Douglas Camfield

Douglas Gaston Sydney Camfield (8 May 1931 – 27 January 1984) was a British television director, active from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Douglas Camfield
Douglas Gaston Sydney Camfield

(1931-05-08)8 May 1931
India (adopted by English parents)
Died27 January 1984(1984-01-27) (aged 52)
Hounslow, London, England
OccupationTelevision director
Years active1961 - 1984
Spouse(s)Sheila Dunn (1965 - 1984; his death)

Camfield studied at York School of Art and aimed to work for Walt Disney. He was a lieutenant in the West Yorkshire Regiment and was training to be in the SAS but due to an injury, he pulled out of the application process.[1] His programme credits include Doctor Who, Z-Cars, Paul Temple, Van der Valk, The Sweeney, Shoestring, The Professionals, Out of the Unknown, The Nightmare Man, the BBC dramatisation of Beau Geste, and Ivanhoe, the 1982 television movie. Camfield was known for his strict professionalism and was held in high esteem by many actors, producers and writers.

Early life

Camfield was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps in 1951 during his National Service. Later that year, he transferred to the West Yorkshire Regiment (Territorial Army). He was promoted Lieutenant in 1952. He left in 1956 for health reasons. It has often been noted by those who worked with him that Camfield always retained an affection for the British Army and brought military standards of organisation to the programmes he subsequently directed.[2]

Doctor Who

He is particularly well known for his work on Doctor Who and was production assistant on its earliest serials, both the pilot and broadcast versions of An Unearthly Child, and Marco Polo.[3] Camfield directed many other stories in its first thirteen years:

One of Camfield's notable contributions to the series was the casting of Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who became one of the most long-running and popular characters in its history.[6]

He submitted a script for the series to producer Philip Hinchcliffe called "The Lost Legion", which involved aliens and the French Foreign Legion (a subject which fascinated him).[7] However, the story never made it into production.

He was also one of eight members of the then-production team, the image of whom was seen during the mind-bending sequence of the serial The Brain of Morbius and inferred to be an early incarnation of the Doctor.[8] Notably, the incarnation represented by his image appeared again in a flashback sequence of the Virgin New Adventures novel Cold Fusion.[9]

Personal life

In later life, he suffered from a heart ailment and died of a heart attack.[10] He was married to actress Sheila Dunn,[11] whom he cast in the Doctor Who stories The Daleks' Master Plan, The Invasion, and Inferno. They had a son, Joggs, who as of 2012 was working in the music industry. Joggs featured heavily in a DVD tribute documentary "Remembering Douglas Camfield," which was included in the 2013 DVD release of Douglas' Doctor Who serial Terror of the Zygons.


In 2013, as part of the fiftieth anniversary celebrations for Doctor Who, the BBC produced a drama depicting the creation and early days of the series. Camfield appears as a character in the drama An Adventure in Space and Time, portrayed by actor Sam Hoare.[12]


  1. Interview with Joggs Camfield, "Remembering Douglas Camfield" documentary (dir. Ed Stradling, included on the DVD release of Doctor Who Terror of the Zygons, BBC Worldwide 2013)
  6. Hadoke, Toby (23 February 2011). "Nicholas Courtney obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  7. Interviews with Philip Hinchcliffe and Joggs Camfield, "Remembering Douglas Camfield" documentary
  9. Parkin, Lance & Pearson, Lars (2012). A History: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe (3rd Edition), p. 715. Mad Norwegian Press, Des Moines. ISBN 978-193523411-1.
  12. "1963: brought back to life!". Doctor Who Magazine. Panini Comics (458): 7. April 2013.
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