Monday, February 28, 2011

Nicholas Courtney 1929 - 2011

"You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets." -- The Brigadier in Robot

It's become something of a cliché to melodramatically declare "Today, a part of my childhood died", but last week, that was heartbreakingly true. For me, Nicholas Courtney and Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart are as integral to the mythology of Doctor Who as the TARDIS, the sonic screwdriver and the Daleks. And now, he's gone.

"The Cabinet's accepted my report, and the whole affair is now completely closed. A fifty-foot monster can't swim up the Thames and attack a large building without some people noticing, but you know what politicians are like." -- The Brigadier in Terror of the Zygons

In the hands of a lesser actor, the Brigadier could have come across as a humourless, officious, militaristic prig. But Nick Courtney brought a twinkly eye and a light touch to the role. I can't imagine another actor pulling off killer lines like "Chap with the wings there -- five rounds rapid."

The Doctor will live forever. Eleven bodies and still counting. But there was only one Brig. Splendid chap - all of him. RIP Nicholas Courtney.

The Destroyer: "Pitiful. Can this world do no better than you as its champion?"
The Brigadier: "Probably. I just do the best I can." -- Battlefield

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