William Russell (English actor)
William Russell Enoch
19 November 1924
|Other names||Russell Enoch|
|Known for||First male Doctor Who companion|
William Russell Enoch (born 19 November 1924) is an English actor. He achieved prominence in 1956 when he took the title role in the ITV television series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956–1957). In 1963, he became part of the original lead cast of BBC1's Doctor Who, playing the role of schoolteacher Ian Chesterton opposite William Hartnell from the show's first episode until 1965. Russell's film roles include parts in The Man Who Never Was (1956), The Great Escape (1963) and Superman (1978). On television, he notably appeared as Ted Sullivan in Coronation Street in 1992. In recent years, Russell has maintained his association with Doctor Who; he returned to the show in 2022, making a cameo appearance as Chesterton in "The Power of the Doctor", 57 years after the character's last television appearance.
William Russell Enoch was born on 19 November 1924 in Sunderland, County Durham, to Eva Compston (née Pile) and Alfred James Enoch. He became interested in acting at an early age. He was involved in organising entertainment during his national service in the Royal Air Force and then, after university, went into repertory theatre.
He was one of the four original cast members of Doctor Who, starring opposite William Hartnell as the First Doctor, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright, Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman and later Maureen O'Brien as Vicki. His first involvement in the series took the form of the untransmitted pilot episode, which was eventually reshot and broadcast as An Unearthly Child. He eventually departed, alongside Hill, in the penultimate story of the second season, The Chase.
Russell has maintained his association with Doctor Who, having lent his voice as a narrator to several of the audiobook releases of the lost 1960s episodes. He appeared in The Game, one of the continuing Doctor Who audio stories produced by Big Finish Productions. He has also recorded readings for some of the CD audio adaptations of Doctor Who story novelisations originally published by Target Books.
In the late 1990s Russell returned to the role of Ian for the VHS release of the story The Crusade, of which the second and fourth episodes are lost. He recorded several in-character scenes to camera, which helped to bridge the gaps between the existing episodes.
In 2013, the BBC produced An Adventure in Space and Time, a docudrama depicting the creation and early days of Doctor Who, as part of the programme's 50th anniversary celebrations. Russell appeared as a character in the drama, portrayed by actor Jamie Glover. Russell himself had a cameo role, playing a BBC Commissionaire named Harry.
The same year, Russell portrayed both Ian and the First Doctor in the Big Finish audio play The Light at the End, produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary, making him, at the age of 88, the oldest ever person to portray the Doctor.
In 2022, Russell made a cameo appearance as Ian in the 2022 special "The Power of the Doctor". With this appearance, he broke the Guinness World Record for "Longest gap between TV appearances" at 57 years, 119 days.
On 2 December 1988, 64-year-old Russell and his second wife, Etheline Margareth Lewis, a Barbadian Brazilian doctor, had their first child together, Alfred Enoch. Alfred is an actor, best known for playing Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter film series and Wes Gibbins in the ABC television series How to Get Away with Murder.
Russell appeared in British films from 1950 onwards, appearing in well-known productions such as They Who Dare (1954), One Good Turn (1955), The Man Who Never Was (1956) and The Great Escape (1963). Later, he had minor roles in Terror (1978), Superman (1978) and Death Watch (1979) with Harvey Keitel and Harry Dean Stanton.
|1952||Gift Horse a.k.a. Glory at Sea||Crewman||As Russell Enoch|
|1953||Appointment in London a.k.a. Raiders in the Sky||RAF Officer||Uncredited|
|Intimate Relations a.k.a. Disobedient||Michael||As Enoch Russell|
|Malta Story||Officer in Prison||Uncredited|
|Always a Bride||Dutton's Chauffeur||Uncredited|
|The Saint's Return a.k.a. The Saint's Girl Friday||Keith Merton||As Russell Enoch|
|1954||They Who Dare||Lieut. Tom Poole||As Russell Enoch|
|The Gay Dog||Leslie Gowland||As Russell Enoch|
|1955||One Good Turn||Alec Bigley|
|Above Us the Waves||Ramsey|
|1956||The Man Who Never Was||Joe|
|1957||The Big Chance||Bill Anderson|
|1958||The Adventures of Hal 5||The Vicar|
|1963||The Great Escape||Sorren|
|1980||Death Watch||Dr Mason||As William Russel|
|1981||Mark Gertler: Fragments of a Biography||Roger Fry|
|1998||Mob Queen||Swede Carlson|
|2020||Executive Order||Cameo appearance|
His big break was the title role in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot on ITV in 1956, which for sale to the American NBC network became the first UK television series to be shot in colour. Russell has acted in many plays and TV series including Disraeli, Testament of Youth and the part of Ted Sullivan, the short-lived second husband of Rita Sullivan in Coronation Street. He also had a small part in an episode of The Black Adder, as a late replacement for Wilfrid Brambell, who had become impatient with delays to his scene and left the set before shooting it, and appeared as the Duke of Gloucester in the Robin of Sherwood episode "The Pretender". Other roles include Lanscombe in an episode of the 2005 series of Agatha Christie's Poirot ("After the Funeral").
|1954||Lonesome Like||Rev. Frank Alleyne||Short Film, As Russell Enoch|
|1955||St. Ives||St. Ives||Main character, all 6 episodes|
|The Sleeping Beauty||The Prince||TV Movie|
|1956||Theatre Royal||Boy||Episode: "The Assassin"|
|Assignment Foreign Legion||Gerry Brooke||Episode: "The Ghost"|
|The Adventures of Aggie a.k.a. Aggie||Ted Jordan||Episode: "Hypertension"|
|1956–1957||The Adventures of Sir Lancelot||Sir Lancelot du lac / Sir Blaint||Main character, all 30 episodes|
|1957||Hour of Mystery||Kevin Ormond||Episode: "Crime of Margaret Foley"|
|Nicholas Nickleby||Nicholas Nickleby||Main character, all 10 episodes|
|Sword of Freedom||Count Rene D'Albert||Episode: "The Strange Intruder"|
|1958||Television World Theatre||Prince Pao||Episode: "The Circle of Chalk"|
|Who Fought Alone: Epitaph on a Scottish Soldier||TV Movie|
|Saturday Playhouse||Voulain||Episode: "The Duke in Darkness"|
|Television Playwright||Anthony Broderick||Episode: "In a Backward Country"|
|1959||ITV Play of the Week||Nevil Rigden||Episode: "The Face of Treason"|
|Armchair Theatre||Smoky||Episode: "The Girl on the Beach"|
|Never Die||Inspector Sauvé||TV Movie|
|Tales From Dickens||David Copperfield||3 episodes: "Uriah Heep" (1959), "David and Dora" (1959), "David and Dora Get Married" (1961)|
|1960||St. Ives||St. Ives||Main character, all 6 episodes; remake of 1955 serial|
|BBC Sunday-Night Play||Lord Bleane /
John Freeman /
Oliver Farrant /
Charles Hemington /
Col. Friedrich Eilers, Leader of a Fighter Squadron /
Gerald Croft /
"Twentieth Century Theatre: Our Betters" (1960)
"Twentieth Century Theatre: The Fanatics" (1960)
"Twentieth Century Theatre: I Have Been Here Before" (1960)
"Twentieth Century Theatre: The Elder Statesman" (1960)
"Summer Theatre: The Devil's General" (1960)
"An Inspector Calls" (1961)
"Pig in the Middle" (1963)
|1961||Adventure Story||Hephaestion||TV Movie|
|Triton||Captain Belwether||Main character, all 6 episodes|
|A Song of Sixpence||Alberto Monzelli||Short Film|
|1962–1963||The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre||Mike Stafford / Mike Cochrane||2 episodes, "The Share Out" (1962) and "Return to Sender" (1963)|
|1963||Drama 61-67||Mick Lambert||Episode: "Drama 63: Somebody's Dying"|
|Jane Eyre||St. John Rivers||2 episodes, Episodes 5 and 6|
|Moonstrike||Philippe||Episode: "The Biggest Bandit"|
|Suspense||John Richards||Episode: "The Patch Card"|
|1963–1965||Doctor Who||Ian Chesterton||78 episodes|
|1966||Breaking Point||Martin Kennedy||Main character, all 5 episodes|
|1966–1967||This Man Craig||Peter Rogers / Peter Woodburn / Avis||3 episodes: "Mates" (1966), "Old Flame" (1966), "You Can Choose Your Friends" (1967)|
|1967||Dr. Finlay's Casebook||Neville||Episode: "Who Made You?"|
|1969||Who-Dun-It||Marcel Dupre||Episode: "Don't Shoot the Cook" (1969)|
|Detective||Bill Cartwright||Episode: "And So to Murder"|
|Parkin's Patch||Wilkins||Episode: "No Friendship For Coppers"|
|1972–1973||Harriet's Back in Town||Tom Preston||90 episodes|
|1972–1981||ITV Playhouse||Daddy / Dr. Crane / Frank||3 episodes|
|1974||Justice||Dr. Victor Ashworth||Episode: "Point of Death"|
|Father Brown||Reverend Wilfred Bohun||Episode: "The Hammer of God"|
|Whodunnit?||Captain Alexander Anderson||Episode: "A Piece of Cake: Christmas Special"|
|1975||The Hanged Man||Peter Kroger||Episode: "Knave of Coins"|
|The Main Chance||Arnold Galbraith||Episode: "We're the Bosses Now"|
|Against The Crowd||Arthur Penwarren||Episode: "Bread and Circuses"|
|The Doll||Julian Osborne||Episode: "#1.2"|
|Three Men in a Boat||Doctor||TV Movie|
|1975–1977||Crown Court||Edward Birkland /Robert Aldrich||2 episodes|
|1977||Van der Valk||Kees Rokin||Accidental|
|1978||BBC2 Play of the Week||Lord Folkestone
|Disraeli||Wyndham Lewis||2 episodes|
|Parables||Peter Vernon||Episode: "A Gentle Rain"|
|Strangers||Bamford Harker||Episode: "Accidental Death"|
|1979||Testament of Youth||Marriott||Episode: "Buxton 1913"|
|Shoestring||David Carn||Private Ear|
|Spearhead||Mr. Dickson B.F.S||Episode: "Repercussions"|
|1980||Mackenzie||Francis Hammond||2 episodes|
|Armchair Thriller||Senior Officer||Episode: "Dead Man's Kit: Part 1"|
|Play for Today||Don||Episode: "Instant Enlightenment Including V.A.T."|
|The Professionals||Charles Holly||Episode: "Involvement"|
|1983||The Black Adder||The Duke of Winchester||Episode: "The Archbishop"|
|1986||Robin of Sherwood||The Duke of Gloucester||Episode: "The Pretender"|
|1988||The Four Minute Mile||AAA Official|
|1990||Boon||John Loseley||Episode: "Tales from the River Bank"|
|1992||Coronation Street||Ted Sullivan||46 episodes|
|1995||The Affair||Dr. Hastings||TV Film|
|Casualty||Mo Meredrew||Episode: "Halfway House"|
|1997||Great Performances||Henry V (at Shakespeare's Globe)|
|2000||Heartbeat||Gabriel Firth||Episode: "Gabriel's Last Stand"|
|2005||Agatha Christie: Poirot||Lanscombe||Episode: "After the Funeral"|
|2013||An Adventure in Space and Time||Harry - Security Guard|
|2022||Doctor Who||Ian Chesterton||Episode: The Power of the Doctor|
|2005||Doctor Who: The Monthly Range||Darzil Carlisle||Big Finish Productions; Story: "The Game"|
|2009-2014||Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles||Ian Chesterton||Big Finish Productions; 8 releases|
|2010-2013||Doctor Who: The Lost Stories||Ian Chesterton||Big Finish Productions; 4 releases|
|2011||The Five Companions||Ian Chesterton||Big Finish Productions; Special release|
|2013||The Light at the End||Ian Chesterton, First Doctor||Big Finish Productions; Special release|
|2014-2015||Doctor Who: The Early Adventures||Ian Chesterton, First Doctor||Big Finish Productions; 4 releases|
|2016-2017||Big Finish Short Trips||Narrator||4 releases|
|2020||Susan's War||Ian Chesterton||Big Finish Productions; Story: "Sphere of Influence"|
Russell has played a number of roles in theatre with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and in the opening season of the Globe Theatre. In the 1980s, while a member of the Actors' Touring Company, he used the stage name Russell Enoch; on leaving the company he reverted to the name William Russell.
- Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916-2005.; at ancestry.com
- Foster, Chuck (8 February 2013). "An Adventure in Space and Time: Jamie Glover to play William Russell". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
- Foster, Chuck (9 February 2013). "An Adventure in Space and Time: William Russell". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Mulkern, Patrick (1 November 2010). "An Interview with William Russell". Radio Times.
- Mulkern, Patrick (23 October 2022). "Doctor Who's classic companions on their return: "It was a total joy"". Radio Times.
- Pilastro, Eleonora (23 November 2022). "Doctor Who character breaks record for longest gap between TV appearances". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
- "What Harry Potter's Alfred Enoch got up to next". Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
- EURPublisher01 (30 October 2014). "From 'Potter' to 'Murder': Brit Alfred Enoch on His Hollywood Ride". Lee Bailey's Electronic Urban Report. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2022.