Peter Grimwade

Last updated 09 January 2020

Peter Grimwade (1942-1990)
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Henry Peter Grimwade

Born: Monday 8th June 1942
Died: Tuesday 15th May 1990 (age: 47)


Peter Grimwade was a British television writer and director, best known for his work on the Doctor Who in the early eighties.

Grimwade joined the BBC in the late 1960s. He first worked on Doctor Who as a Production Assistant on Jon Pertwee's first serial, Spearhead from Space (1970). 

In 1977 he got his first chance to direct, being asked to film some model shots for the serial The Robots of Death while the serial's actual director, Michael E. Briant, directed the rest of the serial in the studio. Tom Baker, meanwhile, used Grimwade's name to replace the scripted "Grimwold's Syndrome" illness mentioned in the script.

The serial's Production Unit Manager, George Gallaccio, would later allow him to make his full directorial debut on the episode "Out of Body, Out of Mind" in the series The Omega Factor (1979). Grimwade was also at this time Production Assistant on the BBC's serialised dramatisation of John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979).

Grimwade next directed some episodes of the drama series All Creatures Great and Small (1978) before returning to Doctor Who as a director. After directing the serial Full Circle (1980) Grimwade was given the task of directing Tom Baker's final serial, Logopolis. 

When Peter Davison became the Doctor, Grimwade first directed him in the serial Kinda (1982) and then directed Earthshock, featuring the return of the Cybermen to the show after eight years and the death of the character Adric.

Earthshock would prove to be the last time he was a director on the series. A year later, Grimwade was scheduled to direct the serial The Return (which would ultimately become Resurrection of the Daleks). Industrial action initially prevented the serial from being filmed. 

Prior to this, Grimwade had written two serials - Time-Flight and Mawdryn Undead (1983). Afterwards, Grimwade was asked to write Davison's penultimate story, which would become Planet of Fire. Because the story's requirements were in constant flux, mainly due to uncertaintly over the filming location and cast changes, he eventually became frustrated and allowed script editor Eric Saward to finish the serial.

Outside of Doctor Who, Grimwade wrote and directed The Come-Uppance of Captain Katt for the ITV children's drama series Dramarama. The play was about events behind-the-scenes on a low-budget television science fiction series, which Grimwade openly acknowledged was inspired by his experience working on Doctor Who.

When the BBC gave the publisher W. H. Allen the rights to use Vislor Turlough in the novel Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma, W. H. Allen offered Grimwade a chance to publish an original novel. 

Afterwards, Grimwade left the BBC and mainly worked in producing industrial training videos. He died in 1990 of leukemia.