Friday, 21 July 2017

RIP Deborah Watling

The great Deborah Watling has died of cancer at the age of 69. She was most famous for playing Victoria Waterfield, the Victorian companion to Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor in Doctor Who from 1967 to 1968.

Born in Fulmer, Buckinghamshire in 1948, Deborah was the daughter of actors Jack Watling and Patricia Hicks and soon followed in their footsteps into the profession (her siblings, Dilys and Giles - now the Conservative MP for Clacton, also entered the profession) as a child actress with a regular role in 1958's HG Wells' Invisible Man. Her first major role was as the titular Alice in Dennis Potter's 1965 Wednesday Play which explored the relationship between Lewis Carroll and his child muse, Alice Liddell. The production later formed the inspiration for a big screen adaptation, 1985's Dreamchild.

It was her lead in Alice that led to her being cast in Doctor Who as companion Victoria, alongside Patrick Troughton as the Doctor and Frazer Hines as Jamie. It is arguably her most endearing and enduring role, despite the BBC (in their infinite 'wisdom') wiping the vast majority of her work on the series; The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Enemy of the World remain the only two serials that exist in their entirety, with The Web of Fear - in which she her father Jack amxe a guest appearance - still missing one episode. Loved by fans, Deborah was a regular on the convention circuit and reprised the role of Victoria in the Children in Need 1993 special Dimensions in Time and the fan-made 1995 release Downtime, as well as appearing in the Big Finish audio adventure Three's a Crowd, and the 50th anniversary comedy The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.

Away from Doctor Who, Deborah appeared alongside pop stars David Essex and Ringo Starr in 1973's That'll Be The Day and Cliff Richard in his film Take Me High the following year, as well as a regular role in soap opera The Newcomers in 1969 and guest appearances in shows such as Rising Damp, Doctor in Charge and The Jim Davidson Show. 

With Beth Morris, catching the eye of David Essex and Ringo Starr in That'll Be The Day

With Cliff in the 1974 film Take Me High

Perhaps her other most memorable TV role was as naughty Norma Baker, 'the twin engine type' who got the boys in uniform all a flutter in the 1979 WWII drama series Danger UXB.

A great and beautiful actress and a lovely woman, Deborah Watling will be much missed by Who fans everywhere.



  1. Very sad to hear this. I remember the Troughton/Hines/Watling period of Dr Who with great affection and definitely had a bit of a schoolboy crush on Deborah at the time. I didn't realise that so many of those old episodes had been wiped - senseless.

  2. What a lovely montage of pictures - Sorry to hear of the sad death of Deborah. That was my first Dr Who period, a great trio in a great show (wonder if they knew back then the cult status it would achieve - not in a million years!).