It is with great sadness I report the death of actor Nicholas Courtney who is most famous for playing Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge Stewart in Doctor Who.

Nicholas died after a long illness at age 81 and his death is a great blow for the Doctor Who circles. He first appeared along with William Hartnell in The Dalek Masterplan playing Brett Vyon and later began a long stint as the Brigadier in the Patrick Troughton Yeti story the Web of Fear.

When the series was renewed and facing cancellation, the producers came up with the idea of exiling the Doctor to Earth and putting him with the military based UNIT. Jon Pertwee, Nicholas, Katy Manning, John Levene and Richard Franklin became the mainstay for the series and viewers loved the Doctor’s constant banter with the Brig. They starred in some of the series most famous stories including The Green Death and the Silurians but as times change, UNIT was phased out and with the arrival of Tom Baker, the series was back to wandering time and space.

The Brigadier did a handful of stories with the fourth Doctor and didn’t return until Mawdryn Undead and the Five Doctors in the Peter Davison era. His meeting with the 6th Doctor came in Dimensions in Time, the Children in Need crossover with Eastenders and made his final Doctor Who appearance in Battlefield alongside Sylvester McCoy and Jean Marsh who played his sister in the Dalek Masterplan.

Although mentioned several times in the new series, he never appeared, a shame for fans as he is an integral part of the show’s history and one of the few actors to have worked with all 7 Doctors. He made one last appearance in the Sarah Jane Adventures battling the Sontarans and the Bane.

He has also done many Big Finish audio plays as the Brigadier, also bridging the gap by meeting the 8th Doctor. He was a stalwart of the convention scene and I personally met him twice and he was a gentleman. My main memory is my shock at finding the Brigadier had a bald patch!

Nick was a great actor, a gentleman and will be sorely missed. But he will forever be for us the Brigadier and in scifi noone ever really does.


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