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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Bruce Purchase 1938 - 2008

Actor Bruce Purchase has died at his home in London at the age of 69.

Bruce Purchase, who was born in Thames, New Zealand, was best known to Doctor Who viewers for his role as The Captain in the fourth Doctor story The Pirate Planet.

He was a founder member of Sir Laurence Olivier's National Theatre and a regular performer with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In 2003 he gave the first performance of Johnson is Leaving, John Wain's adaptation of his 1974 biography of Dr Samuel Johnson, at The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Wain wrote the drama especially for Purchase after the two men met in Oxford and Purchase subsequently performed the play around the world.

He appeared opposite Richard Chamberlain in a European tour of My Fair Lady and his television work included I, Claudius, Blakes 7 and Rumpole of the Bailey. His film performances included Richard III and All Quiet on the Western Front.

Purchase's autobiography Changing Skies was published shortly before he died and he was also an accomplished artist who exhibited in London and abroad.

He became seriously ill while touring in a production of The Last Confession last year which also starred David Suchet.

He lived in Putney with his partner, Sara Hebblethwaite.