Terrance Dicks, Doctor Who writer and script editor, dies at 84

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Terrance Dicks in 2015Image source, Pete Jenkins/Alamy Live News
Image caption,
Terrance Dicks speaking at a Doctor Who event in 2015

British author Terrance Dicks, best known for his long association with Doctor Who, has died at the age of 84.

Dicks worked as script editor on more than 150 episodes of the classic sci-fi show. He also wrote numerous episodes.

Yet he is arguably better known for the many Doctor Who novelisations he wrote for the Target Books imprint.

Author Jenny Colgan said he had "helped more children (especially boys) develop a lifelong love of reading than almost anyone else who's ever lived".

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Sci-fi writer Neil Gaiman also paid tribute, saying he would have never written for Doctor Who had Dicks not shown him how to do it.

Mark Gatiss, another member of the Doctor Who writing family, remembered Dicks as "a brilliant TV professional [and] a funny and generous soul".

He was also, Gatiss continued, "an inspirational writer who took so many of us on unforgettable journeys into space and time".

Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who's current show runner, said Dicks had been "responsible for some of the show's greatest moments and iconic creations".

Image caption,
Richard Hurndall, Peter Davison, Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton in The Five Doctors

"The lights of Doctor Who are dimmer tonight," he said in a statement. "He was one of the greatest contributors to Doctor Who's history, on screen and off.

"Everyone working on Doctor Who sends his family and friends our love and condolences at this difficult time."

Born in east London in 1935, Dicks joined Doctor Who towards the end of Patrick Troughton's tenure as the programme's second Doctor.

One of his best-loved episodes was 1983's The Five Doctors, the BBC show's 20th anniversary special.

Dicks also worked on such shows as The Avengers, The Diary of Anne Frank and a 1983 version of Jane Eyre starring Timothy Dalton.

'More than just another Doctor Who writer'

by Lizo Mzimba, entertainment correspondent

Terrance Dicks was more than just another Doctor Who Writer. His stories were some of the most influential of the original classic series.

His first credited script for the show was 1969's The War Games with Patrick Troughton. Producer Derrick Sherwin had suggested the concept that the Doctor came from a race called the Time Lords.

Image caption,
Patrick Troughton (centre) with Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines in The War Games

The War Games script from Dicks and co-writer Malcolm Hulke took that idea and successfully introduced audiences to one of the series' most popular and longest-running elements.

As script editor, Dicks - together with producer Barry Letts - was one of the creators of the Doctor's arch-enemy The Master, introduced in the Jon Pertwee episode Terror of the Autons.

Just as importantly, the huge number of Doctor Who novelisations he wrote were instrumental in awakening a love of reading and an enduring passion for books in a generation of children.

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