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Topic: William Hartnell Or Patrick Troughton? Post Reply | Post New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 21 July 2017 at 3:15pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

We can all debate the various actors who've played the Doctor. And it's a lot of fun - but I think it'd be great to compare the two that paved the way for all those that followed.

In any franchise, the first two actors will almost always be compared (not always wise, the whole apples and oranges thing). I'm sure people alive in 1969 compared George Lazenby to Sean Connery. It's the same with TV shows or comics. People always seem to compare the first two, probably because the first one makes the impression/paves the way - and the second one "carries that torch".

It's not always debated if there's a gap or the incarnations are different (I'm sure very few compared Christopher Reeve's movie Superman to George Reeves' TV Superman given the gap and the fact one is TV, one is film), but when we are talking consecutive movies, or an ongoing TV show, it is easy to make comparisons.

So, Hartnell set the ball rolling. He eventually "passed the torch" to Troughton - who ran with it. Does anyone here have a preference?

I haven't seen enough Troughton to comment. So I'll graciously exclude myself from this topic even though I've started it. But I am sure some here will have a view.
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John Byrne

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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 21 July 2017 at 4:30pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I started with Hartnell, about a year after the British debut. SO, having seen only snippets of Troughton (mostly "The Three Doctors") I'm in a poor position to make a comparison.

Tho I can claim two degrees of separation. An actor chum was friends with him for many years before his death.

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 21 July 2017 at 7:14pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I have had a soft spot for Troughton since my childhood, though it's not based on much, given how many episodes survived! Probably based on (a) Doctor Who magazine talking him up (b) his rep as the monster Doctor and (c) that Frazier Hines was on Emmerdale when I was a child, thus giving me an everyday connection to my favourite TV show. Still, the phrase "When I say 'run', run!" has a certain magic for me.
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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 21 July 2017 at 8:36pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I have a fondness for both actors. I would however take William Hartnell of Patrick Throughton. 
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Craig Bogart
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Posted: 21 July 2017 at 9:47pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

The earlier characterization of Hartnell's Doctor seems spotty to me; it doesn't seem like he steps up and becomes an active, central protagonist until Ian and Barbara depart (though I can think of a couple moments which are exceptions).  Troughton is a contender for my favorite of all Doctors, for the balance of clown and mad genius coupled with the parade of amazing monsters.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 22 July 2017 at 4:47am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Sadly, I've only seen one Troughton story ("The Tomb of the Cybermen") which I didn't particularly enjoy. I should try and view more.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 22 July 2017 at 5:48am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Splendid fellows, both of them.

What I like most about Hartnell's Doctor is that he is simply a scientist, taking delight in exploring the universe and discovering new things. He goes through the doors of the TARDIS looking to take some readings or soil samples, not to fight anyone. It's his curiosity that tends to land him in danger during his earliest adventures. Most of the time, the first Doctor and his companions are caught up in events and trying desperately to survive them and get back to the safety of the TARDIS. He also had a bit of a dark side, which made him enjoyably unpredictable (was he really going to murder that caveman in order to escape from the Tribe of Gum?).

Patrick Trougton had the hardest job of all, in that he had to sell the audience on the idea that the Doctor could take on a new form when the old one wore out. He wasn't playing the Doctor as younger Hartnell either, but as a completely new personality. Although this version of the Doctor was more willing to fight evil where he found it ("There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things... Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought!"), I always got the impression he'd much rather be on some never-ending holiday. Something else I liked about him was that, with his bumbling manner and shambling appearance, the 2nd Doctor's enemies tended not to take him seriously and that often led to their downfall. He's the first 'funny' Doctor too - people think that humour only came in with Tom Baker, but the second Doctor could be hilarious. It's such a shame that the BBC wiped so many Troughton stories.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 22 July 2017 at 7:05am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

What I like most about Hartnell's Doctor is that he is simply a scientist, taking delight in exploring the universe and discovering new things. He goes through the doors of the TARDIS looking to take some readings or soil samples, not to fight anyone.

***

Well said, Andrew

By the way, I can't remember all of WHO history (I wasn't really watching much Peter Davison or Colin Baker). But I felt that Sylvester McCoy's Doctor, who I did like, was too powerful. He seemed omnipotent, uncaring about any challenges - and akin to the Silver Age Superman.

The current era has "upped the ante" to the point where I can't imagine anyone challenging the modern Doctors.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 22 July 2017 at 2:30pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Andrew Cartmel, who was script-editor during the show's last four seasons, did, in fact, intend for the Doctor to have a lot of 'unrevealed secrets', and dropped a few hints here and there during McCoy's stories, implying the Doctor's motives were not always pure, and that he was actually on the same sort of 'all-powerful' level of Time Lords such as Omega and Rassilon. One idea that was picked up in some of the original novels was that the Doctor (perhaps in some unrevealed incarnation) had lived for centuries in a parallel universe, where he was that earth's Merlin.
It was believed that, had the original series not been cancelled in '89, all of Cartmel's secrets would have been revealed the following year.
Fandom called it 'The Cartmel Materplan', and there are numerous sites dedicated to discussing (and sometimes debunking) its ideas:
While not very much of Cartmel's view was retained for the modern series, the influence is still clear, as far as the attempt to do 'epic story arcs' is concerned.


Edited by Brian O'Neill on 22 July 2017 at 2:33pm
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Steven Brake
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 8:53am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Robbie Parry wrote:

Sadly, I've only seen one Troughton story ("The Tomb of the Cybermen") which I didn't particularly enjoy. I should try and view more.

Robbie, you might - or might not! - like The Mind Robber.
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 10:48pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The War Games was exceptional, IMHO.
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