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Deborah Watling (1948 - 2017)

Getty Images / Jack Kay

Deborah Watling (1948 - 2017)

Actress Deborah Watling, known to “Doctor Who” fans for her role as Victoria Waterford, one of the second Doctor’s traveling companions, died Friday, July 21, 2017, of lung cancer, according to multiple news sources. She was 69.

Watling was diagnosed with the disease just six weeks ago.

The daughter of actors Jack Watling and Patricia Hicks, 18-year-old Deborah Watling already had a resume of stage and television credits when she was hired in 1966 to join the cast of “Doctor Who,” then starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor and Frazer Hines as his companion Jamie.

Watling’s character, Victoria, was a teenager from 1860s England, orphaned during the events of the first serial she appeared in, 1967’s “The Evil of the Daleks,” after which she joined the Doctor and Jamie on their adventures through time and space.

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Watling appeared on seven serials, 40 episodes in all, that aired in 1967 and 1968: “The Evil of the Daleks,” “The Tomb of the Cybermen,” “The Abominable Snowmen,” “The Ice Warriors,” “The Enemy of the World,” “The Web of Fear,” and “Fury From the Deep.” Because videotape was reused, a BBC policy in place at the time, most of this work is no longer extant, but “The Tomb of the Cybermen” and “The Enemy of the World” have been preserved intact.

Following her stint on “Doctor Who,” Watling co-starred with Cliff Richard in the film “Take Me High” and appeared with Ringo Starr and David Essex in “That’ll Be the Day.” Both films were released in 1973. She also appeared on numerous television shows and acted in stage productions throughout the following decades.

She reprised her role as Victoria Waterford several times, including on 1993’s “Doctor Who” 30th-anniversary special, “Dimensions in Time,” in the 1995 direct-to-video drama “Downtime,” and on 2013’s farcical 50th-anniversary special, “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.”

Several fellow “Doctor Who” cast members paid tribute to Watling on Twitter Friday.

“Loved her so much,” tweeted her co-star Frazer Hines.

“We had so many laughs & heart-to-hearts,” said 1980s companion Nicola Bryant.

Watling is survived by her husband, Steve Turner, and her brother, Giles Watling, a Conservative Party member of the British Parliament.

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