As the First Doctor once said: “One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back.” This blog is dedicated to those who didn’t.
William Hartnell – First Doctor (1963-66) – 23 April 1975, aged 67. At the end of ‘The Tenth Planet’ the First Doctor collapses on the floor of the Tardis and is “renewed”. Before recording the third episode Hartnell actually did collapse due to bronchitis. Originally trained as a jockey. Series of strokes leading to heart failure.
Patrick Troughton – Second Doctor (1966-69) – 28 March 1987, aged 67. Was torpedoed while returning to England during WWII. Escaped by lifeboat. The ‘Cosmic Hobo’ brought a mix of comedy and shrewdness to the role, and of course, cemented the notion that the Doctor can regenerate. Died during a sci-fi convention in Columbus, Georgia. Just before breakfast. Heart attack.
Jon Pertwee – Third Doctor (1970-74) – 20 May 1996, aged 76. Turned down by one acting school for a speech defect; thrown out of another for refusing to play a Greek Wind. During WWII transferred from HMS Hood shortly before it was sunk by the Bismark. First choice for the role of Captain Manwairing in Dad’s Army. Heart attack.
Elisabeth Sladen – Sarah Jane Smith – 19 Apri 2011, aged 63. Much loved, much mourned, much missed. Also appeared in Z Cars, Coronation St, and watch out for a brief appearance in 70s hit comedy Some Mother Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Last appearance as a regular assistant was in The Hand of Fear broadcast in October 1976. Cancer.
Nicholas Courtney – the Brigadier – 22 Feb 2011, aged 81. Official website states: ‘It is with great sadness that we have to announce today that, following a long battle against illness, Nick Courtney has passed away.’ Cancer.
Mary Tamm – Romana – 26 July 2012, aged 62. Husband Marcus Ringrose died of a suspected heart attack hours after giving a eulogy at Mary’s funeral. Cancer.
Adrienne Hill – Katarina – 6 October 1997, aged 60. Katarina, a handmaiden of the prophetess Cassandra during the siege of Troy, Katarina, only lasted five episodes before heroically sacrificing herself in ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan‘. First companion to be killed, and last until Adric in Earthshock. Adrienne later became a drama teacher. Cancer.
Michael Craze – Ben Jackson – 8 December 1998, aged 56. Spanned the Hartnell/Troughton era. Fell down steps picking up his neighbour’s newspaper the day before he died. Heart attack.
Roger Delgado – the Master – 18 June 1973, aged 55. Typecast as a villain Delgado died in Turkey while filming a comedy Bell of Tibet. It was never completed. Car crash.
Anthony Ainley – the Master – 3 May 2004, aged 71. The Master mark 4 was a keen amateur cricketer and played rugby for Richmond and Middlesex in the 1950s. Unspecified.
Ian Marter – Harry Sullivan – 28 October 1986, aged 42. Auditioned for role of Mike Yates and appeared in ‘Carnival of Monsters‘ before landing the part of the Navy surgeon with a stiff upper lip. Wrote wrote nine novelisations of Who stories. Joke character, yet appeared in some of the best Doctor Who episodes. Heart attack.
Valentine Dyall – the Black Guardian – 24 June 1985, aged 77. This spectacularly gifted actor was father of costume designer Christian Dyall. Unspecified.
Gerald Flood – voice of Kamelion – 12 April 1989, aged 61. Grandfather of English international fly-half Toby Flood. Heart attack.
Michael Wisher – Davros – July 1995, aged 60. Although Davros was resurrected several times Wisher only portrayed him in the original ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. Wisher did however voice the Daleks in several other storylines, including‘Planet of the Daleks’, and ‘Death to the Daleks’. Heart attack.
Sydney Newman – Head of Drama BBC – 30 October 1997, aged 80. Newman came up with the ideas that the Doctor stole the TARDIS from his own people, and that it should be be bigger on the inside than the outside. Later became head of Canadian National Film Board. Heart attack.
Verity Lambert – Producer – 22 November 2007, aged 71. Began her career as a typist for ABC. Went on to become one of the most powerful and productive figures in UK TV. As Head of Drama at Thames Television she oversaw The Naked Civil Servant, Rumpole of the Bailey, and Edward and Mrs. Simpson. Her own production company Cinema Verity gave May to December, G.B.H. and ah-hem Eldorao. Cancer.
Terry Nation – scriptwriter – 9 March 1997, aged 66. Most famous for inventing the Daleks, Nation also created the original (far superior) ‘Survivors’, plus ‘Blakes 7′, and script edited MacGyver. Emphysema.
Dave Martin – scriptwriter – 30 March 2007, aged 72. One half of the ‘Bristol Boys’, who created K-9 and Omega. The other half, Bob Baker, is happily very much still with us, went on to writee four Wallace and Gromit films. Lung cancer.
Robert Holmes – scriptwriter – 24 May 1986, aged 60.Quite simply the best writer and script editor classic Who ever had. Former policeman. Hepatitis.
Barry Letts – producer/director/scriptwriter – 9 October 2009, aged 84. Took a show with falling rating and doubts about its future and transformed it into a powerhouse. Practising Buddist. Cancer.
John Nathan-Turner – producer – 1 May 2002, aged 54. The man in charge when Who was cancelled in 1989, JNT is a highly polarising figure. Truth is, he had little ‘feel’ for a good story, and a weakness for petty feuds. Yet without his organisational flair Doctor Who would never have stayed on air as long as it did. JNT’s openness to fandom also fleshed out a template followed by most TV shows today. Worked as a floor assistant on Who in the 1960s. Liver failure.
Innes Lloyd – producer – 23 August 1991, aged 66. After difficulties working with William Hartnell the third producer in Who history originated the idea of regeneration. Unknown.
Peter Bryant – producer – 19 May 2006, aged 83. Originally an actor, the fourth Who producer went on to become a literary and casting agent. Cancer.
David Whitaker – story editor/script writer – 4 February 1980, aged 52. As well as being the first story editor on Who, Whitaker wrote the first Doctor Who novelisation. Cancer.
Dennis Spooner – script writer/script editor – 20 September 1986, aged 54. Prolific scriptwriter spanning Thunderbirds to Bergerac. Credited with introducing an element of humour to the show. As a young man Spooner played professionally for Leyton Orient. Heart attack.
Dr. Kit Pedler – unofficial scientific adviser/script writer – 27 May 1981, aged 54. As well as inventing the Cybermen Pedler was head of the electron microscopy department at the Institute of Ophthalmology, Univerity of London. Heart attack.
Douglas Adams – script writer/script editor – 11 May 2001, aged 49. Still remember the day I learned Adams died, a JFK moment in my universe, at least. Here is a great feature on how much Douglas Adams hated writing. Heart attack.
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