Dr Who And Dr What

So we are having a new Dr Who. I am not sure that I care but it is one of those ritualistic things that is part of Sci Fi Culture. I am not a great fan of the Doctor but I like popular culture…much under-rated in History. I saw the first ever episode of Coronation Street in 1960 and I saw the first episode of Dr Who in 1963. Just on a Saturday when the world was convulsed or paralysed by an assassination in Dallas, Texas.

There have officially been eleven Dr Who incarnations. Now dont start commenting about Peter Cushing and John Hurt. Or that Richard Hurndall, a lookalike of William Hartnell should be included. We are talking about incarnations, rather than Actors. Increasingly the new Doctor is chosen as an icon.

Yet back in the early years, it was not seen that way. Most young boys (it was always boys) did not realise that their sons and daughters would fixate on the shows glaring inconsistencies. Nobody predicted internet forums and debates about whether William Hartnell was the First Doctor or merely the latest incarnation.

First Doctor….(William Hartnell) was actually a fairly sinister person. Pragmatic rather than Good. And the heroes in the early days were actually the first companions, teachers of Science and History, who were suspicious that the Doctors granddaughter knew too much. The Doctor was a grumpy old bugger and so was Hartnell, his mood not helped by live TV and a growing inability to remember lines. Heis a familiar member of the cast of a lot of post-war British films usually portraying a professional military man such as a platoon sergeant.

Second Doctor….(Patrick Troughton) deliberately more upbeat than the First Doctor. A likeable outlaw. Troughton had been a familiar face on BBC in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Third Doctor….(John Pertwee) the dandy southerner in Edwardian clothes and probably too earth-bound. It was all about Invasions and the Brigadiers and on the plus side Sarah Jane. Pertwee struck me as an Actoooooorrrrr in the grand tradition. Didnt care for him.

Fourth Doctor…. (Tom Baker) still the most iconic and long serving. Eccentric but not quite mad uncle. Baker was a familiar Actooooorrrrr in Soho drinking clubs. Bohemian. Alas he now seems to be a parody of himself.

Fifth Doctor….(Peter Davison) a slightly nervy , not quite macho Doctor. Davison is one of Britains most loved and talented actors. Rarely off TV.

Sixth Doctor…. (Colin Baker) was the uncle that you didnt like. By this stage the old series was losing viewers and well past its sell by date. Colin Baker has not aged well but prior to Dr Who he was oft on TV as the devilishly good looking bad boy. Too smug for my liking.

Seventh Doctor…. (Sylvester McCoy). Dr Who…from Scotland. A shock to viewers who thought the Doctor was Home Counties Man (ie no more than forty miles from London) Played him as eccentric clown, which was in fact what McCoy does best. He was one of Ken Campbells troupe of left-wing satirists. McCoy is forced to carry the can for being the Last Doctor.


Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann)…wasnt he justbinvolved in a one-off to see if a new revival would flyI cant say that he left an impression on me at all.

The New Series.

Ninth Doctor…. (Christopher Eccleston). The Doctor as a gritty but grim Northerner did not work for me. Even though Eccleston is a Manchester United supporter, which is a badge of being brilliant in every possible way. To me the Producers seemed too keen to be dark, almost gothic ..like Michael Keatons Batman is so radically different from Adam West.

Tenth Doctor….(David Tennant) Exactly the right mix for the Doctor. brave but only when absolutely necessary. The right degree of Humour and arguably the first Doctor who was watched by women. Tennant, a brilliant actor but possibly over exposed. A 21st century version of Peter Davison.

Eleventh Doctor ….(Matt Smith) Suffers in comparison to the Tenth Doctor. Too nerdy. And the first since Hartnell to be unknown to me for his TV work.

The New Doctor…..well you re all invited to submit suggestions. Im inclined to go with Adrian Lester or Marc Warren. On previous form we are talking about a man aged 28-40 with a good TV track record. And strong enough to impose a new character. And respectful  of the fans and Dr Who “lore”. Not an actor looking for a stepping stone (as it will be) to better things. Of course the new Doctor might be a Ladyyyyyyyy. And why not indeed?

There is no reason not to cast a woman….or a black actor (indeed that would be very welcome) or gay. Why not? Well the only downside possible is that its all irrelevant and yet would be sold as relevant.

If the choice was mine….I would play on the fact that the Doctor has TWO hearts. And that the incarnation all goes wrong and we get TWO Doctors. Sibling rivals….TWINS!!! Boy and Girl. Actually thats a pretty good idea. And wouldnt it be great if the Twins were….black and white.

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32 Responses to Dr Who And Dr What

  1. hoboroad says:

    Tom Baker was always my favourite. Resurrection of the Daleks was Baker at his finest. I see Tom as the Alex Ferguson of Doctor Who got off to a shakey start but will go down in history as the best man for the job. Anyone but Stephen Fry for the next one even Hugh Laurie. A woman would be interesting. They were talking about it on Sky News yesterday. Most of the actors who play the Doctor go on to bigger and better things now. Jon Pertwee will always be Worzel Gummidge to me. Never liked Sylvester McCoy although his assistant Ace was lovely. Peter Davison was a good actor but Tom Baker was a hard act to follow . Colin Baker was never really given a chance. I believe Micheal Grade had already made the decision to axe the show.

    • Pertwee… I suppose its a generational thing. But Id completely forgotten about Worzel Gummidge. I was trying hard to remember something that he had been in and could not get past The Navy Lark on radio.
      I was already left school by the tome Worzel Gummidge was on TV and I just found it irritating.
      Tom Baker is in part iconic because of the length of time he played the part but I think youre right. He was the best of the old series but he was there at the time when the Beeb had two generations watching it. Children. And the teens who had been kids in 1963 and grown up with Dr Who.
      leela (Louise Jameson) helped bring in the “dads”.
      grade sabotaged the show but they had already lost the 1963 Generation like me.
      And they never got the 1980s kids.

  2. hoboroad says:

    It’s funny though that Doctor Who and Star Trek fans do have one thing in common both kept the memory of the shows alive during the wilderness years. Star Trek the TV series was cancelled in the late 1960’s and the first movie wasn’t made until 1979. Doctor Who fans never gave up on the show returning to the BBC. Conventions and fan clubs helped keep things going. I don’t they could have killed off Star Trek the TV series if the internet had existed in the late 1960’s.

    • I think the Dr Who fans learned from the Trekkers but I wonder if the Star Trek movies, Star Wars, ET etc maybe hastened the end of the original Dr Who.
      I certainly watched the Original Star Trek.
      it was ok.
      But in 1970s re-runs, it looked dated.
      Id have to say that The Next Generation is my favourite of the genre.

  3. hoboroad says:

    Well that was what people said at the time. How could the BBC compete with Hollywood and it’s multi million dollar epics. I remember a few arguements in the school playground between Star Wars and Star Trek fans in the early 1980’s. Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century both TV series had their fans. A thing I always remember about Doctor Who was one episode when the Doctor took on the Cybermen. And one of the Cybermen crushed the hand of one of his victims. Blood poured out of the hand and I am pretty sure the BBC switchboard was jammed that evening.

  4. bangordub says:

    Intelligence, good looks, charm and ability under pressure. Obviously It’s going to be me?

  5. hoboroad says:

    Each Timelord can Regenerate 12 times in one lifetime so the next time could be the last.

  6. hoboroad says:

    Its in the Doctor Who technical manual thats good enough for me. I always thought Star Trek was more political and militaristic. The multi national and multi racial crew of the USS Enterprise was a big thing for 1960’s America.

  7. Political Tourist says:

    Never knew McCoy was Scottish.
    Certainly not any big fuss about it way back.
    Maybe there was and i was too young to remember.
    Not like the Tennent chap who’d a Derry City player as a grandfather.
    Bit embarrassed by the ABOD connections though going by his reactions on “Who do you think you are”.
    All very liberal and One Scotland, Many Cultures of him.

  8. Tom Baker was my Doctor and never better than with Mary Tamm as Romana. As for the new Doctor let’s hope they don’t “do a McCoy”… 😉

  9. hoboroad says:

    Lalla Ward was married to Tom Baker not Mary Tamm. Lalla is currently married to Richard Dawkins I believe they were introduced to each other by Douglas Adams.

  10. Political Tourist says:

    Wasn’t there a young Jacobite assistant to the Doctor back about 40 years ago.
    Some survivor from Culloden maybe.
    Go on FJH, tell me i’m right.

    • Yes Jamie played by Frazer Hinds who went on to Emmerdale Farm as it was then.
      He played Joe Sugden and he was briefly mrried to Gemma Craven.
      The action began at Culloden.
      The TARDIS landed in a barn and Jamie was escaping the Red Coats.
      Second Doctor ( Troughton)

  11. Political Tourist says:

    I was a bit out with the 40 year ago part.
    Nearer 50.
    Sure enough, the wee Jacobite was your man from Emmerdale and was even in Corrie pre Dr Who.
    Must have been your blog name that reminded me.
    I will not mention hiding behind the couch whilst watching any 1960s episode of Dr Who.

  12. hoboroad says:

    Leslie Grantham who went on to play Dirty Den in Eastenders was in it. Martin Clunes before Men behaving badly.

    • I nearly typed it was a whos who of British acting talent.
      They repeated some shows on a satlite channel some years ago.
      One episode set in mdeival England June Brown…Dot Cotton was playing the Queen.
      Colin Baker actually played a soldier on Galifry befor he became Dr Who.

  13. hoboroad says:

    Mark Eden who played Alan Bradley in Corrie was Marco Polo in a early Doctor Who episode. His real life wife Sue Nicolls will always be Miss Popov from Rentaghost to my generation. A lot of the Carry On Crowd Kenneth Moore, Peter Butterworth, Joan Sims etc.

    • Kenneth Moore??? Youre thinking of Kenneth Connor.
      Sue Nicholls …was in Crossroads in the 1960s…the godawful daily soap about a motel in the west midlands. She even had a top 20 hit around 1968.
      She is the daughter of a Tory MP and a bit posh on it.
      I thought a man of your tender years might remember her as Joan…Reggie Perrins secretary.

  14. hoboroad says:

    I remember seeing Barbara Knox who plays Rita in Corrie dancing with John Major at some Tory Ball. Helen Worth aka Gail in Corrie was in Doctor Who as well.

    • In 1970s I was on a course in Oldham and a guy asked the Belfast ones over to his house in Rochdale. On the drive over we passed yer woman Ritas house. I think she was called Mulvaney then. Changed to Knox after marriage or divorce.
      Helen Worth was actually married to or partner of an actor called Michael Angelis, Liverpudlian who was in a lot of things like Liver Birds, Boys From the Blackstuff etc.

      Did a double take when I saw the pair of them walking down a road in Battersea about 15 years ago. You know what London is like…you see a celeb every day but it was a bit weird seeing them together in Battersea.

  15. hoboroad says:

    Hoboroad is 40 years old.

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