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The Martin Shaw Observatory

His performance grows on you.

© 1985 Carlton UK Television

We admit to knowing very little about Martin Shaw. He is probably best known for his British TV appearances, the most notable being his role as Ray Doyle in The Professionals. To be perfectly honest, The Last Place on Earth is really the only thing we've seen him in, although it is evident, as this page attests, that he has kept himself quite busy.

Anyone familiar with Scott at all might have wondered at first why Martin Shaw was cast as Robert Falcon Scott. Physically, he has little in common with the weak-chinned, slightly balding, fragile-looking Scott. His hair had to be shaved, which gave him a prominent and disconcerting forehead that was hard to ignore. However, his performance as the real man behind the mythical explorer soon became riveting, though his portrayal of Scott probably did not win him any points with those comfortable with the Scott myth.

© 1985 Carlton UK Television

As played by Shaw, Scott is an upper-class, insecurely tyrannical, over-emotional ninny. What is so remarkable about his performance is that this is exactly what Roland Huntford thinks of Scott, and Shaw captures it perfectly. It's true that the screenwriter didn't give Scott much in the way of redeemable qualities, but Shaw is careful to grab them when he can. Despite being whiny at almost every turn, Shaw also plays Scott as someone who is way over his head-- and knows it. Scott at his most impressive is after they are waylaid in their tent-- weak, freezing and only 11 impossible miles from the depot. Shaw's voiceover reads movingly from Scott's actual journal, while onscreen he writes letters heroically and waits for death. By the end, it is clear that Martin Shaw was truly the best choice for the role.

Below we list some other Martine Shaw works.
We plan on seeing these when we can, but for now we can only rely
on the recommendations from IMDB readers:

© 1985 Carlton UK Television

The Professionals (BBC Series, 1977). This one has a pretty big cult following (we think). If we can find some of them on video, we'll let you know what we think.

Macbeth (Britain, 1971). To be honest, we put this one on the list because evidently Mr. Shaw likes doing Shakespeare. We've not seen hide nor hair of this version, but we're sure it's good.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (A&E miniseries, 1998). We keep wanting to type "The Scarlet Pumpernickel," but we're pretty sure he's not in *that* one.

Rhodes (BBC miniseries, 1996). Again, haven't seen it, but want to. It's about the man after whom Rhodesia was named.

Click here to see the Martin Shaw biography from the Last Place on Eath publicity packet

Copyright © 2000, 2001 Emily Slatten; about framheim; about the pictures