Veteran ‘Doctor Who’ actor William Russell dead aged 99

‘Doctor Who’ actor William Russell has died aged 99 credit:Bang Showbiz
‘Doctor Who’ actor William Russell has died aged 99 credit:Bang Showbiz

‘Doctor Who’ actor William Russell has died aged 99.

Best known for playing school teacher Ian Chesterton in the long-running BBC sci-fi series, he passed away on Monday (03.06.24), with his death confirmed by The Guardian on Tuesday (04.06.24).

A cause of death for the actor is yet to be confirmed.

The father-of-four is survived by his wife, Etheline, and appeared in the first ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘An Unearthly Child’, alongside William Hartnell who played the initial Time Lord, as well as Carole Ann Ford, who played companion Susan, and Jacqueline Hill who was Ian’s fellow teacher Barbara Wright.

William was in nearly every episode of the first two ‘Doctor Who’ seasons, and after leaving the show in 1965 went on to narrate audio stories in the franchise.

He was awarded a Guinness World Record for the longest gap between TV appearances when he reprised his role as Ian 57 years after he first finished playing the teacher, in Time Lord actress Jodie Whittaker’s final episode as the Doctor, titled ‘The Power of the Doctor’.

William’s film roles include parts in 1956’s ‘The Man Who Never Was’, war favourite ‘The Great Escape’ from 1963 and ‘Superman’ in 1978.

He also played Ted Sullivan on ITV’s ‘Coronation Street’ in 1992.

Along with his second wife Etheline Lewis, who he married in 1984 – 31 years after he got hitched to his first wife Balbina Guiterrez – William is survived by his and Etheline’s son Alfred.

He has followed in his dad’s acting footsteps and starred as Dean Thomas in the ‘Harry Potter’ films.

William also had children Vanessa, Laetitia and Robert from his first marriage, and had four grandchildren.

As well as a flood of tributes that have filled social media in the wake of the news of his passing, stars including ‘Doctor Who’ actress Nicola Bryant, 63, have paid tribute to William.

The actress, who played ‘Doctor Who’ companion Peri Brown from 1984 to 1986, said online: “What sad news to say farewell to William Russell.

“What a wonderful man with a delightful family an extraordinary life and career.”