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Chap With The Wings

The miserable greyness of today has been made even more miserable by the news that Nicholas Courtney has died.

When you browse his imdb.com profile, it's striking how often he played a military character. Typecasting? Or was he just very, very good at it?

He might have been just one of those actors whose face keeps popping up in TV drama and sitcoms, if it hadn't been for his long-running part in Doctor Who as Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

He first appeared in 1968's The Web of Fear alongside Patrick Troughton. So popular was his character that he made numerous returns, both in the original series and in spin-offs; the IMDB lists 107 episodes of Who alone. He played the Brigadier in The Sarah Jane Adventures as late as 2008. Only a handful of soap opera actors have played the same character for that long.

It was during the Third Doctor's exile on Earth, with the Doctor working alongside UNIT, that the character really came into his own.

The friendship and freqent arguments between the Doc and the Brig were one of the elements of the Third Doctor's reign that made it, for me, so unique, special and great.

There are a lot of Brigadier tributes on YouTube, because he is so well-loved. Here's a UNIT one I liked.


I can't believe I didn't hear about this sooner, and I'm sad to have heard about it as well.

As you can probably imagine, knowing me, the Brig was always one of my favourite Dr. Who characters, and I was always hoping that he'd turn up in the new Incarnation (Sarah Jane aside), as UNIT had turned up again too.

I always enjoyed any story with an appearance from the Brigadier, and he always had a great presence on the screen, as well as in the story itself. It's a sad thing to know that he's gone, especially as he gave so much to the franchise, and to the fans, and genuinely seemed to enjoy what he'd done.

RIP Nicholas Courtney, you are well remembered, and thanked for all you've done.
I met up with a Who-fan friend last night, and we agreed everyone had thought the Brig would go on forever.