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William Russell Dies: Early ‘Doctor Who’ Companion Was 99

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William Russell, one of the earliest companions in BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who, has died aged 99. He passed away on June 3.

The Doctor Who X account posted the news, writing: “We’re sad to report the passing of William Russell, a legend in #DoctorWho history – who played one of the first and original companions to the Doctor, Ian Chesterton.” Current showrunner Russell T Davies, who is into his second stint at the helm, also posted his condolences to X. “An absolute legend, for Doctor Who and the whole of television,” he wrote. “In 1963, William created the template for the Doctor’s companion, and that’s still going strong, 61 years later.

He’s adored by fandom, and will never be forgotten.” Born in 1924, Russell quickly gained prominence in the UK when he was cast as lead in ITV’s The Adventures of Sir Lancelot in the mid-1950s.

In 1963, he landed the Doctor Who role, playing Chesterton, a schoolteacher who acted opposite William Hartnell, the very first Doctor, until 1965.

Read more on deadline.com
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