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Verity Lambert, TV legend and Doctor Who producer, honoured with blue plaque

Waris Hussein and Steven Moffat unveil the plaque together at Riverside Studios in London.

Verity Lambert
Keystone/Getty Images
Published: Monday, 30th May 2022 at 10:16 am
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Some major names in the history of British television gathered on Sunday 29th May to honour the pioneering producer Verity Lambert, as Doctor Who’s very first director Waris Hussein and former showrunner Steven Moffat jointly unveiled a blue plaque on the wall of Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

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As the first ever female producer in the BBC drama department, Verity made a name for herself launching Doctor Who in 1963. Across a long and prestigious career, she produced dozens of successful and fondly remembered programmes, such as Take Three Girls, Budgie, The Naked Civil Servant, Rock Follies, Edward and Mrs Simson, The Flame Trees of Thika, Minder and Jonathan Creek. She died in 2007.

There was a sense of déjà vu at Riverside (the former BBC studios-turned-arts venue) because the Doctor Who Appreciation Society had already installed the same plaque to Verity in 2014 – also unveiled by Waris Hussein. However, Riverside closed shortly afterwards for redevelopment. It reopened in 2019 but had hardly got up and running before the pandemic hit. So DWAS held Verity’s plaque in safekeeping and organised this second unveiling in 2022.

DWAS blue plaque for Verity Lambert at Riverside

Those in attendance included many of her friends, colleagues and admirers, such as actors Caroline Quentin, Larry Lamb, Carole Ann Ford and Anna Carteret, writer Lynda La Plante, Philip Hinchcliffe (who produced Doctor Who in the 1970s), and even Michael Grade (the TV executive who notoriously cancelled Doctor Who in the 1980s). Clive Doig was there too. A vision mixer on the early Doctor Whos, he later devised many children’s programmes, and still provides the weekly Trackword in the Puzzle pages of Radio Times.

The main focus of the day was a screening of episode 1 of Shoulder to Shoulder, a 1974 BBC drama about the suffragettes and a passion project for Lambert. Two of its stars Dame Siân Phillips (who played Emmeline Pankhurst) and Lady Stephens aka Patricia Quinn (who played Christabel Pankhurst) formed a panel with the show’s director Hussein, together with Doctor Who legend Carole Ann Ford (who played the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan).

It was a special day for Verity Lambert, the DWAS and for the impressively refurbished Riverside Studios. Here are some photos from the event and from the Radio Times Archive...

Waris gazes at his old friend Verity Lambert, in a photo taken for her final Doctor Who episode Mission to the Unknown (1965)
Steven Moffat and Waris Hussein speak about Verity Lambert's legacy at Riverside Studios (2022)
Verity Lambert plaque unveiled by Waris Hussein and Steven Moffat
Actors Larry Lamb, Patricia Quinn, director Waris Hussein, his partner Jean-Louis Nancy and Siân Phillips at Riverside Studios (2022)
Siân Phillips and Angela Down played mother and daughter Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst in the BBC's 1974 drama Shoulder to Shoulder – reunited at Riverside in 2022
Patricia Quinn, who played Christabel Pankhurst in Shoulder to Shoulder, with director Waris Hussein (2022)
Clive Doig and Waris Hussein alongside a photo of the Queen Mother opening the studios in 1957
Actress Carole Ann Ford, artist Alister Pearson and director Waris Hussein with Pearson's artwork for the very first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child (1963).
Q&A at Riverside Studios with Carole Ann Ford, Waris Hussein, Patricia Quinn, Siân Phillips and interviewer Martin Spellacey

And photographs from the Radio Times Archive taken by Don Smith in the 1970s.

Siân Phillips as Emmeline Pankhurst in Shoulder to Shoulder (a slightly water-damaged but lustrous image from the Radio Times Archive, Don Smith)
Patricia Quinn as Christabel Pankhurst in Shoulder to Shoulder (Radio Times Archive, Don Smith)
Siân Phillips as Emmeline Pankhurst in Shoulder to Shoulder (Radio Times Archive, Don Smith)
Angela Down as Sylvia Pankhurst and Siân Phillips as Emmeline Pankhurst in Shoulder to Shoulder (Radio Times Archive, Don Smith)
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