I can’t stop crying.

Nicholas Courtney was 81.  I know he had been having health problems lately.  He was as old as my dad.  But somehow I always thought Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart would always be around.

I discovered Doctor Who in the mid-70s, when Chicago’s PBS station started showing episodes starring Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor.  This was during the time period when our beloved Time Lord was exiled to Earth and working as scientific advisor to UNIT.  The commanding officer in charge of UNIT in the U.K. was the Brigadier, played by Nicholas Courtney.

I grew up watching Doctor Who.  As much as I loved every actor’s interpretation of the role, my favorite was always the Doctor I started with.  The ensemble during this time has been referred to as “the UNIT family,” and the show has rarely ever been able to recapture that chemistry.  Jon Pertwee will always be my Doctor, Katy Manning’s Jo Grant will always be his companion, and Nicholas Courtney’s Brigadier will always be there, appropriately frustrated and flustered (flustrated?) by the Time Lord’s antics.

I can’t type anything else right now.  No … wait … one last thing: I miss you, Brigadier.

Nicholas Courtney, ‘Doctor Who’  actor, dies at 81