Legendary producer Verity Lambert died yesterday - one day before the 44th anniversary of the airing of her first production on the 23rd November 1963 - the BBC's iconic Doctor Who. Lambert cast William Hartnell in the title role and established the show's format which has endured to this very day - a centuries old alien wandering time and space with his companions in his Police Box-shaped TARDIS, having adventures in the past, present and future.
Lambert was working as a production assistant in the drama department of ABC under Head of Drama Sydney Newman. In 1963, Newman was appointed Head of Drama at the BBC and encouraged Lambert to join him. There, at the age of 28, as the BBC's youngest producer and the only woman in the Drama Department, Lambert became producer of Doctor Who, a new semi-educational science fiction series for children.
At the age of 28, as the BBC's youngest producer and the only woman in the Drama Department, Lambert became producer of Doctor Who.
Under Lambert, the programme introduced iconic aliens the Daleks to the nation's youth - against the wishes of Newman - who had stipulated there should be "no bug-eyed monsters". With the appearance of Terry Nation's legendary creatures, Doctor Who went from minor success to nationwide hit, running almost continuously until 1989. Lambert left after 18 months to pursue other projects.
Her credits included fantasy series Adam Adamant Lives! (1966-67), Shoulder to Shoulder (1974), the Quentin Crisp biography The Naked Civil Servant (1975), Edward and Mrs. Simpson (1978), where she worked again with Waris Hussein, who had directed the first four episodes of Doctor Who; and Lynda La Plante's Widows (1983).
Lambert founded her own production company, Cinema Verity, in 1985. It's first production - A Cry in the Dark (1988) - starred Meryl Streep and told the story of a Australian mother whose baby is stolen by a dingo.
Lambert and Cinema Verity's later work include Alan Bleasdale's G.B.H. for Channel Four, as well as May to December, Eldorado and Jonathan Creek for the BBC.
In 2005, BBC Wales brought Doctor Who back to our screen. It became an immediate hit once again. A new adventure - "Voyage of the Damned", starring David Tennant will be shown over Christmas.
Verity Lambert was 71.