michael jayston


Moffat Appreciation Week - January 17:  An open day for all kinds of posts

For the final day of Moffat Appreciation Week, I decided to talk about a few of my favourite things that Steven has done with his writing.

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I remember the first time I met Michael Jayston, we were chatting about this and that, and for some reason I mentioned that sometimes I fear having trouble being taken seriously as a professional, as I do tend to look a bit young for my age.

“Really?” he said. “Because you honestly don’t look a day over 64.”

Oh Michael, you ol’ smoothie. I do enjoy a bit of ridiculous banter.

Who fans - and if you’re reading this, you probably are one - will remember Jayston’s understated, menacing performance as the Scrapyard Barnyard Junkyard Valeyard in the show’s Trial Of A Time Lord season, a role he has since reprises in the Big Finish audios He Jests At Scars and the recent Trial Of The Valeyard. He’s been in far too many other things to list them all; that said, I would be remiss if I failed to mention his performance opposite Alec Guinness in the fabulous BBC adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Then there was the time I mentioned being a lapsed academic, and he looked at me incredulously, and said “did you say you’re a lapdancer?” and I laughed so hard I could barely breathe. So thank you for that, sir.


“Mr Chambers will demand an explanation…”

That time when Mister Popplewick turned out to be Mister JJ Chambers in disguise, which was an alias being used by the Valeyard, who was actually, in a roundabout way, the Doctor himself.

The Trial of a Time Lord - season 23 - 1986

(GIF 05 - bit of a fan edit.)

Fact #63

Besides learning to operate the Matrix and throw quill pens, Michael Jayston has said that the most difficult part of his role in Trial of a Time Lord was getting the hang of vanishing and reappearing at will. As one of the few actors to master this art with some proficiency, he was in more recent years hired to train Toby Jones in the skill for the new series. Toby Jones, however, still splinches himself every third take.