Christopher Barry began his television career in the 1950s, and went on to become the longest-serving director of Doctor Who, overseeing episodes from 1963 until 1979. He was one of only three to direct all of the first four actors to play the Doctor.
He helmed many fan-favorite classic-series episodes including the iconic Daleks’ first appearance in 1963’s The Dead Planet, as well as Patrick Troughton’s first outing in 1966’s The Power of the Daleks and Tom Baker’s debut in 1975’s Robot.
Barry directed Tom Baker in one of my all-time favorite stories, The Brain of Morbius, in 1976, and his eye for lighting accentuated the drama, making that episode truly stand out as one of the best, and most terrifying of the classic era. His episodes had a certain look that no other director quite mastered, with his stories being directed so well that you could almost forget about the cardboard sets and rubber monster suits, and just enjoy good triumphing over evil.
In more recent years Barry was a charming and well regarded fixture on documentaries and background features for BBC’s Doctor Who DVDs. He was one of my favorite interview subjects, and had an unfettering aura of life and laughter about himself, that will be sorely missed by this fan. His insights were often fraught with humor, always with a bit of self-deprecation, and you could tell he looked back fondly at his time on the show. I hope he realized the impact he had, because it was HUGE.
Doctor Who wasn’t his only prominent work, as he had a hand in many successful, and well-loved British television shows as diverse as Compact (1962), Paul Temple (70-71), Z Cars (71-78), Poldark (1975), and All Creatures Great and Small (78-80).
Rest In Peace, Chris, you deserve it.