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Anneke Wills
Born Anna Katarina Willys
20 October 1941 (1941-10-20) (age 68)
Berkshire, United Kingdom
Occupation Actor
Official website

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


Anneke Wills was born on 20 October 1941, in Berkshire.[1] Her parents Anna and Alaric Willys (she later changed her name to Wills) had planned to buy a house in the South of France but their intentions was ended by the outbreak of World War II. Alaric's gambling debts forced Anna to find varied work while he became a captain in the British Army and an absent figure. Anna was occupied as a companion to a blind aristocrat, gardener, teacher - moving Anneke and her brother Robin around the country.

Wills gained her first role at the age of 11 while she was living on a houseboat in Bray, Berkshire. The film was called Child's Play and she gave the £9 fee to her mother. Deciding she wanted to be an actress she then studied drama at the Arts Educational School 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.

At 17 she began a relationship with Anthony Newley while working on the TV series The Strange World of Gurney Slade. During the sixties Anneke spent much of her time at the famous Troubadour Coffee Shop and The Establishment, and was part of the so-called Chelsea Set, counting among her close friends Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, The Alberts, Sammy Davis Junior, Angela Douglas and Kenneth More, Mary Quant, and Sarah Miles among others.

In 1966 she took the role of Polly in Doctor Who and appeared in the show into 1967 alongside William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. Other television credits include appearances in The Avengers and as Evelyn in Strange Report (1969-70). She left the latter series when it was planned to switch filming to Hollywood.

In 1970 Anneke gave up acting and moved to Norfolk, throwing herself into motherhood and gardening. During this time she travelled to Vietnam and Laos, and spent time at Poona, India, at the ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. She and her son Jasper visited the ashram many times in the 1970s and early 80s.

Wills married actor Michael Gough in 1962, but Gough's infidelity and possessive nature led to the end of their marriage and the couple divorced in 1979. She has remarried twice and lived in California and in an artist's colony on Hornby Island in Canada returning to the UK in the mid-1990s. She is still involved in the worlds of Doctor Who, being a popular guest at conventions, and being employed by the BBC and Big Finish to record various Doctor Who related audio and DVD projects.

The first volume of her autobiography, Self Portrait, was published in 2007 by Hirst Books, and a second volume, Naked followed in 2009.


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