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Who was Sydney Cecil Newman and why was he such an influential man in the 1960’s? Well, many of you know him as the Head of Drama with the BBC in the 1960s. It was due to his imagination that shows such as The Avengers, and Doctor Who ever came to be. He was entrusted to create a show to fill an early evening slot which would appeal to all ages. An earlier report by the BBC suggested a science fiction story involving time travel might be popular. As an avid science fiction fan himself, from that Newman came up with the character of the Doctor and a time travel machine which was larger on the inside than the outside. He has become known as the creator of Doctor Who.

 

Newman was also quite influential in that he allowed a young woman (Verity Lambert) to take control of the production of the series, an act virtually unheard of in the early 1960s.  He asked Lambert to “make sure the show had an educational thrust so that the scientifc side of it was based on some sort of reality.” Newman also restructured the way the entire department worked and instead of having producers also edit and direct their own plays, he allowed producers & editors/script writers to create the story and then hired a director once the scripts were commissioned.

Sydney Newman was a Canadian, residing in Toronto for most of his life. In 1981 he received the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour. Despite his many lifetime achievements, he will always be closest to our hearts as one of the creators of Doctor Who.

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