‘Doctor Who’ scribe Gareth Roberts wants Ian Chesterton back on the show

Actor William Russell played teacher Ian alongside the First Doctor in 77 episodes from 1963 to 1965.

One of the things that has irked a few fans about the recent series of Doctor Who is the fact that thus far it has failed to reference two of  Coal Hill’s most famous teachers and former time travelers in the form of Ian and Barbara who traveled through time and space on many adventures with the first Doctor and his Grand Daughter Susan.

This lack of reference in the recent series has also been noticed by writer Gareth Roberts who has revealed that he’d love to see an episode feature Ian Chesterton.

Actor William Russell played teacher Ian alongside the First Doctor in 77 episodes from 1963 to 1965.

The character enjoyed a brief mention in last years 50th anniversary episode and William Russell also had a small cameo in last years biopic ‘An Adventure In Time and Space,’ but fans haven’t seen him reprise his role of Ian since he left the series in 1965.

William Russell

It was revealed in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ that Ian Chesterton serves  Coal Hill School as Chair Person on the schools board of governors. So there is a role for him if the series continues to visit the school, which as it happens also featured in the Sylvester McCoy story ‘Remembrance Of The Daleks’.

The school has featured heavily in Doctor Who‘s current season, most notably in last weekend’s ‘The Caretaker’, written by Gareth Roberts.

Speaking exclusively to CultBox, Roberts revealed: “I just thought [including Ian in ‘The Caretaker’] would be too much of a distraction. I think that’s an episode all of its own. I thought, particularly after the 50th, where there were lots of references to past Doctor Who, sometimes you need to just put your foot on the accelerator and keep going forward.”

When asked if it be possible to see William Russell return as Ian Chesterton for a future episode of the series the writer said,

“I’d love to see William Russell back in the show! That’s so rich and so fertile for someone to do. You’d have to explain it enough so that everyone would get it.”

He added: “There’s a tiny reference to that first year of Doctor Who in ‘The Caretaker’ which is the Coal Hill motto, on the wall of the parent’s evening: “a great spirit of adventure”, which is what the Doctor says about Ian and Barbara in ‘The Sensorites’. I thought that was a nice nod in the background.”

You can look up the full interview with Gareth Roberts here.

Series 8 of ‘Doctor Who’ continues this weekend on BBC1 at 8:30pm on Saturday with ‘Kill The Moon’.


Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: ian@scifipulse.net
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