TARDIS Index File

Julia Smith

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Julia Smith
Birth date: 26 May 1927
Death date: 19 June 1997
In the DWU
Main jobs: Director
Stories: The Smugglers, The Underwater Menace
Main time period active: season 4
Career highlights
Notable non-DWU work: EastEnders
IMDb profile

Julia Smith (26 May 1927-19 June 1997) directed the Doctor Who serials The Smugglers and The Underwater Menace. She was the second woman to direct a Doctor Who story, following Paddy Russell's direction of The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve. According to Russell in 2011, Smith was the only other female director at the BBC during at least the mid-1960s. (DCOM: Invasion of the Dinosaurs)

Anneke Wills revealed that Smith was disliked by Patrick Troughton (DCOM: The Underwater Menace)

Indeed, she was one of the most important women in the BBC from the 1960s to the 1990s. Her most recognisable contribution to British television was her co-creation and early production of EastEnders. She had other significant impact, as well.

As a director, she may be best known for helming all but one episode of the 1968 version of The Railway Children, which is considered by the British Film Institute as one of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes. She also directed a number of episodes of the popular 1960s show Dr. Finlay's Casebook and was an occasional contributor to other productions like Z-Cars, Peter Ling's Compact, Angels and early 1980s episodes of her own EastEnders.

As a producer, her work beyond EastEnders includes the ill-fated soap opera Eldorado, a collaboration with Verity Lambert's production company, Angels and The District Nurse. For the three years that it ran, the popular District Nurse, a show which she had also created, was the only production made by BBC Wales for national consumption. It was the longest-running English language show made in Wales in the 1980s. Consequently, Smith had a significant impact upon the economy of South Wales, somewhat similar to that of Russell T Davies when he first brought Doctor Who to Wales.

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