David Tennant reflects that he still feels very sad he never got to work with Nicholas Courtney, who played the iconic Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart throughout the Third Doctor era. In a recent interview, Tennant revealed that the Brigadier was due to appear in The Sarah Jane Adventures opposite the Tenth Doctor, but the script had to change after Courtney became ill.
Tennant starred in two episodes of the Doctor Who spin-off, in a story called The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, while Courtney had reprised his role as Lethbridge-Stewart in the previous season’s Enemy of the Bane. Tennant recalls:
“I was meant to do a story with him. The very last thing I did in Doctor Who was actually an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures – Sarah Jane was the companion I grew up with, but I’d already worked with her… and Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier was going to be in it too and at the last minute he was too ill to come and be part of it.
“It was not long before he unfortunately passed away, and I still feel very sad that that never happened.”
Enemy of the Bane saw the Brigadier help Sarah break into UNIT’s Black Archive – yes, that one – and fend off the Bane and a Sontaran.
It was intended for Freema Agyeman to return as Martha Jones instead, but the part was rewritten for Courtney after filming on Law & Order UK bit into Freema’s schedule.
The Tenth Doctor did at least the Brig, in Doctor Who Magazine‘s The Warkeeper’s Crown, but it’s a shame we didn’t get to enjoy their meeting on screen.