How Selina Cadell and Sigourney Weaver’s Friendship Began Long Before Doc Martin



One of life’s greatest prizes is finding a friend that’ll have a positive presence in your world for years, if not decades. Two women experiencing such a victory are actresses Selina Cadell (“Doc Martin”) and Sigourney Weaver (“Alien,” “Avatar”).

Although Cadell and Weaver both work in an entertainment industry that is often considered cutthroat, the two have managed to stay close since meeting at a London Swiss Cottage-area pub. A mutual friend, as fate would have it, introduced the two.

Recalled Cadell in a chat with RadioTimes: “It was the summer of 1974 and we were so young, still in our early 20s. She was only supposed to be in London for a few weeks, but she ended up staying for the whole summer.

Sigourney Weaver - Doc Martin 8

“We clicked and became close friends really quickly,” continued Cadell. “Our backgrounds were in many ways very different, but in other ways similar; both our mothers had been to RADA [the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art].”
Cadell said she and Weaver would spend that summer “bombing around in my yellow Renault 4,” and giggling “until it hurt.”

Doc Martin S6E5: Mrs. Sally Tishell (SELINA CADELL)

At this time, both Cadell and Weaver were striving toward careers in acting. Thus, in the autumn of 1974, Weaver returned to New York, where she had been attending Yale Drama School.

“I loved Selina as soon as we met in that London pub,” relayed Weaver to the RadioTimes. “We stayed in touch the old-fashioned way after that first summer in London, sending letters and postcards.”

As time went on, Cadell began getting theatre roles, which was great, because that allowed her to catch up with Weaver in New York. Eventually, Weaver would return to London to star in her breakout role as Ripley in 1979’s “Alien.”

“When I found out I’d got the part of Ripley in ‘Alien,’ I phoned my parents and then Selina,” reflected Weaver. “I was thrilled that I was going to be filming in London.

“When you have a friend who’s also an actress, but is as generous and as well-balanced as Selina, then you can call them up and tell them about a great job,” added Weaver. “There were plenty of friends I wouldn’t have been able to call, because their first instinct would’ve been, ‘Why am I not getting a movie?’ But I knew she’d be happy for me.”
Cadell also remembers this occasion fondly: “When she got ‘Alien,’ she left a message at the stage door of the Salisbury Playhouse in Wiltshire, where I was doing a panto.

Selina Cadell & Sigourney Weaver

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“I had to walk up to the roundabout to find a phone box, which I fed a never ending pile of coins because it was an international call,” elaborated Cadell. “I was thrilled that she’d got the part of Ripley. My friend was going to be in a Hollywood movie! Plus it meant she would be filming at Shepperton and I’d see more of her.”

Flash forward to 2018, and the fact that Cadell is a shining star on “Doc Martin,” and that her friend Weaver – a presence in a sizeable stream of big-budget films – has since guest starred in two episodes of the hit British series as Beth Traywick.

“Having a cameo in Doc Martin [was] a dream job for me,” expressed Weaver. “Cornwall is the most beautiful place.”

Doc Martin S7E7

Perhaps more joint ventures for Cadell and Weaver will happen down the road?

Said Cadell: “Filming Doc Martin together [was] a joy, but we’d love to work together properly, perhaps on a comedy.”

-Adam Grant

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