Monday, 16 October 2017

Roy Dotrice, RIP

Sorry to hear that Roy Dotrice has died. He was 94.

I remember him first as Father in Beauty and the Beast - the wise, kind older man who held the underground community together.

Later, he played a much more unpleasant father - Wesley's dad in Angel:

And of course he was in Hellboy, with Ron Perlman again.

On stage, he was part of the RSC at a time when many great names were gracing the boards there, including Laurence Olivier, Peter O'Toole and Paul Robeson.

Born on the island of Guernsey, he escaped with this brother and mother at the beginning of the Second World War, and joined the RAF as a wireless operator and air gunner - and ended up in a POW camp after being shot down. After the War, he began his acting career, and was still going strong quite recently, with a small part in Game of Thrones, for which he also read the audio books.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Trowelblazers - Bridget Allchin in South Asia

Here's a fascinating archaeologist with links to Gordon Childe, Kathleen Kenyon, and Agatha Christie!

Bridget Gordon was born in 1927, in Oxford, and during the Second World War she ran the family farm in the Scottish Borders when her father was called up for military service. He was a Major in the Indian Army Medical Service.
After the war, the family moved to South Africa, where Bridget managed to persuade her family to let her study at Cape Town University, where she was taught anthropology and archaeology as part of her African Studies degree. She also learned to pilot a small aircraft, taught by a Battle of Britain pilot!
She returned to London in 1950, where she wanted to take up a higher degree in prehistory at the LSE, only to be told that she needed to do another first degree because the one she had was "colonial".
She went for an interview with Gordon Childe, who was the Director of the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, and walked out ten minutes later with her being admitted to a doctorate focussed on the late Stone Age of South Africa. This was where she met Kathleen Kenyon and Agatha Christie.
While studying, she met Raymond Allchin, late of the Indian Army, who was studying Sanskrit and Hindi. Raymond was offered a PhD scholarship to study the archaeology of the Deccan in 1951, with provision for a wife's fare and allowance, so they got married and set off. First, though, they spent their honeymoon in the Dordogne, looking at prehistoric wall paintings.
At first in partnership with her husband, and later on her own, Bridget established herself as a foremost authority on South Asian archaeology, from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, with many publications to her name. By this time, she and Raymond also had two children, born in the early 1950s.
One of the projects she worked on was the study of the Great Thar Desert, between India and Pakistan, and stone tools were one of her areas of expertise.
She became secretary-general of the Association of South Asian Archaeologists in 1970, and became editor of Afghan Studies in 1978. She was also the founding editor of the journal South Asian Studies.
In 1980 she and Raymond helped to found the Ancient India and Iran Trust, and she became first secretary, and later chair, of the Trust.
She was also a fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge for 50 years, and in 2014 she was awarded the Royal Asiatic Society's gold medal in recognition of her role as a pioneering female field archaeologist in South Asia. She and Raymond also gave their name to the Annual Allchin Symposium on South Asian Archaeology.
She died in June this year. Raymond died in 2010. There is a joint autobiography called From the Oxus to Mysore in 1951: the Start of a Great Partnership in Indian Scholarship.