We are sad to report that Trevor Baxter, known to Whovians as Professor George Litefoot, has died aged 84.
Trevor Baxter first appeared in the 1977 Fourth Doctor story The Talons of Weng-Chiang, alongside Christopher Benjamin as Henry Gordon Jago. Together the two went on to have their own series of Big Finish audio dramas in 2009. The audios became an instant hit and they went on to star in 13 series over the course of 8 years.
Baxter graduated from RADA in 1951 and had an illustrious career on stage and screen, appearing in David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre and performing with the RSC, and touring Shakespeare in South America. As well as being an actor, Baxter was a keen playwright, with plays including Lies, Office Games and Undertakingall. He also adapted plays from such greats as Oscar Wilde, with a national tour of Dorian Gray in 2003 and Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime in 2005.
“In the nine years that I knew and worked with him, Trevor Baxter never stopped laughing. Even when he first joined Big Finish for the Companion Chronicle The Mahogany Murderers, he was not a well man, but his illness never seemed to dampen his joy of life. He loved reading – he didn’t own a TV but read books on his Kindle voraciously. He loved classical music, and could talk about it with passion and at length. He was a hugely intelligent man with great taste, and yet he never made you feel uncomfortable if you didn’t match his intelligence or taste. It was simply a joy to listen to him talking passionately.”
“He also loved Jago and Litefoot, which kept him busy in the final years of his life, and he would listen to every single episode in every single release off the press, and write to me and tell me what he loved (which was usually everything). He adored working with Big Finish, but most of all he adored his co-star Christopher Benjamin, who he would tease mercilessly throughout every hour of every recording day. Those precious days (I think there might have been 60 of them) that I spent in their company were some of the happiest of my working life.”
“Sometimes we would be crying with laughter, tears streaming down our faces, at the glorious badinage between takes. I will always remember Toby, our studio engineer, turning towards me during a break and saying, ‘I absolutely love Trevor. I’ve never met anyone else like him. He’s unique’ That’s how we all felt, and feel.”
“Such a sad day. Doctor Who has lost one of its legends, and we’ve lost a dear friend.”
Jason-Haigh Ellery said:
“I was always impressed by Trevor, a man with an opinion and a decisive way of giving it. It became a running joke that if I cancelled the Jago and Litefoot series he would have nothing to live for. I don’t say that to be flippant but just to show his determination and his wicked sense of humour. He will be greatly missed by us all at Big Finish.”
“Dear Trevor. What a spirit, what a brain, what entertainment… and what a friend and colleague. Lover of life and books and art, thoughts and ideas; the first person I knew to own a Kindle!”
“From the time I worked with him in the theatre – to the 6 splendid years I spent with him on Jago & Litefoot. You lightened our lives; and how lucky and privileged we were that you gave all your energy and talent to that splendid creation Professor George Litefoot. I can’t think of a more brilliant epilogue to a long and brilliant career. RIP Trevor. Heartbroken.”
“I was lucky enough to have been in on a number of recording sessions on the last few Jago & Litefoot sets, where meeting Trevor was never less than a pleasure and an inspiration. He’d hold court in the Green Room about all sorts of subjects, and it felt like he’d devoured every book there was, often looking at me and asking, “Oh, dear boy, have you read…” and having the tact not to look disappointed when I often said, “um… no”. Indeed he’d then bring you up to speed with an accuracy most of my university tutors lacked, and welcome you into the conversation. His relationship with Christopher was warm and fun, and they were a double act as much behind the microphone as in front of it, providing many of my happiest Big Finish memories. It’s incredibly sad news that I won’t experience that again. Thank you so, so much Trevor.”