back to article Doctor Who co-star Nicholas Courtney dies at 81

Nicholas Courtney, who starred in Doctor Who as Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart opposite no less than eight incarnations of the famous Doctor, has died aged 81. The Egypt-born actor first appeared in the popular BBC sci-fi drama in the 1960s, but his Brig role wasn't his first casting in for Doctor Who. In The …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "Jenkins... chap with wings there. Five rounds rapid."

    All-time classic Brigadier line, from Dr Who 'The Deamons'.

    RIP Sir.

    1. David Robinson 1


      That was going to be my suggestion for the gun salute at his funeral.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      On the difficulty of apropos epitaphs for DW actors....

      Star Trekkies have it easy. Any time one of their heroes dies, they've got a ready made epitaph:

      Trekkie #1: Did you hear the sad news about James Doohan

      Trekkie #2: Oh, did he...?

      Trekkie #1: Yes. He's finally boldly gone where no man has gone before...

      Whovians just can't do that with our catchphrase:

      Whovian #1: Did you hear the sad news about Nicholas Courtney?

      Whovian #2: You mean...?

      Whovian #1: Yes. He's finally bigger on the inside than the outside...

      Ah well. At ease sir; you may stand down now. You did a good job.

    3. Dr. Funk.
      Thumb Up

      @AC (1)

  2. Wommit

    Sad day.

    I always liked the Brigadier.

  3. EyeCU


    Who wouldn't have been the same without the Brig

  4. johnnytruant

    farewell, sir

    Such a shame he didn't get to do a final story. He deserved a proper send off.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But that's Brigadier SIR Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.

    1. rpjs

      Shouldn't it be

      *Major-General* SIR Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart ? IIRC officers over the rank of Major or Colonel or some such get a courtesy promotion when they retire.

  6. Billy 8

    Nicest comment I've seen so far..

    was on twitter :

    "@cobaltmale I like to think of the Brig like King Arthur... just having a nap, but able to return in his country's greatest hour of need."

    :: does a big geeky tragic sniffle ::

    1. Graham Marsden

      I like to think of the Brig like King Arthur

      Remember the Sylvester McCoy story Battlefield? The Doctor was Merlin, Ace was the Lady of the Lake, so who was the Brigadier...?

      1. Billy 8

        I have erased...

        ... all of the Syvester McCoy era episodes from my mind ;-)

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Great, now you can enjoy them just like the first time all over again!

          LISTER: I've done it.

          HOLLY: Done what?

          LISTER: Erased Sylvester McCoy.

          HOLLY: Who's he, then?

          LISTER: Holly, you just asked me to erase all Sylvester McCoy-era Doctor Who from your memory.

          HOLLY: Why should I do that? I've never heard of him.

          LISTER: You've never heard of him because I've just erased him from your smegging memory.

          HOLLY: What'd you do that for?

          LISTER: < you'll have to fill in your own witty reply for lister here. my head just a'splode from all the potential for sarky responses >

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Get Off My World

        Courtney recounted that the producer had taken him to a nice lunch, and then afterwards asked what would he think about being killed off in Battlefield. Courtney was up for it.

        In the end the production team just didn't have the heart to kill off the much loved character after he's just saved the world. But, for a few seconds on first transmission, you believed he was dead.

        RIP Nick. Hope you are up there enjoying a pint with Jon Pertwee, Roger Delgado and Ian Marter.

        1. T J
          Thumb Up

          Heartily agree!

          Heartily agree Sir! And maybe Patrick and William will drop in on them too.

  7. James Le Cuirot

    Met him once

    Really nice chap. Made everybody laugh.

  8. Nick G

    I'm Fairly sure that's Cromer...

    A sad loss... I echo the comment about him not getting a proper send off. Thanks for the memories. Some Brig related fun on the DVD tonight Methinks...

  9. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    He played his character very well

    Top show!

  10. graeme leggett Silver badge

    Forever "in Geneva"

    We shall not see his like again

  11. Parsifal

    Sad to See Him Go

    I actually met Nick a couple of times at two Leeds based SciFi conventions called Santacon, he was one of the friendliest and nicest of people you could wish to meet. I always thought Unit in the New Dr. Who series lacked him as the figurehead. He will be missed.

  12. teacake

    Five rounds rapid

    Splendid chap, all of him.

  13. Spider

    Sadly missed

    He was producing great stuff still. I can wholeheartedly recommend the Scaryfiers radio series...

    "It may be a tentacled fiend from the beyond but it doesn't like the taste of hot lead!"

    Great actor.

  14. William Boyle

    So sad!

    I always enjoyed Courtney's portrayal of the Brigadier with a twinkle i his eye on Doctor Who. All those years, and he was the one constant in the show. The Doctor could change, the Doctor's sidekicks changed, the "enemy" changed, but Lethbridge-Stewart was always there to keep the home fires burning! So long General. You will be missed.

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Greatest ever quote

    You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace who wasn't immune to bullets!

  16. T J

    What the Devil's going on Doctor......

    ....these chaps are popping off everywhere!

    (Paraphrasing the Brig just as he stands up from a massive chaingun having dispatched several Ogrons and placing his stick back under his arm).

    Good night and good luck Brigadier.


  17. Anonymous Coward

    21 gun salute

    He deserved it. RIP and condolences to any family.

  18. 42

    Yes Primeminister

    He played the Police commisioner, who when introduced to the UNICEF rep said "AH yes UNICEF-brave little country"

    He will be missed!

  19. h4rm0ny

    Rest in Peace, Brigadier

    No-one could act opposite yetis and dinosaurs, gargoyles and cybermen and still pull off his straight-faced, determined dignity. "Chap with the wings, five rounds rapid" - says it all. You'll be missed, Brig.

    Pint for you.

  20. Tim Jenkins

    Doctor: "But I don't exist in your world!"

    Brigadier: "Then you won't feel the bullets when we shoot you"

    Ah; the glory days of UNIT; repelling whole alien armies with a ragtop Landrover Defender, three expendable squaddies armed with L1A1s, and a decent chap with a REALLY good moustache...

  21. Simon Millard

    Brigadier Quotes

    Mordred: My Mother will destroy you!

    Brigadier: Just between you and me, Mordred, I'm getting a little tired of hearing about your mother

    Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Not this time, Doctor. Armour-Piercing, solid core with a Teflon coating; go through a Dalek.

    The Doctor: A non-stick bullet.

    Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: UNIT's been very busy, Doctor. We've also got high-explosive rounds for Yeti's and very efficient armour-piercing rounds for robots. And we've even got gold-tipped bullets for you-know-what.

    The Doctor: No silver?

    Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Silver bullets?

    The Doctor: Well, you never know...

    Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Sergeant, Have we any Silver Bullets?

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