to be at every villains mercy and therefore always in need to be rescued by the doctor. What I notice about the character is a certain similarity to another unlucky fictional character: Charlie Brown. Though Jo is often viewed as a one dimensional character,Katy's terrific performance in the role helped me to realize that Jo Grant's character was all about developing a strong reputation. Even when your considered bad luck by some people. She probably had the most personal growth of any Who companion up to that point as a result. So happy 66'th Katy on the 15'th of this month! Hope,as with many Whovians out there,that you have fun!
One of my favorite Katy Manning moments caught on tape: