Director Pennant Roberts has died at the age of 69; he’ll be best remembered for his directing work on Dramas such as Tenko, Howards’ Way, Blakes 7, Juliet Bravo and Survivors as well as Doctor Who. Roberts directed six stories for Doctor Who between 1977 and 1985 and was one of the only directors invited back by producer John Nathan-Turner after he took the reigns in 1980. Nathan-Turner preferred to use new directors, those who hadn’t worked on the series before, but Roberts was an exception to this rule. The six stories he directed for Doctor Who were: The Face of Evil, The Sun Makers, The Pirate Planet, Shada (which was never completed because of industrial action), Warriors of the Deep and Timelash. Unfortunately his final two stories are not fan favourites but this is mostly due to other factors.
Director Pennant Roberts has died at the age of 69
For example production on Warriors of the Deep was brought forward by several weeks because the Prime Minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher, called a snap election and the studios used by Doctor Who would be required. Rather than scrap the story all together producer John Nathan-Turner opted to bring the filming forward meaning very little pre-production time which led to all kinds of problems.
Aside from Doctor Who Roberts had a long and varied career especially within the BBC’s own Drama department. He directed episodes of Terry Nation’s Survivors and Blakes 7 as well as the critically acclaimed Tenko (working alongside Louise Jameson who he had worked with on Doctor Who). His other credits for the BBC include the police drama Juliet Bravo and the glamorous 1980s drama Howards’ Way. His other credits include Angels, Doomwatch and Wycliffe.