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Terry Nation obituary (1997)

1997-03-20 Stage.jpg

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Terry Nation, who wrote the first episodes of Doctor Who and created the Daleks, died on March 9 in Los Angeles. He had been ill for some time with emphysema. He was born in Cardiff on August 8, 1930, and had originally trained as a furniture designer.

I first met him in 1955, when I joined Associated London Scripts, that curious amalgam of writers agency and social club, situated above a greengrocer's shop in Shepherd's Bush. Started by Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, it gathered into its fold a number of other writers and was responsible for a large proportion of the TV and radio comedy shows at that time.

Terry was writing the Frankie Howerd show in company with Dick Barrie, Johnny Speight and John Antrobus. I was working with John Junkin and when the show for Frankie finished we all had a shuffle round and Terry teamed up with the two of us to write a radio series called Floggets. We also contributed sketches to the first Goon type TV show, Idiot's Weekly, and its successor, A Show Called Fred.

I then left the team to work with Benny Hill, while John and Terry went on to write numerous TV shows for Frankie, Harry Worth, Peter Sellers, Ted Ray and many others.

John then decided to concentrate on acting and joined Joan Littlewood's company. Terry wrote a number of N plays, which were well received, and then suddenly had an enormous success with Doctor Who and the Daleks.

He followed this with a series for Tony Hancock, and then began writing episodes for The Saint. This led to shows like The Baron, The Persuaders, The Avengers, Department S and The Champions, some of which he helped originate and produce.

He also wrote and co-wrote a number of films, including Soon the Darkness, The House in Nightmare Park, for Frankie Howerd, and several based on Doctor Who and the Daleks. His last works before leaving Britain to settle in America were the highly successful Blake's 7 and The Survivors, a serial about life after a nuclear catastrophe. In California he worked for various film companies, originating and developing ideas until compelled to retire through ill health.

He was a cheerful, generous and amiable man who made friends easily and enjoyed life to its full. He bore his illness with great courage and fortitude. Although I had not seen him for a number of years we spoke quite often on the telephone. The condition from which he suffered made breathing difficult but he still managed to laugh.

In 1958, he married Kate Gaunt, a graduate from the Royal Academy of Music. She and their two children survive him.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Freeman, Dave (1997-03-20). Terry Nation obituary. The Stage p. 27.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Freeman, Dave. "Terry Nation obituary." The Stage [add city] 1997-03-20, 27. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Freeman, Dave. "Terry Nation obituary." The Stage, edition, sec., 1997-03-20
  • Turabian: Freeman, Dave. "Terry Nation obituary." The Stage, 1997-03-20, section, 27 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Terry Nation obituary | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Terry_Nation_obituary | work=The Stage | pages=27 | date=1997-03-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=26 May 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Terry Nation obituary | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Terry_Nation_obituary | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=26 May 2017}}</ref>