In 1966, the man we knew as The Doctor surprised us all.
As we watched, he landed his TARDIS in 1986, at the Snowcap Base on Earth’s South Pole. He faced the Cybermen for the first time. And after an exhaustive battle of wits to save the planet, he lay down, fell asleep, and changed.
Right before our eyes, the man we’d known as the Doctor for the past 3 years, became someone else. The oft grumpy crotchety white haired Grandfather we had grown to love ‘renewed’ himself, and woke up more as a slightly bedraggled fun loving Uncle.
We all know now why the BBC took this course of action as William Hartnell had become too ill to carry on, but the concept of renewal, or regeneration as it would later become, was a stroke of genius that allowed the show to continue long past its perceived lifespan.
As the first regenerated Doctor, much like his companions of the time in the show Ben and Polly, none of us knew what to expect from this new version of our favourite character.
The character actor Patrick Troughton brought a renewed vigour to the role. Under Hartnell, the Doctor could be a rather serious soul (although he had his fun moments), but Troughton brought a lot more fun to the part. His one-liners, his reactions, his facial expressions. Whether he was with Ben and Polly, or his later companions, Jamie, Victoria or Zoe. Whether he was facing the Daleks, the Cybermen or the Ice Warriors. The Second Doctor became one of the most beloved regenerations. And that’s all thanks to Patrick Troughton.
The Second Doctor’s catch phrases:
- When I say run, run. …RUN!
- Oh, my giddy aunt!
- Oh my word!
- You’ve redecorated. I don’t like it.
- I would like a hat like that.
- That’s very civil of you.
When Patrick stepped down from the role at the end of the epic serial The War Games in 1969, we thought we’d seen the last of the man that had come to be known as The Cosmic Hobo (thanks to his hairstyle and clothes, amongst other things), but he returned three more times to the role, in 1973’s The Three Doctors, 1983’s The Five Doctors, and 1985’s The Two Doctors – cementing his place as one of the most beloved actors to carry the role, and one of the most beloved Doctor’s.
Patrick sadly passed away in 1987, whilst attending a Doctor Who convention. Despite leaving the role full time in 1969, he never really stopped being The Doctor. Setting a precedent for all those that followed.
His two sons David and Michael followed in his footsteps by appearing in the show, with David even taking on his father’s role as the Second Doctor in two audio plays back in 2011, keeping Pats memory alive.