Word has come to me that Nicholas Courtney has passed away at the age of 81. Courtney was known for playing the rarely flappable Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, acting opposite the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Doctors. (And the Sixth in “Dimensions in Time,” for what that’s worth.) [EDIT: And the Eighth in audio adventures, which I’d forgotten.] Before that, insofar as Doctor Who goes, Courtney appeared as Space Security Agent Bret Vyon in “The Daleks’ Master Plan,” the story the TARDIS Project is in the middle of right now.
I’m struggling for what to write here, to articulate what Nicholas Courtney and the Brig mean to both Doctor Who and, well, to me. He brought so much flair to the role, lighting up the screen. He made some of the silliest bits (“The Three Doctors,” anyone?) absolute fun. And not only in Doctor Who; I remember watching an old episode of “The Avengers” when I was a kid and being delighted to recognize “The Brig” (sans mustache) in a role.
I guess what it comes down to is Nicholas Courtney did a lot to make a lot of Doctor Who fans very happy. He was reportedly a kind man, generous to fans and very funny. I wish I’d met him. And I’m sad that the Brig will never get to meet the Eleventh Doctor. The Doctor Who world will be sadder for his loss.
Thanks, Mr. Courtney. But remember–this time when you see a chap with wings, belay that five rounds rapid!