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Sydney Newman

Sydney Newman creator of Doctor Who

In 1963 Sydney Newman launched the production of the sci-fi TV show Doctor Who.

Controller of BBC Television Donald Baverstock asked Newman for a filler show between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury on Saturday nights, he chose a sci-fi show to fill the spot, hoping to pick up a family audience. Donald Wilson, C. E. Webber and others did much of the initial ground work for the concepts and ideas, but it was Newman who came up with the thought of a time machine that could be bigger on the inside and the character the Doctor. He is likewise accepted to have concocted the title Doctor Who, despite the fact that Hugh David later attributed this to his friend Rex Tucker.

At first Newman came to Don Taylor and Shaun Sutton to produce the show but both gave it a thumbs down and very nearly at that moment, the silly idea was almost thrown into the trash, never to see the light of day. As a last resort he asked Verity Lambert, a production assistant who had never produced or directed a single piece of television. This officially made her not only the youngest producer but also the only female producer at the BBC. Two tough shoes to fill that made much of her work a struggle. Included in that struggle was her insistence to include a strange and, some thought corny, alien to the show called the Daleks. Newman, however, was furious and thought these new monsters should never appear on his show. The trend of BEM (Bug Eyed Monsters), as freak-style creatures was affectionately referred to, were not ‘in’ any more.

Newman would pass away in 1997 at the age of 80.

In the 2007 edisode Human Nature, John Smith (the Doctor in human form) says his parents names are Sydney and Verity, a tribute to both Newman and Lambert. Later in 2010 another character was named after them, Verity Newman, in the episode The End of Time.

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