Douglas Camfield was an accomplished director of television from the 1960s to the 1980s. In addition to Doctor Who, his credits include Z-Cars, Paul Temple, Van der Valk, The Sweeney, Shoestring, The Professionals and the BBC dramatisation of Beau Geste.
He was a production assistant on several early Doctor Who serials, including An Unearthly Child and Marco Polo. His earliest directorial effort for the programme was on 9 October 1963, when he directed some 16mm film inserts for "The Cave of Skulls", "The Forest of Fear" and "The Firemaker". (REF: The First Doctor Handbook). His first directorial credit was on the episode "Crisis". He directed several other serials, including:
- The Crusade
- The Time Meddler — whose location filming actually included Ian and Barbara's return to London in the final episode of The Chase, "The Planet of Decision". Therefore he was either, as William Russell claims, the actual still photographer for the montage at the end of "The Planet of Decision" (DCOM: "The Planet of Decision") or the director of a now-unknown BBC still photographer, according to David J Howe and friends. (REF: The First Doctor Handbook) The two sources agree he was present throughout the still session, even if they disagree about who actually opened the shutter.
- The Daleks' Master Plan
- The Web of Fear
- The Invasion
- Inferno — for which he directed all the location film work; he became ill with a heart condition during the recording of the studio scenes. The remainder were directed by producer Barry Letts, though Camfield was given sole credit. (DCOM: Inferno)
- Terror of the Zygons
- The Seeds of Doom
An in-joke reference to Camfield was featured in The Web of Fear episode three where the wrapper of a chocolate bar that Driver Evans takes from a platform vending machine is seen to read “Camfield's Fairy Milk Chocolate”. (Although the episode itself is still missing from the BBC archives, the in-joke is fortunately immortalised in John Cura's tele-snaps.)
Camfield later made a "Hitchcock" appearance in The Invasion episode one, in which he played the car driver who gives the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe a lift into London. Unfortunately, this episode is currently missing from the BBC archives and no tele-snaps exist, so there is no visual record as to what the scene would have looked like on-screen.
He appeared, alongside various other stagehands, as one of the "earlier" regenerations of the Doctor in the mindbending contest sequence in The Brain of Morbius in 1976. Based on this, Lance Parkin would later base his description of Patience's husband on Camfield's appearance.
Camfield later sought to get producer Philip Hinchcliffe to commission his script for the programme. This involved aliens and the French Foreign Legion and would have killed off the character of Sarah Jane Smith. (DOC: Changing Time) However, this story was not produced and Sarah left the programme quite alive in The Hand of Fear.
Douglas Camfield had served as an officer in the British Army. He was married to the actress Sheila Dunn, whom he cast in Inferno as Dr Petra Williams. According to Ian Fairbairn in the DVD documentary Podshock, some time after directing The Seeds of Doom, Dunn demanded that Camfield stop directing Doctor Who, as she felt it placed him under too much strain. The couple were near Ely Cathedral at the time of the conversation, and so Camfield went into the cathedral and swore on the high altar that he would not do another Doctor Who story — an oath which he kept.
Camfield suffered from a heart ailment, and died of heart failure in his sleep on 1984 at age 52.[source needed]
In 1990, Douglas Camfield - A Tribute a special magazine, compiled and edited by Doctor Who Magazine writer Philip Newman [source needed], was published as a special edition of the Doctor Who fan magazine The Frame, produced by David J Howe, Stephen James Walker & Mark Stammers. It featured wide-ranging tributes from many of Douglas' friends, colleagues and fellow artists alongside an interview with his widow Sheila.
- Internet Movie Database at the