‘Doctor Who’ Legend William Russell Passes Away Aged 99

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The passing of a Doctor Who Legend: William Russell, the Original Companion, Dies at 99

William Russell, an iconic figure in the world of “Doctor Who,” has left an indelible mark on the series and its fans. His portrayal of Ian Chesterton, the Doctor’s first male companion, in the earliest seasons of the show, cemented his legacy. Born in Sunderland on November 19, 1924, Russell began his acting career in the 1940s and rose to fame in 1956 as the lead in ITV’s The Adventures of Sir Lancelot. Russell’s acting career spanned decades and included notable roles beyond “Doctor Who.”

Russell’s association with “Doctor Who” began in 1963 when he joined the cast as a science teacher who became a companion to the Doctor. He appeared in almost all episodes across the first two seasons, fighting Daleks, befriending historical figures, and even becoming a gladiator.

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His impact on the show extended beyond his initial run, as he narrated audiobook releases of lost 1960s episodes and appeared in audio stories. In 2022, Russell broke a Guinness World Record with his appearance in Jodie Whittaker’s final episode, “The Power of the Doctor,” marking a remarkable 57-year gap between TV appearances.

Russell’s acting career included roles in “The Great Escape” and the 1978 film “Superman.” He also portrayed Ted Sullivan in “Coronation Street” and graced the stage with the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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Russell is survived by his second wife, Dr Etheline Enoch, their son Alfred Enoch, and his children from his first marriage, Vanessa, Laetitia, and Robert, as well as four grandchildren. Tributes have poured in from fans and colleagues, celebrating his long and remarkable career.

I'm Noah Masire, I look after UK TV News at Memorable TV. From the gripping crime of Happy Valley to the feel good storytelling of All Creatures Great & Small, I bring you the latest news about what's what and who's who in the world of iconic British TV shows. Stay tuned!