I had heard rumours throughout the web today that Nicholas Courtney passed away yesterday at the age of 81. However, it was only in the last 10 minutes that I have discovered concrete reports of this;
The preceding links could provide all the details you could wish of this man, but I hear detail why I feel this is an event significant of note on this blog. In the last year, after having enjoyed the 2005 series of Doctor Who, I had the urge to play catch up and watch all the classic series. This is no easy task, with there being 26 seasons of the classic series, the first 6 of which contained over 40 episodes each. This journey has now taken me from season 1 and William Hartnell’s first Doctor, now leaving me on Season 12 with Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor.
Nicholas Courtney played Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, at first a Colonel whose path Crosses that of Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor, and whom we meet again shortly before the regeneration to Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor, now promoted to Brigadier and commanding the newly formed unit, or United Nations Intelligence Task force. From this time he often works closely with the Doctor, whom he finds useful despite the fact their ideologies often clash. He is sometimes painted as a villain, but overall, he is a man motivated by his duty. No matter what his flaws may be, he honestly believes his actions are the best for the safety of the human race.
In the seasons I have seen him in, he is a brilliant character, both well written and well-played. I believe that as I discover the classic series, I will observe te character grow right through to the final season, making him perhaps the most stalwart actor of the entire franchise, clearly with the greatest longevity of any of them, including Doctors and companions. He has made no appearances in the recent series, but did cameo in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures. It is a real shame that we shall not see him alongside the Doctor one last time.