It is with great sorrow that we at Big Finish received the news of the sad passing of that great actor, Andrew Sachs. We count ourselves lucky to have worked with him.
In 2003, he featured as the villain of the piece in our audio adaptation of the ‘lost’ Doctor Who story Shada (by Douglas Adams) playing the evil Skagra. He returned, five years later, to play a strange, older version of the Fifth Doctor’s companion Adric in The Boy That Time Forgot, when timeline distortion meant that Adric survived long past his death. A year after that, in 2009, Andrew brought his unique talents to the role of Crassostrea, a sex-changing, sentient crustacean who had sinister designs on the planet Orbis.
Nicholas Pegg, who directed Andrew in Shada: 'Working with Andrew Sachs on Shada was one of the greatest privileges of my career, and one of the greatest pleasures too. When he accepted the role of Skagra I thought all my birthdays had come at once - and when he arrived in Bristol for that happy week of recording with Paul McGann and the rest of that wonderful cast, he turned out to be everything I could have hoped for and more. Andrew had lived an extraordinary life, and he had a career that most actors could only dream about, but he wore his experience lightly. He was a gentle, kind, deeply intelligent man with a twinkling sense of humour and the kind of calm, unruffled professionalism that comes from decades of experience. In the studio he was thrilling, taking Skagra in new and unexpected directions and making the part his own, giving him a kind of megalomaniacal flamboyance that never once strayed into silliness. In fact, Andrew took the role very seriously - I remember a lot of earnest discussions before he settled on the precise nuances and cadences of each scene. He was a brilliant, brilliant actor: versatile, clever, funny, serious, inventive. Watching Andrew work was a privilege, a masterclass in dazzling technique. As an actor, and as a human being, he was quite simply one of the very best.'
Barnaby Edwards, who directed The Boy That Time Forgot. 'Andrew Sachs was an absolute joy to work with. He prepared scripts to within an inch of their metaphorical lives - every cadence of speech, every impeccably-positioned pause - and yet he was extraordinarily inventive and free when it came to recording the takes. A consummate professional, he was nevertheless one of the naughtiest people I've worked with. I remember him reducing Harriet Walter to tears of mirth as he related his very graphic theories as to how the Old Adric had managed to populate prehistoric Earth with insect/human hybrids. It was funny and filthy and fabulously inventive. Andrew was one of the special ones and while I mourn his death, I celebrate a life well-lived. Thanks for all the fun, sir!'
Executive producer Nick Briggs, who directed Orbis: ‘Andrew was really great to work with. He had a real, inventive sense of fun and thoroughly enjoyed himself in front of the microphone. He was a very modest and quiet fellow in the green room, although I do remember that we managed to coax a number of cracking anecdotes out of him. A kind and gentle man.’
All our thoughts are with his close friends and family at this very sad time.