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Brig player

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2005-12-30 Stage Brig.jpg


For more than 40 years Doctor Who has been one of TV's best loved programmes, a cult series that appeals to children, adults and anoraks alike. One of the great stalwarts of the show was respected actor Nicholas Courtney, best known for his role as Scottish Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

Courtney was seen in a small role Doctor Who in 1965 but first played the avuncular Brigadier in 1968 and is the only actor to have starred alongside every Doctor Who from William Hartnell to Paul McGann. "I wanted the Brig to be a human being, not a cypher," he said. "I tried to make him endearing and get some fun into the action, the sort of unintentional humour that arises out of characters and situations. I sometimes had my tongue in cheek with the Brig but I was not doing a Monty Python and trying to send him up. I didn't want him to look a twit. I think he always appeared as genuine."

Courtney has now penned a memoir (co-written with Michael McManus), a sort of autobiography-cum-book of reflections and conversations, which is a treasure trove for Doctor Who fans. Entitled Still Getting Away With It, he recalls the many individual episodes he starred in and reflects on the show's enduring success.

"Some people may be surprised by how candid and forthright I have been about certain people and events but I think I owe it to myself and also to others to set it down as it really was," he says.

Born in Egypt in 1931, Courtney had a successful stage career long before he joined Doctor Who. He worked with theatrical giants such as Donald Wolfit and appeared in leading repertory companies throughout Britain. Older Stage readers will be misty eyed at his sharp reminiscences of long lost theatre companies in Clacton, Colchester, Buxton and the like. He also went on to appear on early TV drama and top West End roles and today is equally well known for his commitment to Equity.

One suspects though that however distinguished his other acting achievements have been he will always be remembered for Doctor Who. "I think the show has endured because it has certain qualities that are both peculiarly English and somehow universal," he says. "It never lapsed into pretentiousness and always retained its hallmark qualities of humour and humanity. The old battle between good and evil, seen through that prism, is always a winner."

A well produced memoir, richly illustrated with photos and boasting a preface by Tom Baker, Still Getting Away -With It is all you ever wanted to know about Doctor Who —and much more besides.

Still Getting Away With It is published by Greyhound Leader, ISBN 1871330734

Caption: Perfect timing —Nicholas Courtney

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  • APA 6th ed.: Newley, Patrick (2005-12-30). Brig player. The Stage .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Newley, Patrick. "Brig player." The Stage [add city] 2005-12-30. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Newley, Patrick. "Brig player." The Stage, edition, sec., 2005-12-30
  • Turabian: Newley, Patrick. "Brig player." The Stage, 2005-12-30, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Brig player | url= | work=The Stage | pages= | date=2005-12-30 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 March 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Brig player | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 March 2023}}</ref>