It is with the greatest sorrow that we regret to report the death of actress Maggie Stables, who many Big Finish Doctor Who listeners knew as the Sixth Doctor's companion, Evelyn Smythe.
Maggie died peacefully in her sleep on the night of Friday the 26th of September after a long illness.
Big Finish Executive Producer Nick Briggs: 'I met Maggie many years ago when we worked together on a national theatre tour of Jane Eyre, in which Maggie superbly played the sinister role of Grace Poole. After that, Maggie was instrumental in getting me a job in the Theatre Royal Nottingham Thriller season, recommending me to the late producer, Colin McIntyre.
'I was keen to get her involved in the Big Finish audios, casting her as the gruff Ruthley in our very first Doctor Who release, The Sirens of Time. It wasn't long before my friend and producer Gary Russell spotted her and saw her as potential 'companion' material. Evelyn Smythe made Doctor Who history. The first, dare I say it, 'elderly' companion of the Doctor's. Maggie was superb in the role and she and her Doctor, Colin Baker, immediately hit it off. And even though Maggie appeared in two 'final' adventures for Evelyn, it was always our intention to continue working with her -- such is the advantage of time travel. I was very pleased to welcome her back for another trilogy in 2011.
'As a friend of Maggie's, I knew she had suffered and largely recovered from serious illness before that recording, but it was clear to me that she was still too poorly to continue with the rigours of studio work -- even though you would never have known from her great performance. Always the professional.
'Maggie was such a lovely, warm person who did a fantastic job of playing Evelyn. She was extremely popular with our listeners and always a delight to work with. I have many fond and sometimes raucous memories of working with her in Doctor Who and on stage. Unfortunately, my favourite Maggie anecdotes are far too naughty to repeat here. Suffice it to say, she had a very saucy laugh and a twinkle in her eye. Some of my warmest memories of her involve her sometimes shockingly blunt use of a put-down aimed at me... but it was always followed by that infectious laugh of hers.
'I shall always be grateful for the support and affection she gave to me and for all the laughs we shared along the way.'
Our thoughts are with Maggie's dear friends and family at this very sad time.
Nick Briggs and Benji Clifford once again host a podcast packed with all that's new in the audio drama world of Big Finish. Special guest: Samuel Barnett (star of Dirk Gently and Cicero).