William Russell dead: Doctor Who legend who starred in Coronation Street & The Great Escape dies aged 99

William Russell dies aged 99

William Russell, the iconic actor known for his role as school teacher Ian Chesterton in the first Doctor Who series, has passed away at the age of 99. The news of his death has left fans and friends in mourning.

William Russell’s career in Doctor Who started with An Unearthly Child, the first-ever Doctor Who story, where he appeared alongside William Hartnell, who played the First Doctor. Russell’s portrayal of Ian Chesterton made him a beloved figure among fans.

Throughout the first two seasons of Doctor Who, Russell starred in almost every episode, playing a significant role in shaping the iconic franchise that has captivated audiences for decades.

After leaving Doctor Who in 1965, William Russell continued his connection to the series by narrating Doctor Who audio stories, delighting fans with his return in Jodie Whittaker’s final episode, The Power of the Doctor, setting a Guinness World Record for the longest gap between TV appearances.

Aside from his Doctor Who fame, Russell’s acting credits include roles in The Great Escape, the 1978 Superman movie, and as Ted Sullivan in Coronation Street. He also made a memorable appearance in an episode of The Black Adder.

William Russell’s talent extended beyond television, as he carved out a successful career on stage with prestigious theatre companies like the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, and Globe Theatre.

The cause of William Russell’s death has not been confirmed as of now. He is survived by his wife, Etheline, their son, Alfred, and children from his first marriage, Vanessa, Laetitia, and Robert, along with four grandchildren.

Fans and colleagues have taken to social media to pay tribute to the legendary actor. Colleague Nicole Bryant shared, “What a wonderful man with a delightful family, an extraordinary life & career. What sad news to say farewell to William Russell.”

Another fan expressed, “Raising a glass to William Russell, who has left us just a few months shy of his 100th birthday. Already a star when he became a crucial part of Doctor Who’s genesis, his long and remarkable career embraced everything from Shakespeare to Blackadder. A fine actor and a lovely man.”