Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust...

I can't let the passing of another of my childhood icons go without comment. I was greatly saddened to hear that Nicholas Courtney had died earlier this week. He'd been a huge part of my life back in the 1970s when he had played Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in Dr Who. As he UK commander of UNIT, the Brigadier was the last line of defence against various nefarious alien invasions. A highlight of every story would be the inevitable clash of philosophies between the entirely practical and down-to-earth military man and Jon Pertwee's flamboyant Doctor, in the face of some new and bizarre alien threat. The Brigadier remained completely unfazed, regardless of what he found himself facing, be it ancient demons, anti-matter blobs or Daleks. As a child, I was greatly impressed by the unflappable military officer and his very British approach to dealing with aliens. I'm sure that my admiration for the Brigadier influenced my decision to grow a moustache in my twenties - there's no doubt that I'd always thought his neatly clipped military moustache highly authoritative. I probably thought unconsciously that it would give me gravitas. It didn't.

But with the Brigadier gone and UNIT undoubtedly about to be disbanded as the result of this Tory-led government's spending cuts, who will defend us against the aliens now? I mean, we can't rely on the Doctor, as he seems to spend all his time gallivanting around the universe these days. Besides, we probably couldn't afford his consultancy fees. Mind you, Cameron will probably just sell us to any invading aliens, no doubt rationalising it as them making an investment in the UK - he'd probably even offer them a tax break. In exchange for a few high-tech trinkets, they'd be allowed to abduct and experiment on as many poor people as they liked. Apart from the possible threat to our alien defences it poses, the death of Nicholas Courtney has also brought home to me just how many of the iconic figures of my childhood are no longer with us: George Harrison, John Inman, Molly Sugden, the first three Doctors, all gone. Sadly, Bruce Forsythe is still with us and ruining Saturday nights on TV.

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