Victor Pemberton

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Victor Pemberton
Victor Francis Pemberton

(1931-10-10)10 October 1931
Islington, London, England
Died13 August 2017(2017-08-13) (aged 85)
Occupation(s)Producer, writer
PartnerDavid Spenser (?–2013; his death)[1]

Victor Francis Pemberton (10 October 1931 – 13 August 2017) was a British writer and television producer. His scriptwriting work included BBC radio plays, and television scripts for the BBC and ITV, including Doctor Who, The Slide, Timeslip, Tightrope[2][3] and The Adventures of Black Beauty.[4] His television production work included the British version of Fraggle Rock (second series onwards),[5] and several independent documentaries including the 1989 International Emmy Award-winning Gwen: A Juliet Remembered, about stage actress Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies.[6]

Early life[edit]

Pemberton grew up in Islington, London, and lived for many years in Essex. In his earlier years, Pemberton had several small screen acting roles. In addition to novelisations, he wrote many nostalgic novels set in London, prompted by the success of his autobiographical radio drama series Our Family.[7][8]

Doctor Who[edit]

Pemberton first worked on the programme in 1967 as assistant script editor and was promoted to the role of script editor during the production of the story The Tomb of the Cybermen.[9]

Pemberton wrote the 1968 Patrick Troughton story Fury from the Deep[10] (which he subsequently novelised for Target Books).[11] The story, now missing from the BBC archives, was based on an earlier stand-alone radio serial he had written called The Slide, starring future Master actor Roger Delgado.[12][13] It introduced the Doctor's trademark sonic screwdriver.[12]

In 1976, Pemberton wrote the audio drama Doctor Who and the Pescatons[14] for an experiment in Doctor Who on vinyl record and an early spin-off from the programme. The production was aimed at children and is heavily based on ideas Pemberton had used for Fury from the Deep.[15] He later novelised The Pescatons,[16] which was the final Doctor Who book published with the Target logo on the spine.[citation needed] He had previously appeared as an actor in the series, in a non-speaking role as a scientist in the 1967 story The Moonbase.[17]

Personal life[edit]

In later life he lived in Spain,[18] where he continued to write novels. Pemberton was the life partner of the British actor, producer and writer David Spenser.[1]


Pemberton's death was announced on 13 August 2017.[19] He was 85.


  1. ^ a b Tydeman, John (1 August 2013). "David Spenser obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Tightrope - The Complete Series / DVD Review". CathodeRayTube. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Tightrope (TV Series 1972– ) - IMDb". IMDB. 19 January 1972. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Victor Pemberton". BFI. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  5. ^ Pemberton, Victor. "Fraggle Rock". Victor Pemberton - Author, Playright and TV Producer. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Gwen : A Juliet Remembered (1988)". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Saturday-Night Theatre". Radio Times. 7 January 1989. p. 29. Retrieved 2 February 2020 – via BBC Genome.
  8. ^ Deacon, Nigel (2008). "Victor Pemberton radio drama". Archived from the original on 10 October 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  9. ^ Pemberton, Victor. "Dr Who". Victor Pemberton - Author, Playright and TV Producer. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ "Victor Pemberton (Writer, 1992)". Doctor Who Interview Archive. 10 September 2009. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  11. ^ Pemberton, Victor (1986). Fury From the Deep. London: Target. ISBN 0-426-20259-7 – via Internet Archive.
  12. ^ a b Hayward, Anthony (19 August 2007). "Obituary - Victor Pemberton, writer who invented the sonic screwdriver and produced Fraggle Rock". The Herald. ISSN 0965-9439. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  13. ^ "The Slide: 2: Down Came A BlackbirdTh". Radio Times (2206): 17. 17 February 1966. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2019 – via BBC Genome.
  14. ^ Doctor Who And The Pescatons. Penguin Books. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  15. ^ BBC Press Office (25 November 2004). "Doctor Who and the Pescatons". BBC. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  16. ^ Pemberton, Victor (1991). Doctor Who The Pescatons. London: Target Books. ISBN 9780426203537 – via Internet Archive.
  17. ^ "Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - The Moonbase - Details". BBC. Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  18. ^ Maxton, John (2 April 2016). "Exclusive Interview: Victor Pemberton, Inventor of the Sonic Screwdriver!". The Doctor Who Companion. Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  19. ^ Jefferies, Lewis (14 August 2017). "'Doctor Who' Actor, Writer And Creator Of The Sonic Screwdriver, Victor Pemberton, Dies Aged 85". Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Doctor Who Script Editor
Succeeded by