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Guess Who's coming back

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1983-01-29 Radio Times.jpg


THE Brigadier is back. He first appeared, as longstanding Doctor Who fans know, in 1968 — a long time before many of the programme's present audience were even born. The Brigadier brings a continuity to the series that even the Doctors themselves cannot match. Nicholas Courtney, who plays Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge - Stewart, explains that he's often invited (along with other members of the cast) to special Doctor Who conventions. Last year, for example, the Florida seminar produced a special badge: next to the Brigadier's portrait were the words, 'I survived four Doctors! ' This year, of course, the number has risen to five, with Peter Davison now in the role.

The son of an Army officer who entered the diplomatic service, Nicholas Courtney actually joined the Army as part of his National Service training, though since he was a private he did not mix with the brigadiers! 'I certainly remember the good officers, though the chinless wonders left me cold.' The Ministry of Defence once congratulated Courtney for his portrayal of a typical British army brigadier.

Needless to say, he's often asked which Doctor he most enjoyed working with. Diplomatically Courtney answers : 'The one I was working with at the time.'

Mawdryn Undead, the new adventure (Tuesday and Wednesday BBC1), sees the Brigadier in a quite new and different role. He's semi-retired now (without the famous moustache) and teaching in a large public school. But his retreat from UNIT and the world is not destined to last long. The Tardis lands and the Brigadier and the young Doctor meet. Not surprisingly perhaps, it's the Doctor who recognises the Brigadier first. The year is 1977 and the Doctor is faced with the difficult problem of a group of people who have been dangerously messing about with the laws of time and space because they want to become Time Lords. For only the second time in his career, the Brigadier goes up into space where he ends up meeting, of all people, himself in 1983.

It is a tricky role for Courtney because he has to play the two Brigadiers without there being a substantial time gap or any drastic change of character. The Brigadier is someone who doesn't change that much over the years. He is the reliable chap to whom the Doctor turns when he's back on earth. As Courtney enlarges: The Brigadier sees everything clearly and straightforwardly-—his military mind is a good foil to the Doctor's scientific one. The Doctor confuses everyone with his knowledge of the Universe, the Brigadier is ordinary.'

The Brigadier is one of those quirky characters everyone warms to. Nicholas Courtney is touched — and astonished—at the amount of fan-mail he receives. Doctor Who has been recently transmitted in Italy.

One enthusiastic viewer took the trouble to write to The Brigadier in English, wanting to establish an Italian fan club.

The Brig's army might not be the largest in the world, but it would seem the Doctor needs his old friend : ' mostly because the Doctor genuinely likes him, but also because the Brigadier brings something to the stories set on earth. There something extra scary when the monsters are creeping up your back yard.'

Caption: The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) by the Transmat Capsule. Front: Doctor Who (Peter Davison) and new assistant Turlough (Mark Strickson) with the vital control unit

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  • APA 6th ed.: Payne, Vicky (1983-01-29). Guess Who's coming back. Radio Times .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Payne, Vicky. "Guess Who's coming back." Radio Times [add city] 1983-01-29. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Payne, Vicky. "Guess Who's coming back." Radio Times, edition, sec., 1983-01-29
  • Turabian: Payne, Vicky. "Guess Who's coming back." Radio Times, 1983-01-29, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Guess Who's coming back | url= | work=Radio Times | pages= | date=1983-01-29 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 September 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Guess Who's coming back | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 September 2019}}</ref>