Pictured above: Victor Pemberton (above right) with his partner, David, and their beloved dogs
Born in London in 1931, Victor Pemberton was a leading name in radio and television from the 1960s to ’80s. Involved in the creation of several household hits, including The Adventures of Black Beauty and Dr Who, Victor also introduced Fraggle Rock to the UK.
We spoke to his good friend, Ruth, to discover more about the man who left an incredible legacy to our wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women:
“Vic was one of the most generous people I have met and was a valued and loving friend. He could talk happily with anyone and was always caring and funny.”
In addition to his broadcasting work, Victor was also a successful writer. Some of his most popular books were set during WWII and captured the terror of The Blitz. His semi-autobiographical novel ‘Our Family’ reflected the challenges his parents faced raising a family in wartime, while still bearing the scars of WWI.
Victor’s father, Oliver, lost a leg at the Battle of the Somme and was fitted with a prosthetic at the specialist centre created at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton. As part of their rehabilitation, injured Veterans retrained for new careers. Oliver worked as a ticket collector on the London Underground but was forced to retire early when diagnosed with kidney cancer.
The injustice of his father being denied a pension because of his illness spurred Victor to write his first BBC radio drama, ‘The Gold Watch’.
Retiring to Spain for health reasons, Victor’s sense of duty to the British Armed Forces remained strong. Having seen the impact of war first-hand and witnessed the lack of support provided to Veterans, he was a dedicated supporter of our work. At the age of 84, he undertook an incredible challenge to support us:
“Victor drove 1,000km solo from Spain to the Arctic Circle, all to raise money for Help for Heroes. Despite suffering greatly from arthritis and breathing difficulties he felt he could still do something to help others. Typical Vic!”
Victor passed away in 2017 but, by leaving a gift in his Will, his passion for our work lives on. As well as inventing Dr Who’s sonic screwdriver, he shall always be remembered for his efforts to help wounded, injured and sick Veterans and their families get the support they deserve, for life.