Anthony Coburn

Last updated 09 January 2020

Anthony Coburn (1927-1977)
(this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Anthony Coburn

Born: Saturday 10th December 1927
Died: Thursday 28th April 1977 (age: 49)

BFI Profile
An Adventure in Space and Time: Biography

Anthony Coburn was an Australian television writer and producer, who spent much of his professional career living and working in the United Kingdom. He moved to the UK around 1950, where he joined the staff of BBC Television. While working as a staff writer for the BBC in 1963 and living in Herne Bay, Kent that he became involved in the early development of the science-fiction series Doctor Who.

He liaised closely with the series' first story editor, David Whitaker, on establishing the format and characters of the show, which had been initiated by various BBC drama executives before being handed on to the new production team. It is believed to have been Coburn's idea for the Doctor's travelling companion, Susan, to be his granddaughter, as he was disturbed by the possible sexual connotations of an old man travelling with an unrelated teenager.

Coburn wrote four full serials for the programme, An Unearthly Child, The Robots (also known as The Masters of Luxor) and two other unnamed scripts. Only An Unearthly Child was produced and it was the first ever Doctor Who serial to be made, despite both Coburn and the production team's misgivings about its prehistoric settings. The Robots was continually delayed and put back in production order, and then finally rejected — following this, Coburn severed his links with the show.

He was the co-creator of Warship with Ian Mackintosh, a popular British television drama series that centred on the Royal Navy. The programme was aired by the BBC between 1973 and 1977. A book was also published in 1973 to coincide with the series.

Coburn died in 1977 of a heart attack while producing the second series of the BBC 'period' drama Poldark.

Biography from the wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA