With great sadness we observe the passing of Nicholas Courtney, beloved to DOCTOR WHO fans as Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart. He was 81 years old.
Apart from the Doctor himself, no other character has had a longer run on the show, and since the Doctor has been played by multiple actors, no other actor in the series has played the same role for so long. The Brigadier first appeared on the series in 1968, was essentially a co-star from 1970 to 1975, then appeared on and off until his "last hurrah" in a 2008 episode of THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES. In all, forty years of the Brig.
I especially enjoyed the wry sense of humor that Courtney brought to the role -- even when he was barking orders there was, just behind his exterior, the suggestion that he was on the verge of giving one of his weary, puzzled half-smiles. He was always able to let us in the audience know that while he found the Doctor exasperating, he also admired the man's abilities and trusted him completely.
So we stand straight and tall and snap out a crisp UNIT salute to you, Mr. Courtney. You will be missed.