2023 is, of course, the year of Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary but it’s also notable for marking 50 years since the departure of Jo Grant, played by Katy Manning, who accompanied the Third Doctor for three seasons.
Katy Manning has maintained a strong connection to the series, appearing in numerous Big Finish audio dramas as well as returning to play the character on screen in The Sarah Jane Adventures story, The Death of the Doctor, and Thirteenth Doctor swansong, The Power of the Doctor, not to mention in trailers for Doctor Who: The Collection boxsets.
It’s clear she still looks back with a great deal of affection on her original finale at the conclusion of The Green Death, when Jo opted to make a new life with Professor Jones:
“But it was so touching because, when you look at it – and I don’t watch things from the past, to be honest with you – but when I’ve seen that, I actually still feel the emotion, even talking about it.
“Because I keep everybody that I’ve ever loved in my life, who’s gone, I keep them all with me, I don’t do all that completion.
“And so, when they start to talk about them, I suddenly get the feeling of how much they meant to me. And then I get a bit emotional.”
The story’s themes of concern for the environment and the actions of powerful corporations proved prescient, as Katy explains:
“And also, for me, having been the mad hippie, as everybody used to call us, who talked about the planet and the dangers that we were bringing to this planet by living the way that we live, which was going on in the ’60s, Barry Letts was also very concerned about all this. So it was a wonderful one to be involved with.”
Read the full interview with Katy Manning at Radio Times.