Christopher Barry, director of many Doctor Who serials spanning many Doctors, has passed away. He was 88. Recent interviews showed him in excellent health, but he apparently died following a fatal fall.
He directed many classic stories — Tom Baker’s opener “Robot”, Pertwee classic “The Daemons”, Patrick Troughton’s opener “The Power of the Daleks”, and of course the original “The Daleks”, among many more. He deserves a lot of credit for the series’ survival. “The Daleks” was the serial that cemented Doctor Who’s place in the Saturday tea-time television routine, and “Power of the Daleks” reassured fans that changing the Doctor would actually be okay. He also brought in the first new companion, in “The Rescue”, which introduced Vicki to replace Susan. For me, his most important story is doubtless “Robot”, because I grew up with Tom Baker as my first Doctor, and this was his first story. I watched this one so many times it’s amazing the VHS tape didn’t wear out. (We’d taped it off of PBS.) It’s still one of my all-time favorites, and a great one for introducing newcomers to the series. It establishes regeneration and the TARDIS, it has UNIT, it has Sarah Jane Smith, and it has a killer robot with a deeply tragic personal story. In Barry’s honor, I’m going to watch “Robot” tonight.