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Douglas Camfield (born 8 May 1931 in India, died 27 January 1984 in Hounslow[1]) was an accomplished director of television from the 1960s to the 1980s. In addition to Doctor Who, his credits include Z-Cars, Paul Temple, Van der Valk, The Sweeney, Blake's 7, Shoestring, The Professionals and the BBC dramatisation of Beau Geste.


He was a production assistant on several early Doctor Who stories, including An Unearthly Child and Marco Polo. His earliest directorial effort for the programme was on 9 October 1963, when he directed some 16mm film inserts for the later three episodes of An Unearthly Child, "The Cave of Skulls", "The Forest of Fear" and "The Firemaker". (REF: The First Doctor Handbook). His first directorial credit was on the Planet of Giants episode "Crisis", and his first sole directorial work for Doctor Who was TV: The Crusade.

As a director, he was known for his meticulous planning and military style. Due, in part, to having served as an officer in the British Army. (DOC: Podshock)

During the production of The Crusade, Camfield had a falling out with Doctor Who's regular composer, Dudley Simpson and as a result, refused to use him on further stories in which he directed.

The location filming for The Time Meddler actually included Ian and Barbara's return to London in the final episode of The Chase, "The Planet of Decision". Therefore he was either, as William Russell claims, the actual still photographer for the montage at the end of "The Planet of Decision" (DCOM: "The Planet of Decision") or the director of a now-unknown BBC still photographer, according to David J Howe and friends. (REF: The First Doctor Handbook) The two sources agree he was present throughout the still session, even if they disagree about who actually opened the shutter.

For the DVD release of The Web of Fear in 2013, an in-joke reference to Camfield was featured in the video reconstruction of the currently missing episode three — using John Cura's tele-snaps linked up to the existing soundtrack — where the wrapper of a chocolate bar Driver Evans takes from a platform vending machine reads "Camfield's Fairy Milk Chocolate".

Camfield later made a "Hitchcock" style cameo in The Invasion episode one, in which he played the car driver who gives the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe a lift into London.[2] Unfortunately, this episode is currently missing from the BBC archives and no tele-snaps exist, so there is no visual record as to what the scene would have looked like on-screen.

For Inferno he directed all the location film work; he then suffered a minor heart attack during the recording of the studio scenes. The remainder were directed by producer Barry Letts, though Camfield was given sole credit. (DCOM: Inferno)

He appeared, alongside various other stagehands, as one of the "earlier" regenerations of the Doctor in the mindbending contest sequence in The Brain of Morbius in 1976. Based on this, Lance Parkin would later base his description of Patience's husband on Camfield's appearance. (REF: AHistory)

Douglas Camfield (left) on location for The Seeds of Doom.

Camfield later sought to get producer Philip Hinchcliffe to commission a script idea of his own for the programme. This involved aliens and the French Foreign Legion and would have killed off the character of Sarah Jane Smith. (DOC: Changing Time) However, this story was not produced and Sarah left the programme quite alive in The Hand of Fear.

Camfield was married to the actress Sheila Dunn, whom he cast in The Daleks' Master Plan as Blossom Lefavre, The Invasion as a Phone Operator and Inferno as Dr Petra Williams.

According to Ian Fairbairn in the DVD documentary Podshock, some time after directing The Seeds of Doom, Dunn demanded that Camfield stop directing Doctor Who, as she felt it placed him under too much strain. The couple were near Ely Cathedral at the time of the conversation, and so Camfield went into the cathedral and swore on the high altar that he would not do another Doctor Who story — an oath which he kept.

He was one of only three directors (along with Christopher Barry and Lennie Mayne) to direct Doctor Who stories featuring William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.

He is notable as having directed the most individual episodes of the classic series.


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