Vale: William Russell

Veteran British actor William Russell, one of Doctor Who's four original cast members, has died.

Veteran British actor William Russell, one of Doctor Who‘s four original cast members, has died aged 99.

Russell played schoolteacher Ian Chesterton in the first two series of the sci-fi show and was the Doctor’s first companion.

In the first ever episode, An Unearthly Child, which aired in 1963, Russell’s character meets the Doctor, played by William Hartnell.

Russell’s character mistakenly calls him Doctor Foreman, before Hartnell then replies “Doctor Who?”

He left the show in 1965, but in 2022 he reprised his role and made a cameo in Jodie Whittaker’s final episode, The Power of The Doctor -breaking a Guinness World Record for the longest gap between TV appearances.

His other screen appearances included The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, Coronation Street, The Man Who Never Was, The Great Escape and 1978’s Superman.

Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies said it was a “sad loss” and said Russell was a “fine, nimble, witty, heartfelt actor who absolutely sold the truth of those early years”.

Source: BBC

4 Responses

  1. This one’s hit me harder than I thought it would. His recent cameo was the most wonderful surprise. Arguably better than the debut of The Curator. Coming so soon after Michael Jayston too.

  2. … I always remember his last scene in Dr Who … his character, Ian, together with Barbara land back on earth two years after they left, get on a bus and try to pay a fare that they last paid in 1963 …the bus conductor asks “Where have you been, the moon?” and they laugh and answer “close”!!!

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