Feeds

Doctor Who co-star Nicholas Courtney dies at 81

End of era as the Brigadier checks out

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Nicholas Courtney, who starred in Doctor Who as Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart opposite no less than eight incarnations of the famous Doctor, has died aged 81.

The Egypt-born actor first appeared in the popular BBC sci-fi drama in the 1960s, but his Brig role wasn't his first casting in for Doctor Who.

In The Daleks' Master Plan he played space security agent Bret Vyon. But he later took on the role of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, whose character was quickly promoted to Brigadier status in The Invasion episode.

As noted by Doctorwhonews.net, Courtney was associated with his role in the show for over forty years.

On his much-loved alien-chasing character's relationship with the Doctor, Courtney told the Radio Times in 2008 that: "They had terrific rapport. They respected each other, despite disagreeing on solutions to problems. The Doctor is humane, interested in all forms of life, whereas the Brig had a job to do – making sure people didn't get killed. So of course he favoured the military solution. But the Brig was always on the side of the angels."

He told the magazine that he "didn't mind" missing out on more classical work and said Doctor Who director Douglas Camfield considered Courtney to be "made for this part," even though the highest rank the actor had served during his time doing National Service had been as a private.

"I've worked with eight Doctors, one way or another. The first time the Brig saw one change to another he was nonplussed, but after a while he got used to it. At least that's how I played it. I developed the Brig's incredulity. Like when he first goes inside the Tardis and says, 'So this is what you've been spending all Unit's funds on.' Horrified!" he said.

Courtney's character returned to the British TV screen in the 1980s, when Peter Davison played the Doctor role.

"A lot of ex-Army men go into teaching. And the Brig was teaching mathematics, which the Doctor finds extraordinary. I had a line: 'I know how many beans make five'."

He said in 2008 that he would "love to do one story" with then director Russell T Davies.

As for where the Brig would have ended up, Courtney said:

"He's in limbo. Ha ha. Having written his memoirs – leaving out the classified information – he's probably tending his garden and waiting for the call to arms from the Doctor. Which may never come. I've an idea for a story where he's been given a peerage. Lord Lethbridge-Stewart. He makes a speech in the House of Lords that the government doesn't like very much, and there's an attempt on his life. I want a story where they kill me off."

Alas, it's not to be. Courtney's final appearance as the Brigadier was in the CBBC series The Sarah Jane Adventures in 2008. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.