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Cult Spy: Changing Sides

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In football, players who defect from one team to a rival are often labelled Judases, scabs without loyalty. Just witness the reception Sol Campbell received when he jumped ship from Tottenham to Arsenal. Similarly, cricketer Kevin Pietersen's decision to spurn South Africa in favour of England brought howls of derision from his homeland. Fortunately, fans of cult television shows are less harsh, although not lacking in passion. Several big names have appeared in more than one high profile cult show, and we take a look at a few notable examples this week…

Christopher Eccleston - Doctor Who and Heroes

Known for his roles in gritty Northern dramas, Eccleston showed his versatility as he helped relaunch Doctor Who in 2005. He played the Time Lord as a mysterious, world-weary man with special powers, a Mancunian accent and a tendency to gurn. However, he left the show after just one season in the role, with various rumours surrounding his departure doing the rounds.

Early in 2007, Eccleston surprisingly cropped up in Heroes as Claude – a mysterious, world-weary man with special powers, a Mancunian accent and a tendency to become invisible. Fortunately, rather than angering Who fans by his defection, most were just glad that an actor his calibre was still willing to work on science fiction shows.


David Duchovny - Twin Peaks and X Files

David Lynch's magnificent Twin Peaks undoubtedly paved the way for scary, tonally dark shows like the X Files to enter the mainstream. In fact, both series followed the investigations of certain FBI Agents into paranormal activities. Even more bizarre – David Duchovny played FBI Agents in both. Spooky, huh?

But fortunately there was one massive difference in the roles, for in Twin Peaks Duchovny played a cross-dressing lesbian cop called Dennis/Denise Bryson in the second series. Sadly, Fox Mulder never ventured into transvestite territory, although perhaps it would have made Dana Scully pay him more attention?


George Takei - Star Trek and Heroes

Poor George Takei. Such was his impact playing a legendary USS Enterprise helmsman on the original series of Star Trek and subsequent movies, he was more commonly referred to as Mr Sulu than by his own name whenever he cropped up outside the role. How could he ever escape the legacy and find another great role? Step forward post-modernism!

On Heroes, a couple of Oriental cheeky chappies – Hiro and Ando – dropped in a few Star Trek references and before you could say 'Shatner's Bassoon', out popped Sulu (sorry, George) as the former's stern father. Where Sulu boldly went with phasers, Kaito Nakamura gallantly ventured with samurai swords. Hot on Sulu's heels follows Uhura, with actress Nichelle Nicholls joining the Heroes cast for the second season. How long before Chekov's phone starts to ring?


Colin Baker - Blakes 7, Doctor Who and Doctor Who

Yes, you read that right. Before grabbing the role of the sixth incarnation of the iconic Time Lord, Colin Baker had effectively given a couple of successful audition pieces in fellow British sci-fi show Blake's 7 and Doctor Who itself. Both roles were bathed in pure villainy, with Bayban The Butcher in 'City at the Edge of the World' a particularly macabre turn. Playing the world's second most wanted villain (after Blake of course), Baker hammed it up with silver earrings and a black leather outfit that looked like it came straight from a blind man's fetish shop. Still, it was more respectable than the garb he wound up wearing as The Doctor. But a year before taking command of the TARDIS, Baker locked horns with Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor as Commander Maxil, an arrogant and irate Time Lord (not too dissimilar to his portrayal of The Doctor). Fans were not too happy in 1984 about The Doctor being the spitting image of a villain from the previous year, but that was soon to be the least of their worries as the show quickly faced the axe in Baker's first year after being accused of becoming too violent.

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