Victor Pemberton 1931-2017

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

Lethbridge-Stewart: South Wales short story competition 2017

Candy Jar Books will be launching a short story competition for their Lethbridge-Stewart series from 17th August:

Lethbridge-Stewart at the Candy Jar Book Festival (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books is offering an exciting, new opportunity for aspiring writers. Launching at Candy Jar Book Festival in Cardiff, writers can submit a short story based on the Doctor Who character Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart.

These stories will be included in a book to be released early next year.

Shaun Russell, head of publishing, says:
We had huge success with the previous two short story competitions and we wanted to do something different this year. With the fiftieth anniversary of the Brigadier coming up we felt that this would be a fantastic opportunity for budding writers to write their very own Lethbridge-Stewart story.
The overall winner will offered the chance to pen their very own Lethbridge-Stewart book, and work alongside range editor and creative director of the Haisman estate, Andy Frankham-Allen, and will also receive a Kindle Fire to read it on. Both the winner and runner-up will receive all the Lethbridge-Stewart novels from 2018. All winning entries will see their stories published in book form in 2018.

Lethbridge-Stewart has been an essential part of the Doctor Who universe since 1968. He was created by authors Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln for the six-part Doctor Who serial The Web of Fear. Forty-nine years since the Brigadier appeared in Doctor Who he has become one of the show’s most iconic characters, having appeared with ten different Doctors in countless TV episodes, books, audio dramas and comic strips. And his legacy continues on with his daughter appearing in Doctor Who since 2012.

The Lethbridge-Stewart South Wales Short Story Competition will launch at Candy Jar Book festival on 17th August. Candy Jar is hosting a free event at Cardiff Central Library at 1pm: a panel with Lethbridge-Stewart authors Nick Walters, Simon A Forward, Tim Gambrell, Alyson Leeds and range editor Andy Frankham-Allen, discussing writing Lethbridge-Stewart and Doctor Who novels and short stories. And prior to that, at 12pm, cover artist Richard Young will be hosting a drawing class.

Andy Frankham-Allen says:
It’s a unique opportunity to have so many of our authors together in one place. We’ll be talking about the differences between writing novels and short stories, and offer some hints and tips for those interested in entering the short story competition. We are extremely committed to encouraging new talent and hope the public will take the time to come along and possibly enter the competition.
The South Wales Short Story Competition will be accepting submissions from 17th August. Entrants are permitted to submit up to two short stories of no more than three thousand words. The competition is open to all unpublished writers across the UK.

Andy Frankham-Allen believes that short stories are an excellent way for writers to perfect their craft. He said:
The discipline and imagination required for creating and structuring a good short story is excellent practice for aspiring writers. The experience winning writers will gain will be invaluable in preparing them for any future writing career.

All submissions must be received by the end of September. The competition is £5 to enter per story. The terms and conditions, such as copyright restrictions, will be emailed once the entrant has paid.

Entries can be sent via the Candy Jar Book Festival website.
Or at: https://www.freewebstore.org/jellybeanbooks/product/lethbridge-stewart%20short%20story%20competition

Alternatively, they can also be posted to Candy Jar Books, Mackintosh House, 136 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 1DJ
For more information please contact Shaun Russell on 02921 157 202 shaun@candyjarbooks.co.uk.


The South Wales Short Story Competition is currently accepting submissions. Entrants are permitted to submit up to two short stories and these can be a maximum of 3000 words. The competition is open to all unpublished writers across the UK.
Please include:
  • Your name, age, email, address and telephone number
The winning entry will receive a Kindle Fire and Lethbridge-Stewart publishing deal. All shortlisted entries will be published in the third volume of the South Wales Short Story Competition anthology.
£5 entry fee for up to two stories.
Submissions can be entered from Thursday 17th August to the end of September.

Submission guidelines for the Lethbridge-Stewart South Wales Short Story Competitions:
  • Maximum of 3000 words.
  • This competition is open to anybody who has never been published before, whether you’re a fan of Doctor Who and Lethbridge-Stewart or not. We’re looking for different takes on the character of Lethbridge-Stewart, in different settings. It could be a version of the man living in Victorian London, or it could be a version of the character living in the far future. Any kind of story, in any setting, as long as Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart carries the basic core principles that make the character the legend he is: heroic, stoic, laid back and often ironic, a field officer who ensures loyalty due to his willingness to lead by example.
  • A free short story will be sent to all applicants, so even if you have never encountered Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart before, you can get a sense of the man.
  • Our license is with the Haisman Literary Estate only, therefore you CAN use any character from the Doctor Who serials The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear and The Dominators, or any original character found Candy Jar Books’ Lethbridge-Stewart series (except the Rutans and Group Captain Gilmore, who were used by Candy Jar under express permission).
  • You CAN NOT use any other Doctor Who characters or monsters or UNIT.

The main event kicks off on Monday 14th August at 11am with open auditions for Nigel Hinton’s The Norris Girls book trailer at the Cardiff Story Museum. This is a chance for young performers to show off their talent. The book has been endorsed by Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy, and has been described as the “modern version of Little Women”.

Nigel Hinton, the award-winning Buddy’s Song and Beaver Towers author, says:
I’ve written a short script based on my book and entrants can download it from my website. We’re looking for three aspiring young actresses to play Beth, Georgy and Katie, who respectively are fourteen, twelve and ten years old.
Mark Jones, creator and author of Time to Sleep Stories will be hosting a “Sleep Workshop” at the Cardiff Story Museum on Monday 14th August at 3.00pm.

Mark says:
Several years ago I witnessed a number of work colleagues suffering from the effects of stress. At the same time it was being widely reported that children were suffering from a lack of sleep due to the onslaught of digital technology and bedtimes were becoming a battlefield for parents. I realised that I could use my storytelling skills by writing gentle fantasy tales, and including within the stories breathing and calming techniques that could help relax children at bedtime.

Throughout the week, Candy Jar will be hosting book signing sessions, workshops, and “meet the artist” events. Attendees will be able to meet some of Candy Jar’s finest authors including former The Honeycombs bassist Roger J Simmonds, Hinterland director and award-winning author Griff Rowland, Michelle Briscombe, Jane Cohen, Laura Shire, and accomplished children’s author Sue Hampton (who will be signing exclusive copies her new Lethbridge-Stewart spin-off children’s novel The Lucy Wilson Mysteries).

Shaun Russell says:
We have a whole host of incredible authors and illustrators who have been announced as part of the seven-day festival. Our aim is promote reading, writing and creativity in the heart of the city.
Lauren Thomas, publishing co-ordinator at Candy Jar, believes that the festival is a fantastic way to engage young people with reading. She says:
As with our previous festivals, the exciting activities on offer will help to engage the local youth with great children’s literature.

Happy Centenary Earl Cameron

Today marks the 100th Birthday of the actor Earl Cameron

Earl Cameron appeared in the 1966 Doctor Who story The Tenth Planet, playing Glyn Williams one of the two astronauts on the Zeus IV.

He becomes the third actor to have appeared in Doctor Who to reach their 100th Birthday. The others being Zohra Sehgal and Olaf Pooley. He is the oldest surviving actor to have appeared in the series.

Cameron was born in Pembroke, Bermuda. He is believed to be the second black actor to have a speaking role in the series' history, following Elroy Josephs apperance in The Smugglers.

Cameron made his first stage experience in 1942 when he talked his way into a West End production of Chu Chin Chow. He went on to act in a number of plays in London, including The Petrified Forest. He has appeared in the films Pool of London, Simba, The Heart Within, Sapphire in which played Dr Robbins; and The Message, the story of the Prophet Muhammad.

Other film appearances have included: Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), No Kidding (1960); Flame in the Streets (1961), Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963), Guns at Batasi (1964), Battle Beneath the Earth (1967), The Sandwich Man (1966) and the James Bond movie Thunderball (1965), in which he played Bond's Caribbean assistant Pinder Romania.

One of Cameron's earliest TV roles was a starring part in the BBC 1960 TV drama The Dark Man, in which he played a West Indian cab driver in the UK. The show examined the reactions and prejudices he faced in his work. His other television work includes Emergency - Ward 10, The Zoo Gang, Crown Court, Jackanory, Dixon of Dock Green, Neverwhere, Waking the Dead, Kavanagh QC, Babyfather, EastEnders, Dalziel and Pascoe and Lovejoy.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.

Earl Cameron lives with his wife Barbara in Warwickshire.

Guardian Interview