Troughton was the second actor to take on the mantle of British
television's Dr Who in the long-running science-fiction series of
the same name, playing the role for three years, from 1966 to 1969.
This was by no means the only part he played on television, and
he also had a full and varied career as an actor in the theater
and in the cinema, but it is for his flamboyant and quixotic portrayal
of BBC's celebrated Time Lord that he is usually remembered.
followed William Hartnell as Dr Who after his predecessor, suffering
from multiple sclerosis and disillusioned with the changing character
of the programme (which had originally been intended to have a strong
educational content), withdrew from the series. Troughton determined
at once that his Doctor would be in marked contrast to the white-haired
dotty professor-type depicted by Hartnell and in his hands the Doctor
became a colourfully whimsical and capricious penny-whistle playing
eccentric who could be testy, courageous and downright enigmatic
as the mood took him. Such a radical change in character was made
possible within the confines of the programme through the introduction
into the script of the concept that the Doctor underwent a mysterious
regenerative metamorphosis at various stages of his centuries-long
Troughton settled quickly into the role and children throughout
Britain cowered behind the sofa as Troughton's Doctor did weekly
battle with such fearsome alien foes as the Daleks and the Cybermen.
After three years, he finally passed the responsibility for playing
television's famous Time Lord on to Jon Pertwee.
By the time he was selected to play Doctor Who Troughton had long
established his reputation as a performer in a wide range of roles
and productions, being particularly well regarded as a Shakespearean
actor. Among the most acclaimed of his previous appearances had
been his performance as Hitler in the play Eva Braun at Edinburgh's
Gateway Theatre in 1950 and supporting roles in Laurence Olivier's
Shakespearean film epics Hamlet and Richard III. On television he
had made appearances in such enduringly popular series as Coronation
Street, in which he was George Barton, and Doctor Finlay's
Casebook. Notable among his later credits on the small screen
were the series The Six Wives of Henry VIII, in which he
was cast as the Duke of Norfolk, the World War II prison camp drama
Colditz, and the sitcom The Two of Us, in which he gave his
usual good value as Nicholas Lyndhurst's grandfather Perce (after
Troughton's death Tenniel Evans took over the role). Always a jobbing
actor who was ready to turn his hand to a variety of roles of contrasting
sizes, his familiar face would pop up in all manner of series and
he guested on Special Branch, The Protectors, The Goodies, Churchill's
People, Minder and Inspector Morse to name but a few.
it was with Doctor Who that Troughton's name was destined
to remain indelibly linked in the last years of his life. His death,
indeed, occurred while he was actually attending a Doctor Who convention
in Georgia, U.S.
Patrick Troughton as Doctor Who
GEORGE TROUGHTON. Born in London, England, 25 March 1920. Attended
schools in London; Embassy School of Acting, London; Leighton Rollin's
Studio for Actors, Long Island, New York. Married three times; children:
Joanna, Jane, Jill (stepdaughter), David, Michael, Peter, Mark,
and Graham (stepson). Served in Royal Navy during World War II.
Joined Bristol Old Vic, concentrating on Shakespeare productions,
1946; made film and television debuts, 1948; achieved fame as central
character in television's Doctor Who, 1966. Died 28 March
Man of the World
1966-69 Doctor Who
1970-71 The Six Wives of Henry VIII
1982-84 Foxy Lady
1986-87 The Two of Us
1950 Toad of Toad Hall
1953 Robin Hood
1955 The Scarlet Pimpernel
1960 The Splendid Spur
1987 Knights of God
1948; Escape, 1948; Cardboard Cavalier, 1949; Badger's
Green, 1949; Waterfront, 1950; Treasure Island, 1950;
Chance of a Lifetime, 1950; The Woman With No Name,
1950; White Corridors, 1951; The Franchise Affair,
1951; The Black Knight, 1954; Richard III, 1955; The
Curse of Frankenstein, 1957; The Moonraker, 1958; Misalliance,
1959; Phantom of the Opera, 1962; Jason and the Argonauts,
1963; The Gorgon, 1964; Frankenstein and the Monster from
Hell, 1973; The Omen, 1976; Sinbad and the Eye of
the Tiger, 1977.
Eva Braun, 1950.
Peter. Doctor Who, the Key to Time: A Year-by-year Record. London:
W.H. Allen, 1984.
Peel, John, and Terry Nation. The Official Doctor Who and the
Daleks Book. New York: St. Martin's, 1988.
John, and Henry Jenkins. Science Fiction Audiences: Watching
Doctor Who and Star Trek. London; New York: Routlege, 1995.
John, and Manuel Alvarado. Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text.
New York: St. Martin's, 1983.