Nicholas Courtney - Your thoughts & tributes

Alan Stevens: I first met Nick Courtney at a DWAS convention in 1983 called Interface 3, an event themed around the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who. Since then, I have attended a large number of Doctor Who conventions at which Nick was a guest, and indeed, the first convention I organised, in 1985 at Imperial College, had the UNIT gang (Nick, Richard Franklin and John Levene) as guests of honour. I always remember John Levene continually referring to Nick as “The Brig,” and indeed Nick went on to appear at the next two events I organised as well. I have interviewed Nick at conventions many times over the years, and he has always been great fun to work with on stage.

Although in the minds of many fans he will always be the Brigadier, Nick was actually a very accomplished and versatile actor, as can be seen in his turn as Bret Vyon in “The Daleks’ Master Plan.” However, he genuinely enjoyed the accolades he received for his role as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: he told me once that, as the Brigadier, he always had worn a false moustache as he was incapable of growing a real one and yet, as he became more involved with fandom, he did grow a moustache as he felt people expected it of him.

In 2003 I got to work with him on the Kaldor City story “Hidden Persuaders”, and then on the two subsequent stories, “Taren Capel” and “Checkmate”. “Hidden Persuaders” introduced a team of news presenters, Zala Vance and Danl Packard, and I was very happy when Nick agreed to take the role of Packard, a newsreader who starts the series as Reginald Bosanquet and ends up, two CDs later, as Howard Beale. Nick said at the time that he very much enjoyed the chance to play someone other than the Brigadier in a Doctor Who-related series; he was a big supporter of Kaldor City, and appeared at a number of KC signings. Nick has always maintained that the Brigadier’s first wife was called Fiona, and he and Fiona Moore developed a rather risque series of running jokes about this.

I had known that Nick had been ill for quite some time before I got the news of his death, but it was still a real shock to hear about it. I will be among the very many people in fandom who will miss him for years to come.

Mike Basil: I'd like to pay my respects to Nicholas Courtney. It will be hard to imagine the future of Doctor Who without Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. A story to express the Brigadier's absence in an episode the new Who would be most dramatic. The legacy of UNIT thankfully lives on as a tribute to the Doctor's finest-ever male companion.

To Nicholas Courtney and to the Brigadier's timeless quote for the Doctor: "Wonderful chap. All of them." So were you, Nick.

John Howe: I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Nicholas Courtney and wanted to share my memories of him with you.

On screen he portrayed our beloved Brigadier in a performance that was both rigid and bombastic but at all times laced with charm and humour. A sincere pleasure to watch! His character was in every sense a perfectly crafted foil for Pertwee's rebellious 3rd Doctor. The "UNIT era" of Doctor Who that he shone within became almost a reflection of his performance in that it was both confident and assured.

I was lucky enough to meet him a number of times at various fan events over the years. He was nothing less than charming, witty, and extremely generous with his time. A wonderful man who went out of his way to make meeting him a unique experience to be treasured. Time spent in the company of "The Brigadier" was always a pleasure and confirmed to me that he was as equally an important figure in "Who history" as any of the actors to have played the title role.

He was a true ambassador for Doctor Who and will be greatly missed by fans young and old.

Tim Colcombe: I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Nicholas Courtney, the world has lost a real gem. Like Bernard Cribbens with Wilfred Mott, who brought his character to life, so did Nicholas Courtney with the Brigadier and that takes something special.

Nicholas was special, not just with family and friends, but with everyone involved with Doctor Who and, of course, with the fans. He will be sadly missed and, like the Doctor, will be remembered in the past, present and future. My thoughts are with his family.