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Published on March 28th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

Director Derek Martinus Dies [UPDATED]

One of Doctor Who‘s most important directors, Derek Martinus, has died a few days short of his 83rd birthday, it has been announced. Responsible for notable serials such as The Tenth Planet, The Evil of the Daleks and Jon Pertwee’s debut Spearhead from Space, Martinus was a successful stage and TV director whose work spanned genres and age groups.

Born April 4th 1931, Martinus went to school in Essex, and studying acting and directing at Yale Drama School following a stint in the RAF. He spent some time in Sweden, learning the language, directing and meeting his wife there.

Here’s the tweet from BBC entertainment reporter and Doctor Who fan Lizo Mzimba:

The firector died on Thursday evening, and according to BBC News, he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s. Said his daughter Charlotta Martinus, a former BBC documentary maker:

He was a legend, just an absolute legend. He taught me how to love, live and laugh, he was just such an amazing man.

Ten years after he left [the BBC], everyone used to say to me, ‘Are you really his daughter?’. He was really inspirational for me and my sister Pia who is a doctor. He was a leader of men and he inspired everyone.

Our esteemed readers might pay tribute to Mr Martinus this weekend by watching one of his Doctor Who serials (of course we’re pretty sure it’s a 50-50 choice between The Tenth Planet and Spearhead from Space unless you’re sitting on a treasure trove of missing episodes!). You might also cast your eye over this archive interview.


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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+.

2 Responses to Director Derek Martinus Dies [UPDATED]

  1. avatar richy555 says:

    Remember still, walking into Debenhams in early 88 and doing a double take; as i walked past the video top ten racks. Yes they sold videos then!. Spearhead was there at no 3 or something. I didn’t even know it was coming out. It was at a time when we only got one story a year on video; or it felt like it anyway!. Anyhow i had drifted from the show by that point, still watched but without much enthusiasm. For some odd reason that escapes me now but i was thinking more about looking cool and getting girls than Doctor Who!, strange i know. Couldn’t resist that beautiful looking video though and snapped one up. Had the entire evening to myself so got my fav beers in and settled down. Meant to watch just the once not the too many to count times that i eventually did. Who hadn’t blown me away like that for many a year and the two things that rang round my head at the end of this Who marathon where, why isn’t the program still as good as this and how good is Derek Martinus. Thank you Derek for making that night so memorable and here’s to hoping that we sill get to see some more of your quite beautiful direction on Who in the next couple of years. RIP.

  2. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    How nice Air Lock from Galaxy 4 – his first Doctor Who credit – was recovered before his passing! Hope he felt proud watching it back one last time! The 1st regeneration and 1st Cyberman story, the great 1-episode intro to the epic Dalek’s Master Plan, the brilliant Evil Of The Daleks, the iconic Ice Warrior’s debut, the first colour story and Jon Pertwees first outing with that classic scene of mannequins coming to life and… well, you know the scene! All iconic, important and loved shows from the series (even Air Lock has given most of us a new found respect and love for the serial)!

    R.I.P. Derek and condolences to all his family and friends!

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