Dennis Spooner

Born: 1st December 1932
Died: 20th September 1986 (aged 53 years)
Episodes Broadcast: 1964-1966


Born in Tottenham, London, Dennis Spooner had just achieved his goal of becoming a professional football player when National Service saw him deployed to Egypt with the Royal Air Force. Here he began writing and performing comedy routines; once he returned to the UK, he pursued a career as a stand-up comic, while making ends meet as a salesman, a clerk and a window washer. Comedy star Harry Worth encouraged him to focus on writing, and backed up his words by hiring Spooner to provide him with new material. Meanwhile, Spooner and his wife Pauline were married in 1954; they would have three children.

Spooner broke into television with uncredited contributions to Worth's broadcast appearances. He soon found himself branching out into drama, including episodes of The Avengers, Coronation Street and Fireball XL5 (the first of three Supermarionation series for which he would write), as well as some radio. Spooner was now affiliated with the Associated London Scripts co-operative. Terry Nation, the creator of the Daleks, was also an ALS writer and recommended Spooner to Doctor Who story editor David Whitaker.

While working on The Romans, Spooner agreed to replace David Whitaker as Doctor Who story editor

Spooner's involvement with Doctor Who began in 1964 with The Reign Of Terror, the last story of the programme's first season. While working on his next script for the series, The Romans, Spooner agreed to replace Whitaker as story editor. Although he remained in the post for only half a year, Spooner then immediately contributed another serial, The Time Meddler, and partnered with Nation on the mammoth twelve-part The Daleks' Master Plan. He also helped polish the scripts for The Power Of The Daleks, Patrick Troughton's debut story as the Second Doctor.

Spooner left Doctor Who in order to work on The Baron, a high-profile adventure series for which Nation was the script supervisor. Spooner then co-created a number of series, often in tandem with The Baron producer Monty Berman, such as Department S and Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased). Many of these were developed through their own production company, Scoton Productions. Spooner also returned to The Avengers and wrote for programmes like Doomwatch. From the mid-Seventies, Spooner most often worked with his good friend, producer Brian Clemens; their partnership included episodes of The New Avengers and The Professionals, in addition to several stage plays.

Spooner's output began to slow in the Eighties, but still included episodes of Bergerac, Hammer House Of Mystery And Suspense and Dramarama. He also achieved his ambition of breaking into the American television market with an installment of the Pierce Brosnan action-adventure Remington Steele. Outside of television, Spooner was an avid bridge player and published two books about the game. Sadly, Spooner died of a heart attack on September 20th, 1986.

The Reign Of Terror
The Romans
The Time Meddler
The Daleks' Master Plan
The Power Of The Daleks (uncredited)
Story Editor
The Web Planet
The Crusade
The Space Museum
The Chase

Updated 13th May 2020