Mark Strickson Fan Site
Mark Strickson was born on 6th April 1959 and grew up in the small village of Ilmington,near Stratford-upon-Avon. The son of John Strickson, a professional musician, he later said he was "born and raised to be a musician" specialising in playing the French horn but also playing piano and guitar. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford and was a chorister at Holy Trinity Church (Shakespeare's church) where his father was choirmaster and organist.
He auditioned for the National Youth Theatre when he was 15, originally joining as a musician and writing the score for the year's production, but later switching to acting. After leaving school he studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London for three years where he won the Fabia Drake prize for comedy.
After leaving RADA in 1979 his first professional engagement was with the Mikron Theatre Company. He spent forty weeks a year for the next two years travelling up and down the country on a narrow boat, writing and performing plays in local pubs and halls. In the two seasons that he spent with Mikron he wrote most of the songs for the shows "Where's Our Cut?" and "Mud In Your Eye" which were later recorded in Abbey Road Studios for the album "Where's Our Cut?". Mark left Mikron in 1981 and began auditioning for television roles.
His first television work was for Granada TV, first acting as a policeman in Strangers and then getting a part in Celebration. This was followed by an appearance in Juliet Bravo, as a teenage tearaway. His first television role as one of the regular cast was in the BBC hospital drama Angels where he played Terry, an ambulance driver.
In 1982 whilst working on Angels it was planned to make his character a lead role when another actor fell ill. Mark approached John Nathan-Turner to ask if he could have an early audition for the part of Turlough in Doctor Who before making a long-term commitment to Angels.
After reading the part to John Nathan Turner and Eric Saward he was soon told he was successful and chose Doctor Who in preference to staying on Angels. Mark made his debut on Doctor Who in Mawdryn Undead, televised in 1983, as Turlough, a companion to Peter Davison's fifth Doctor. His final story was Planet of Fire, in 1984. He decided to leave the programme without staying for the full eighteen months of his contract, partly as a new team were coming in (Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant were brought in to replace Peter Davison and Janet Fielding) and feeling that "with Turlough having done all he could usefully do, it was time he should go".
After leaving the show he went on stage, performing in Wilder's "The Skin Of Our Teeth" as Henry Antrobus. Mark made his film debut in 1984, playing the young Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol", acting opposite George C.Scott and Joanne Whalley. In 1985 he acted on stage in Ibsen's Ghosts, playing Oswald Alving in a production which toured the UK. He formed his own theatre company (Raw Deal) and translated and produced a medieval play called Everyman. This was followed by appearances in many popular television shows such as Bergerac, Casualty and Flying Lady, and also a part in the BBC classic serial David Copperfield.
In 1988 he made a life-changing decision to move to Australia, despite never having previously visited the country. He carried on working as an actor but wanted to do something different, opting to study Zoology at the University of New England in Armidale and "save the world". He was taken on as a research student by Professor Fritz Geiser and gained a first class honours degree in 1994, writing his thesis on the overwintering biochemistry of the light brown apple moth. He combined studying for his degree with teaching drama there, and he was involved with setting up and developing an external (distance learning) Theatre Studies course. He also found time to appear in Police Rescue, Minder and Dolphin Bay, radio broadcasts and commercial appearances.
He returned to the UK in 1995, reasoning that his Australian zoology degree would have more rarity value in the UK, and approached a television company with some ideas for natural history documentaries. Two of these were commissioned and he joined Bristol-based wildlife production company Partridge Films. The first documentary "The 10 Deadliest Snakes In The World" introduced Steve Irwin to a larger audience and was acclaimed for its groundbreaking populist approach, taking the camera off the tripod and moving away from the seriousness of previous natural history documentaries. It was a huge success, swifty followed by a programme on Deadly Crocodiles.
He capitalised on this success, moving to Head of Programming at Oxford Scientific Films in 2001, turning around the struggling company and tripling its production ouput. Under his tenure the company received an Emmy and two Golden Panda awards for Bug World. He moved to New Zealand in 2006, joining NHNZ (Natural History New Zealand), a subsidiary of National Geographic, which produced many hours of documentaries each year. Besides programmes on natural history he has also produced the popular "I Survived" series for the Biography channel and documentaries on industrial engineering. He has produced programmes for the BBC, ITV, Channel Four and the Discovery Channel and usually does the directing and writing as well. His work has been outstanding and sometimes groundbreaking; his were the first programmes to capture important information on Komodo dragons, at great personal risk. More recently (2010 - 2011) he formed his own production
company and worked on a contract for the Qatari government's bid for Qatar to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making documentaries about the country's flora and fauna. In 2012-2013 his main focus was on filming an observational documentary series for Al-Jazeera on "Wildlife Warfare" following a group of trainee anti-poaching rangers. In 2015 he relocated to work for ITV Scotland, producing the popular series "Border Life" together with current affairs programmes and parliamentary coverage. In 2016 he returned to New Zealand, producing the series "Modern Dinosaurs" for the Discovery Channel. In 2018 he started filming a documentary series on volcanoes.
Occasionally he attends Doctor Who conventions and he has revisited his role as Turlough for Big Finish Audio dramas. He lives in New Zealand with his wife Lisa and son Tom.