Actor and writer and inventor of the Sonic Screwdriver Victor Pemberton
has died at the age of 85
Victor Pemberton was one of a select group of people to have both written for and appeared in Doctor Who.
In 1967, while trying to get writing work, he was earning money playing bit parts including that of a scientist in the Second Doctor story The Moonbase
. But his real love was writing and when his friend Peter Bryant
took over as the series Story Editor he was brought in as Bryant's assistant. He script-edited The Tomb of the Cybermen
for Bryant, writing the poignant scene between the Doctor and Victoria where the Doctor explains how their lives are different.
Pemberton returned to freelance writing to pen Fury from the Deep
, which saw the departure of the character Victoria from the series. It also saw the introduction of an iconic object that would forever be associated with the Doctor, The Sonic Screwdriver.
Fury from the Deep was Pemberton's only contribution to the TV series, but one of which he was very proud.
The cost of mounting Fury was astonishing, for budgets for filming in those days was miniscule, and when you think that a helicopter had to be used, and fake foam sprayed onto the sea, no wonder I got a few glares from the production crew! However, the late Hugh David did tell me that the scale of it was a challenge that he greatly enjoyed, and, as far as I’m concerned, he met that challenge superbly. But the great joy of getting Fury onto the screen was working with dear old Pat Troughton, who was already a friend, together with Debbie Watling, who had the best scream in the business, and Fraser Hines, who was the best practical joker!
In 1976 Pemberton wrote the audio adventure Doctor Who and the Pescatons
, initially released as an LP and cassette and starring Tom Baker
and Elisabeth Sladen
. He wrote the Target novelisations of both Fury from the Deep and The Pescatons.
Victor Pemberton was born in London in 1931. His first job was as a mail delivery boy for a timber magazine in Fleet Street, followed by a short spell in the publicity and printing department of 20th Century Fox
. Two years National service in the Royal Air Force followed, where he set up an entertainment system for the troops. His father brought him his first typewriter after he expressed a desire to be a writer.
His first drama scripts were for BBC Radio. In 1961 he wrote The Gold Watch
, a play based on the extraordinary circumstances of his father’s retirement. Many other scripts followed, including The Slide
, a seven episode science-fiction serial about an earthquake in the south of England. TV followed in 1965 with a script for a children's series on ITV called Send Foster
. After Doctor Who he contributed to series such as Timeslip, Ace of Wands, The Adventures of Black Beauty
and Within These Walls
. In 1993 he invented the character of the Lighthouse Keeper for the UP version of the Jim Henson
series Fraggle Rock
In 1987 he formed Saffron Productions Ltd making a number of documentary films, including Gwen, A Juliet Remembered
and Benny Hill: Clown Imperial
for the BBC. In 1990, Headline Book Publications asked him to write a novelisation of his BBC Drama radio series, Our Family
. He went onto write fifteen novels.
In 2016 he undertook his Arctic Adventure, traveling alone by car through seven countries of Europe and Scandinavia to reach the Norwegian town of Bodo – in the Arctic Circle, in order to raise money for the charity Help for Heros
Victor Pemberton's lifetime partner was the actor David Spenser
, who died in 2013. Victor Pemberton Website