Nicholas Courtney Poster


Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (18) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Born in Cairo, Egypt
Died in London, England, UK  (cancer)
Birth NameWilliam Nicholas Stone Courtney
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Nicholas Courtney was born in Egypt, the son of a British diplomat. His early years were spent in Kenya and France and he was called up for National Service at the age of 18. After 18 months of duty in the British forces, Courtney joined the Webber Douglas drama school. He spent two years there and then did repertory theatre in Northampton. His next move was to London.

During the 1960s, he played some roles in popular TV series. In 1965, he made an appearance on Doctor Who (1963), during the tenure of William Hartnell. The director, Douglas Camfield, remembered him and, in 1967, cast him as "Captain Knight" in "Doctor Who" episode "The Web of Fear". He took the part of "Lethbridge-Stewart", which was to become his most famous role, when the actor originally cast in the part had to drop out. At this time, Patrick Troughton was the star of the series.

Shortly after this, Courtney was offered the chance to play the role regularly and accepted. This guaranteed him work until 1975, when the character was written out of the series. He became a good friend of Jon Pertwee during his time on the programme, and returned in 1983, 1988 and 1989. His other television work has included a comedy with Frankie Howerd. Courtney has maintained a close association with "Doctor Who", narrating the documentary Doctor Who: 30 Years in the Tardis (1993) and attending conventions and appearing in spin-offs.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Karen (June 1994 - 22 February 2011) (his death)
Madeline (1961 - 1978) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (18)

He was a close friend of his Doctor Who (1963) co-stars Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. According to a statement on Tom Baker's website, he visited Courtney at a North London hospice only 5 days before his death.
His agent in his later career was another former Dr Who assistant, Wendy Padbury.
He was president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society for many years before his death.
He was tied (with Elisabeth Sladen) for the record of Doctor Who actors having appeared with the most incarnations of the title character - including the special Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time (1993), he appeared with all 7 different actors who portrayed the Doctor during the series' original run.
He often played senior British Establishment characters due to his classic British accent.
Courtney loved stage acting and Shakespeare. His favourite actor was Paul Scofield, a leading British classical stage actor.
He served on the Equity Council.
He performed with the BBC Radio Drama Company.
At one time, he had the same agent as original Doctor Who (1963) star, William Hartnell.
He won the Margaret Rutherford Medal at the Webber Douglas Academy in 1952.
He was cast as "Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart" in Doctor Who (1963) by director Douglas Camfield, who himself had served as an officer in the British Army.
Although he played a senior officer in many episodes of Doctor Who (1963), Courtney was actually just a private during his period of service in the British Army. His performance in the role of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was considered so convincing that real-life army officers made it known to the production office how much they related to his performance.
He was voted best actor of the 26th season by Doctor Who Magazine readers for Doctor Who: Battlefield: Part One (1989).
He finally appeared with Colin Baker's incarnation of the Doctor for a brief scene in the 1993 charity special Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time (1993).
He worked with every actor to play the Doctor in Doctor Who (1963), Doctor Who (1996) and Doctor Who (2005) except for Christopher Eccleston and Matt Smith. He worked with William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy in numerous episodes of Doctor Who (1963) from 1965 to 1989 and with Colin Baker, Paul McGann and David Tennant in numerous Big Finish audio dramas from 2000 to 2003.
Along with Patrick Troughton, he was one of only two actors to play the same character (his was Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart) in Doctor Who (1963) in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
He was the only Doctor Who (1963) actor to attend the funeral of Anthony Ainley - who played the Master on the series from 1981 to 1989 - in May 2004.
He was considered for for Dr. Armstrong, Sir Percy Heseltine and The Pathologist in Lifeforce (1985).

Personal Quotes (5)

Working with Bill Hartnell (William Hartnell) was interesting. He was towards the end of his time as the Doctor and I think he was getting a little tetchy because he wasn't a particularly well man, but he seemed to like me. But the funny thing was, he said 'You're with the wrong agent, Nick, I'll put you with mine', and I didn't work for a year.
[on Doctor Who (2005)] The technology's wonderful - they've a damn sight bigger budget than we had. There are some good performances. Great ideas. But I think where it loses out is in doing a whole story in 45 minutes. It appears too rushed and has what I call the "restless camera".
When I look back on my career, I think I might have done more classical work, but I jolly well don't mind. A friend who's done a lot of that said, "Yes, but look, you're rich." Which is kind of true.
[on Doctor Who (2005)] The programme's very, very different from what it used to be anyway. It's all a bit rushed sometimes. It's a heck of a lot to get in in three quarters of an hour, the whole story. In the old days, it used to be half an hour every Saturday for four Saturdays, or six Saturdays, so it does all seem to be a bit of a rush. In fact, it leaves me rather gasping for breath sometimes.
[in 2008] I think people's attention span is more limited than it used to be.

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