Damaris Hayman, who made a memorable appearance in Doctor Who playing Olive Hawthorne in The Daemons in 1971, has died at the age of 91.
She had a long career in British film and television with credits dating back to the 1950s, often playing upper class, eccentric ladies.
As Olive Hawthorne, white witch of Devil’s End, Hayman warned that the archaeological dig excavating a Bronze Age burial site would lead to great evil. Redoubtable and brave, she wasn’t afraid to stand up to Roger Delgado’s Master, then going under the seemingly benign guise of Reverend Magister. It was an unusually strong female role in that era of Doctor Who and she brought her characteristic charm and humour, as shown when Olive asks Sergeant Benton to dance at the conclusion.
This key part in one of Doctor Who‘s all-time classic stories was one Hayman looked back on fondly, and she played the character again in 2017’s The White Witch of Devil’s End, a spin-off released on DVD by Koch Media.
Born in Kensington and educated at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Damaris Hayman made her film debut in 1954’s The Belles of St Trinian’s. She became a well-known face on television, appearing in popular series including Crossroads, Z Cars, and The Onedin Line.
She was perhaps best known as an accomplished comedy performer, always able to bring a touch of class in guest appearances in shows as diverse as Steptoe and Son, The Morecambe & Wise Show, and One Foot in the Grave.
Hayman learned her trade working with British comedy greats like Margaret Rutherford and Alastair Sim, and later became close friends with Tony Hancock. She was more than capable of adjusting to new trends, however, as her brief appearance in anarchic 1980s comedy The Young Ones proved.
Damaris Hayman died shortly before reaching her 92nd birthday. Our sympathies go to her family and friends.