William Russell (actor)

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For the American actor, see William Russell (American actor).
William Russell
William Russell celebrating the 35th anniversary of Doctor Who, BAFTA London, 1998
Born William Russell Enoch
(1924-11-19) 19 November 1924 (age 91)
Sunderland, County Durham, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1940 - present
Known for First male Doctor Who companion
Television Doctor Who
Spouse(s) Etheline Margareth Lewis Enoch (divorced)
Balbina Gutierrez
Children Alfred Enoch (born 1988)

William Russell Enoch (born[1] 19 November 1924), better known as William Russell, is an English actor, mainly known for his television work. He was born in Sunderland, County Durham. He is probably best known for the role of companion Ian Chesterton in Doctor Who, from the show's first episode in 1963 until 1965.

Doctor Who[edit]

In 1963 he was cast in Doctor Who as the Doctor's first male companion, science teacher Ian Chesterton, appearing in most episodes of the first two seasons of the programme.

Russell was one of the four original cast members of Doctor Who, starring opposite William Hartnell as the 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 continued 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. 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 gap between the existing episodes.

Russell has also contributed to the Doctor Who DVD range, having participated in several audio commentaries and on-screen interviews since 2002. In February 2012, he appeared at the Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles, his second convention in the United States following an event in Chicago in 1993.

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 fiftieth anniversary celebrations. Russell appeared as a character in the drama, portrayed by actor Jamie Glover.[2] Russell also had a cameo role in An Adventure in Space and Time playing a BBC security guard named Harry.[3]

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 of Doctor Who.



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.

Year Title Role Notes
1940 God Gave Him a Dog Field Judge Uncredited
1941 Virginia Loafer Uncredited
1952 Gift Horse Crewman As Russell Enoch
1953 The Saint's Return Keith Merton As Russell Enoch
Malta Story Officer in Prison Uncredited
Appointment in London RAF Officer Uncredited
1954 The Gay Dog Leslie Gowland As Russell Enoch
Intimate Relations Michael As Enoch Russell
They Who Dare Lieut. Tom Poole As Russell Enoch
1955 Above Us the Waves Ramsey
One Good Turn Alec Bigley
1956 The Man Who Never Was Joe
1957 The Big Chance Joe
1958 The Adventures of Hal 5 The Vicar
1962 The Share Out Mike Stafford
1963 The Great Escape Sorren
Return to Sender Mike Cochrane
1978 Superman 8th Elder
Terror Lord Garrick
1980 Death Watch Dr Mason As William Russel
1981 Mark Gertler: Fragments of a Biography Roger Fry
1989 The Kill-Off Rags
1990 Deadly Manor Alfred
1998 Mob Queen Swede Carlson


His big break was the title role in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot on ITV in 1956. 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").

Year Title Role Notes
1955, 1960 St. Ives St. Ives 6 Episodes
1956 The Adventures of Aggie Ted Jordan Hypertension
Assignment Foreign Legion Gerry Brooke The Ghost
Theatre Royal Boy The Assassin
1956-1957 The Adventures of Sir Lancelot Sir Lancelot du lac / Sir Lancelot / Sir Blaint 30 Episodes
1957 Nicholas Nickleby (TV Serial) Nicholas Nickleby 10 Episodes
Sword of Freedom Count Rene D'Albert The Strange Intruder
1959 Armchair Theatre The Girl on the Beach
Tales From Dickens David Copperfield 3 Episodes
1960 BBC Sunday-Night Play Col. Friedrich Eilers
Charles Hemington
Oliver Farrant
John Freeman
Summer Theatre: The Devil's General
Twentieth Century Theatre: The Elder Statesman
Twentieth Century Theatre: I Have Been Here Before
Twentieth Century Theatre: The Fanatics
1961 Hamlet (TV Serial) Hamlet 5 Episodes
Triton Captain Belwether
1962-1963 The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre Mike Stafford
Mike Cochrane
The Share Out
Return to Sender
1963 Suspense John Richards The Patch Card
Jane Eyre St. John Rivers 2 Episodes
Drama 61-67 Mick Lambert Drama 63: Somebody's Dying
1963-1965 Doctor Who Ian Chesterton 77 Episodes
1966 Breaking Point Martin Kennedy 5 Episodes
1966-1967 This Man Craig Peter Rogers
Peter Woodburn
You Can Choose Your Friends
Old Flame
1967 Dr. Finlay's Casebook Neville Who Made You?
1969 Parkin's Patch Wilkins No Friendship For Coppers
Detective Bill Cartwright And So to Murder
1972 Buggins' Ermine Frank
1972-1973 Harriet's Back in Town Tom Preston 90 Episodes
1972-1981 ITV Playhouse Daddy
Dr. Crane
Little Girls Don't
Buggins' Ermine
1974 Whodunnit? Captain Alexander Anderson A Piece of Cake: Christmas Special
Father Brown Reverend Wilfred Bohun The Hammer of God
Justice Dr. Victor Ashworth Point of Death
1975 Three Men in a Boat Doctor TV Movie
The Doll Julian Osborne 1 Episode
Against The Crowd Arthur Penwarren Bread and Circuses
The Main Chance Arnold Galbraith We're the Bosses Now
The Hanged Man Peter Kroger Knave of Coins
1975-1977 Crown Court Edward Birkland
Robert Aldrich
Dead Drunk
Home Sweet Home: Part 1
1977 Van der Valk Kees Rokin Accidental
1978 BBC2 Play of the Week Lord Folkstone
Fearless Frank
Disraeli Wyndham Lewis 2 Episodes
Parables Peter Vernon A Gental Rain
Strangers Bamford Harker Accidental Death
1979 Testament of Youth Marriott Buxton 1913
Shoestring David Carn Private Ear
Spearhead Mr. Dickson B.F.S Repercussions
1980 Mackenzie Francis Hammond 2 Episodes
The Professionals Charles Holly Involvement
Play for Today Don Instant Enlightenment Including V.A.T.
Armchair Thriller Senior Officer Dead Man's Kit: Part 1
1983 The Black Adder The Duke of Winchester The Archbishop
1986 Robin of Sherwood The Duke of Gloucester The Pretender
1988 The Four Minute Mile AAA Official
1990 Boon John Loseley Tales from the River Bank
1992 Coronation Street Ted Sullivan 46 Episodes
1995 Casualty Mo Meredrew Halfway House
The Affair (TV Film) Dr. Hastings
1997 Great Performances Henry V at Shakespeare's Globe
2000 Heartbeat Gabriel Firth Gabriel's Last Stand
2005 Agatha Christie: Poirot Lanscombe After the Funeral
2013 An Adventure in Space and Time Harry - Security Guard



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.


On 2 December 1988, Russell and his second wife, Balbina Gutierrez, had their first child Alfred Enoch, when he was 64 years old. Alfred is now an actor, and known for portraying Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter film series and Wes Gibbins in the ABC legal drama "How to Get Away with Murder".


  1. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916-2005.; at ancestry.com
  2. ^ Foster, Chuck (8 February 2013). "An Adventure in Space and Time: Jamie Glover to play William Russell". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Foster, Chuck (9 February 2013). "An Adventure in Space and Time: William Russell". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  4. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0257920/?ref_=nv_sr_1

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