Sydney Newman leaning on BBC TV camera

Sydney Newman, head of BBC drama, 1963, BBC archive

Who knew that “Doctor Who” was created by a Canadian? Sydney Newman transferred from Canadian television to English television in 1958. He worked on ITV’s Armchair Theatre series, which included a run of Mordecai Richler’s “The Trouble with Benny” in 1959. Of all the work he did, I mention the Richler TV series because I will be writing about Richler in a future post — but Newman is probably better known to some Canadians for “The Avengers.”
Newman joined the BBC in December 1962. One of his first projects there was the creation of “Doctor Who.”

William Hartnell as the Doctor unlocking the Tardis

William Hartnell, the Doctor, 1964, BBC archive

Newman returned to Canada in 1970. For an article on the origins of “Doctor Who” check out the BBC archives:; for  a detailed description of Newman’s career, see

This year is the 50th anniversary. Expect much programming. For example, “The Reunion” on BBC Radio 4 on April 12, 2013.

Posted by Debra Martens

author, editor

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  1. […] CWA readers know, Canadian Sydney Newman was the head of drama at the BBC and was therefore the person who launched Doctor Who and the […]


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