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Terrance Dicks (1935–2019), beloved Doctor Who writer

Alamy / Pete Jenkins

Stories he crafted introduced the Time Lords, the Master, and the Fourth Doctor

Terrance Dicks was the beloved “Doctor Who” writer who not only served as one of the classic sci-fi TV show’s leading creative voices during its formative years in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, but also inspired and entertained a generation of young book readers by authoring more than 60 novelizations of the series’ favorite episodes. 

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Died: August 29, 2019 (Who else died on August 29?)    

Details of death: Died after a short illness at the age of 84.  


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A legendary legacy: Dicks contributed heavily to the “Doctor Who” mythology. The 150 episodes he either wrote or edited included the 1969 serial “The War Games,” which marked the first appearance by name of the Doctor’s alien race, the Time Lords. He also wrote the 1974 debut episode of the show’s most iconic star, Tom Baker; and the 20th anniversary special “The Five Doctors,” which brought together all the time traveler’s incarnations into a single epic crossover story. 

From screen to page: For years before VCRs, DVDs, and streaming services made on-demand TV viewing possible, Dicks’s paperback versions of Doctor Who classics kept the stories alive in the minds of fans young and old, who could revisit their favorite Doctors, companions, monsters, and villains in between TV seasons and for years after. 

Famous quotations: “There’s no point in being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes.” —from “Robot” (1974) 

What people said about him: “Very hard to express what Terrance Dicks meant to a whole generation. A brilliant TV professional, a funny and generous soul. Most of all, though, an inspirational writer who took so many of us on unforgettable journeys into space and time. Bless you, Terrance.” —Mark Gatiss, writer and actor 

“I remember reading his and Malcolm Hulke’s book ‘The Making of Doctor Who’ when I was eleven or twelve, and deciding then that I would one day write an episode of Doctor Who, because they had shown me how. RIP Terrance Dicks.” —Neil Gaiman, bestselling author and television producer    

Full obituary: BBC One 

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