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Anneke Wills (born Anna Katarina Willys, 20 October 1941) is an English actress, best known for her role as the Doctor Who companion Polly in the long-running BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who.[1]

Anneke Wills
Anna Katarina Willys

(1941-10-20) 20 October 1941 (age 77)
Years active1952–1970
TelevisionDoctor Who (1966–1967)
Michael Gough
(m. 1962; div. 1979)


Wills's father, Alaric Willys, was a captain in the British Army. Her mother, Anna, was a housewife.[2] Anneke is the granddaughter of Richard Raymond Willis VC.[3]


Deciding she wanted to be an actress she studied drama at the Arts Educational School and RADA in London and quickly became one of the busiest actresses of her generation, early roles included an appearance as Roberta in the second TV version of The Railway Children in 1957.[4] Her other film roles included appearances in Some People (1962) and The Pleasure Girls (1965).[5]

Anneke Wills with a young fan at Bournemouth Comic-Con in 2016.

Her other television credits include appearances in The Avengers[6] and as Evelyn in Strange Report (1969–70).[7]

Doctor WhoEdit

In 1966, she took the role of Polly in Doctor Who. She appeared in the show until 1967 alongside William Hartnell and then Patrick Troughton.[8] Her favourite story was The Smugglers.[9]

In October 2013, she recorded an abridged version of Who's There?, a biography of William Hartnell written by his granddaughter, Jessica Carney.[10]

In November 2013, she appeared in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.[11]

She has been a popular guest at Doctor Who conventions, and has been employed by the BBC and Big Finish to record various audio and DVD projects related to the show.[12][13][14]


The first volume of her autobiography, Self Portrait, was published in 2007[15] by Hirst Books and a second volume, Naked, followed in 2009. Her latest book, Anneke Wills - In Focus, was published in May 2012 by Fantom Films.[16]

Personal lifeEdit

At 17, she began a relationship with Anthony Newley while working on the TV series The Strange World of Gurney Slade. Newley fathered Wills's first child, but left her to marry Joan Collins.[17] During the 1960s Wills spent much of her time at the famous Troubadour Coffee Shop[18] and the Establishment, and was part of the so-called "Chelsea Set".

Wills married actor Michael Gough in 1962; the couple had one son, Jasper, and divorced in 1979. She remarried twice. In 1970, she gave up acting and moved to Norfolk, dedicating herself to motherhood and gardening. She left the UK in 1980 and lived in various places in the 16 years afterwards, including in Laos, Vietnam, and India in the early 1980s, in the US from 1983–1986, and in Canada from 1986–1996.[19]


  1. ^ "Anneke Wills".
  2. ^ "About Anneke" Retrieved 20 May 2015
  3. ^ ’Self Portrait’ Anneke Wills, Autobiography 2007
  4. ^ "Children's Television: The Railway Children: 3: The Old Gentleman". 15 March 1957. p. 12 – via BBC Genome.
  5. ^ Profile,; accessed 29 April 2015.
  6. ^ "The Big Issue - Anneke Wills". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  7. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Strange Report (1968-69)".
  8. ^ "Doctor Who companion Anneke Wills on achieving cultural immortality". Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Doctor Who The Power of the Daleks animation review". 5 November 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Who's There? – Anneke Wills".
  11. ^ The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot,; accessed 29 April 2015.
  12. ^ "The War Machines, Season 3, Doctor Who - The Fourth Dimension - BBC One". BBC.
  13. ^ "Anneke Wills and Terrence Hardiman are Charley's Family! - News - Big Finish".
  14. ^
  15. ^ Profile,; accessed 29 April 2015.
  16. ^ "fantom films :: anneke wills". Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  17. ^ Wills, Anneke. Self Portrait. Hirst Publishing 2007; ISBN 978-0-9557149-0-0
  18. ^ Mentor, Toms. "Anneke Wills: Gurney Slade, Anthony Newley and me | Features". The Stage. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  19. ^ "About Anneke - Anneke Wills". Retrieved 9 June 2016.

External linksEdit