Wanda Ventham (born 5 August 1935[1]) is a veteran British actress who has appeared many times on Doctor Who, portraying Jean Rock in The Faceless Ones, Thea Ransome and the Fendahl Core in Image of the Fendahl and Faroon in Time and the Rani.

A well-known face on British television Wanda is probably better known to sci-fi fans as Col. Virginia Lake, second in command of S.H.A.D.O., the secret alien-fighting organisation featured in Gerry Anderson's UFO. She is widely recognised from this series, even though in fact in she appeared in only a few episodes. Her character was considered ground-breaking in an era when women were not often portrayed in TV or film in roles of command. She may be recognised by fans of the Hammer horror films as the vampiric Lady Durward in Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter. She also appeared in an episode of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner.

Trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, Wanda Ventham's roles have been varied during her long career, including parts in The Lotus Eaters, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Only Fools and Horses and Men Behaving Badly. She is the mother of television actor and Big Finish Doctor Who guest actor Benedict Cumberbatch through her marriage to fellow Lotus Eaters cast member Timothy Carlton.

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