RIP Deborah Watling, Doctor Who's Victorian Heroine

Image: BBC
Image: BBC

Deborah Watling, best known to scifi fans as the second Doctor’s companion Victoria Waterfield in classic Doctor Who, has died at the age of 69 after a brief battle with cancer.


Watling joined Doctor Who in 1967 during “The Evil of the Daleks,” playing Victoria—the plucky young daughter of a Victorian inventor murdered by the Daleks, who chose to expand her horizons by traveling alongside the Doctor and his companion Jamie. Sadly, most of the stories from Watling’s time on the show no longer exist, having been lost from the BBC archives—only two remain intact, including the classic story “Tomb of the Cybermen,” Victoria’s first serial as a companion.

After leaving Doctor Who in 1968, Watling went on to appear in several TV shows, including the ITV drama Danger UXB. In the years after her time on the show Watling would return to her Doctor Who role multiple times, both in the bizarre charity skit special Dimensions in Time, and also several audio stories for Who drama producer Big Finish. Our thoughts are with her family.


James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!



Deborah Watling was also the niece of the Invisible Man, in the 1958 Ralph Smart series. That show is currently being rerun on Talking Pictures TV (if you are in the UK). I was watching the first episode earlier and there was a touch of the Shirley Temples to her performance.

Did she get a turn in Patrick Troughton’s Robin Hood series?

She also appeared in That’ll be The Day and in a Dennis Potter play about Lewis Carroll. There is also Downtime, which introduced Kate Stewart to the world.

Need I say, a complete version of Fury from the Deep is on my wish list.