The Doctor Who Series 6 finale The Wedding of River Song featured a touching tribute to the late Nicholas Courtney in a brief TARDIS-based moment in which the Doctor learns of the sad passing of his legendary companion Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart.
No plot-relevant details are revealed below: simply a section of dialogue from a warm and touching moment in the final episode. Spoiler-phobic? Stop reading now!
In between saving time and himself the Doctor learns of the death of “the Brig”, one of the most popular characters in the show’s history, in a phone call to a nursing home where his former colleague spent his final years.
A nurse tells the Doctor:
“I’m afraid Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart passed away a few months ago. It was very peaceful. Talked a lot about you, if that’s any comfort. Always made us pour an extra brandy in case you came round one of these days.”
The Doctor then takes a moment to compose himself as he contemplates both the end of that magnificent friendship and his own passing.
Speaking of the decision to include the moment Steven Moffat said:
“In a story about the Doctor going to his death, it seemed right and proper to acknowledge one of the greatest losses Doctor Who has endured.”
Although Courtney made his first appearance in Doctor Who in 1965 opposite William Hartnell in the serial The Dalek’s Master Plan – playing space security agent Bret Vyon – it wasn’t until three years later that Courtney began the first of his recurring appearances first as Colonel and then as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
Nicholas Courtney passed away in February of this year following a long illness, aged 81.