Deborah Watling died of cancer, the Mirror and other British media reported. Watling was best-known for her role as Victoria Waterfield, Companion to the second Doctor, played by the late Patrick Troughton. She was 69 years old. She died July 21, 2017, only six weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Deborah Watling played Victoria Waterfield, daughter of 19th century scientist Edward Waterfield. Daleks killed her father, and the Doctor offered her a temporary home on the TARDIS with him and 18th century Companion Jamie McCrimmon. She joined the Doctor in the episode “The Evil of the Daleks.” Victoria stayed with him until “Fury from the Deep,” when she chose to settle in the 1960s as she found the adventuring lifestyle overwhelming. She was famous for screaming, often and loudly. In “Fury of the Deep,” her screams destroyed a parasitic form of sentient seaweed. Although Watling was 19 when she took on the role of Victoria, because of her diminutive stature (4′ 11¾”) the character was made younger, about 14 or 15. Regrettably, over half of her performances in Doctor Who have been lost. “Between 1967 and 1978 the BBC routinely deleted archive programs.” She reprised her role as Victoria in Dimensions in Time and Downtime, as well as in audio dramas.
Watling was a frequent guest at Doctor Who conventions, and much beloved by convention attendees and staff alike. She was often referred to as the fan’s “den mother”, and her passing has had a profound impact. She had been working closely with Oni Hartstein and ReGeneration Who. Said Hartstein on her Facebook page,
Deborah was like a Mom to us here at ReGeneration Who and the second person I ever worked with from the show. She wasn’t just a co-worker – she was FAMILY. Our entire team is in mourning and send our condolences to her family and friends.
Deborah Watling was born into an acting family. Her father was Jack Watling, whose theatrical career stretched from 1936 to 1995. Her mother was Patricia Hicks, best known for her Shakespearean work in the 1940s. Dilys Watling, her older sister, is an actress; her younger brother Giles Watling, MP, is an actor and politician. Deborah Watling began acting as a child, appearing on William Tell and being a semi-regular in The Invisible Man when she was only 11 years old. She also appeared in such TV shows as The Newcomers and Danger UXB. Her movie roles included That’ll Be The Day with Ringo Starr and Take Me High with Cliff Richard. She did a great deal of stage work, both in London and at the Frinton Summer Theatre in Essex.
Deborah Watling owned a boutique in the sixties after her appearances in Doctor Who, before returning to acting. She was twice married. She was divorced from Nick Field. She was married to Steve Turner from 1993 to 2017. They lived in the village of Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex. According to Wikipedia, she was born in both Fulmer, Buckinghamshire and Loughton, Essex, which is either a typographical error or evidence her mother may have had a TARDIS. (IMDB states she was born in Fulmer Chase, Buckinghamshire.)
Deborah Watling was born January 2, 1948, and died July 21, 2017. Rest in peace, dear lady.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.