Anneke Wills
Wills in 2016
Anna Katarina Willys

(1941-10-20) 20 October 1941 (age 79)
Berkshire, England[1]
Years active1952–1970
TelevisionDoctor Who (1966–1967)
(m. 1962; div. 1979)

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.[2]


Wills's father, Alaric Willys, was a captain in the British Army. Her mother, Anna, was a housewife.[1] 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.
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 Who

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 life

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 Belgium, Laos, Vietnam, and India in the early 1980s, in the USA from 1983–1986, and in Canada from 1986–1996, before returning to the UK in 1996.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1954 Child's Play Alice Nightingale
1962 Candidate for Murder Jacqueline
1962 Some People Anne
1964 Nothing but the Best Girl
1965 The Pleasure Girls Angela


Year Title Role Notes
1954 Impostor's Gold Sybil Hughes
1954 The House with a Secret Robina
1955 Alibi Children Molly Wilson
1955 Remember Jane Jane Eyre
1955 The Prince and the Pauper Lady Jane Grey Episode: "Exchange"
1955 Passage of Arms Henriette de Chamborde
1955 The Blakes Jean Blake All 4 episodes
1956 African Holiday Megs Wyndham
1956 The Grove Family Olive Green Episode: "Olive Green"
1957 The Railway Children Roberta All 8 episodes
1958 From Cover to Cover Girl Episode: "#1.1"
1959 Don't Tell Father Diana 2 episodes
1960 BBC Sunday-Night Play Katrina Hoefler Episode: "Glorious Morning"
1960 Emergency-Ward 10 Clarissa Wallace 2 episodes
1960 Probation Officer Miss Shirley Episode: "#1.27"
1960 Miss Field Episode: "#2.3"
1960 Sheila Episode: "#2.8"
1960 No Hiding Place Glenda Williamson Episode: "The Final Chase"
1960 The Strange World of Gurney Slade Girl on Airfield 2 episodes
1961 ITV Television Playhouse Woman in coffee bar Episode: "Ben Spray"
1961 Peggy Episode: "Different Drum"
1961 Golden Girl Minty Episode: "Ward of Court"
1961 Winning Widows Sheila Episode: "The Young Niece"
1961 Gamble for a Throne Kaye Chance 4 episodes
1961 ITV Play of the Week Kathleen Short Episode: "The Primitive"
1962 The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre Jacqueline Episode: "Candidate for Murder"
1963 The Sentimental Agent Sarah Episode: "All That Jazz"
1963 No Hiding Place Dolly Fenson Episode: "The Smoke Boys"
1963 The Avengers Pussy Cat Episode: "Dressed to Kill"
1965 The Likely Lads Judith Francis Episode: "Other Side of the Fence"
1965 ITV Play of the Week Chris Durley Episode: "No Baby, No Baby at All"
1966 Thirty-Minute Theatre Julia Episode: "Keep on Running"
1966 The Wednesday Play Leda Episode: "Toddler on the Run"
1966-1967 Doctor Who Polly 36 episodes
1966 The Saint Fran Roeding Episode: "The Helpful Pirate"
1967 Beggar My Neighbour Episode: "For Better, for Worse"
1967 The Avengers Judy Episode: "The £50,000 Breakfast"
1969-1970 Strange Report Evelyn McLean All 16 episodes
2013 An Adventure in Space and Time Party Guest Non speaking cameo
2013 The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Anneke Wills


  1. ^ a b ""About Anneke"". Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Anneke Wills".
  3. ^ ’Self Portrait’ Anneke Wills, Autobiography 2007
  4. ^ "Children's Television: The Railway Children: 3: The Old Gentleman". The Radio Times (1740): 12. 15 March 1957 – 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. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 4, the Underwater Menace - the Fourth Dimension".
  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 (8 August 2011). "Anneke Wills: Gurney Slade, Anthony Newley and me | Features". The Stage. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  19. ^ "About Anneke - Anneke Wills". Retrieved 9 June 2016.