William Russell
William Russell - London Film and Comic Con 2012.jpg
Russell at the 2012 London Film and Comic Con
William Russell Enoch

(1924-11-19) 19 November 1924 (age 98)
Other namesRussell Enoch
Years active1949–present
Known forFirst male Doctor Who companion
TelevisionDoctor Who
  • Balbina Gutierrez
    (m. 1953, divorced)
  • Etheline Lewis
    (m. 1984)
Children4, including Alfred Enoch

William Russell Enoch (born 19 November 1924) is an English actor. He achieved prominence in 1956 when he took the title role in the ITV television series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956–1957). In 1963, he became part of the original lead cast of BBC1's Doctor Who, playing the role of schoolteacher Ian Chesterton opposite William Hartnell from the show's first episode until 1965. Russell's film roles include parts in The Man Who Never Was (1956), The Great Escape (1963) and Superman (1978). On television, he notably appeared as Ted Sullivan in Coronation Street in 1992. In recent years, Russell has maintained his association with Doctor Who; he returned to the show in 2022, making a cameo appearance as Ian in "The Power of the Doctor", 57 years after the character's last television appearance.

Early life

William Russell Enoch was born on 19 November 1924 in Sunderland, County Durham,[1] to Eva Compston (née Pile) and Alfred James Enoch. He was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School and became interested in acting at an early age.[2] He was involved in organising entertainment during his national service in the Royal Air Force and then, after university, went into repertory theatre.

Doctor Who

In 1963, Russell was cast in Doctor Who as science teacher Ian Chesterton, the Doctor's first male companion, appearing in most episodes of the first two seasons of the programme.

He was one of the four original cast members of Doctor Who, starring opposite William Hartnell as the First Doctor, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright, Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman and later Maureen O'Brien as Vicki. His first involvement in the series took the form of the untransmitted pilot episode, which was eventually reshot and broadcast as An Unearthly Child. He eventually departed, alongside Hill, in the penultimate story of the second season, The Chase.

He was intended to reprise the role of Ian in the 1983 story Mawdryn Undead alongside Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor. However, scheduling conflicts made him unavailable.[3]

Since leaving Coronation Street in 1992, Russell has maintained his association with Doctor Who, having lent his voice as a narrator to several of the audiobook releases of the lost 1960s episodes. He appeared in The Game, one of the continuing Doctor Who audio stories produced by Big Finish Productions. He has also recorded readings for some of the CD audio adaptations of Doctor Who story novelisations originally published by Target Books.

In 1999, Russell returned to the role of Ian for the VHS release of the story The Crusade, of which the second and fourth episodes are lost. He recorded several in-character scenes to camera, which helped to bridge the gaps between the existing episodes.

Russell has also contributed to the Doctor Who DVD range, having participated in several audio commentaries and on-screen interviews since 2002.

In 2013, the BBC produced An Adventure in Space and Time, a docudrama depicting the creation and early days of Doctor Who, as part of the programme's fiftieth anniversary celebrations. Russell appeared as a character in the drama, portrayed by actor Jamie Glover.[4] He himself had a cameo role, playing a BBC Commissionaire named Harry.[5]

The same year, Russell portrayed both Ian and the First Doctor in the Big Finish audio play The Light at the End, produced to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary, making him, aged 88, the oldest ever person to portray the Doctor,[6] a record he held until March 2023, when Tom Baker portrayed the Fourth Doctor in the Big Finish audio series The Fourth Doctor Adventures at the age of 89.

Russell made a cameo appearance as Ian in the 2022 special "The Power of the Doctor".[7] With this appearance, he achieved the Guinness World Record for the longest gap between TV appearances.[8]

Personal life

In 1953, Russell married Balbina Gutierrez. They had three children, Robert, Laetitia and Vanessa, and later divorced.[9]

On 2 December 1988, 64-year-old Russell and his second wife, Etheline Margareth Lewis,[10] a Barbadian Brazilian doctor,[11] had their first child together, Alfred Enoch. Alfred is an actor, best known for playing Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter film series and Wes Gibbins in the ABC television series How to Get Away with Murder.

According to Janet Fielding, speaking at a cast interview for "The Power of the Doctor", one of Russell's daughters was with him on the set since he had, sometime prior to his return to Doctor Who in 2022, been diagnosed with dementia.[12]



Russell appeared in British films from 1950 onwards, appearing in well-known productions such as They Who Dare (1954), One Good Turn (1955), The Man Who Never Was (1956) and The Great Escape (1963). Later, he had minor roles in Terror (1978), Superman (1978) and Death Watch (1979) with Harvey Keitel and Harry Dean Stanton.

Year Title Role Notes
1952 Gift Horse a.k.a. Glory at Sea Crewman As Russell Enoch
1953 Appointment in London a.k.a. Raiders in the Sky RAF Officer Uncredited
Intimate Relations a.k.a. Disobedient Michael As Enoch Russell
Malta Story Officer in Prison Uncredited
Always a Bride Dutton's Chauffeur Uncredited
The Saint's Return a.k.a. The Saint's Girl Friday Keith Merton As Russell Enoch
1954 They Who Dare Lieut. Tom Poole As Russell Enoch
The Gay Dog Leslie Gowland As Russell Enoch
1955 One Good Turn Alec Bigley
Above Us the Waves Ramsey
1956 The Man Who Never Was Joe
1957 The Big Chance Bill Anderson
1958 The Adventures of Hal 5 The Vicar
1963 The Great Escape Sorren
1978 Terror Lord Garrick
Superman 8th Elder
1980 Death Watch Dr Mason As William Russel
1981 Mark Gertler: Fragments of a Biography Roger Fry
1989 The Kill-Off Rags
1990 Deadly Manor Alfred
1998 Mob Queen Swede Carlson
2020 Executive Order Cameo appearance


His big break was the title role in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot on ITV in 1956, which for sale to the American NBC network became the first UK television series to be shot in colour. Russell has acted in many plays and TV series including Disraeli, Testament of Youth and the part of Ted Sullivan, the short-lived second husband of Rita Sullivan in Coronation Street. He also had a small part in an episode of The Black Adder, as a late replacement for Wilfrid Brambell, who had become impatient with delays to his scene and left the set before shooting it, and appeared as the Duke of Gloucester in the Robin of Sherwood episode "The Pretender". Other roles include Lanscombe in an episode of the 2005 series of Agatha Christie's Poirot ("After the Funeral").

Year Title Role Notes
1954 Lonesome Like Rev. Frank Alleyne Short Film, As Russell Enoch
1955 St. Ives St. Ives Main character, all 6 episodes
The Sleeping Beauty The Prince TV Movie
1956 Theatre Royal Boy Episode: "The Assassin"
Assignment Foreign Legion Gerry Brooke Episode: "The Ghost"
The Adventures of Aggie a.k.a. Aggie Ted Jordan Episode: "Hypertension"
1956–1957 The Adventures of Sir Lancelot Sir Lancelot du lac / Sir Blaint Main character, all 30 episodes
1957 Hour of Mystery Kevin Ormond Episode: "Crime of Margaret Foley"
Nicholas Nickleby Nicholas Nickleby Main character, all 10 episodes
Sword of Freedom Count Rene D'Albert Episode: "The Strange Intruder"
1958 Television World Theatre Prince Pao Episode: "The Circle of Chalk"
Who Fought Alone: Epitaph on a Scottish Soldier TV Movie
Saturday Playhouse Voulain Episode: "The Duke in Darkness"
Television Playwright Anthony Broderick Episode: "In a Backward Country"
1959 ITV Play of the Week Nevil Rigden Episode: "The Face of Treason"
Armchair Theatre Smoky Episode: "The Girl on the Beach"
Never Die Inspector Sauvé TV Movie
Tales From Dickens David Copperfield 3 episodes: "Uriah Heep" (1959), "David and Dora" (1959), "David and Dora Get Married" (1961)
1960 St. Ives St. Ives Main character, all 6 episodes; remake of 1955 serial
BBC Sunday-Night Play Lord Bleane /

John Freeman /

Oliver Farrant /

Charles Hemington /

Col. Friedrich Eilers, Leader of a Fighter Squadron /

Gerald Croft /


7 episodes

"Twentieth Century Theatre: Our Betters" (1960)

"Twentieth Century Theatre: The Fanatics" (1960)

"Twentieth Century Theatre: I Have Been Here Before" (1960)

"Twentieth Century Theatre: The Elder Statesman" (1960)

"Summer Theatre: The Devil's General" (1960)

"An Inspector Calls" (1961)

"Pig in the Middle" (1963)

1961 Adventure Story Hephaestion TV Movie
Triton Captain Belwether Main character, all 6 episodes
A Song of Sixpence Alberto Monzelli Short Film
Hamlet Hamlet 5 episodes
1962–1963 The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre Mike Stafford / Mike Cochrane 2 episodes, "The Share Out" (1962) and "Return to Sender" (1963)
1963 Drama 61-67 Mick Lambert Episode: "Drama 63: Somebody's Dying"
Jane Eyre St. John Rivers 2 episodes, Episodes 5 and 6
Moonstrike Philippe Episode: "The Biggest Bandit"
Suspense John Richards Episode: "The Patch Card"
1963–1965, 2022 Doctor Who Ian Chesterton 78 episodes
1966 Breaking Point Martin Kennedy Main character, all 5 episodes
1966–1967 This Man Craig Peter Rogers / Peter Woodburn / Avis 3 episodes: "Mates" (1966), "Old Flame" (1966), "You Can Choose Your Friends" (1967)
1967 Dr. Finlay's Casebook Neville Episode: "Who Made You?"
1969 Who-Dun-It Marcel Dupre Episode: "Don't Shoot the Cook" (1969)
Detective Bill Cartwright Episode: "And So to Murder"
Parkin's Patch Wilkins Episode: "No Friendship For Coppers"
1972 Buggins' Ermine Frank
1972–1973 Harriet's Back in Town Tom Preston 90 episodes
1972–1981 ITV Playhouse Daddy / Dr. Crane / Frank 3 episodes
1974 Justice Dr. Victor Ashworth Episode: "Point of Death"
Father Brown Reverend Wilfred Bohun Episode: "The Hammer of God"
Whodunnit? Captain Alexander Anderson Episode: "A Piece of Cake: Christmas Special"
1975 The Hanged Man Peter Kroger Episode: "Knave of Coins"
The Main Chance Arnold Galbraith Episode: "We're the Bosses Now"
Against The Crowd Arthur Penwarren Episode: "Bread and Circuses"
The Doll Julian Osborne Episode: "#1.2"
Three Men in a Boat Doctor TV Movie
1975–1977 Crown Court Edward Birkland /Robert Aldrich 2 episodes
1977 Van der Valk Kees Rokin Accidental
1978 BBC2 Play of the Week Lord Folkestone
Fearless Frank
Disraeli Wyndham Lewis 2 episodes
Parables Peter Vernon Episode: "A Gentle Rain"
Strangers Bamford Harker Episode: "Accidental Death"
1979 Testament of Youth Marriott Episode: "Buxton 1913"
Shoestring David Carn Private Ear
Spearhead Mr. Dickson B.F.S Episode: "Repercussions"
1980 Mackenzie Francis Hammond 2 episodes
Armchair Thriller Senior Officer Episode: "Dead Man's Kit: Part 1"
Play for Today Don Episode: "Instant Enlightenment Including V.A.T."
The Professionals Charles Holly Episode: "Involvement"
1983 The Black Adder The Duke of Winchester Episode: "The Archbishop"
1986 Robin of Sherwood The Duke of Gloucester Episode: "The Pretender"
1988 The Four Minute Mile AAA Official
1990 Boon John Loseley Episode: "Tales from the River Bank"
1992 Coronation Street Ted Sullivan 46 episodes
1995 The Affair Dr. Hastings TV Film
Casualty Mo Meredrew Episode: "Halfway House"
1997 Great Performances Henry V (at Shakespeare's Globe)
2000 Heartbeat Gabriel Firth Episode: "Gabriel's Last Stand"
2005 Agatha Christie: Poirot Lanscombe Episode: "After the Funeral"
2013 An Adventure in Space and Time Harry - Security Guard

Audio drama

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Doctor Who: The Monthly Range Darzil Carlisle Big Finish Productions; Story: "The Game"
2009-2014 Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles Ian Chesterton Big Finish Productions; 8 releases
2010-2013 Doctor Who: The Lost Stories Ian Chesterton Big Finish Productions; 4 releases
2011 The Five Companions Ian Chesterton Big Finish Productions; Special release
2013 The Light at the End Ian Chesterton, First Doctor Big Finish Productions; Special release
2014-2015 Doctor Who: The Early Adventures Ian Chesterton, First Doctor Big Finish Productions; 4 releases
2016-2017 Big Finish Short Trips Narrator 4 releases
2020 Susan's War Ian Chesterton Big Finish Productions; Story: "Sphere of Influence"


Russell has played a number of roles in theatre with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and in the opening season of the Globe Theatre. In the 1980s, while a member of the Actors' Touring Company, he used the stage name Russell Enoch; on leaving the company he reverted to the name William Russell.


  1. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916-2005.; at ancestry.com
  2. ^ Doctor Who The Collection: Season 2
  3. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3hJlgjbPrTqgrcd7kxLt7zp/the-fourth-dimension
  4. ^ Foster, Chuck (8 February 2013). "An Adventure in Space and Time: Jamie Glover to play William Russell". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  5. ^ Foster, Chuck (9 February 2013). "An Adventure in Space and Time: William Russell". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  6. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (1 November 2010). "An Interview with William Russell". Radio Times.
  7. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (23 October 2022). "Doctor Who's classic companions on their return: "It was a total joy"". Radio Times.
  8. ^ Pilastro, Eleonora (23 November 2022). "Doctor Who character breaks record for longest gap between TV appearances". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  9. ^ "William Russell".
  10. ^ "What Harry Potter's Alfred Enoch got up to next". Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  11. ^ EURPublisher01 (30 October 2014). "From 'Potter' to 'Murder': Brit Alfred Enoch on His Hollywood Ride". Lee Bailey's Electronic Urban Report. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  12. ^ "RiverSongSimp's Twitter of cast interview for Power of the Doctor". Twitter. Retrieved 6 December 2022.