It is with deep sadness we report the death of Deborah Watling
, forever known as the Second Doctor's companion Victoria.
Deborah Watling joined Doctor Who in 1967, just over 50 years ago. She remained with the series for just under a year, playing the Victorian orphan taken into the care of the Doctor.
Alongside Patrick Troughton
and Frazer Hines
, Watling would occupy the Tardis throughout what is now viewed as the classic monster era of the show, featuring Cybermen, Daleks, Ice Warriors and, of course, The Yeti.
Deborah Watling was born on 2nd January 1948. She was born into a theatrical family, her father the actor Jack Watling
and her mother the actress Patricia Hicks
. It was inevitable that she and her siblings would end up on the stage and by the age of ten, she was appearing in the ITV series The Invisible Man
, playing the niece of Peter Brady.
In 1965 she played Alice Liddell in the BBC Wednesday play
written by Dennis Potter and based on the life of Lewis Carroll. It was this appearance which led her to be cast as Victoria Waterfield in the final story of Season four, The Evil of the Daleks
It wasn't initially to be a companion role. The producers were hoping to persuade Pauline Collins
, who had appeared in the previous story, to stay on. When Collins declined, the role of ongoing companion was offered to Watling and Victoria joined the TARDIS crew.
It is well known that the team of Troughton, Watling, and Hines got on extremely well with Watling often the butt of the boys jokes. Many of her stories have been wiped since transmission, and the return of two to the archive a few years ago, The Enemy of the World
and most of The Web of Fear
brought her considerable delight.
She left Doctor Who in April 1968, at the end of Fury from the Deep
. Small roles in the films That'll Be the Day
and Take Me High
followed. On TV she appeared in Rising Damp
and The Newcomers
and in 1979 she played Norma Baker in the ITV series Danger UXB
She briefly returned to the character of Victoria in 1993, for the Children In Need skit, Dimensions in Time
before recreating Victoria in a number of audio plays for Big Finish.
Deborah Watling was diagnosed with lung cancer six weeks ago and died earlier today.