Monday, 28 February 2011
Nicholas Courtney 1929 - 2011.
When I was a child, I hated football. I still do to this day. However, I did have something that I followed with same level of passion as the most fervent football fan. In the way they knew League positions, goals scored and transfer costs I knew the same level of detail about something else… a television show called, “Doctor Who”. Their liking made them lads, mine made me a geek. Hey ho.
What it also did was something far more important. It gave both my father and I a great arena for football like rivalry. He was always Team Pertwee. For my part, I knew that team was due for relegation and that he was wrong. The true Team, the Dream Team, was Team Troughton! Grab those recorders and toot them loud! Troughton! Troughton!
Our rivalry was fierce. Mock fierce. And it lasted. However, there was one who could unite us. As I teasing asked, “So, how many stories did YOUR Doctor fall unconscious in again?” and he playfully rebounded with a glare (my dad has a Pertwee like nose – believe me, that glare was all he had to do)… it would only take the mention of one man to make us both smile, put away our rivalry and nod in unison.
The Brigadier… Or, as it became increasingly important to call him, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart!
In this one man we saw the truth. The Doctor was a splendid chap, all of him. And, more importantly, so was the Brigadier – the ally above all allies. What was even more important than that though was the fact that the actor who played him was equally wonderful and all embracing - of the Doctors, the show and of the fans.
When Team Pertwee played Team Troughton, neither champion even dreamed that they would one day meet their unifying light… but both did. A number of times. I met Nicholas Courtney as a nervous fan, an excited fan and once as a fan with a hangover (although I’m happy to say that he, too, had a sore head that Sunday morning at the first Regenerations). Every time he was polite, enthusiastic, warm, signed until he had blisters and never once made me feel as though he didn’t want to be there… or that he would rather I moved along as there were other people waiting behind me. When you talked to Nicholas Courtney you felt as though he wanted you there – it was a moment of union. That TV show was now in the real world and that man you admired, that actor you could quote his own lines to, was talking one on one with you. You left his company feeling blessed.
Now his company has left us, I still feel blessed – as I’m sure a great many other fans do, too.
Oh, in other news, Team Pertwee and Team Troughton have been bought. Yeah, it was a huge merger thing.
They now play for Courtney FC.