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Vincent Price as the First Sergeant
|Planet of Origin:||Kayaclasch|
|First Appearance:||Return of the Nylans|
|Last Appearance:||The Last Minutes|
|Portrayed By:||Vincent Price, Windsor Davies, Barry Purkis, Rowan Atkinson, Peter Wyngarde, Christian Slater, Stephen Colbert, Ian McKellen, Julian Sands|
The archenemy of the Inspector, the Sergeant made his official debut in the August 1970 serial "Return of the Nylans" (though fans still debate whether or not the earlier rogue Infinity Knights the Friar and the Postmaster were in fact the Sergeant in earlier incarnations).
- 1 The First Sergeant (1970–1971)
- 2 The Second Sergeant (1971–1972)
- 3 The Third Sergeant (1975)
- 4 The Fourth Sergeant (1980–1985)
- 5 The Fifth Sergeant (1986–1988)
- 6 The Sixth Sergeant (1999)
- 7 The Seventh Sergeant (1999)
- 8 Professor Yahe (2006)
- 9 The Eighth Sergeant (2006–2009)
- 10 The American Sergeant (2013 US TV Movie)
The First Sergeant (1970–1971)
The First Sergeant was played by legendary American horror actor Vincent Price, who still defines the role to many fans. Price's joviality and sarcasm in his portrayal drove home the madness and depravity bubbling under that exterior.
Offscreen, Price was well-beloved by the IS crew, both in his genial manner and in his intimate knowledge of working in low-budget cinema, which proved valuable in getting the best bang for the buck for the monsters and special effects. He was well known to entertain the crew in-between takes with soliloquies from Shakespeare.
Sadly his time as the Sergeant was struck short when he left the programme to host the Canadian children series The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.
The Second Sergeant (1971–1972)
The Second Sergeant was played by British actor Windsor Davies. Davies took over the role of the Sergeant for the Seasons 9 and 10, making his first appearance in "The Ocean Demons" and his last in "The Border of Time".
The Third Sergeant (1975)
The Third Sergeant was voiced by Windsor Davies but played onscreen by Barry Graham Purkis, only once, in the serial "The Lethal Murderer".
By this point the Sergeant had burned through all his metamorphoses and was only a being of unstable energy, encased in a special containment suit. Hoping to snare the Fourth Inspector in series of events on Kayaclasch, he planned to implant his mind in the Inspector's body.
Owing to an allergy to the materials used in the mirror- and glitter-covered costume, Davies read his lines off-camera, while Purkis (then a young struggling actor just starting in the business) would don the suit for the cameras. Unfortunately, the final episode's climax was filmed with strobe effects, and reports soon came in that the refracted and pulsating lights were causing many viewers to experience dizziness, nausea, and, in a few cases, even seizures. The incident led to Davies and Purkis being sacked.
Purkis switched careers to become a rock drummer and would don the mirror suit again when he joined the New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Samson in 1979. Today, performing under the stage name Thunderstick, he is a heavy metal legend.
The Fourth Sergeant (1980–1985)
Though there was some controversy over a comedian taking the part, Atkinson won over fans with his portrayal of a nastier, acidly sarcastic Sergeant. His deadpan visage served him well in his portrayal, with the sudden appearance of a smile or frown giving the viewers quite a shock. It also helped that several of his episodes were written by scriptwriter Ben Elton.
The Fifth Sergeant (1986–1988)
The Fifth Sergeant was played by British actor Peter Wyngarde, who took over the role in the serial "Space or the Maharani" and remained in it until the classic series's final serial, "Failure". For this serial, Wyngarde was given a campier costume—complete with enormous and unnecessary goggles—to lighten its otherwise gloomy and elegiac mood. He would reprise the role only once more, for the 1996 computer game Inspectorate of the Inspectors.
The Sixth Sergeant (1999)
There was some confusion among fans about who counted as the TV Movie's Sergeant since many switched it off in disappointment before the Sergeant's metamorphosis scene after showdown with the newly metamorphosed Eighth Inspector.
The Seventh Sergeant (1999)
The Seventh Sergeant was played by American humorist Stephen Colbert only once, in the second half of the ill-fated TV Movie.
Though the movie wound up polarising fans, one thing they all agreed on: Colbert's portrayal of a boorish, self-centred blowhard of a Sergeant was the best thing about the whole movie (a response that Colbert wholeheartedly agreed with).
Writing about the experience in his best-selling autobiography, I Am America—And So Can You!, Colbert explains how he set about portraying the iconic villain: "As I read through the script, I marvelled at the character. He's an egotist! A master manipulator with a huge superiority complex! How could I portray such a complex, malicious character? Then a brainwave struck me—just be yourself!"
The role also kick-started Colbert's interest in science fiction, inspiring him to write his best-selling Tek Jansen novels and comic books.
Professor Yahe (2006)
This version of the Sergeant was portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen.
In "Dystopia", the Tenth Inspector and Joanna visit a futuristic world where a virus infects people turning them into zombies. In order to preserve the species, they created a ship supposed to bring all the zombies on a deserted planet known as Dystopia. The head of the project was a small and shy old man, the professor Yahe. With the help of the Inspector, he succeeded. At the end of the episode, they were drinking tea when Joanna noticed a teapot identical to the one the Inspector used previously when he was human. The Inspector didn't believe her, but then they thought of the Foot of Moe's last words: "You Always Have Enemies", a code to the Professor's real identity. But at the same time, Yahe opened the teapot's secret compartment and regained his memories of his previous life as the Sergeant and his escape from the Time Wave.
Unfortunately, the shock caused him to die, but thanks to metamorphosis, he gained a new body and personality.
There is a controversy with the fans about whether he should be referred to as the Eighth Sergeant or not. Some argue that he spent all his life as the human Prof. Yahe, a complete opposite of the villainous Infinity Knight, and called himself the Sergeant only once, seconds before metamorphosing.
The Eighth Sergeant (2006–2009)
The Eighth Sergeant was played by British actor Julian Sands.
After escaping the Inspector in the BOOTH, he hid himself in 2006 under the false name "Henry Anglo" and created his own political party. After a year of intense publicity ("Elect Anglo"), he eventually became the Prime Minister of England (his endorsers included a cameo appearance by Ozzy Osbourne: "Bloody 'ell! Sharon! Am I being taped?"). During that time, he also married Lucio, a Mexican shoe-shine boy. It was the first time in the show the Sergeant was shown to be attracted to men.
After an epic two-part finale, he was seemingly killed but returned with the Infinity Knights in "The Last Minutes".
This incarnation is best remembered as the crazy Sergeant. He often laughed for no particular reason and enjoyed watching children's cartoons. He also had a fascination for music never seen before; in "The Blaring of Horns", he complained of a constant trumpet fanfare in his head, and he created his own rock band and played no less than two songs for the Inspector.
The American Sergeant (2013 US TV Movie)
For the American adaptation's movie-length premiere "The Epics of Eternity", the Sergeant was portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson. Despite the show's persistently low ratings, the majority of fans would agree that this incarnation of the Sergeant was at least one badass mo'fo'.
He first appeared as a rogue SWAT member of the Los Angeles special "Bulwarks" unit, but the Inspector discovered that he was planning to take over the mind of the President of the United States, Derek Olama. The Inspector was unable to stop him transferring to the Secret Service but managed to trap him inside a snake-infested Air Force One. His final words are "I've had it with these monkeywrenching snakes on this monkeywrenching plane!" as it crashes into the Golden Gate Bridge.
When asked if he would reprise his role as the Sergeant in the unexpected 2013–14 season, Jackson said, "Not a mother******** chance in hell!"