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Doctor Who stalwart dies at 81

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ACTOR Nicholas Courtney, known to Doctor Who fans for many years for his role as The Brigadier, has died at the age of 81.

The actor starred in dozens of episodes during his Doctor Who career and played opposite five Doctors.

He was a key figure in the Time Lord's adventures during Jon Pertwee's run as The Doctor, but also popped up opposite other stars.

Courtney died on Tuesday evening after a long battle with cancer, according to author Michael McManus, who worked with him on his two memoirs.

He was in a hospice in Hampstead, London, with his wife Karen at his side.

Unit chief Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart first appeared in the show in the late 1960s. After an absence of many years, when the show was axed for a lengthy period, he reprised the role this time as Sir Alistair in 2008 for spin-off children's series The Sarah Jane Adventures.

The Egypt-born star went to drama school after his national service and went into repertory theatre. In the 1960s he picked up a string of TV roles including appearances in The Saint, The Champions and The Avengers.

His first Doctor Who appearance was as a space security agent, but he went on to land a further role as a Colonel, later promoted to Brigadier in a story called The Invasion.

Later roles included appearances in All Creatures Great And Small, Yes, Prime Minister and Only Fools And Horses.

Known for his suave appearance with a well-groomed moustache as The Brigadier, he became honorary president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society from 1997.

Tom Baker, who played opposite Courtney as the fourth incarnation of The Doctor, led tributes to his friend yesterday.

He said: We shall miss him terribly.

Of all the characters in Doctor Who there is no doubt that he was the most loved by the fans for his wonderful portrayal of the rather pompous Brigadier.

He had a marvellous resonant voice which he used brilliantly when it was his turn to spin a yarn.

GRAPHIC: TIMELESS: The Brigadier appeared with five Doctors.

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