Douglas Camfield

Last updated 09 January 2020

Douglas Camfield (1931-1984)
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Douglas Gaston Sydney Camfield

Born: Friday 8th May 1931
Died: Friday 27th January 1984 (age: 52)


Douglas Camfield was an accomplished director for television from the 1960s to the 1980s. He studied at York School of Art and aimed to work for Walt Disney. He was a Lieutenant in the West Yorkshire Regiment, and was training to be in the SAS (but due to an injury he pulled out of the application process). His programme credits include Doctor Who, Z-Cars, Paul Temple, Van der Valk, The Sweeney, Shoestring, The Professionals, Out of the Unknown, The Nightmare Man, the BBC dramatisation of Beau Geste, and Ivanhoe, the 1982 television movie. Camfield was known for his strict professionalism but was well liked personally by many actors, producers, and writers.

Early life

Camfield was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps in 1951 during his National Service. Later the same year he transferred to the West Yorkshire Regiment (Territorial Army). He was promoted Lieutenant in 1952. He left in 1956 for health reasons. It has often been noted by those who worked with him that Camfield always retained an affection for the British Army and brought military standards of organisation to the programmes he subsequently directed.

Doctor Who

He is particularly well known for his work on Doctor Who and was production assistant on its earliest serials, both the pilot and broadcast versions of An Unearthly Child, and Marco Polo. Camfield went on to direct many other stories in its first thirteen years:


One of Camfield's notable contributions to the series was the casting of Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who would become one of the most long-running and popular characters in its history.

He submitted a script for the series to producer Philip Hinchcliffe called "The Lost Legion", which involved aliens and the French Foreign Legion (a subject which fascinated him). However the story never made it into production.

Personal life

In later life he suffered from a heart ailment and died of a heart attack. He was married to the actress Sheila Dunn whom he cast in the Doctor Who stories The Daleks' Master Plan, The Invasion, and Inferno. They had a son Joggs, who as of 2012 was working in the music industry. Joggs featured heavily in a DVD tribute documentary "Remembering Douglas Camfield" which was included in the 2013 DVD release of Douglas' Doctor Who serial Terror of the Zygons.


In 2013, as part of the fiftieth anniversary celebrations for Doctor Who, the BBC produced a drama depicting the creation and early days of the series. Camfield appears as a character in the drama, An Adventure In Space And Time, portrayed by actor Sam Hoare.

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