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Lambert, Verity

Entry updated 11 September 2023. Tagged: TV, People.

(1935-2007) UK Television producer who, as the first in that role (1963-1965) for Doctor Who (1963-current), had an immense influence on the show's shape and themes, which has lasted to the present day. At the time Lambert was the only female drama producer – and the youngest – at the BBC; she was appointed by the Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, who had developed the series (along with Donald Wilson and C E Webber). Intending it to be an educational vehicle, he had insisted "no Bug-Eyed Monsters in Doctor Who", but despite his and Wilson's protests, the Daleks were introduced in its second serial – an act of pragmatism rather than rebellion, as no other scripts were available. The Daleks' success meant that Lambert and story editor David Whitaker were then given a free hand in managing the series.

Lambert's tenure was marked by a willingness to test the boundaries of what could be done with the format, with the serials being in a variety of styles. Aside from further appearances by the Daleks, there were traditional sf plots, historicals (where, aside from the TARDIS and its passengers, there are no sf elements), more experimental stories and comedies (see Humour) – the latter inspired by Whitaker's successor, Dennis Spooner. Some serials suffered from being padded, a consequence of a new episode having to be broadcast every week between November 1963 and July 1965, aside from a seven-week break between seasons one and two. The last serial with Lambert's involvement was the first of the third season, "Galaxy 4" (1965), where the militaristic Drahvins were switched from male to female at her suggestion (see Women in SF).

Lambert worked on many shows and films after leaving Doctor Who; those within the remit of this encyclopedia include Adam Adamant Lives! (1966-1967), Quatermass (1979; vt The Quatermass Conclusion) and Morons from Outer Space (1985). She was also the script editor for the fan-made Doctor Who film A Happy Ending (2006), making a cameo appearance. [SP]

Verity Ann Lambert

born Hampstead, London: 27 November 1935

died London: 22 November 2007


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