Emmerdale star, Richard Franklin dies on Christmas Day
Christmas came with a bittersweet note this year, as news emerged of the passing of Richard Franklin, beloved actor of stage and screen, known for his roles in the iconic sci-fi series Doctor Who and the long-running soap opera Emmerdale. Franklin, 87, died peacefully in his sleep after a long illness, leaving behind a rich legacy of performances that captured the hearts of generations.
Franklin’s career spanned over six decades, with his early years marked by a strong presence in theatre. He honed his craft on prestigious stages like the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, tackling diverse roles from Shakespearean heroes to contemporary characters. This theatrical grounding imbued his screen performances with a depth and nuance that resonated with audiences.
In 1971, Franklin’s career trajectory took a thrilling turn when he landed the role of Captain Mike Yates in Doctor Who. Joining alongside Jon Pertwee as the third Doctor, Franklin brought a youthful charm and unwavering loyalty to the UNIT scientific advisor. His portrayal of Mike, battling alongside the Doctor against alien threats and robotic menaces, resonated with fans, making him a cherished member of the Doctor Who family.
Franklin’s time with Doctor Who spanned three seasons, featuring classic episodes like “The Daemons” and “The Sea Devils.” He even got to travel through time himself, appearing in a 20th-anniversary special alongside subsequent Doctors Tom Baker and Peter Davison. His legacy within the Whoniverse remains strong, with fans fondly remembering his witty banter, unwavering dedication, and iconic sideburns.
Beyond Doctor Who, Franklin’s career flourished. He joined the cast of Emmerdale in 1999, portraying the charmingly cantankerous Derek Elford. His character, known for his sharp tongue and love of a good gossip, was a staple of the soap for over a decade, providing both comedic relief and emotional depth. Franklin’s portrayal earned him recognition from a new generation of viewers, solidifying his status as a versatile and well-respected actor.
Throughout his career, Franklin graced screens big and small with his presence. He appeared in films like “Carry On Sergeant” and “Nicholas and Alexandra,” while also guest-starring in popular shows like Heartbeat and Crossroads. His talent and dedication were recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards in 2010.
But beyond the awards and accolades, what truly defined Richard Franklin was his warmth, humor, and genuine love for his craft. He was known for his infectious laugh, his generous spirit, and his unwavering support for his fellow actors. His passing leaves a void in the entertainment industry, but his legacy lives on in the countless characters he brought to life and the joy he brought to audiences across generations.
Richard Franklin’s story is one of dedication, talent, and a love for storytelling that transcended genres and timelines. He was a Doctor Who companion who battled monsters, an Emmerdale resident who stirred the pot, and a theatre veteran who commanded the stage. But above all, he was a kind and genuine soul who left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who knew him and those who were touched by his performances.