Legendary Doctor Who writer and novelist Terrance Dicks has passed away, aged 84. Dicks was a freelance radio and script editor back in the 1960s, and he was hired as assistant script editor for the BBC science-fiction series Doctor Who back in 1968.
Nowadays, Doctor Who is big news, but back in 1968 Dicks was warned he was joining a sinking ship. "The first thing I heard when I joined was, ‘They’re going to end it this season,'" he remembered in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine in 1990. The BBC got so far as looking for a replacement - but they couldn't find anything they liked, and as a result they signed up to another season of Doctor Who. Dicks became one of the defining figures in the series, playing a large part in keeping the fandom alive after the BBC finally did cancel it decades later, in 1989.
Sadly, the Radio Times has reported that Dicks has died, aged 84. The exact circumstances of Dicks' death are currently unclear, but the man who was affectionately referred to as "Uncle Terrance" will be mourned by Doctor Who fans across the world.
It's impossible to overestimate the scale of Dicks' impact upon Doctor Who. The production team had been in a constant state of flux before Dicks signed on, and he worked hard with producer Barry Letts to get the show back on track. It soon became a labor of love for Dicks, and he worked closely with classic actors such as Jon Pertwee, Roger Delgado, Katy Manning, and Elisabeth Sladen. Dicks mentored Robert Holmes, widely viewed as the greatest writer of the classic Doctor Who series, and returned time and again to write stories such as "The Horror of Fang Rock" and "The Five Doctors."
Oddly, though, Doctor Who fans will probably remember Dicks the best for his work off-screen. Dicks became a prolific author, writing more than 60 of Target's Doctor Who novelizations and acting as an unofficial editor for the range. He contributed regularly to Virgin's New Adventure novels in the 1990s, keeping the torch going for Doctor Who fandom. When the license returned to BBC Books in 1997, Dicks penned The Eight Doctors, a high-profile return to the franchise that became the best-selling Doctor Who book for a time. He continued to write Doctor Who novels and short stories, with a final work to be published in an anthology at Christmas. No doubt that will be an emotional read for the fans who grew up reading Dicks' stories.
Rest in Peace Terrance Dicks: May 10, 1935 - August 29, 2019
Source: Radio Times