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Doctor Who legend William Russell ‘dies aged 99’-Meghna Amin-Entertainment – Metro

He was a companion of the First Doctor.

Doctor Who legend William Russell ‘dies aged 99’-Meghna Amin-Entertainment – Metro

William Russell has died aged 99, according to reports (Picture: Rex)

Doctor Who legend William Russell has died aged 99, according to reports.

The actor rose to fame in 1956 in ITV series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, before his most prominent role as Ian Chesterton opposite Doctor Who’s William Hartnell from the BBC sci-fi show’s first episode until 1965.

Russell also held roles in The Great Escape, 1978 film Superman and as Ted Sullivan in Coronation Street.

He reprised his Doctor Who role in 2022 in special episode The Power of the Doctor, 57 years after his character’s last appearance.

The then-98-year-old broke a world record for the longest gap between TV appearances.

According to The Guardian, Russell died on June 3.

No cause of death has been confirmed.

The actor played Ian Chesterton in the BBC series (Picture: Julian Makey/REX/Shutterstock)

Russell also played Ted Sullivan in Corrie (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

He is survived by his second wife Etheline, whom he married in 1984, and their son Alfred, as well as his children from his first marriage, Vanessa, Laetitia and Robert, and four grandchildren.

Alfred has followed in his footsteps as an actor, playing Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter movies.

Russell, who was one of the four original cast members of Doctor Who alongside Jacqueline Hill and Carol Ann Ford, later narrated several Doctor Who audiobooks and also appeared as David Copperfield in episodes of Tales From Dickens, in the remake of St Ives in 1960 and played Martin Kennedy in Breaking Point.

He also played a recurring role as Tom Preston in Harriet’s Back In Town and more recently appeared in an episode of Agatha Christie: Poirot.

Fans have paid tribute to Russell on social media, with Doctor Who star Nicole Bryant, who played Peri Brown between 1984 to 1986, writing: ‘What sad news to say farewell to William Russell. What a wonderful man with a delightful family an extraordinary life & career.

Russell was father to Alfred who played Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films, who he shared with his second wife Etheline (Picture: Dan Wooller/REX/Shutterstock)

‘The most charming smile and twinkling eyes, he always lit up the room. I hope there will be many celebrations of this beautiful man.’

Actor and writer Nicholas Pegg added: ‘Raising a glass to William Russell, who has left us just a few months shy of his 100th birthday. Already a star when he became a crucial part of Doctor Who’s genesis, his long and remarkable career embraced everything from Shakespeare to Blackadder. A fine actor and a lovely man.’

Fan David said: ‘William Russell what a wonderful wonderful man he was. He appeared in the very first episode and came back in Power of the Doctor (Oh how we all cried when he appeared). He was genuinely one of the nicest, sweetest, kindest man you could meet. We’ve lost a Dr Who giant.’

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