In Memoriam: Cartoonist Peter Birkett

We’re sorry to report the passing of brilliant cartoonist Peter Birkett, who has died at the age of 80.

Daleks and Stairs cartoon by Peter Birkett

Every cartoon, for magazines such as Private Eye and PUNCH was a winner, but as he may be best remembered for his unforgettable Daleks from 1981, “Well, this certainly buggers our plan to conquer the Universe”, which clearly had lasting impact, perhaps even on the show itself, as events in the Seventh Doctor story, Remembrance of the Daleks, testify.

Doctor Who script editor of the time, Andrew Cartmel, mentions the cartoon in the Remembrance of the Daleks DVD featurette.

The cartoon has since been used by the Digital Gap Initiative in its mission to exterminate accessibility barriers to the digital Universe.

Despite the popularity of his work he appears to have been a very private creator, with no online biography or record of public appearances, who preferred offline communication rather than engage by email or social media.

Private Eye has paid homage with an appropriate cartoon this week, and several cartoonists have paid tribute on Twitter, including cartoonist Tony Husband.

The PUNCH Archive is challenging fans of Peter’s work to recall their favourite Peter Birkett cartoon here, prompting comic artist and writer Mike Collins to acknowledge Peter as “an amazing cartoonist, with a real underground edge.

“[His] penguin gag was always a fave as a kid,” he notes.

Lord Lucan cartoon by Peter Birkett

If you have further memories of Peter Birkett, please do share them below. We moderate comments, but we aim not to be censorious!

Peter Birkett cartoons from PUNCH

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: Comic Creator Spotlight, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features, Obituaries

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