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Christopher Barry obituary (The Herald)

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TV director

Born September 20, 1925; 
Died February 7, 2014.

Christopher Barry, who has died aged 88, was a prolific television director who worked on some of the most popular shows of the 1960s, 70s and 80s including The Onedin Line, Z Cars, All Creatures Great and Small and Juliet Bravo.

However, he will be most remembered for directing some of Doctor Who's most admired shows including the first appearance of the Daleks in 1963, the first appearances of both Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker in the role and the story which many fans consider to be among the very best: The Daemons starring Jon Pertwee.

Barry was born in East Greenwich and began his film and television career in the movies, working as an assistant director on Ealing comedies such as Meet Mr Lucifer starring Stanley Holloway and The Love Lottery with David Niven. He also worked on The Ship That Died of Shame, a crime thriller starring Richard Attenborough.

By 1958, he was working on an early BBC soap called Starr and Company as well as the crime drama Private Investigator and the long-running soap Compact, which was a breeding ground for much of the talent that would end up on Doctor Who.

His first work on Doctor Who was on the second story, The Daleks, which starred William Hartnell as the Doctor and was broadcast in 1963. The show was still going through a difficult birthing period and there were significant artistic differences in the production team: Sydney Newman, who created the show, hated the Daleks and thought they were cheap science-fiction but Verity Lambert, the programme's young producer, was convinced they would be a success.

Barry was in the Lambert camp. "When I first saw the Daleks," he said, "I was absolutely delighted. I recently watched the first episode again, and I was pleased with it. I thought it stood up well and had something of an atmosphere to it."

A year later, Barry returned to the series to direct a show called The Rescue, then a historical epic called The Romans, but in 1966 he was given the important job of introducing William Hartnell's replacement Patrick Troughton. Changing the lead actor in this way was a big gamble at the time and no one on the show knew if it would succeed, but Barry delivered a slick, scary story called The Power of the Daleks. Sadly, the episodes were wiped in the 1970s and are still missing from the archives.

Barry himself was delighted with Troughton's performance. "We discussed a lot of different approaches that Patrick could have taken in rehearsal," he said. "He ended up doing it totally different from the first ideas, and of course totally different from William Hartnell's portrayal."

His next work on the show was with Troughton's successor Jon Pertwee in the 1971 classic The Daemons before returning again to direct Tom Baker's first story Robot.

He would work on the show several more times during Tom Baker's reign and even appeared on-screen as a possible previous incarnation of the Doctor in the story The Brain of Morbius. His last work on the show was in 1979 on The Creature from the Pit.

Over the years, Barry's extensive work on Doctor Who made him its longest-serving director. In all, he directed 43 episodes spanning the years 1963 to 1979. He is also one of only three directors to have directed all of the first four Doctors.

Away from Doctor Who, he directed many other notable television programmes including episodes of Paul Temple, Moonbase 3, Poldark, Angels, Nicholas Nickleby, The Onedin Line, Z Cars, All Creatures Great and Small, Nanny and Juliet Bravo.

He also directed 11 episodes of the television adaptation of John Christopher's science fiction trilogy The Tripods in the 1980s.

Barry is survived by his wife.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2014-02-17). Christopher Barry obituary (The Herald). The Herald p. 20.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Christopher Barry obituary (The Herald)." The Herald [add city] 2014-02-17, 20. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Christopher Barry obituary (The Herald)." The Herald, edition, sec., 2014-02-17
  • Turabian: "Christopher Barry obituary (The Herald)." The Herald, 2014-02-17, section, 20 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Christopher Barry obituary (The Herald) | url= | work=The Herald | pages=20 | date=2014-02-17 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Christopher Barry obituary (The Herald) | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 July 2024}}</ref>