Douglas Camfield (Douglas Gaston Sydney Camfield)

Douglas Camfield

Douglas Gaston Sydney Camfield (8 May 1931 – 27 January 1984) 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. Douglas Camfield was known for his strict professionalism but was well liked personally by many actors, producers, and writers. Douglas Camfield was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps in 1951 during his National Service. Later that 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.

Douglas Camfield 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. One of Camfield’s notable contributions to the series was the casting of Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who became 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. He was also one of eight members of the then-production team, the image of whom was seen during the mind-bending sequence of the serial The Brain of Morbius and inferred to be an early incarnation of the Doctor. Notably, the incarnation represented by his image appeared again in a flashback sequence of the Virgin New Adventures novel Cold Fusion.

In later life, Douglas Camfield suffered from a heart ailment and died of a heart attack. He was married to 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.


  • May, 08, 1931
  • India


  • January, 27, 1984
  • United Kingdom
  • Hounslow, London, England

Cause of Death

  • heart attack

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