George Cranleigh was an explorer and botanist in the early 20th century. A scion of an aristocratic Oxfordshire family, he was the son of Lady Cranleigh and the elder brother of Charles Cranleigh. He was engaged to Ann Talbot. He was also the author of the book Black Orchid.

In 1924, he vanished while he was on an expedition to the Amazon searching for the black orchid and was presumed dead, so his engagement was cancelled.

In fact, he had been captured by the Kojabe tribe, who considered the black orchid sacred. They tortured and mutilated him, including cutting his tongue out for attempting to steal the orchid. He was discovered by a friendly tribe led by Latoni who returned him home, however, the ordeal had left him disfigured and deranged.

Lady Cranleigh locked him in a secret section of the house for two years to keep him safe from the outside world with the help of Latoni and one of their servants, Digby.

George was still in love with Ann. On 11 June 1925, he stalked her round the house and murdered Digby and another servant named James. He captured the Fifth Doctor's companion Nyssa, mistaking her for Ann, and took her to the roof. The Doctor and Charles followed him up there. He soon realised that it was not Ann and returned Nyssa to the Doctor, but then fell from the roof to his death. (TV: Black Orchid)

Behind the scenes Edit

  • To preserve the mystery of his character's identity, Gareth Milne was credited as "The Unknown" for part one and in Radio Times before being revealed as "George Cranleigh" for part two.
  • Michael Cochrane, who played his younger brother Charles, was the subject of the photograph of George seen on the inside cover of his book Black Orchid.
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