There are precious few individuals who, when the totality of Doctor Who is summarized is some far distant future (we hope), will have had a bigger, more impactful and long-lasting, cheerful association than Terrance Dicks had with the program.
It was he who ably stepped into the breach (the first of many times he would be called upon in this regard) when Patrick Troughton’s last season was faltering with stories running short (his influence goes all the way back to shaving The Dominators down from six to a more economical, not mention more sensical, five episodes, and a general air of disarray to expanding The War Games from 6 to 10 epic episodes, without obvious padding, when yet another story fell through late in the day.
His direct influence as script editor ran all the way to his hand-off to Robert Holmes in Robot, but even then he was still contributing scripts throughout the Tom Baker years. When The Five Doctors was proving to be a logistical quagmire, the task fell once again to Dicks, who saw a path through the ever-changing assemblage of companions.
When the fledgling Target line of Doctor Who adaptations was haltingly getting off the ground, who proved to be a reliable wordsmithing machine of economical and evocative prose? We know the pattern.
And most of all he was an unflagging ambassador for Doctor Who, a knowledgeable, genial deep well of anecdotes and a walking history all to himself.
That these legends pass away shouldn’t come as a surprise, and yet somehow it always is, just a bit anyway.
Verity Lambert, Dicks, John Nathan-Turner (for good and ill), Russell T Davies. Not a bad Mount Rushmore for Doctor Who immortals.