Celebrity Deathwatch – Doctor Who

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 HartnellFirst 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 TroughtonSecond 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 PertweeThird 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 SladenSarah 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 Courtneythe 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 TammRomana – 26 July 2012, aged 62. Husband Marcus Ringrose died of a suspected heart attack hours after giving a eulogy at Mary’s funeral. Cancer.

Jacqueline HillBarbara – 18 February 1993, aged 63. Spoke the very first words in Doctor Who. Gave up acting to raise a family, but returned to Who in 1980 in ‘Meglos’. Cancer.


Adrienne HillKatarina – 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 CrazeBen 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 Ainleythe 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 MarterHarry 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 Dyallthe Black Guardian – 24 June 1985, aged 77. This spectacularly gifted actor was father of costume designer Christian Dyall. Unspecified.

David Brierlyvoice of K-9 – 10 June 2008, aged 73. Succeeded John Leeson (happily still with us) as voice of K-9 from ‘The Creature from the Pit’ to The Horns of Nimon. Cancer.

Gerald Floodvoice of Kamelion – 12 April 1989, aged 61. Grandfather of English international fly-half Toby Flood. Heart attack.

Michael WisherDavros – 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, includingPlanet of the Daleks’, and Death to the Daleks’. Heart attack.

Sydney NewmanHead 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 LambertProducer – 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 Nationscriptwriter – 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 Martinscriptwriter – 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 Holmesscriptwriter – 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-Turnerproducer – 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.

Graham Williamsproducer – 17 August 1990. After Who Williams produced Tales of the Unexpected. Left television to run a hotel in Devon. Shooting accident.

Innes Lloydproducer – 23 August 1991, aged 66. After difficulties working with William Hartnell the third producer in Who history originated the idea of regeneration. Unknown.

Peter Bryantproducer – 19 May 2006, aged 83. Originally an actor, the fourth Who producer went on to become a literary and casting agent. Cancer.

David Whitakerstory 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 Spoonerscript 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.

Gerry Davisstory editor/script writer – 31 August 1991, aged 61. With Kit Pedler co-created the Cybermen. Also created Doomwatch, and wrote for Coronation Street. Unknown.

Dr. Kit Pedlerunofficial 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 Adamsscript 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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