A plaque commemorating Doctor Who‘s first ever producer, Verity Lambert, has been unveiled at London’s Riverside Studios.
A joint venture between The Doctor Who Appreciation Society and Riverside Studios, the plaque was unveiled at a special event on 23rd July, which included a high definition screening of An Adventure in Space and Time, and an interview with Verity’s long-time colleague and friend Waris Hussein.
Doctor Who fans will know Waris as the director of the Time Lord’s very first adventure, An Unearthly Child, which aired in 1963. He also went on to direct the much-loved historical adventure Marco Polo, as well as further collaborations with Verity Lambert including Shoulder to Shoulder and Edward and Mrs Simpson.
“I never made it for kids, I made it for the kid in me, and there had to be good stories which involved me, and that’s the secret of anything really.”
Waris was on-hand to unveil the plaque at last Wednesday’s event, in which he spoke affectionately of his late friend.
“Verity and I met in a small room at the Television Centre when we were both very young,” he said. “Little did we know that this would be a jumping-off point for a programme [which is] not only alive today but huge…
“There were many times in my relationship with Verity where she rescued me from all sorts of potential disasters, and gave me a career that I’m incredibly grateful for… She was very determined and knew exactly where she was going, which in this day and age I consider a huge advantage.”
Verity Lambert was not only the first female producer at the BBC, she was also the youngest. Following Doctor Who‘s ground-breaking success, in 1964 she went on to produce The Newcomers and Adam Adamant Lives! before becoming Head of Drama at Thames Television in 1974. She later went on to produce the popular British ‘detective’ series Jonathan Creek which featured a whole plethora of Who actors, including Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Maureen O’Brien and Mary Tamm. In 1985, she also founded her own production company – Cinema Verity.
The event at Riverside Studios also featured a collection of previously unseen interview material, courtesy of director Kevin Davies. In the clips, Verity discussed the secret of Doctor Who‘s on-going success.
“I think there’s an ever-replenishing audience for Doctor Who,” she said. “Also… I never made it for kids, I made it for the kid in me, and there had to be good stories which involved me, and that’s the secret of anything really. The special effects are wonderful, but the stories have to be good.”
Looking back, she admitted she had good memories of her career in television: “I must say I look back on most things with fondness, even Eldorado I look back on with some fondness…!”
Some of these fond memories can be seen in the frankly superb An Adventure in Space and Time (in which Verity was played by Jessica Raine, above left), which is still available from all good DVD retailers. And for those who prefer their drama in high definition, the Blu-ray release has just been announced for the upcoming 5oth Anniversary Collection, (although you may have to wait for a Blu-ray Eldorado…)
As for the Verity Lambert plaque, it will remain on display at the Riverside Studios until the venue closes for refurbishment in the autumn. The plaque will then be placed into storage, before finding a permanent home at the new Riverside Media Centre when construction is complete.
(Via Doctor Who News)