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Derek Ware, who has passed away at the age of 77, worked as a stuntman on Doctor Who during its first decade, including the very first serial. He also took occasional speaking roles in the show. DWM pays tribute to him.

DEREK WARE 1938-2015

Ludlow Castle, 1982. My first experience behind the scenes of professional theatre: a public rehearsal of an open-air production of Richard III. The lead actor shouts at the onlookers to be quiet as he practices a speech. An actor “executes” two others by wielding a sword. I later learn that the shouting Richard is someone called Edward Woodward. More excitingly, my brother (who is playing one of the Princes in the Tower) informs me that the swordsman has been in Doctor Who. He’s called Derek Ware.

Derek (right) as one of the Tribe of Gum in the very first Doctor Who serial.

I followed in my brother’s footsteps when I was old enough: a local schoolboy co-opted into carrying spears and saying the odd line during the annual professional productions staged at the castle. I was delighted when in 1991 I learned that my demise in Macbeth was to be choreographed by the legendary Ware. During that heady summer, I was equally delighted when Derek agreed to come to our house one Sunday (“An actor never turns down a free lunch” he told me – advice I have never forgotten). I had always thought that stuntmen might be gruff fellows of few words but Derek was a witty, engaging storyteller with a host of anecdotes at his disposal. He never really knew his comedian father but clearly the raconteur’s DNA ran through him. We kept in touch sporadically over the years, hooking up at Doctor Who DVD recordings and most notably on Chris Chapman’s Inferno Special Edition DVD Extra, Hadoke Vs HAVOC, in which I had the enjoyable task of reuniting some of the surviving members of the stunt team Derek had founded in the late 1960s.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: Steven Moffat answers questions on Heaven Sent; Alex Kingston and Paul McGann interviews; a feature on Doctor Who Weetabix cards of the 1970s; Fact of Fiction – Death the Daleks; Time Team – The Eleventh Hour; reviews of The Husbands of River Song, The Wheel in Space and The Face of Evil; Christmas Quiz answers; Comic Strip – The Dragon Lord Part 2.