Radio Memories – Rigor Mortis.

Rigor Mortis (BBC Radio 4, 2003-2006)

I recently found a piece of paper featuring some more radio series that I still haven’t reviewed, so it’s about time for another one. Sitcoms have been set in a lot of unusual locations over the years, but a pathology lab? Yes, it really happened. You could never have thought that such a place could generate so many laughs. The main character was Dr Webster.

He is always rather keen to perform a post-mortem that determines the rather bizarre ways in which people have met their maker. He likes to solve a mystery, and the more curious they are, the better. He really enjoys his work, it’s where he, er, comes to life. Helping him along is Dr Anderson, and there is also Professor Donaldson, who mostly assumes the sitcom role of barging in and ending up slapping his forehead in frustration at the antics of the rest of the team that are beginning to get out of hand.

There were three series of Rigor Mortis, which got into the BBC7/BBC Radio 4 Extra repeats loop. The cast members were Peter Davison, Tracy-Ann Oberman (replaced by Matilda Ziegler for the second and third series), and Geoffrey Whitehead, who continued his superb commitment to lending his voice to every other TV and radio comedy going back decades.

The critics seemed to be rather fond of this too, one of them said that all of this was “brilliantly funny”, how nice. But the reason that I recall Rigor Mortis from the time was because my sister was very keen to see this performed, and she was in the audience for the majority of the episodes in the third and final series, down at the old Drill Hall.

Now as you’ll know, in the 80s Davison donned the old coat to become the sixth Doctor Who. He was her favourite, and the one, who as people say, defined her childhood, so any opportunity to see him do his thing was welcome. She was also more than aware that his predecessor was considered to be the definitive Doctor, but she never liked him, Davison was the best as far as she was concerned, and she didn’t care at all about this being perceived as the “wrong” answer among fans, and good for her.

So she saw him playing a doctor… but not that one! I remember being told that the cast acted sillier than usual for what turned out to be the final episode, there was that mood where they had realised that this would most likely be the final time that they would all be working together, and they wanted to make the most of it. About a year or two after the end, it seems that there were some plans to transfer this to TV, but this never happened.


One thought on “Radio Memories – Rigor Mortis.

  1. Des Elmes says:

    “Now as you’ll know, in the 80s Davison donned the old coat to become the sixth Doctor Who.”

    No disrespect intended whatsoever, Adam, but Colin Baker might have something to say about that… 😉


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