Strutton, William Harold 1918-2003
STRUTTON, William Harold 1918-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 23, 1918, in Moonta, South Australia, Australia; died November 23, 2003, in Palafrugell, Catalonia, Spain (one source says Costa Brava, Spain). Author. Strutton was a prolific screenplay writer for British television series such as Doctor Who and The Saint. After attending Adelaide University on a scholarship for two years, he dropped out to work as a clerk. He enlisted in the Australian Army in 1939, and in 1941 was captured by the Germans in Crete. Strutton spent the rest of the war as a POW at Stalag VII, where he made good use of his time by learning German, Spanish, and French; he also worked on the camp newspaper, and when his skills were noted by a professional editor it was suggested that he become a journalist. Strutton took this advice to heart, and in 1945 was hired by the Australian Consolidated Press to work in the London bureau until he left in 1958. His writing career began in the late-1950s as Strutton began to publish well-received novels such as A Jury of Angels (1957), The Secret Invaders (1958), and The Island of Terrible Friends (1961). At the same time, Strutton began writing for television, contributing to such series as The Saint, Top Secret, The Avengers, Doctor Who, Finlay's Casebook, The Man in Room 17, Assignment K, Riptide, Stranger Report, and Paul Temple. He was so prolific during the 1960s, in fact, that at one point he held the record for the most television scripts written in one year. But it was for his work on Doctor Who that Strutton, much to his own surprise, would gain the most attention. Strutton invented a species of villains known as the Zarbi, who appeared in a number of episodes to challenge the doctor; the ant-like creatures would also be featured in Strutton's novel Doctor Who and the Zarbi (1965). Strutton's last novel was The Carpaccio Caper (1973); several years later he suffered a heart attack that slowed him down, and he moved to Spain to retire.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Reginald, Robert, Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia), December 13, 2003, p. 86.
Daily Telegraph (London, England), December 1, 2003.
Times (London, England), December 4, 2003.