Tuesday, March 26, 2013

William Russell (career biography)


William Russell (Ian Chesterton) Born Nov 19 1924

Doctor Who credits
Played: Ian Chesterton in 100,000 BCThe DaleksInside the SpaceshipMarco PoloThe Keys of MarinusThe AztecsThe SensoritesThe Reign of TerrorPlanet of GiantsThe Dalek Invasion of EarthThe RescueThe RomansThe Web PlanetThe CrusadeThe Space MuseumThe Chase (1963-65). William also played Ian in the linking material for the VHS release of The Crusade in 1999 (these links can also be seen on the 2004 DVD Lost in Time).
Played: Harry in An Adventure in Space and Time (2013).


Career

William was actually born as Russell Enoch, and he often used his birth name as his professional name, particularly in the early part of his career. There was also a very brief variation, Enoch Russell. William's very first work according to the IMDb is an uncredited field judge in the May 1940 Paramount film The Biscuit Eater (aka God Gave Him a Dog), but I'm not convinced this is the same man as this film was the first sound movie ever to be filmed entirely on location - in Albany, Georgia, USA! It's not beyond possibility that William was trying to get big in Hollywood at the age of 16, but I remain to be convinced with evidence. The same goes for his second IMDb entry, Virginia, released in July 1941, in which he apparently plays an uncredited loafer.

William as seen in Gift Horse (1952)
It's more likely true that William's first work (as Russell Enoch) was as a bridge lookout in the July 1952 war film Gift Horse (aka Glory at Sea), directed by Compton Bennett and starring Trevor Howard, Richard Attenborough, Bernard Lee and Dora Bryan. It also featured Peter Bathurst (The Power of the Daleks, 1966, and The Claws of Axos, 1971), Glyn Houston (The Hand of Fear, 1976, and The Awakening, 1984), Olaf Pooley (Inferno, 1970) and Harry Towb (The Seeds of Death, 1969, and Terror of the Autons, 1971). William was aged 27 here and looked very young and handsome! The film's plot was based upon a true-life event in 1942 when HMS Campbeltown, loaded with explosives, rammed and destroyed the dock gates at the French port of St Nazaire, thus damaging the only dry dock outside of Germany able to repair the Germans' battleships (the 1968 film Attack on the Iron Coast is also based on this incident). You can see William quite clearly in the background of several of the shots in this clip (from 1m 54s), even changing hats at one point!


William in Appointment in London
William's next work was as an RAF officer in the war film Appointment in London (aka Raiders in the Sky), released in February 1953 and directed by Philip Leacock. It starred Dirk Bogarde as a wing-commander leading a squadron of Lancaster bombers flying on nightly raids from England. He tries to keep his men focused on the job at hand by keeping women away from the base, but then he himself meets naval officer Eve Canyon (played by Dinah Sheridan, from The Five Doctors (1983)).

Also on the bill were Walter Fitzgerald (The Dominators, 1968), Bill Kerr (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68), Campbell Singer (The Celestial Toymaker, 1966), Edward Evans (Image of the Fendahl, 1977) and Nigel Stock (Time-Flight, 1982). You can watch the whole film on YouTube (William appears at 39m 10s for a couple of scenes).


Next was the romantic drama Intimate Relations (aka Disobedient), released in March 1953. Based on a 1938 play by Jean Cocteau called Les Parents terribles, the film was written and directed by Charles Frank, who was nominated for the Grand Prize at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival for his work on it. The story is about a devoted mother who smothers her son with misdirected love, and moves to destroy his blossoming romance with a young girl (who also happens to be his father's mistress!). It starred Harold Warrender, Marian Spencer, Elsy Albiin and Ruth Dunning, and William plays Michael, the unfortunate son!

William smooches with Swedish actress Elsy Albiin in
the 1953 film Intimate Relations
William in Malta Story
William was uncredited again in Malta Story, released in June 1953 and directed by Brian Desmond Hurst. The film was based upon the events surrounding the Siege of Malta in 1942, and starred Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Steel and Renee Asherson. Doctor Who names on the bill included Hugh Burden (Spearhead from Space, 1970), Nigel Stock (Time-Flight, 1982), Peter Barkworth (The Ice Warriors, 1967), Michael Craig (The Trial of a Time Lord, 1986), Maurice Denham (The Twin Dilemma, 1984) and Victor Maddern (Fury from the Deep, 1968). William played an officer at the prison seen briefly in the film.

In October 1953, William played gambler Keith Merton in The Saint's Return (known as The Saint's Girl Friday in the US), a Hammer production which saw the final appearance as the title character by the first man to ever play Leslie Charteris's character Simon Templar, Louis Hayward. The film co-starred Diana Dors, Naomi Chance, Sydney Tafler and Charles Victor and it was hoped it would kickstart a new run of films featuring the Saint, but this was not to be - it was actually the last English language feature film outing for the Saint until Val Kilmer's turn 44 years later. The film is available to view in a rather scratchy format on YouTube (William first appears at 17m 30s, but can be seen throughout on and off).


William as Keith Merton in The Saint Returns (1953)
William's next film was a pretty big one, the war film They Who Dare from February 1954, directed by Lewis Milestone and once again starring Dirk Bogarde. It tells the story of Operation Anglo, which saw special forces attempt to disrupt the Luftwaffe's threat to Allied forces in Egypt. William played Lieutenant Tom Poole, one of a team sent to destroy two German airfields in Rhodes, and actually features in the film's very first scene in which he encounters the flirty nightclub singer (played by Kay Callard) and then his pal Lieutenant David Graham (Bogarde). Also featuring in the film is Eileen Way, who appeared in William's very first Doctor Who story, 100,000 BC (1963 - as well as 1979's The Creature from the Pit). You can watch the entire film on YouTube here.

William with Kay Callard and Dirk Bogarde in They Who Dare
On April 18th, 1954, William appeared in his first television production, a BBC Sunday Night Theatre play called It Never Rains, written by Lynne Reid Banks (who later wrote The L-Shaped Room and The Indian in the Cupboard). It was set in the suburbs of an industrial town in Yorkshire and concerns the family lives of the Boltons, one of whom lost the use of his legs in an accident but is hoping to walk again soon. The play revolved around whether or not the doctors would confirm that he ever would... William played Bill Bolton, the son of the family who is studying to be an architect's draughtsman, and his fellow actors included Olga Lindo, Carl Bernard, Judith Scott and Josephine Douglas. The play, which is now missing from the archives, was repeated four days later, on April 22nd.

In June 1954, Coronet Films released The Gay Dog, in which Wilfred Pickles played miner John Gay, a man who loves racing greyhounds but, out of town, finds a dog with a better chance to win, so his friends bet on his dog, while he bets against! The fabulous thing about this film is that it also stars Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and Meddling Monk Peter Butterworth as a double act of betting men, as well as Petula Clark, Megs Jenkins and John Blythe. Jack May (The Space Pirates, 1969) also appears uncredited, while William plays Leslie Gowland, Clark's love interest. You can see pictures of William, Peter and Jon below, along with a trailer for the DVD featuring all three.

William Russell in The Gay Dog (1954)
Peter Butterworth and Jon Pertwee as two betting men in The Gay Dog

On December 5th, 1954, William appeared in his second BBC Sunday Night Theatre production, The Whiteoak Chronicles: Young Renny. The Whiteoak Chronicles (aka The Jalna Series) were a series of 16 novels by Mazo de la Roche telling the story of the Canadian Whiteoak family between 1854-1954. In this adaptation by Philip Mackie, William played Renny, later to become the head of the Jalna household, depicted in 1906 as a young man whose impatience with an English cousin creates some amusing incidents. The play, which is now missing from the BBC archives, was repeated four days later on December 9th. Coincidentally, one of William's co-stars was Richard Caldicot, who played his father in his next project, One Good Turn...

William in One Good Turn (1955)
In January 1955, William appeared in the film One Good Turn, a comedy film starring the great Norman Wisdom as the caretaker of a children's home which is threatened with closure by a property developer. William played Alec Bigley, the son of the home's chairman (played by Richard Caldicot), and the film also featured a 19-year-old Frazer Hines (aka Doctor Who companion Jamie McCrimmon) in a minor role. One Good Turn was the seventh biggest British film of 1955, and although William has only a secondary role in the film, it's yet another box office hit on his blossoming CV - and he's still only 30! You can watch the whole film on YouTube (William first appears at 6m 46s).


William as Ramsey in Above Us
the Waves (1955)
Two months later William had a role in the war film Above Us the Waves, directed by Ralph Thomas and based upon the true-life attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz by British Commando frogmen in 1942/43. John Mills played Commander Fraser, who assembles a crack team of frogmen to prove that human torpedoes are practical, despite the reticence of his superiors. William played Ramsey, and was joined on the bill by John Gregson, Donald Sinden, James Robertson Justice, Michael Medwin and Harry Towb (The Seeds of Death, 1969, and Terror of the Autons, 1971).

On September 18th, 1955, William appeared in his third and final BBC Sunday Night Theatre, this time in an adaptation of Baroness Emmuska Orczy's novel The Scarlet Pimpernel. Tony Britton played Sir Percy Blakeney, and Harriette Johns his wife, while William played the Vicomte de Tournai. Other notable names in the cast included Peter Cellier (Time-Flight, 1982), Peter Stephens (The Celestial Toymaker, 1966, and The Underwater Menace, 1967) and Jack May (The Space Pirates, 1969). Naturally, this play is absent from the BBC archives.

William's next work was also for BBC TV, an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's unfinished novel St Ives from 1897, adapted by Rex Tucker (who would go on to direct The Gunfighters in 1966). This six-part serial, which ran from October 30th to December 4th 1955, was for the children's slot at 5pm, and formed part of an overall offering which included Sooty with Harry H Corbett, a newsreel, and the Sunday at Six strand, which profiled different interesting people. William played the title character of Viscomte Anne de Keroual de St Ives, a Napoleonic soldier captured by the British and imprisoned at Edinburgh Castle in 1813. In another wonderful casting juxtaposition, William's co-stars included none other than Roger Delgado as Gautier, who would of course go on to play the Master between 1971-73. Also on the bill was Geoffrey Palmer (Doctor Who and the Silurians, 1970; The Mutants, 1972; and Voyage of the Damned, 2007), Peter Diamond (who had various small roles in Doctor Who in the late 1960s), Bart Allison (The Romans, 1965), Gladys Spencer (The Ark in Space, 1975) and Jack May (The Space Pirates, 1969). This adaptation of St Ives is apparently intact in the BBC Archive, whereas the second version William starred in (from 1960) is missing.

On Boxing Day 1955, William played the Prince in a festive adaptation of The Sleeping Beauty, again written for TV by Rex Tucker. Also on the bill was Colin Douglas (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68, and Horror of Fang Rock, 1977). This play was recorded, and repeated the following Christmas, on December 18th, 1956.

William with Gloria Grahame in 1956's
The Man Who Never Was
In March 1956, William added another film to his CV when he took a role in the war film The Man Who Never Was, directed by Ronald Neame and adapted by Nigel Balchin from the book by Ewen Montagu. This depicted the real-life events of Operation Mincemeat, a 1943 British Intelligence plan to trick the Axis powers into thinking the Allied invasion of Sicily would take place elsewhere. The film starred Clifton Webb, Gloria Grahame, Robert Flemyng and Stephen Boyd, while William played Joe, the fiance of Grahame's character Lucy. Other notable names included Cyril Cusack, Andre Morell (The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, 1966), Michael Hordern, Joan Hickson, William Squire (The Armageddon Factor, 1979), Michael Peake (The Romans, 1965) and even Peter Sellers (as the voice of Winston Churchill!). The film won Balchin a Best British Screenplay BAFTA, plus three further BAFTA nominations for Best British Film, Best Film from Any Source, and Most Promising Newcomer (for Boyd). Neame was also nominated for the Palme d'Or at that year's Cannes Film Festival.

William as the star of The Adventures
of Sir Lancelot (1956-57)
William finally secured his first lead role in a television series when he was cast as the title character in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot on ITV. The 30-episode run debuted on September 15th, 1956 and ran until April 13th, 1957, and aired in the US just days later, making it one of the very few British TV series to be shown on a major US network (as opposed to PBS or cable). Joining William as a series regular was Ronald Leigh-Hunt (The Seeds of Death, 1969, and Revenge of the Cybermen, 1975) as King Arthur. The series welcomed a huge roll call of guest stars in its mammoth run, including Edwin Richfield (The Sea Devils, 1972, and The Twin Dilemma, 1984), Patrick McGoohan, Wilfred Brambell, Shirley Cooklin (The Tomb of the Cybermen, 1967), Richard Leech (The Sun Makers, 1977), Robert Hardy and Jerome Willis (The Green Death, 1973). The entire 30 episodes can be bought on Network DVD (of the 14 episodes made in colour, only 12 are presented as such on the DVD due to financial reasons), but you can also see them all on YouTube.


On September 21st, 1956, William appeared as Boy in the 30-minute play The Assassin, in the Theatre Royal strand. Directed by Don Chaffey and written by Winston Clewes, it co-starred Andre Morell (The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, 1966) and concerned the assassination of a German general being planned by Resistance men. However, although the IMDb lists this as being broadcast this day, it is not included as such on the BBC Genome website. Theatre Royal was also known as the Lilli Palmer Theatre, so may have been shown in another territory under that name.

William next turned up in an episode of the comedy series The Adventures of Aggie, broadcast on November 19th, 1956 and called Hypertension. The series starred Joan Shawlee as international fashion designer Aggie Anderson, and William played Ted Jordan, joined by Jacqueline Ellis, George Bradford, John McLaren and Doris Nolan. Annoyingly, 26 episodes of this series were made by Mid-Ocean Productions, but only three are missing - and this is one of them!

William with Adrienne Corri in The
Big Chance (1957)
The Big Chance (released in September 1957) was written and directed by Peter Graham Scott and featured William as clerk Bill Anderson who sees his big opportunity to escape a humdrum existence, but whose resolve is tested by various unexpected obstacles. The hour-long B-picture co-starred Adrienne Corri (The Leisure Hive, 1980), Edwin Richfield (The Sea Devils, 1972, and The Twin Dilemma, 1984) and Howard Lang (100,000 BC, 1963).

The BBC filmed a 10-part adaptation of Charles Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby, broadcast between October 18th and December 20th, 1957, with William taking the lead role. The serial was popular enough at the time to be repeated in the children's serial slot between April and June 1958. The series also featured Anthony Jacobs (The Gunfighters, 1966), Bartlett Mullins (The Sensorites, 1964), Graham Crowden (The Horns of Nimon, 1979-80), John Baskcomb (Terror of the Autons, 1971), William Mervyn (The War Machines, 1966) and Aubrey Woods (Day of the Daleks, 1972), as well as a high quota of actors from The Space Pirates (1969) - Brian Peck, Jack May and Esmond Knight. Predictably, the series is now missing from the BBC archives, but a clip from episode four has survived as part of a recording of the children's literature series Fact in Fiction, broadcast on March 28th, 1958 and presented by Peter Forster. The clip, which lasts 4m 17s, features William with Wensley Pithey, playing Vincent Crummles. Sadly, this clip has not made it to the public domain, and neither can I find a photograph of William as Nicholas. Can you help?

Assignment Foreign Legion was an anthology series about - you guessed it - the Foreign Legion during World War Two, presented by Merle Oberon as a reporter (who also appeared in several episodes). William had a guest turn in the episode The Ghost, shown on October 20th, 1957, in which he played Gerry Brooke, opposite Clifford Evans, Paula Byrne, Peter Allenby and Keith Pyott (later to appear as Autloc in The Aztecs, 1964). Sadly, this is one of the 18 episodes of Assignment Foreign Legion's 26-part series missing from the ATV archives.

Screenshots of William Russell in Sword
of Freedom: The Strange Intruder (1957)
Sword of Freedom (broadcast on various dates in various UK regions in 1957) was an early ITC series set in 16th century Florence, in which Edmund Purdom played Marco del Monte, a dashing Robin Hood-type figure who leads the Republicans against the tyrannical rule of the Duke of de Medici (Martin Benson). In the episode The Strange Intruder, William plays Count Rene d'Albert, an ambassador for France who tries to convince the love-struck Francesca de Medici to help overthrow her brother. The episode also starred series regular Adrienne Corri (The Leisure Hive, 1980). You can buy the entire series of Sword of Freedom from Network DVD here (William is in Series 1 Episode 29).

The Circle of Chalk (broadcast by the BBC on March 9th, 1958, as part of Television World Theatre) was an adaptation by James Laver of Klabund's German translation of the original Chinese play by Li Qianfu, dating back to the 14th century, and tells the tragic tale of Hai-tang, who has to deal with paternal grief, prostitution, jealous love rivals and even a maternity test! In this 90-minute version, William played Prince Pao, while the heroine was played by Chin Yu. Co-stars included Peter Stephens (The Celestial Toymaker, 1966, and The Underwater Menace, 1967), Olaf Pooley (Inferno, 1970) and Aubrey Woods (Day of the Daleks, 1972). This play is missing from the BBC archive.

William as the vicar in The Adventures
of Hal 5 (1958)
The Adventures of Hal 5 was a family adventure released in October 1958 by the Children's Film Foundation and was written and directed by Don Sharp from the Henry Donald novel. Hal 5 is an Austin 7 car found by two children and bought by their uncle, the pipe-smoking vicar (played by William). But the garage owner conceals Hal's faulty transmission and this leads to various surprising incidents. A quaint touch to the film was that Hal had a cartoon face animated on his front grille, which gave him great character. Also starring were the prolific Edwin Richfield (The Sea Devils, 1972, and The Twin Dilemma, 1984), Martin Boddey (The Sea Devils, 1972) and Bartlett Mullins (The Sensorites, 1964). The CFF has uploaded the film to its YouTube channel for you to watch here:


That same month, William appeared in BBC TV's Who Fought Alone: Epitaph on a Scottish Soldier, written by Moultrie Kelsall and directed by James Crampsey. The 75-minute production was based on Kelsall's radio play and was broadcast from BBC Scotland's studios, starring Frank Wylie (Castrovalva, 1982) as Jock McNeil, with Tom Conti, Andrew Keir and, of course, William Russell. Unfortunately, the actors' roles are not shown on BBC Genome, but it's likely that the original radio play was written by Kelsall while he was at the BBC's Aberdeen radio station 2BD in the 1930s. This television adaptation is missing from the archives.

William next appeared in a Saturday Playhouse production called The Duke in Darkness, aired on December 6th, 1958 and based upon Patrick Hamilton's 1942 play set during France's civil wars of the 16th century. Now missing from the archives, the play featured Stephen Murray as the imprisoned Duke of Latteraine who is joined in incarceration by his mentally unstable servant Gribaud (David Markham). William played Voulain, a friend of the Duke's who now works for the enemy but who also offers a plan of escape. Should the Duke trust Voulain?

William's final work in 1958 was Evan Jones's In a Backward Country, shown in the Television Playwright strand on December 30th on BBC TV (and now missing). Set in a small Caribbean colony, it dealt with the struggle between the old and secure, and the new and untried, which comes to a head with the granting of self-governance and a General Election. It starred Wilfrid Lawson as Charles Broderick, a pioneer English settler who has become the biggest land owner on the island. William played his son Anthony, while others on the bill included Jack Hedley, Christopher Burgess (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68; Terror of the Autons, 1971; and Planet of the Spiders, 1974, Walter Hudd and Cyril Shaps (a Doctor Who guest star stalwart between 1967-78).

Maggie Smith was The Girl on the
Beach in 1959, which co-starred
William Russell
On May 24th, 1959, William appeared in an Armchair Theatre (now missing) called The Girl on the Beach, written by Enid Hollins, about a girl who has lost her memory but discovers that she is rich - a fact resented by others. William played a character called Smoky, and was joined by Naomi Chance, Raymond Bennett, Andre Charisse, Esmond Knight (The Space Pirates, 1969) and Maggie Smith as The Girl. The play was produced by none other than Sydney Newman, future co-creator of Doctor Who at the BBC. The play had been produced for radio by the BBC five years previously.

On Boxing Day that year, William appeared in the 90-minute play Never Die, written by John Elliot, who would later go on to write A for Andromeda and The Andromeda Breakthrough. William, who played Inspector Sauve, was joined by Dorothy Alison, Raymond Barry, Andre Charisse, George A Cooper (The Smugglers, 1966), Gordon Jackson, David Nettheim (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68), Jack Watling (The Abominable Snowmen, 1967, and The Web of Fear, 1968) and Bill Owen. The play was a detective thriller set in a chateau in Northern France during Christmas week.

It was in 1959 that William filmed three instalments of the anthology Fredric March Presents Tales from Dickens, a series of 13 30-minute dramatisations of the British author's work produced by Harry Towers. It wasn't shown in some territories straight away, but began to debut in 1959 and continued to be shown for several years, usually over the Christmas period. William played David Copperfield in three episodes - Uriah Heep (Christmas Eve 1960), Dora and David, and David and Dora Get Married (both July 1962).

William with Marjorie Steele
in Our Betters (1960)
On February 7th, 1960, William appeared in his first of several BBC Sunday Night Plays, called Our Betters (now missing). It was a production of the 1923 Somerset Maugham play and starred William as Lord Harry Bleane, the aristocratic suitor to Bessie Saunders, here played by Marjorie Steele. Also on the cast list were Margaret Courtenay, David Knight, Alan Gifford and Helen Horton.

On March 13th, 1960, William was back in another BBC Sunday Night Play called The Fanatics by actor Miles Malleson, directed by Terence Dudley (who would go on to write and direct for Doctor Who between 1980-83). In this production, which exists in the archives, William played John Freeman who, in 1920, returns to London after four years in the trenches but finds that a huge gulf has developed between both he and his father (played by Peter Stephens - The Celestial Toymaker, 1966, and The Underwater Menace, 1967), and their two generations. Ironically, Stephens was only four years older than William, but still played his father! Also on the bill was Naomi Chance, Laurence Payne (The Gunfighters, 1966; The Leisure Hive, 1980; and The Two Doctors, 1985) and Valerie White.

Just two weeks later William's third BBC Sunday Night Play aired, J B Priestley's 1937 play I Have Been Here Before. Now missing from the archive, it is set in a pub on the Yorkshire moors and concerns three people who experience deja vu, as well as a physicist trying to prevent a catastrophe. William plays schoolmaster Oliver Farrant, and shares billing with Michael Hordern, Ursula Howells and Joseph Furst (The Underwater Menace, 1967).

On May 22nd, 1960 William was in his fourth BBC Sunday Night Play, this time T S Eliot's 1958 play The Elder Statesman. He played Charles Hemington, the lover of Monica, daughter of the possessive Lord Claverton. The production also featured Eileen Peel, Eric Portman, Vanessa Redgrave, Clive Revill and none other than Derrick Sherwin, who would go on to write and produce Doctor Who in Patrick Troughton's final years.

Five years after he'd played the title role in a Children's Serial adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's story St Ives, William reprised the role for another version, shown in six parts between June 12th and July 17th, 1960. However, this adaptation is missing from the archives. The 1955 version co-starred future Master Roger Delgado as Gautier, but this time the role was taken by Geoffrey Palmer (Doctor Who and the Silurians, 1970; The Mutants, 1972; and Voyage of the Damned, 2007), who has actually played another role in the earlier serial! Also on the bill were Audrey Nicholson, Leslie Perrins, Frederick Treves (Meglos, 1980), Denis Goacher (The Macra Terror, 1967), Patsy Smart (The Talons of Weng-Chiang, 1977), Ivor Salter (The Space Museum, 1965; The Myth Makers, 1965; and Black Orchid, 1982) and Bruce Wightman (The Crusade, 1965; The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66; and Terror of the Zygons, 1975).

Audrey Nicholson, William Russell and Denis
Goacher in St Ives (1960)
William in Triton
On August 14th 1960, William appeared in his fifth BBC Sunday Night Play. In Carl Zuckmayer's 1946 play The Devil's General, he played Colonel Friedrich Eilers, leader of a fighter squadron, in a story about a German pilot's exploits during World War Two, including his double life of both working for and against the Nazis. The star was Marius Goring (The Evil of the Daleks, 1967), joined by Isabel Dean, Cyril Shaps (various Doctor Who roles between 1967-78), Martin Boddey (The Sea Devils, 1972) and none other than Henry Lincoln (as Henry Soskin), who would go on to write three serials in the Troughton era.

On February 19th, 1961 William appeared in his penultimate BBC Sunday Night Play, J B Priestley's An Inspector Calls. Now missing, it starred William as Gerald Croft, the suitor to Sheila Birling (played by Heather Sears). Co-stars included John Gregson, Nora Swinburne, Edward Chapman and Alan Dobie.

In 1800, two British officers - Belwether and Lamb - are sent to gather intelligence about French plans for Napoleon's impending attempted invasion of England. Triton was a four-part serial broadcast by the BBC between June 4th and 25th, 1961 (and repeated in April 1962), written by Rex Tucker (director of The Gunfighters, 1966) and starring William as Captain Belwether, with Francis Matthews as Lieutenant Lamb. It also featured Leonard Trolley (The Faceless Ones, 1967), Reed De Rouen (The Gunfighters, 1966), Robert James (The Power of the Daleks, 1966, and The Masque of Mandragora, 1976), Peter Mayock (Pyramids of Mars, 1975, and The Deadly Assassin, 1976), and none other than future Master Roger Delgado as the mysterious Man with the Patch! Naturally, this serial is now missing.

William in Adventure Story
Exactly a year later, on June 12th, 1961, William played Hephaestion in an adaptation of Terence Rattigan's 1949 play Adventure Story. Directed by Rudolph Cartier, it told the story of Alexander the Great and his conquests. Alexander was played by Sean Connery, and it co-starred Margaretta Scott, Alan Tilvern (Planet of Giants, 1964), Walter Randall (The Aztecs, 1964; The Crusade, 1965; The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66; The Invasion, 1968; Inferno, 1970; and Planet of the Spiders, 1974) and Tutte Lemkow (Marco Polo, 1964; The Crusade, 1965; and The Myth Makers, 1965). This 110-minute play exists in the archives, and William's scenes can be watched on YouTube:


On September 22nd that year, William appeared in a 35-minute adaptation of Paolo Emilio D'Emilio's A Song of Sixpence, directed by George R Foa and also featuring Isa Miranda, Tony Beckley (The Seeds of Doom, 1976), Keith Anderson (The Reign of Terror, 1964) and Ivor Salter (The Space Museum, 1965; The Myth Makers, 1965; and Black Orchid, 1982). William played Alberto Monzelli, but I can find little else about either the adaptation or the source material, or even the author. Can you help?

IMDb next has William playing Hamlet in an adaptation broadcast between September 14th and October 19th, 1961, but I can find no evidence of William having ever played the Prince of Denmark on TV. BBC Genome shows no results for it, and the listings for the days IMDb claims the serial was shown gives no clue either. Oddly, following this elusive five-part adaptation (subtitled The Dread Command) was another five-part adaptation but starring Barry Foster as Hamlet, for which pictorial evidence does exist (but again, no BBC Genome listing). If anybody can shed any light on this anomaly, please leave a comment!

William also appeared in two adaptations of the work of Edgar Wallace - The Share Out (1962), in which a gang of high class corporate thieves use blackmail to induce their victims to sell property at knock-down prices; and Return to Sender (1963), in which a fraudster is arrested for stealing a large sum of money from his partners. In The Share Out, William played Mike Stafford, along with Bernard Lee, Alexander Knox, Moira Redmond, Richard Vernon and Richard Warner, while in Return to Sender he played black arts practitioner Mike Cochrane, who tries to discredit the fraudster's prosecutor. It also starred Nigel Davenport, Jennifer Daniel, Lucy Griffiths and Yvonne Romain.

William in his two Edgar Wallace mysteries - The Share Out
(left and centre) and Return to Sender (right)
As we enter that significant year of 1963, we find William in the ATV play Somebody's Dying, broadcast on April 7th. Tom Cameron (none other than War Doctor John Hurt) is found on the street dying from a gunshot wound. Journalist Mick Lambert (William Russell) gets drawn into Tom's world when he realises he was the victim of a robbery for a pittance. It was a play examining isolation within society and how everybody takes their piece from someone in trouble. It co-starred Glyn Houston (The Hand of Fear, 1976, and The Awakening, 1984), Edward Fox, Frederick Jaeger (The Savages, 1966; Planet of Evil, 1975; and The Invisible Enemy, 1977) and Royston Tickner (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66, and The Sea Devils, 1972). This play apparently does exist in the archives.

Debuting on the very same day (April 7th) but over on the BBC was a six-part adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, again directed by Rex Tucker and with incidental music by none other than Tristram Cary, who would later that year score the first Dalek story. Ann Bell played Jane, while others on the cast list included Richard Leech (The Sun Makers, 1977), Stephanie Bidmead (Galaxy 4, 1965), Anthony Jacobs (The Gunfighters, 1966), Michael Bilton (The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, 1966; Pyramids of Mars, 1975; and The Deadly Assassin, 1976), Arthur Hewlett (State of Decay, 1980, and The Trial of a Time Lord, 1986), Leonard Trolley (The Faceless Ones, 1967), Margot Van der Burgh (The Aztecs, 1964, and The Keeper of Traken, 1981) and Joan Young (The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, 1966). William took the role of St John Rivers in episodes five and six (broadcast in May 1963). Both of William's episodes exist in the BBC archives, as only episodes 2 and 3 are missing. The serial was repeated in October 1963.

William as Fl Lt Sorren in The
Great Escape
William made a high profile return to the cinema screen in June 1963 with a part in John Sturges's The Great Escape, which told the true-life tale of Allied POWs trying to escape their German prison camp. William didn't have a big part (he played RAF Flight Lieutenant Sorren, the man in charge of security of the tunnels they dig to try and escape), but he shared the bill with star names such as Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson and James Coburn. It co-starred Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, Gordon Jackson, Angus Lennie (The Ice Warriors, 1967, and Terror of the Zygons, 1975), Nigel Stock (Time-Flight, 1982) and Tom Adams (Warriors of the Deep, 1984). The film was a huge hit, making more than $11.7m at the Box Office, and was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe. It is also the 124th Top Rated Movie ever on IMDb.

William in Suspense: The Patch Card
On July 8th, 1963, William returned to BBC TV for an episode of the series Suspense, an anthology of, well... suspenseful tales! In The Patch Card, William played John Richards in a story involving the death of a man, the cause of which lay inside a computer. The life of another man relied upon the discovery of that cause. The play also featured Cyril Luckham (later to play the White Guardian in The Ribos Operation, 1978, and Enlightenment, 1983), John Woodnutt (Spearhead from Space, 1970; Frontier in Space, 1973; Terror of the Zygons, 1975; and The Keeper of Traken, 1981) and David Spenser (The Abominable Snowmen, 1967). A total of 49 episodes of Suspense were made between 1962-63, but only two survive in whole (and you guessed it, not this one!).

William with Maurice Denham and
Rona Anderson in Pig in the Middle,
shown just three weeks after William
had been contracted for Doctor Who
William's last BBC Sunday Night Theatre turn was playing Frank in Giles Cooper's Pig in the Middle (broadcast August 18th, 1963). The Radio Times synopsis merely read: "When three generations are trapped in a seaside chalet, something is liable to explode." Also in this now missing play were Maurice Denham (The Twin Dilemma, 1984), Rona Anderson, Norman Rossington and John Ross, with music by Norman Kay (who provided the incidental music for the very first Doctor Who story, 100,000 BC, later that year).

On September 27th, 1963, studio filming began at the BBC on the very first episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child. William played schoolteacher Ian Chesterton in 77 episodes of the programme, broadcast between November 1963 and June 1965, but is the only member of the original cast never to return to the programme - William Hartnell returned for The Three Doctors (1972-73), Carole Ann Ford for The Five Doctors (1983) and Jacqueline Hill for Meglos (1980). However, William would reprise the role of Ian Chesterton in the 1990s, and have a brush with Doctor Who again in the 21st century...

William's last studio day on Doctor Who was June 4th, 1965, but his next project didn't see the light of day for an entire year, on June 3rd, 1966, when he appeared in his first of three episodes of the BBC2 series This Man Craig, set in a Scottish school. In Mates, Williams played the character Avis in a story about the friendship of two small boys at a youth club. The episode co-starred John Cairney, Tom Conti, Rio Fanning (Horror of Fang Rock, 1977), Reg Lye (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68) and Leonard Maguire (Full Circle, 1980).

On July 1st, 1966, William was in This Man Craig again, as a different character called Peter Woodburn in Old Flame. That episode co-starred Gordon Jackson and the aforementioned Maguire.

Breaking Point
In October 1966, William appeared in Breaking Point, a now-missing five-part BBC2 thriller in which metallurgist Professor Max Stevens (played by Bernard Kay, who appeared in two Doctor Who serials with William - The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964) and The Crusade (1965)) perfects a type of metal which resists fatigue - a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionise the industrial world and beyond. However, such discoveries never remain secret for long, and from beyond the laboratory interested parties are gathering in force. The British Government is determined to gain control of the Professor's notes, but agents from behind the Iron Curtain are ranged to execute similar missions. Internal Security Agency Group S dispatches their best agent, Martin Kennedy (William Russell), to contact Stevens and procure the relevant paperwork and experimentation details from him in the nation's interests, but he soon finds that he must act as the Professor's only line of protection. Aside from William and Bernard, the serial also starred Richard Hurndall, who ironically would later play the First Doctor in The Five Doctors (1983), as well as Rosemary Nicols, Vernon Dobtcheff (The War Games, 1969), Terence Longdon, Vez Delahunt (The Daleks, 1963-64), Norman Hartley (The Time Meddler, 1965) and Royston Tickner (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66, and The Sea Devils, 1972). William would have felt very at home behind the scenes too, as Breaking Point was directed by Douglas Camfield, who had worked on two of his Doctor Who serials. Alan Bromly (who directed The Time Warrior, 1973-74, and Nightmare of Eden, 1979) produced the show.

On January 29th, 1967 William was a guest star in a now missing episode of Dr Finlay's Casebook called Who Made You?, by John Pennington. William's character was called Neville, and he was joined on the bill by Don McKillop (The Daemons, 1971) and Colette O'Neil (Snakedance, 1983).

Just over a week later William appeared in his third and final episode of This Man Craig, entitled You Can Choose Your Friends, in which he played Peter Rogers. It also featured David Collings (Revenge of the Cybermen, 1975; The Robots of Death, 1977; and Mawdryn Undead, 1983) and Ilona Rodgers (The Sensorites, 1964), as well as series regular Leonard Maguire (Full Circle, 1980). The episode revolved around how the private life of French teacher Violette Johns (Rodgers) was affecting her teaching abilities.

Next up was the appropriately named Who-Dun-It, an ATV crime anthology series created by Lewis Greifer (later to write Pyramids of Mars, 1975). There's no footage of this online (although it does exist), but you can revel in the bumptious theme tune by Tony Hatch here. In Don't Shoot the Cook (broadcast October 20th, 1969), William played Marcel Dupre, accompanied by Gary Raymond, Keith Ashley (Genesis of the Daleks and Terror of the Zygons, both 1975), Patrick Barr (The Moonbase, 1967), Arthur Cox (The Dominators, 1968), Phyllida Law and Ralph Watson (The Web of Fear, 1968; The Monster of Peladon, 1974; and Horror of Fang Rock, 1977). The audience for the programme was asked to try and solve the mystery presented to them before the credits rolled, rather like the game show Cluedo.

William appeared in another anthology series next, Detective, which was presented each week by Rupert Davies. And So to Murder (now missing), broadcast on October 26th, 1969, was an adaptation of John Dickson Carr's 1940 novel, and featured William as Bill Cartwright, a whodunit script writer for a film production company. Others on the cast list included John Bailey (The Sensorites, 1964; The Evil of the Daleks, 1967; and The Horns of Nimon, 1980-81), Stephanie Bidmead (Galaxy 4, 1965), Sheila Dunn (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66; The Invasion, 1968; and Inferno, 1970) and Roger Brierley (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66, and The Trial of a Time Lord, 1986), while Douglas Camfield directed.

Parkin's Patch was a Yorkshire TV series about a policeman's exploits on the North York Moors. In the episode No Friendship for Coppers, William played a character called Wilkins, opposite star John Flanagan (who would later go on to co-write Meglos (1980), which featured the return to Doctor Who of Jacqueline Hill), Gareth Thomas (of Blake's 7 fame), James Grout and Thelma Whiteley.

In 1970-71, William appeared in a handful of Shakespearean productions, including Hamlet: An Introduction, The Merchant of Venice: An Introduction and Henry IV Parts 1 and 2: An Introduction (with Roy Marsden (Smith and Jones, 2007), David Suchet (The Haunted Hub, 2017) and Natasha Pyne). There is very little information on these productions, sadly.

William and his thoroughly 1970s hair
and collars in Harriet's Back in Town
In 1972, William secured another long-running role in the Thames Television daytime series Harriet's Back in Town. He appeared in 90 episodes broadcast between October 17th, 1972 and October 17th, 1973. The series followed newly divorced Harriet Preston (played by Pauline Yates) and her big plans for a new life without her ex-husband Tom (played by William). Other regular actors included Edwin Richfield (The Sea Devils, 1972, and The Twin Dilemma, 1984) and Stephen Yardley (Genesis of the Daleks, 1975, and Vengeance on Varos, 1985). Episode 1 was released on a Network DVD compilation, which can also be seen on YouTube.


During the run of Harriet's Back in Town, William appeared in his first of three ITV Playhouse productions, Arthur Hopcraft's Buggins' Ermine, directed by Michael Apted. Broadcast on December 18th, 1972, it concerned the inauguration of a mayor in a northern town and featured William as Frank, as well as Mary Miller, Barbara Young, Anne Reid (The Curse of Fenric, 1989, and Smith and Jones, 2007) and David Warwick (The Pirate Planet, 1978, and Army of Ghosts, 2006).

After his year-long series was over, William next had a guest part in Justice, a series starring Margaret Lockwood as a female barrister in the north of England. In the episode Point of Death, broadcast on ITV on August 9th, 1974, William played Dr Victor Ainsworth, and was joined by James Maxwell (Underworld, 1978) and Barbara Shelley (Planet of Fire, 1984).

William in Father Brown (1974)
On September 26th, 1974, William played the Rev Wilfred Bohun in an episode of Father Brown called The Hammer of God (based on the story by none other than G K Chesterton!). Rev Bohun is the brother of the womanizing bully Colonel James Bohun (played by Graham Crowden (The Horns of Nimon, 1979-80)) who is found dead outside his sibling's church with his skull smashed in. Father Brown (Kenneth More) investigates (spoiler: the Rev Bohun is the killer!). Also starring were Robert James (The Power of the Daleks, 1966, and The Masque of Mandragora, 1976), Peter Hawkins (Dalek voice supremo) and Anna Wing (Kinda, 1982). A slightly stretched clip from this episode can be seen on YouTube...


On Boxing Day 1974, Ian Chesterton was reunited with the Doctor again - sort of! William appeared in A Piece of Cake, a festive special of the series Whodunnit?, another spin on the Cluedo detective genre. The programme involved a panel of celebrities watching a recorded film and having to ask questions of the in-character actors in the studio to work out the killer. The series was hosted by Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, and William played the eyepatch-wearing Captain Alexander Anderson, who is the one killed so sadly doesn't make it to the studio to meet Pertwee!

Jon Pertwee and William Russell as they appeared in the
Whodunnit? 1974 Christmas special
William in The Hanged Man (1975)
In The Hanged Man, Colin Blakely is Lew Burnett, who, after receiving various death threats, fakes his own death in order to try and find out who is really trying to kill him. William appeared in the episode Knave of Coins (broadcast March 7th, 1975) as Peter Kroger, along with Frederick Treves (Meglos, 1980), Gary Watson (The Evil of the Daleks, 1967), Peter Halliday (various roles between 1968-88), John Bay (The Crusade, 1965) and Will Stampe (The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, 1966).

On April 23rd, 1975 William had a guest role on Crown Court, in the first of a three-part story called Dead Drunk. He played Edward Birkland in a story which also featured Patrick Barr (The Moonbase, 1967), Meg Wynn-Owen (A Christmas Carol, 2010) and William Simons (Underworld, 1978).

On July 11th, William popped up in The Main Chance, a series about the changes in the life of a solicitor after he moves from London to Leeds. John Stride played David Main, and in the episode William appeared in, We're the Bosses Now (the penultimate one in the entire four series run), the cast included Peter Miles (Doctor Who and the Silurians, 1970; Invasion of the Dinosaurs, 1974; and Genesis of the Daleks, 1975) and Bernard Kay (various roles between 1964-71). William's character was called Arnold Galbraith.

William in The Main
Chance (1975)
Against the Crowd was an ATV anthology series which told seven different stories about people whose views went against those of the majority. In Bread and Circuses, shown on August 31st 1975, a professor is appointed special adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer but soon finds that the media are on his back, portraying him as an "instant saviour" in a time of crisis. William played Arthur Penwarren, joined by Kenneth Cranham, Rio Fanning (Horror of Fang Rock, 1977), James Hall (The Reign of Terror, 1964, and The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66), Paul Seed (The Ribos Operation, 1978) and Frank Wylie (Castrovalva, 1982).

William (standing left) with John Fraser
in 1975's The Doll
William played the mysterious Julian Osborne in episode 2 of Francis Durbridge Presents The Doll, shown on December 2nd, 1975 and also featuring John Fraser (Logopolis, 1981), Derek Fowlds, Anouska Hempel, Cyril Luckham (The Ribos Operation, 1978, Enlightenment, 1983) and Eric Mason (The Mind of Evil, 1971, and The Sea Devils, 1972). The series was produced by Bill Sellars, director of The Celestial Toymaker (1966).

William in Three Men in a Boat (1975)
On New Year's Eve 1975, William played the doctor (no, not that one) in Tom Stoppard's BBC adaptation of Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, directed by Stephen Frears. Starring Tim Curry, Michael Palin and Stephen Moore (Cold Blood, 2010), the 65-minute production also featured Michael Elphick and Eileen Helsby (The Ark, 1966). William plays Tim Curry's GP in the piece. The whole film is available to view on YouTube (William appears at 40m 58s)...


William's first work in 1976 was for the drama/ documentary series for teenagers, Scene. In The Girl Who Saw a Tiger, aired on November 18th, William played Mr Rose, joined on the cast list by David Brierly (the voice of K9 in Season 17) and Michael Troughton, son of Second Doctor Patrick. There is little information about BBC Schools programmes online, so I have no further information about this production.

William in Crown Court in 1977
Next up was William's second episode of Crown Court, called Home Sweet Home, broadcast on January 25th, 1977, in which he played Robert Aldrich, who is charged with harassment after trying to evict a farm worker from his tied cottage. The story also stars John Flanagan (co-writer of Meglos, 1980), Frances White (The Myth Makers, 1965), Richard Wilson (The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances, 2005) and John Woodnutt (Spearhead from Space, 1970; Frontier in Space, 1973; Terror of the Zygons, 1975; and The Keeper of Traken, 1981). It can be watched in its entirety on YouTube below:


Patrick Troughton and William Russell
as they appeared in Van der Valk: Accidental
In the Van der Valk episode Accidental, broadcast on September 12th, 1977, William popped up as Kees Rokin. Also on the bill were Nigel Stock (Time-Flight, 1982), Hubert Rees (Fury from the Deep, 1968, and The Seeds of Doom, 1976), Mary Healey (The Happiness Patrol, 1988) and none other than Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, playing Father Bosch (Classic line: "My cleaner's away. She says it's a sick aunt. I think she's having an affair with the fishmonger."). William's character goes missing, and Van der Valk (Barry Foster) is the one who tracks him down. You can watch the episode on YouTube here (William appears at 43m 47s):


William as Lord Garrick in Terror
Terror was an 84-minute slasher film made by Bowergange and Crystal Film Productions and directed by Norman J Warren. The story was by Les and Moira Young, adapted for the screen by David McGillivray, and featured William as Lord Garrick, plus Elaine Ives-Cameron (The Stones of Blood, 1978), Roy Evans (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66; The Green Death, 1973; and The Monster of Peladon, 1974) and Steve Emerson (The Claws of Axos, 1971, and Frontios, 1984). The interesting thing about this film was that it also featured acting siblings Peter and Michael Craze - Michael, of course, also being one of the First Doctor's companions, Ben Jackson, in 1966! Peter played the Director, Michael played the character Gary. The story concerned the numerous victims of the curse of the condemned witch Mad Dolly - they are variously beheaded, dismembered and disemboweled.

William was a guest on the This is Your Life edition for National Youth Theatre founder Michael Croft on February 15th, 1978, but sadly the only footage available on YouTube is the latter 15 minutes, in which William does not appear.

Strangers was a gritty Granada TV series of police procedurals based around the regular characters of Derek Willis (played by Dennis Blanch) and George Bulman (Don Henderson from Delta and the Bannermen (1987)). In Accidental Death (broadcast on June 26th, 1978), William played Bamford Harker.

On August 6th, William played Peter Vernon in an episode of the series Parables called A Gentle Rain, written by Brian Finch and directed by Les Chatfield. There's very little information as to what the series was about, but this episode also starred Jill Melford, Geraldine Newman and Blake's 7's own Steven Pacey.

William Russell in Disraeli: Portrait
of a Romantic (1978)
Next up was the series Disraeli: Portrait of a Romantic, a four-hour ATV mini-series which was nominated for two Primetime Emmys and shown in the UK during September 1978, and the United States in June 1980. The series chronicles the British politician's life and career, including being the UK Prime Minister (twice). Disraeli was played by Ian McShane, while others in the cast included Rosemary Leach, Mary Peach (The Enemy of the World, 1967-68), David de Keyser (The Eleventh Hour, 2010), Peter Miles (Doctor Who and the Silurians, 1970; Invasion of the Dinosaurs, 1974; and Genesis of the Daleks, 1975), Leigh Lawson, Aubrey Morris, Patricia Hodge, Anton Rodgers, Rachel Bell (The Happiness Patrol, 1988), Wendy Gifford (The Ice Warriors, 1967), Sheila Ruskin (The Keeper of Traken, 1981), Norman Claridge (The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, 1966), Llewelyn Rees (The Deadly Assassin, 1976), Donald Bisset (The Highlanders, 1966-67), Forbes Collins (Vengeance on Varos, 1985) and Stephen Jack (Terror of the Autons, 1971). William was in the first two episodes as Wyndham Lewis, a close political friend of Disraeli's who died aged 57, and whose widow went on to become Benjamin Disraeli's wife in 1839.

Fearless Frank was a rather bawdy BBC2 Play of the Week broadcast on October 4th, 1978 and written by Andrew Davies. It was a dramatisation of the outrageous, but not entirely reliable, memoirs of Irish writer Frank Harris - sometime Old West cowboy, friend to famous literary names, essayist, critic, and seducer of beautiful women. Leonard Rossiter played Harris, while William played the triple roles of Lord Folkestone, Chapman and a Headmaster. Also on the bill were Susan Penhaligon (The Time Monster, 1972), Ben Aris (Invasion of the Dinosaurs, 1974), Andrew Downie (The Highlanders, 1966-67), Keith Jayne (The Awakening, 1984), Denis Lawson and John Rhys-Davies. The play was produced by Louis Marks, who'd written Planet of Giants (1964) during William's time on Doctor Who (as well as others since).

William as the 8th Elder in Superman
William's final engagement of 1978 was just before Christmas with the cinematic release of Superman, starring Christopher Reeve as the superhero. William played an Elder seen very briefly during a scene set on Krypton with Marlon Brando, although he can be seen more clearly (albeit briefly again) in this deleted scene on YouTube. The film was nominated for three Oscars and won a special achievement award for its visual effects; it also won one of the five BAFTAs for which it was nominated, and John Williams' score was nominated for a Golden Globe. The film also featured Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp and Susannah York, while William's fellow Elders included John Hollis (The Mutants, 1972), James Garbutt (Genesis of the Daleks, 1975) and David Neal (The Caves of Androzani, 1984).

Southern Television's Spearhead depicted what life was like in the British Army's fictional 1st Battalion Royal Wessex Rangers, and the second series was set in Germany. In the episode Repercussions, broadcast on July 16th, 1979, William played Mr Dickson BFS, joined by Roy Holder (The Caves of Androzani, 1984).

William as DJ David Carn in Shoestring
In the first ever Shoestring episode Private Ear, shown on September 30th, 1979, William played David Carn, a DJ at Bristol's Radio West. A prostitute kills herself on a beach after stealing Carn's car, and Eddie Shoestring (Trevor Eve) investigates. The episode was written (and the series created) by Robert Banks Stewart and directed by Douglas Camfield (the same writer/ director team for Terror of the Zygons, 1975, and The Seeds of Doom, 1976). The episode also featured Kenneth Gilbert (The Seeds of Doom, 1976), Brian Miller (Snakedance, 1983, and Deep Breath, 2014), Stewart Bevan (The Green Death, 1973), Christopher Coll (The Seeds of Death, 1969, and The Mutants, 1972) and Brian Hawksley (Black Orchid, 1982). You can see the whole episode on YouTube:


Testament of Youth was a five-part dramatisation of the memoirs of World War One nurse Vera Brittain, and in the first episode - Buxton 1913, broadcast on November 4th, 1979 - William played Marriott, accompanied by Cheryl Campbell, Emrys James (State of Decay, 1980) and Michael Troughton (Last Christmas, 2014). John Marriott was a lecturer on Modern History at Oxford University who inspired Vera to pursue a better education and ultimately become a champion of feminism in the 1930s and beyond.

William in Death Watch
Death Watch (1980) was a sci-fi film directed by Bertrand Tavernier based on a David Compton novel called The Unsleeping Eye, and featured William as Dr Mason in a story about a man who has a video camera implanted into his eye and is persuaded to film a terminally ill woman to be broadcast later on a TV show called Death Watch. It also starred Romy Schneider, Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton, Max Von Sydow, Caroline Langrishe, Robbie Coltrane and an uncredited Bill Nighy (Vincent and the Doctor, 2010). William can be seen briefly in the VHS trailer.

The Armchair Thriller serial Dead Man's Kit began broadcasting on January 29th, 1980 (and repeated in November 1981), and concerned the possible presence of a double agent in the British Navy. William played a senior officer in the serial's first episode, and was joined on the cast list by Timothy Block (Black Orchid, 1982), Maurice Colbourne (Resurrection of the Daleks, 1984, and Attack of the Cybermen, 1985), Jamie Foreman (The Idiot's Lantern, 2006), Richard Kane (The Power of the Daleks, 1966), Clive Merrison (The Tomb of the Cybermen, 1967, and Paradise Towers, 1987) and Philip Locke (Four to Doomsday, 1982). Of the 12 Armchair Thriller serial shown between 1978-81, Dead Man's Kit was one of two made by Southern Television rather than Thames, and so is harder to come across. It has been released on DVD, but not in the commonly found Thames TV collection.

Armchair Thriller: Dead Man's Kit
William next appeared in a 75-minute BBC Play for Today called Instant Enlightenment Including VAT, written by Andrew Carr and shown on February 7th, 1980 (postponed from November 22nd, 1979), concerning Avatar, a self-awareness seminar which 17 people attend for a weekend course in a London hotel, but which nobody can leave between 9am and midnight for whatever reason. William played Don, alongside Simon Callow (The Unquiet Dead, 2005, and The Wedding of River Song, 2011), Alec Sabin (Earthshock, 1982) and June Brown (The Time Warrior, 1973-74), and produced by Innes Lloyd, who produced Doctor Who between 1966-68.

On July 22nd, 1980, William played Dr Crane in his second ITV Playhouse, Lindsey, written by Stephen Bill and also featuring Maggie Steed and Jan Carey. There is very little other information about this play.

William in The Professionals
William's guest role in The Professionals episode Involvement was as Charles Holly aka The Christmas Man, a drug smuggler. Shown on September 28th, 1980, it was written by Brian Clemens and directed by Chris Burt, co-starring Gordon Jackson, Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins, with Patricia Hodge, Christopher Guard (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, 1988-89) and Philip Anthony (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66).

William appeared in two episodes of the BBC's Mackenzie, which charted the relationship between a father and son over the course of 19 years (1955-74). William played Francis Hammond in Sole Agent and Without Prejudice, shown on October 16th and 23rd, 1980, also featuring Lynda Bellingham (The Trial of a Time Lord, 1986), Jack Galloway (The Awakening, 1984) and Sheila Ruskin (The Keeper of Traken, 1981); the first episode was directed by Kenny McBain (who helmed The Horns of Nimon, 1979-80).

On March 10th, 1981, William played Daddy in his third ITV Playhouse, Little Girls Don't, written by Frances Galleymore and directed by Mike Newell. As with his previous two, there's very little information about this play, except that it co-starred Robert Glenister (The Caves of Androzani, 1984), Anna Massey and Toyah Willcox.

Mark Gertler: Fragments of a Biography was produced by the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1981, directed by Phil Mulloy and written by Mulloy and Antony Sher. Based on the letters of British artist Gertler, the film reconstructed episodes from his life and interspersed them with colour shots of his paintings. Sher played Gertler (who gassed himself in 1939, aged 47), while William played Roger Fry, an artist and critic and member of the famous Bloomsbury group. The 50-minute film also featured Janet Henfrey (The Curse of Fenric, 1989, and Mummy on the Orient Express, 2014), Clive Merrison (The Tomb of the Cybermen, 1967, and Paradise Towers, 1987) and Richard Wilson (The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances, 2005).

William with two other
Doctor Who actors, Brian
Blessed and Arthur Hewlett,
in The Black Adder (1983)
William's next role was a little more high profile, playing the Duke of Winchester in an episode of the sitcom The Black Adder called The Archbishop (broadcast June 29th, 1983), but it almost didn't happen at all. He was a last minute replacement for Steptoe and Son star Wilfrid Bramble, who walked off set when he became annoyed at the time it was taking to shoot the scene. Bramble's loss was William's gain and, credited as Russell Enoch, he got the job instead. The episode is set in November 1487 when the Duke, the greatest land owner in the kingdom, is on his deathbed. He initially plans to leave his lands to King Richard IV in his will, but when he is threatened with the eternal torments of Hell by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Winchester leaves his estate to the Catholic Church instead, then promptly dies. This episode won an International Emmy in 1983 in the Popular Arts category. Written by Richard Curtis (who wrote Vincent and the Doctor in 2010) and Rowan Atkinson (who played the Doctor in the 1999 Doctor Who spoof The Curse of Fatal Death), the episode also featured Arthur Hewlett (State of Decay, 1980, and The Trial of a Time Lord, 1986), Tim McInnerny (Planet of the Ood, 2008), Elspet Gray (Arc of Infinity, 1983), Roy Evans (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66; The Green Death, 1973; and The Monster of Peladon, 1974) and Brian Blessed (The Trial of a Time Lord, 1986).

William in Robin of Sherwood (1986)
There is then a three-year gap in William's acting CV until he returns to TV screens as a different Duke, this time the Duke of Gloucester, in an episode of Robin of Sherwood called The Pretender (broadcast June 7th, 1986). The episode also features Patricia Hodge, Reece Dinsdale, Jason Connery (Vengeance on Varos, 1985), Clive Mantle, Ray Winstone, Nickolas Grace (Death is the Only Answer, 2011), John Abineri (Fury from the Deep, 1968; The Ambassadors of Death, 1970; Death to the Daleks, 1974; and The Power of Kroll, 1978-79) and Cory Pulman (The Curse of Fenric, 1989).

The Four Minute Mile was a two-part miniseries co-produced by the BBC and ABC in Australia, and featured Richard Huw as Roger Bannister, with Adrian Rawlins (Planet of the Ood, 2008), Michael York, Adrian Dunbar, Richard Wilson (The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances, 2005) and John Tordoff (Colony in Space, 1971). William had the minor role as an Australian Athletes' Alliance official. The series debuted on ABC on September 13-14, 1988.

The Kill-Off was a film which premiered in Toronto in September, 1989 and was later shown at the Sundance Film Festival, receiving wider but restricted release in October 1990. It was about a bar owner who tries to turn the flagging fortunes of his business around by turning it into a strip joint. It was written and directed by Maggie Greenwald, based on a 1957 pulp novel by Jim Thompson, and starred Jackson Sims as Pete, and William as Rags McGuire, his bartender.

On October 2nd, 1990, William had a guest part in an episode of comedy crime series Boon called Tales from the River Bank, starring Michael Elphick, Neil Morrissey and David Daker (The Time Warrior, 1973-74, and Nightmare of Eden, 1979). William played John Losely, that week's bad guy! The episode also featured Jonathan Newth (Underworld, 1978).

William's IMDb next mentions that he was in low-budget slasher flick Deadly Manor (aka Savage Lust) playing disfigured killer Alfred, but he wasn't. If you manage to see the film (there's footage here), you'll that's a completely different actor, not our man!

The marriage and death of Ted Sullivan,
William's character in Coronation
Street for seven months in 1992
William next popped up in one of his more memorable roles in British TV history, playing Ted Sullivan in 46 episodes of the soap Coronation Street. Ted, who debuted on February 19th, 1992, was a confectionery salesman who had recently retired but had been told he had an untreatable brain tumour. He fell in love with regular character Rita Fairclough (played by Barbara Knox) and asked her to marry him and move to Florida. In the end they did marry, but remained in the UK, and Ted died on a bench at the local bowling green (broadcast September 9th, 1992). He left his estate to Rita, who kept his surname for the following 20 years until she remarried. There's some very old VHS footage of William in Coronation Street from the June 5th episode on YouTube, including the wedding:


Three years later William had a role in the HBO TV movie The Affair, directed by Paul Seed (who'd appeared in The Ribos Operation in 1978). A black soldier in World War Two England begins an affair with a white woman whose husband is currently serving overseas and has himself been having an affair with his secretary. The film featured Courtney Vance, Kerry Fox, Ned Beatty, Ciaran Hinds, Beatie Edney, Adrian Lester, Rory Jennings (The Idiot's Lantern, 2006), Anna Cropper and Burnell Tucker (The Angels Take Manhattan, 2012), and William played the role of Dr Hastings.

On October 14th, 1995, William played Mo Meredrew in the Casualty episode Halfway House, also featuring Derek Thompson, Clive Mantle, Patrick Robinson, Sorcha Cusack, Patsy Byrne and Barbara Young.

William (with Zoe Wanamaker) in the
Globe Theatre's Henry V (1997)
William appeared in the televised inaugural production at London's Globe Theatre of Shakespeare's Henry V in the Great Performances strand, broadcast on November 6th, 1997 (but recorded in June). William can be seen pretty much from the start, beating a rhythm out with his staff on the stage of the Globe - where, of course, Doctor Who filmed The Shakespeare Code a decade later - and then, at 12m 16s, he's seen in rehearsals. William played the triple roles of King Charles VI of France, the Bishop of Ely and Sir Thomas Erpingham in the production. Also in the production was Vincent Brimble (Warriors of the Deep, 1984), Mark Rylance and Zoe Wanamaker (The End of the World, 2005, and New Earth, 2006), while the TV documentary was narrated by Brian Cox (The End of Time, 2009-10).


IMDb next claims William is in the 1998 film Mob Queen playing Swede Carlson, but I'm not convinced this is the same man. You can watch the trailer on YouTube, and it simply doesn't seem like the sort of film he'd be in (the fact it's about a mob boss unwittingly having an affair with a drag queen is neither here nor there!). If you know better, leave a comment!

In July 1999 - 33 years after last playing the part - William reprised the role of Ian Chesterton in the narrating links on the BBC VHS release of Doctor Who: The Crusade ("a fantastic adventure!"), for which only two episodes of the four exist. William filled the narrative gaps in character, and these links were also included on the 2004 DVD box set Lost in Time. The links are also on YouTube, including the introduction:


William as Gabriel Firth in
Heartbeat (2000)
On November 12th, 2000, William played Gabriel Firth in an episode of 1960s policing series Heartbeat (devised by 1980s Doctor Who writer Johnny Byrne) called Gabriel's Last Stand. Gabriel is a retired MP and former Home Secretary who is hoping for a top position at a prominent local firm, so his wife Diana organises a swish retirement party to hopefully impress his guests. Firth puts a stop to a planned bonfire party as it takes place on the same night as his party, and when Firth Hall is later vandalised, the finger of blame points at bonfire party organiser Judd Holdsworth. Also on the bill were Joanna David (as Diana), Derek Fowlds, Jason Durr, William Simons (Underworld, 1978), Bill Maynard and Colin R Campbell (as Judd). It was produced by Gerry Mill (director of The Faceless Ones, 1967).

William's acting appearances were coming much scarcer now that he was approaching his 80th year, and the next part was in Agatha Christie's Poirot, playing Lanscombe the butler in Philomena McDonagh's adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel After the Funeral. Broadcast on March 26th, 2006, the murder mystery also starred David Suchet (The Haunted Hub, 2017), Philip Anthony (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965-66), Robert Bathurst, John Carson (Snakedance, 1983), Michael Fassbender, Geraldine James, Julian Ovenden and Anthony Valentine.

William as Lanscombe in Agatha Christie's
Poirot: After the Funeral (2006)
William as Harry the
security guard in An
Adventure in Space and
Time (2013)
William's next role propelled him back into the Doctor Who universe, but sadly not the series itself, in its 50th anniversary year. BBC2 showed a 90-minute drama called An Adventure in Space and Time, which told the story of the origins of Doctor Who and its star, William Hartnell. Of course, William Russell had been there from the start, and had a cameo in the drama as Harry, a BBC security guard (other Hartnell era actors also had cameos, including Carole Ann Ford, Michael Ferguson, Jean Marsh, Donald Tosh and Anneke Wills). The drama starred David Bradley (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, 2012) as Hartnell, while Jamie Glover (son of actors Julian Glover and Isla Blair, both Doctor Who luminaries themselves) played William Russell/ Ian Chesterton. Also on the bill were Brian Cox (The End of Time, 2009-10), Jeff Rawle (Frontios, 1984), Jessica Raine (Hide, 2013), Jemma Powell, Lesley Manville, Sacha Dhawan, Mark Eden (Marco Polo, 1964), Ian Hallard (Robot of Sherwood, 2014), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek voice supremo) and Reece Shearsmith (Sleep No More, 2015). The film was written and executive produced by Doctor Who writer extraordinaire Mark Gatiss.

William's most recent acting role was as a hospital patient in the 14-minute short film The Visit (released September 10th, 2016), written and directed by Romina Schwedler and starring Sean Maher, June Squibb and Sadie Katz. William can't be seen in it, but here's the trailer:


Facts
William is the father of actor Alfred Enoch, who played Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films (2001-11) and Wes Gibbins in How to Get Away with Murder (2014-17) - William was 64 when Alfred was born. As of December 2016, William is the only member of the original TARDIS crew not to make a return appearance in Doctor Who (although he was due to return in 1983's Mawdryn Undead, but scheduling conflicts prevented it). Hartnell, Hill and Ford all returned to the series in some form.

William with his son Alfred, who is mixed race as
his mother is Brazilian

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