Splendid chap, you know

A sad farewell to British television actor Nicholas Courtney, who passed at age 81 last night.

The geeks among us will recognize the name.  Courtney was best-known to the sci-fi fan as the actor who protrayed Brigadier General Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart in the long-running Doctor Who program.  He “served” as the head of UNIT opposite five different Doctors:  Patrick Troughton, John Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, and Sylvester McCoy.

The character was often befuddled and sometimes out-of-depth; as he complained in one episode, “For once I’d like to meet an alien menace that wasn’t immune to bullets.”  But he soldiered on in the best traditions of England: dignified, confident, and unbending.  And the man behind the character was not above a joke about the whole phenomenon… I have a special feature on one of the DVDs where he pops up in a skit about the show’s early years, and he served as a narrator on the original VHS tape of “The Invasion,” narrating the two missing segments of the eight-segment adventure.

Tom Baker has a remembrance on his personal site.  I’m sure there will be more to follow.  And on today’s installment of Rich Morris’ Doctor comic, there’s a brief panel with “the Brig” in the background… which, entirely unknown to Morris, echoes the very picture Baker put of the Doctor and the Brig in his small memoir.  Of course – that’s the way things go around the Doctor, as the Brig knew.

Five rounds rapid, barkeep.

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