WHO KNOWS? R.I.P. Christopher Barry

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Christopher Barry has died, and while you may not recognize the name, if you’re a fan of the First through Fourth Doctors, you know his work.

On “The Daleks”, Richard Martin and I worked very closely in the planning stages, and because our styles weren’t radically different, there weren’t any real clashes. The only problems we did experience came from Sydney Newman, who’d had quite a hand in the creation of the show and didn’t like the Daleks at all. I think he felt they were childish science fiction. When I first saw them, though, I was absolutely delighted.

He directed 43 episodes of Classic Who, the most of any director in the show’s history, including “The Daleks”, the second story in the show’s run and arguably the most important episodes in making the show a success and keeping it on the air. He would go on to direct “The Savages” and more for the First Doctor, Patrick Troughton’s premiere as the Second in “The Power of The Daleks”, and Jon Pertwee’s “The Daemons”.

For the Fourth Doctor, he would direct “Robot”, where Tom Baker made his debut, “The Brain of Morbius” and “The Creature from the Pit”. He returned to Doctor Who in 1995 to direct the spinoff video Downtime, and again in 2000 to direct and appear in Myth Makers 50, covering the life and career of Elizabeth Sladen.

Tom was nervous, of course. I don’t think he quite understood how it had all happened to him, but he worked very hard from scratch to be as different as Jon as he possibly could. He was always a loner, but in rehearsal for that first one he established himself quite quickly as the star – which is as it should be.

Of course Doctor Who wasn’t the only classic British TV show he would direct for. Z Cars, Nanny, The Tripods and All Creatures Great and Small, where he would work with the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davidson, were only a few of the many shows he worked on in a long and successful career.

He died February 7th in Oxfordshire, England at the age of 88.

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Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror film “American Maniacs”, and serves on the board of directors for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City and the Kansas City Film Commission.

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