Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Five Rounds Rapid!

It is with heavy heart and great sadness that I report that Nicholas Courtney, best known for his role as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in Doctor Who, passed away yesterday.

There have been many tributes to this wonderful man and his character since the news broke and there's not much I could say to add to it.  After all, I really haven't delved into episodes featuring the Brigadier that much.  However, from the few I've seen, I can see why his name was trending on Twitter yesterday afternoon.  Still, as a Who fan, his loss is felt, even among us who aren't as familiar with him.

My first encounter with the Brig was in "The Five Doctors" where he (a) gave us the best response to who's the best Doctor when he said: "Splendid chap - all of them" and (b) blindsided the Master with such flair and class that I found myself involuntarily saluting the retiring UNIT soldier.

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"Nice to see you again!"

My next memorable encounter with the Brigadier was when he appeared in "Mawdryn Undead" with the Fifth Doctor.  I was not expecting to see him AT ALL - but then he pulls up after Turlough wrecks his car, spitting nails over the incident (well, in the dignified way that a chivalrous British gentleman spits nails, anyway) and I've got my hands in the air cheering the way I would for a sports star.  Even as he works through his amnesia to remember the Doctor (which is a wonderful scene in and of itself), we're all very pleased to see him (and the Doctor's probably glad he tagged along in the end).

Here are some other tributes that go further into their analysis of the Brigadier and heap much love for Nick Courtney:

Planet Gallifrey
Traveling the Vortex
The Doctor Who LiveJournal Community (read the comments - some very touching memories)
The Doctor Who News Page
The Quest of the Parrot Knight
And, of course, the good ol' BBC

ETA: Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor) chimes in as well.

This was my favorite comment from LiveJournal - from a user known as rengeek:

"I like to think that right now Nick and Jon Pertwee have just had a pint and are busy kicking some demon's ass right out of heaven. Satan's probably crapping himself right now, realizing that the Brig is in the Heavenly Army now. This guy's faced Daleks, Cybermen, Autons, Zygons.... The Armies of Hell is just another day at work."

More tributes will materialize in the days to come, I'm sure.  But for now, I'm going to echo the sentiment of many Tweeters this day: "There have been several Doctors & several Masters. But there is only one Brigadier. A true star of the Whoniverse."


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