Doctor Who original cast member William Russell gets tribute after death

ian chesterton in doctor who's the power of the doctor
Doctor Who cast member gets tribute after deathBBC

Doctor Who original cast member William Russell has received a lovely tribute from co-star Carole Ann Ford following his death.

The official Doctor Who social media channels announced the sad news this week that Russell had passed away at the age of 99.

Russell played schoolteacher Ian Chesterton in the pilot episode of Doctor Who in 1963, before appearing in the show for two years alongside First Doctor actor William Hartnell.

Another of the original Doctor Who cast members was Carole Ann Ford, who portrayed The Doctor's granddaughter Susan. Ford's character was a student of Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright at Coal Hill School.

Following the news of Russell's death, Ford released a statement to the Radio Times: "Russ was such a dear, lovely man, an outstanding actor who was dedicated to his craft, but with a wonderful sense of humour and a permanent twinkle in his eye.

carole ann ford
Carole Ann FordThompson/Fox Photos/Getty Images

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"He was always looking out for me when I played Susan — I wanted to leap over things, fight the villains and do more action, and he got so worried that I would get hurt! I cherished working with him, and the many reunions we had over the years.

"Russ had such a rich and full life — television, films, theatre, the lot — and quite rightly received such warmth and affection from everyone who knew him. He will be missed."

Russell also received a warm tribute from current Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies, with the writer paying tribute to the actor's storied career.

"A fine, nimble, witty, heartfelt actor who absolutely sold the truth of those early years," he wrote on Instagram, "Before that, he’d been Sir Lancelot on the BBC; it’s often undersold what a star booking he was for Doctor Who. He later went on to marry Rita Fairclough as Ted Sullivan on Coronation Street.

"In the photo, I bumped into him on a train in 2018! I was star-struck! He spoke with so much pride and joy about his son, Alfred Enoch, who I’d seen in King Lear at the Royal Exchange. Absolutely lovely man. A fine, long life. Well done, sir, well played."

As Russell T Davies mentioned, the late actor had an esteemed TV and film career even outside of Doctor Who, including playing Rita Tanner's husband Ted Sullivan in Coronation Street in the 1990s. He last appeared in Doctor Who in the 2022 episode 'The Power of The Doctor'.

ian chesterton in doctor who's the power of the doctor

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Doctor Who debuts new episodes at midnight on Saturday, airing on BBC One in the UK and Disney+ elsewhere. Classic episodes of Doctor Who are available on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

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