Doctor Who News dw-obit-courtney2

Published on May 24th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Remembering Nicholas Courtney

Until his sad death in 2011, Nicholas Courtney – better known as Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart – was the grand old man of Doctor Who, the paternal figure of fandom and honorary president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.

As the Brigadier, Courtney appeared in episodes spanning 1968-1989 (From The Web of Fear to Battlefield), along with the 30th anniversary Dimensions in Time (which we generally don’t talk about here), several straight-to-video spin-offs, Big Finish and other audios and of course in The Sarah Jane Adventures’ Enemy of the Bane.

Basically, he was well-loved and is sadly missed.

The DVD release earlier this year, The Legacy Collection, includes a fascinating interview with Courtney by his friend and memoir co-writer/editor Mark McManus (with occasional interjections from Tom Baker).

One of many reasons to buy the boxset, you can however see the extra now on YouTube…

Designed for hardcore Doctor Who fans with an interest in the classic series, The Legacy Collection DVD boxset is a collection of sought-after extras. It is also unmissable, and as it is available for just £11.00 from Amazon you really should have bought it by now…


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

12 Responses to Remembering Nicholas Courtney

  1. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    Nicholas Courtney…sadly missed, a great actor and gentleman, he was a wonderful ambassador for the series. We salute you, Brigadier!

  2. avatar Christine says:

    I agree that it is a lovely tribute to the man. I realise some people don’t like this interview much because Nicholas was already sick and it shows. But I thought it was good to see him looking back on his life as an actor, in relation to Dr. Who but also as a representative of Actors’ associations. And the obvious affection between Tom Baker and Nicholas Courtney was good to see as well. To me it meant that I enjoyed his participation in various (older) Stories and its spinoffs even more!

  3. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Legend! Probably the single most important and lovable character next to the Doctors!

  4. avatar lozzer says:

    The Pertwee Unit era is my favourite era from Doctor Who – I was too young to see it as a child, Tom was my first proper Doctor, but reading the Target books and then eventually seeing the episodes on video and DVD really brought home what a wonderful legacy Pertwee, Courtney and the rest of the Unit family left for us. Courtney was a gentleman and a true ambassador for the show.

  5. avatar Andrew Dick says:

    That is a lovely tribute. He was a great man and his legacy is immense to Doctor Who will live on. 30 years on will Captain Jack or River Song be as loved and respected as the Brigadier?

  6. avatar TonyS says:

    I met Nick Courtenay at a convention in Birmingham in 1981. Splendid chap- all of him!

  7. avatar Howard Railton says:

    A great Dr Who character and much missed. A great lost opportunity that Russel T Davies wouldn’t pick up the phone and get him in to do an episode of new Who, a bit like Moffat not wanting any classic series actors for the 50th special.

    • avatar Christine says:

      But he had a lovely part to play in the SJA story “enemy of the Bane”. And SJA was more like Classic serials any way! I understand that they would have invited him to come back too if the series had continued, but alas it was not to be…and for even more sad reasons.

      • avatar zarbisupremo says:

        Didn’t you watch the video, Howard ? It says old Nick was too ill to appear in it.

  8. avatar dr jon says:

    I can remember watching the brig in the green death when I was a child,and that story stays in my mind still. I was lucky to meet him a few times and he was always polite and kind enough to answer questons that he would have heard many times before. Such a loss to who fans and many others who had the pleasure to meet him.

  9. avatar zarbisupremo says:

    I would love to have bought him a drink, unfortunately I’ve never been one for going to conventions.

  10. avatar Jon Roberts says:

    Chap with the wings, 3 rounds rapid. Enough said, legend

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