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Nicholas Courtney (The Herald)

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Born December 16, 1929; Died February 22

NICHOLAS Courtney, who has died aged 81 of cancer, was an actor best known to for his role as The Brigadier on BBC TV s Dr Who.

He starred in more than 100 episodes as Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and played opposite five Doctors. The Brigadier was a key figure in the Time Lord s adventures during Jon Pertwee s run as The Doctor in the early 1970s.

However, his earliest Doctor Who appearance was in 1965 as Special Space Security Agent Bret Vyon opposite the original Doctor, William Hartnell. He cropped up three years later as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart of UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) in the 1968 episode The Web Of Fear, with Patrick Troughton as The Doctor. UNIT kept Earth safe from alien invasion and the character is said to have been modelled on Lt Col Colin Mad Mitch Mitchell, the colourful officer in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who led the reoccupation of part of Aden in the late 1960s.

Courtney returned later that year in The Invasion and was promoted to Brigadier. Initially he wore wear a series of false moustaches to appear older than he was, before finally growing his own. Courtney also appeared in two stories featuring the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, before returning retired and teaching Maths at a boys school opposite Peter Davison (Doctor number five) and finally opposite Sylvester McCoy, the seventh Doctor, before the series was cancelled in 1989.

Although mentioned a number of times in the revived series of Doctor Who, Courtney made his final appearance in character in 2008 as Sir Alistair in the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. A stroke put paid to further appearances.

He was born in Cairo, the son of a diplomat, and was educated in Egypt, France and Kenya. After completing National Service he enrolled at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art and in 1952 went into weekly repertory. By the late 1950s he was securing TV roles and went on to appear in shows like Callan, The Saint, and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

After Doctor Who, Courtney took parts in shows such as All Creatures Great And Small and Sink or Swim, Shelley, Yes, Prime Minister and Only Fools and Horses.

In 1997 he became honorary president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.

He died in a north London hospice and is survived by his second wife Karen, and his son and daughter.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2011-02-26). Nicholas Courtney (The Herald). The Herald p. 18.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Nicholas Courtney (The Herald)." The Herald [add city] 2011-02-26, 18. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Nicholas Courtney (The Herald)." The Herald, edition, sec., 2011-02-26
  • Turabian: "Nicholas Courtney (The Herald)." The Herald, 2011-02-26, section, 18 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Nicholas Courtney (The Herald) | url= | work=The Herald | pages=18 | date=2011-02-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Nicholas Courtney (The Herald) | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024}}</ref>