Caroline John

Caroline John


York, Yorkshire, England

Birth Name



Also Known As

Carolyn John
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Caroline John was born and raised in a family whose roots were in the entertainment industry (her father ran a theatre and her mother was a dancer and actress), so perhaps it is no surprise that she chose to follow suit. She trained at the Central School of…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Caroline John joined the National Theatre in 1964 as an understudy to Dame Maggie Smith for the role of Desdemona in Othello.

    • Caroline John's first television role was as a Nurse in The Black Madonna in 1963. It was part of the BBC's Teletale series showcasing the talents of new writers.

    • Caroline John stated that her co-star John Pertwee gave her one of the best pieces of advice for acting in Doctor Who. Due to time and budgets, they never had time to do retakes and most of what was done was a one shot deal. Pertwee told her that, if she felt she was blowing a scene, to start cursing and swearing. That way they would have to go back and re-shoot.

    • Caroline John is 5'5" (1.65m) tall.

    • Caroline John was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, she has since made a full recovery.

    • Caroline John appeared in a one-woman play Nightingale written and directed by Lynn Redgrave

    • Although she never worked with him as the Doctor, Caroline John was reportedly quite please to play opposite Tom Baker in a 1982 version of the classic Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles.

    • Caroline John took great pleasure in her portrayal of Section Leader Elizabeth Shaw stating it was more fun to play the 'baddie' Liz than the more boring 'goodie' version.

    • Caroline John was requested to wear a blonde wig at times during the filming of Doctor Who as her hair frizzed unattractively in the rain.

    • Caroline John was initially keen to study the scientific terminology she'd be using in Doctor Who as scientist Liz Shaw, and was dismayed when she discovered that the majority of it was made-up techno-babble.

    • Caroline John's first film role was as an uncredited child in the 1955 production Raising a Riot.

    • Caroline John told a convention audience in 1997 that in a total 25 episodes of Doctor Who her character Liz Shaw said 'What do we do now, Doctor?' 71 times.

  • Quotes

    • Caroline John: (About Sir Laurence Olivier) That was amazing, to be directed by himself. Sir. We used to call him Sir. He was wonderful. He was like the father figure for the whole company and it was – I don't know if it is today quite the same – but it was very much a family. Everyone knew each other and the experienced always helped the inexperienced ones. It was tremendous, and a wonderful, wonderful different variety of people in it.

    • Caroline John: Whenever I come before a camera those 25, 26 episodes [of Doctor Who] have always been my groundwork, so what can you say but thank you BBC because it was a wonderful grounding, as being at the National had been in other ways, all this helps to round you off and stretch you.

    • Caroline John: (About working on Doctor Who) It was quite a tussle constantly saying to directors, 'Liz is a scientist, she actually does know.' I still had to say, 'What are we going to do, Doctor?' 70 different ways, because that was the format.

    • Caroline John: (About Lynn Redgrave) She pulls out of the bag specific things that either make you fall about laughing or twist your heart a bit. She's written about an unfulfilled woman who can be quite nasty about her husband and daughter, but you understand why she has become like this. What generosity to hand it to another actress. I just want to do her proud.

    • Caroline John: (About her character Liz Shaw) I think she thought she was dabbling in something that was a little bit beneath her. She got on well with The Doctor because of his scientific knowledge which, of course, was way ahead of her own, whereas I think that she always felt UNIT was all soldiers and being silly boys.