Richard Martin (British director)

Richard Martin (born 3 January 1935) is a retired British television director and former actor. After starting his career as an actor, he worked regularly as a director throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, which included directing several early serials of Doctor Who starring William Hartnell, and series such as Compact, Crown Court and All Creatures Great and Small. He is married to actress Suzanne Neve.[1][2]

Richard Martin
Richard Martin Thomas

3 January 1935
OccupationTV actor and director
Years active1958–90
Spouse(s)Suzanne Neve

Doctor Who

After having acted in the 1958 television series Ivanhoe and the 1960 series Maigret, Martin was asked to join the production team working on yet to be broadcast series Doctor Who by caretaker producer Rex Tucker.[2][3] He worked on Doctor Who during its first two seasons, from 1963 to 1965.[1] Martin directed part of the second story of the inaugural season of Doctor Who, The Daleks, in which the titular villains were first introduced.[1][2][4] During the making of The Daleks, Martin persuaded producer Verity Lambert to approach the story in a less conservative manner.[3] Martin also directed two additional stories featuring the Daleks for the second season of Doctor Who, The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Chase.[2]

Martin directed two other Doctor Who stories. He directed the first episode of The Edge of Destruction, which immediately followed The Daleks in season 1, and the entire season 2 story The Web Planet.[1][2] For the latter story, Martin wanted to film through a special camera lens to make the planet appear more "alien," but due to budget constraints he had to resort to covering the lens with vaseline to achieve the effect, which many viewers found distracting.[3]

In 2013, the BBC praised Martin's direction of The Edge of Destruction for how it "wrings every available ounce of suspense, horror and mystery" from a script that features only the show's four regular characters.[2] They also praised his direction of certain scenes from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.[2] Authors Tat Wood and Lawrence Miles credit Martin for "the most impressive effect" in The Daleks, that of "the wall blistering under the Daleks' weapons."[3] Authors Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping regard The Daleks as being "brilliantly directed."[5]

However, Wood and Miles criticize Martin for permitting outside noises such as studio doors opening and closing to be heard during stories he directs, and describe the direction of The Dalek Invasion of Earth as "mistimed," while acknowledging that the "grit and darkness" of some scenes are "enough to hold the attention for a while."[3] Wood and Miles also consider Martin responsible for The Web Planet not working, for example by not objecting to the "creaky" sets.[3] Author Mark Campbell also criticizes this story as being "badly directed."[6] Critic John Kenneth Muir concurs that The Web Planet is "badly filmed," but praises the story for being an experiment in showing a truly alien world, which according to Wood and Miles was the type of story Martin had been wanting Doctor Who to do.[3][7] Wood and Miles consider Martin to have been "hopelessly out of his depth" in directing The Chase, suggesting that the previous story, The Space Museum, would have played to his strengths as a director instead.[3] Journalist Peter Haining had a different opinion of Martin's direction of The Chase, claiming that Martin's use of techniques such as fast intercuts, overlays and animation made the final battle of the story "one of the finest battle scenes ever filmed for Doctor Who."[8] Martin himself attributes the flaws with The Web Planet and The Chase to inadequate budgets, and in the case of The Chase restrictions on his use of moving camera techniques.[9][10]

Later work

Martin worked on a number of television series and documentaries after Doctor Who. Perhaps the best knownmost famous of these were the four episodes of All Creatures Great and Small in 1990, during which he worked with actor Peter Davison, who had portrayed the Fifth Doctor on Doctor Who from 1981 through 1984.[1][2] Other directing credits include The Mallens in 1979 and 1980, and the 1976 documentary Legend of Loch Ness.[1]


In the 2013 docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time, Martin was portrayed by writer Mark Gatiss's husband, actor Ian Hallard.[11] He was also interviewed for Matthew Sweet's 50th anniversary Doctor Who special of The Culture Show, entitled "Me, You and Doctor Who".[12]

Peter Purves, who portrayed Steven Taylor in Doctor Who and later became a presenter for Blue Peter, credits Martin for being "responsible for [Purves'] career ever taking off."[13]


  1. "Richard Martin". IMDb. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  2. "An Adventure in Space and Time: Richard Martin". BBC. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  3. Wood, T. & Miles, L. (2006). About Time: 1963–1966. Mad Norwegian Press. pp. 39, 41, 49, 114, 130–131, 140, 172. ISBN 0975944606.
  4. Galton, S. "Doctor Who 50th anniversary special rewinds to 1963 to look at how show was first brought to screen". Mirror Online. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  5. Cornell, P., Day, M. & Topping, K. (1995). The Discontinuity Guide. Virgin Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 0426204425.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. Campbell, M. (2000). The Pocket Essential Doctor Who. Pocket Essentials. p. 16. ISBN 1903047196.
  7. Muir, J.K. (1999). A Critical History of Doctor Who on Television. McFarland. pp. 104–105. ISBN 0786404426.
  8. Haining, P. (1983). Doctor Who: A Celebration. WH Allen. p. 176. ISBN 0491033516.
  9. Howe, D.J., Stammers, M. & Walker, S.J. (1995). Doctor Who Handbook: The First Doctor. Virgin Publishing. pp. 94, 102. ISBN 0426204301.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. Stradling, E. (2010). The Thrill of The Chase. 2 Entertain.
  11. "An Adventure in Space and Time". Radio Times. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  12. "Me, You and Doctor Who". BBC Online. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  13. Purves, P. "Peter Purves: Current Activities". Retrieved 2013-12-09.
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