Derek Martinus

Last updated 09 January 2020

Derek Martinus (1931-2014)
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Derek Martinus Buitenhuis

Born: Saturday 4th April 1931
Died: Thursday 27th March 2014 (age: 82)


Derek Martinus was a BBC drama Director, responsible for 26 episodes of classic Doctor Who. He was born in Ilford, Essex in 1931, he attended Brentwood School, later winning a scholarship to study drama at Yale. At the age of 22 he directed a summer season in Connecticut before returning to England and the repertory theatre in 1956.

His early acting career included playing Orsino in Twelfth Night in 1957 alongside John Franklyn-Robbins and John Ringham. He joined the Arena Theatre company from Newcastle in 1958, which led to him directing his first play a year later, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. He also appeared in a minor role in the very first Carry On film, Carry on Sergeant, which starred the first Doctor William Hartnell and who Martinus was to direct in the actor's final story, The Tenth Planet. in 1966.

In 1965 he was appointed as associate director at the Salisbury Playhouse, and then moved into television whichled to him directing several episodes of Z-Cars as well as a number of BBC2's literary adaptations and BBC1's Sunday Classics. As well as The Tenth Planet, he also directed a number of Doctor Who stories through the latter 1960s, introducing several classic monsters to the series, such as Cyberman, Ice Warriors and the Autons - Spearhead From Space was to be his last, but also was the first story to feature Jon Pertwee, the first story to be made in colour, and the only classic story to be shot totally on film. In later years he directed episodes of series such as Blake's 7, Angels, and Crown Court.

A huge fan of Swedish theatre, he met his future wife Eivor in 1959 and they collaborated on a number of projects, such as a Scandinavian tour of Shakespeare in Love in 1978, and he directed the series Vargen.

In later years he regularly directed for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before Alzeimer's took over.

He died in London in March, survived by his wife and two daughters.