Sonia Markham, who was a trustee Friend of Freedom Press
and wife of Ernest Rodker, died earlier this week aged 69.
She had been suffering for several years from an asbestos
related illness. Her father the actor David Markham
and mother Olive, had been anarchists and
friends of Vernon (Vero) Richards who had
been the editor of Freedom for many years.
SONIA Markham, who was the make-up supervisor of Doctor Who for the majority of the Hartnell era has died at the age of 78.
Her connection with the show began early on when she was a make-up artist on The Sensorites (1964), assisting Jill Summers, and she continued in that capacity until promoted to senior designer on for the second production block, beginning with The Rescue. During her tenure her responsibilities included Kevin Stoney’s distinctive look as Mavic Chen in The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965/66), ageing Ewen Solon as tribe leader Chal in The Savages (1966) and applying series star William Hartnell’s wig, an act she was photographed performing by the Daily Mirror in a series of memorable behind-the-scenes shots. Her final credit for the show was on The Smugglers (1966).
Sonia Markham was born in 1938, the daughter of the actor David Markham and radio dramatist Olive Dehn. She was the eldest of four daughters – respected actress Kika (Edward & Mrs Simpson, A Very British Coup) is the widow of Corin Redgrave; Ace of Wands star Petra played Safiya in the Doctor Who story The Crusade (and so was made up by her elder sibling); the poet and dramatist Jehane is the widow of Only Fools And Horses and Rise Of The Cybermen actor Roger Lloyd-Pack.
After Doctor Who she worked on The Three Musketeers (1966), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1967), and Dombey and Son (1969).
Having given up her career in television she retrained as a psychotherapist and counsellor and campaigned for humanitarian and environmental issues. She and her husband wrote to The Guardian in 2015 highlighting their opposition to government plans to charge for demonstrations and signalling their intent to join the forthcoming Climate Change march. She also contributed to the DVD commentaries on her stories The Sensorites and Planet of Giants and was happy to give interviews about her time on the show.
She married Ernest Rodker, her long term partner, in 2002. He survives her, as do their two sons Oliver and Joel.
Sonia G Markham 1938 – 2016.
With thanks to Anneke Wills.