28 February 2013

The Second Doctor

Regeneration complete, the series of Doctor Who would go from strength to strength with Patrick Troughton (1920-1987) now in charge of the TARDIS. A deliberate decision was made not to cast someone just like William Hartnell. Quite the opposite - because each new Doctor had his own personality, each subsequent actor playing the Time Lord would be given the opportunity to interpret the role in their own way. Rather than follow Hartnell's rather grumpy persona, Pat's "Chaplinesque" take acted the fool, whilst in reality he was several steps ahead of the others. Producer Innes Lloyd was later quoted as saying, "There's only one man in England who can take over, and that's Patrick Troughton."

Pat was also the first Doctor to have his face appear in the opening titles of the show. Regretfully, many of his earliest episodes were wiped by the BBC, but the surviving stories are well worth a watch. The schedule wasn't an easy one (they produced as many as 44 new episodes a year), but the new actor took the series to even greater success. However, with the emphasis moving away from historical drama to more action stories, there was criticism about the series' growing reputation as a scary show.

Pat stayed three years in the role, only deciding to leave the series in 1969 (amid fears of being typecast). He was succeeded in the role by Jon Pertwee.

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