Hello, my name is The Professor. I own a sonic screwdriver, and I’m addicted to Doctor Who.
Over the course of the next few articles, I’ll be talking about my favorite Doctor’s from the show’s initial run, because you know…retro and all. Anyway, let’s get to it!
This week it’s my choice for number five, The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)!
William Hartnell’s (the first Doctor), deteriorating health made it necessary for him to leave Doctor Who, leaving the producers in a quandary. How could the show continue without its title character? One of the show’s producers came up with an interesting idea: since the Doctor is an alien, he could transform his appearance when he dies, thereby renewing himself! He’d be the same Doctor but with a new look and personality. It was Hartnell himself who suggested that Patrick Troughton be cast as the new Doctor.
Sadly, many of Troughton’s stories where destroyed by the BBC after they were initially aired. Until recently, all I’d seen of the Second Doctor were his three team ups with the other Doctors. Thanks to the magic of DVD I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing him in action. He quickly became one of my favorites!
There’s a carefree air about his Doctor. He often found great wonder and joy in exploring the universe and meeting new people. When there was trouble, his good nature could give way to a nervous panic. He might yell “When I say run, run…RUN!” or maybe “Oh, my giddy aunt!” before running off at top speed. But acting like a bumbling clown was just his way of making his enemies underestimate him. The Second Doctor was also a skilled manipulator, always one step ahead of his adversary.
Of all the Doctors, he’s the one I want to hang out with the most. He comes across as that cool Uncle you wanted to be around at family reunions. Unlike some of the Doctors I never get the feeling that the Second Doctor sees his companions as anything but friends, there’s never the sense of him being superior to them.
There’s a scene in “The Tomb Of The Cybermen” that sealed the deal on my love for Troughton’s Doc. There’s a quiet moment where he’s talking to his new companion Victoria about the death of her father. In just writing it gets me all teary eyed:
The Doctor: Are you happy with us, Victoria?
Victoria: Yes, I am. At least, I would be if my father were here.
The Doctor: Yes, I know, I know.
Victoria: I wonder what he would have thought if he could see me now.
The Doctor: You miss him very much, don’t you?
Victoria: It’s only when I close my eyes. I can still see him standing there, before those horrible Dalek creatures came to the house. He was a very kind man, I shall never forget him. Never.
The Doctor: No, of course you won’t. But, you know, the memory of him won’t always be a sad one.
Victoria: I think it will. You can’t understand, being so ancient.
The Doctor: Eh?
Victoria: I mean old.
The Doctor: Oh.
Victoria: You probably can’t remember your family.
The Doctor: Oh yes, I can when I want to. And that’s the point, really. I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they… they sleep in my mind and I forget. And so will you. Oh yes, you will. You’ll find there’s so much else to think about. To remember. Our lives are different to anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing, that nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.
I mean that’s just greatness right there. Well, I just got myself all weepy and the moisture is hell on my keyboard, so until next time when I come back with my pick for number four….Be seeing you..