Thursday, 8 March 2012

DW50 Countdown - The Second Doctor (Part One)

As Doctor Who's half-centenary is fast approaching like a police box hurtling through the Time vortex I'm dedicating a blog post to each Doctor every month. So, who's it now? Oh my giddy aunt - it's the Second Doctor!

'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.'
                                                 The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)

Being a new Doctor Who, following on from another actor who has entertained childen and adults alike, will always be an incredibly tough job -  just think how nervous Matt Smith must have been taking over from the widely worshipped David Tennant - so imagine how difficult it must have been for Patrick Troughton to win over the audiences as the first new actor to take on the role, when he replaced Hartnell in 1966. The shock on the faces of Ben and Polly who witness The Doctor regenerate for the very first time at the end of his very first adventure with the Cybermen (sadly all but the final moments of such a landmark story have been lost) must have been echoed on that of viewers up and down the country. The Doctor could change his whole appearance. The show would never be the same again.

It soon became clear he had changed his personality too. Doctor Two was a very different character from Hartnell's Doctor - a kind of 'space hobo' rather than an Edwardian gentlemen - but equally as loveable. He was certainly more in on the action than his predecessor ever was, obviously loving getting into scrapes with his friends. The Second Doctor's adventures don't just happen around him he is thoroughly involved - even being the cause occasionally such as the notorious scene in Tomb of the Cybermen when the Doctor pulls the levers that open said tombs. Despite his reputation as a clown, though, Doctor Two has a real dark and cunning aspect to his personality that is always bubbling underneath the bumbling exterior. Villains of the universe, irk this man at your own peril.

The Second Doctor is also better at keeping friends, having far fewer companions than Hartnell. He inherited Ben and Polly for a while before being joined by prim and proper Victorian girl, er, Victoria and later space-age science genius Zoe. But this Doctor's greatest friend is cetainly Jamie McCrimmon.  The young Scottish highlander constantly attired in his kilt stayed with the Doctor through nearly all his adventures before being forced to leave him by the Time Lords who subsequently banished the Doctor to Earth and changed his appearance...

Overall, Patrick Troughton's witty, funny, dark, reckless and hugely endearing portrayal of the Doctor left ripples throughout the history of the show, affecting the perfomance of every Doctor after him. So much so that many see him as the first 'proper' Doctor - we definitely have Troughton to thank for so many of the characteristics we associate with the Doctor nowadays; the buffoonery hiding a brilliant, calculating mind, the scruffy appearance, the often reckless behaviour even each Doctor's penchant for having favourite phrases (Troughton is often heard calling ''when I say 'run', run!''). It is a credit to his reliably fine performances that he is now so many's favourite Doctor.

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