Louise Jameson is a classically trained actress whose first love is the stage but she also became known to millions of British television viewers through her roles in such hugely popular television series as Doctor Who (1963), Tenko (1981), Bergerac (1981) and EastEnders (1985).
Jameson had formal acting training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and embarked on a considerable amount of stage work, including two-and-a-half years at the Royal Shakespeare Company. She also achieved several roles in television, including Z Cars (1962) and Emmerdale Farm (1972), and the horror film Disciple of Death (1972). She auditioned for the role of a nurse in Angels (1975) and the role of Purdey in The New Avengers (1976).
In 1976, Jameson got her big break into television when she won the role of Leela, the alien savage companion of Tom Baker’s Doctor in the BBC’s Saturday evening science-fiction adventure series Doctor Who (1963). Jameson joined the series midway through its 14th season and when it was at the height of its popularity under producer Philip Hinchcliffe; her debut in Doctor Who: The Face of Evil: Part One (1977) was seen by 10.7 million viewers. She also attracted much tabloid attention due to her skimpy leather costume, with many people calling her the sexiest companion yet. Despite the series’ huge popularity, Doctor Who had been coming under increasing fire from Mary Whitehouse for its violent and horrific content. Hinchcliffe was replaced by Graham Williams at the end of the season and the new producer was told by the BBC to lighten the tone of Doctor Who.
Jameson completed another season of Doctor Who but her relationship with Tom Baker was strained. She decided to leave the series during the production of Doctor Who: Image of the Fendahl: Part One (1977), when she was offered another prestigious stage role as Portia in The Merchant of Venice at the Bristol Old Vic, and she left at the end of Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time: Part Six (1978).
In 1981, Jameson appeared as a regular in another popular BBC series, Tenko (1981), where she was cast by Pennant Roberts, who had auditioned her for Doctor Who and directed her first story. In 1985, she became a regular in the BBC’s Jersey-based detective drama Bergerac (1981) as star John Nettles’s love interest.
Between 1998 and 2000, Jameson played Rosa di Marco in the BBC’s top soap opera EastEnders (1985), although Jameson later said she found the heavy schedule and lack of rehearsal time left her dissatisfied.
As well as her acting roles, Jameson has been a prison visitor in her spare time. One of her achievements was encouraging Leslie Grantham to become an actor while he was serving a murder sentence. She has directed youth productions of the works of William Shakespeare for local festivals and she has run a Sunday Drama College, based in her home town of Tunbridge Wells.
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