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Second Doctor
"Our lives are different to anybody else's. That's the exciting thing! There's nobody in the universe who can do what we're doing."

First appearance: "The Tenth Planet" (1966)
Debut: "The Power of the Daleks" (1966)
Exit story:note  "The War Games" (1969)
Regeneration comic stripnote  "The Night Walkers" (1969)

Played by: Patrick Troughton (1966–69, 1972–73,note  1983, 1985)
Voiced by: David Coker (1997); Chris Walker-Thomson (2020); Michael Troughton (2022)

"There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things that act against everything we believe in. They must be fought!"

The cosmic hobo with the Beatles haircut. A more easygoing personality than his predecessor, though still very much an anti-authority maverick, the Second Doctor was a gadfly who enjoyed annoying everyone he met; he made an art form out of stealthily insulting his foes and allies alike.

Unlike his predecessor, who would often end up as a circumstantial hero by way of getting himself accidentally embroiled in dangerous situations and then having to find his way out of them again (though coming to embrace doing so anyway), the Second Doctor more actively felt he had somewhat of a moral obligation to help the oppressed and fight injustices wherever he came across them during his journeys.

He also had quite the knack for manipulation and deception; his favourite trick by far was pretending to be a bumbling and somewhat scatterbrained and naïve buffoon, generally acting clumsy and a little cowardly and asking seemingly perfectly innocent, but annoying questions, only to then catch his adversaries off-guard by revealing that a darker, more cunning and strong-willed personality lurked under this harmless surface.

The second Doctor, more than his other incarnations, tends to panic easily. He nibbles at his fingernail out of nervous fear, yells "Oh no!", and sometimes runs from monsters. How much of this is an act is unknown, but he sometimes does it when he's alone. He confronts evil readily enough many times, so he's not a coward: just a little less brave than his other incarnations.

The Second Doctor's era ushered in the Monster of the Week premise and phased out the "pure" historical period stories where the only science fiction elements were the presence of the time travelling Doctor and his companions.

He liked to play the recorder (the musical instrument), and he carried a massive number of useful things in the pockets of his coat, including the now famous sonic screwdriver. (The Tenth Doctor would confirm that, as many fans had long suspected, the Doctor's pockets are Bigger on the Inside in "The Runaway Bride")

Unfortunately, the Doctor became embridled in a series of rapidly escalating conflicts orchestrated by the War Lords and their leader, a renegade from his own home planet known as the War Chief. Faced with a faction of evil time travelers on par with him, the situation proved much too big for the Doctor to eliminate and caused him to reluctantly call upon his own people, the Time Lords, to quash the mess.

However, he knew that he was placing himself in a defenceless position to be judged for causing disturbances in time and space. The final decision his superiors chose was to revert his companions back to their original places in history and swab away their memories of the Doctor, then exile the Doctor to Earth with a new appearance, but the Second Doctor did all he could to flee from what was all but an execution. In the end, however, he was unsuccessful and the Time Lords would eventually catch up to him…

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    TV Series Tropes 

Tropes associated with the television series

  • '60s Hair: An interesting case for the Second Doctor, who, despite saying that was against his taste when he was the First Doctor, wears a moptop (with touches of bowl cut) anyway, just like The Beatles.
    • Subverted however with Americans who were introduced to him after The '60s. He is instead regularly noted for an amusing resemblance to Moe Howard of The Three Stooges, who predated the Beatles by about three decades.
  • Abandoned Catchphrase: He had "I would like a hat like that" as a catchphrase for the first two or three stories before it was dropped off. Funnily enough, his future selves became fond of signature hats, especially a fez.
  • Ambiguously Gay: He and Jamie. According to Frazer Hines, who played Jamie, he and Patrick Troughton deliberately snuck as many innuendos into the show as they could, just to spite The BBC, including the now famous:
    Jamie: Doctor, look at the size of that thing!
    The Doctor: Yes, Jamie, it's a big one!
  • Arch-Enemy: The Cybermen, who at four serials, fought the Second Doctor more often than any other foe. The Great Intelligence was also set up as an arch-enemy of the Second Doctor, but a falling out between the character's creators and the production staff meant that it never fully materialized until the Eleventh Doctor's final season.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The first of many to demonstrate this trait, especially in his early adventures. He never quite stopped being distracted by hats, though.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: He wore a shabbier and slightly more informal version of One's look, with a bowtie, jacket instead of frock coat, and no waistcoat
  • Badass Longcoat: He wore a battered old frock coat many sizes too large, which added to his clownish demeanour.
  • Batman Gambit: Pulled one on his own companion, Jamie, in "Evil of the Daleks", knowing that Jamie would "infect" the Daleks with all that was good noble in humanity. Jamie didn't take it well.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Not as much as Five or Ten, but still capable of steering an enemy's space fleet into the sun or sparking a massive Dalek civil war when he deemed it necessary.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Despite his almost childlike recklessness, it was always clear to his allies that a keen, deliberate intellect lurked behind his every action, with him adopting a grave seriousness when the situation called for it. Even though he could get caught up in events around him, the Doctor knew that his friends' well-being came first and foremost.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: After the departure of Ben and Polly, he spends the remainder of his tenure travelling with companions who aren't from contemporary Earth (Jamie is from the 18th century, Victoria is from the 19th century, and Zoe is from the late 21st century). And while this isn't as big of a problem as it could have been, considering that only three stories following their departure ("The Web of Fear", "Fury from the Deep", and "The Invasion") have contemporary Earth settings, it does lead to a fair bit of cultural awkwardness on such occasions.
  • Butterfly of Transformation: Uses it to explain his transformation.
  • Came Back Wrong: Being that he's the first regeneration to appear at a time when the concept didn't exist yet, the Second Doctor went through a few rewrites: originally being envisioned as a windjammer captain (!) and then a "Mister Hyde" version of his predecessor, with a tramp version of the First Doctor's wardrobe. A few of these traits made it into the final version, and though the Doctor soon mellowed, his initial craziness was the basis for "regeneration" traumas we see again later. It certainly scared the pants off One's companions when the venerable old man shrank down into a giddy, flute-playing nutter.
  • The Cassandra: Finds himself filling this role in many stories, such as "The Power of the Daleks", "The Underwater Menace", "The Moonbase", etc. where the Doctor is aware of some menace threatening the locals but can't get anyone to take him seriously.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: At long last, the Doctor found one enemy (The War Chief) he couldn't fight without sending for reinforcements from Gallifrey. The Time Lords aren't amused: they find the Doctor guilty — with some equanimity — of ruining whole civilizations and then splitting before the clean-up. His sentence is separation from his companions with their memories of all but their first adventure with him wiped, the removal of his knowledge of how to pilot the TARDIS, and exile in modern day London. Oh, and they execute himnote  just for shiggles.
    War Chief: Doctor, you mustn’t call them in, or it will be the end of us. They’ll show no mercy.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • "When I say run, run." Also, "Oh, my giddy aunt!", and "Oh, crumbs!" And uncommonly, "Oh, my word!"
    • In his reappearances, some version of "Oh—I see you've redecorated (fill-in-the-blank), haven't you?—hmm. I don't like it."
  • Character Tics: He had a habit of wringing his hands constantly. The Eleventh Doctor imitated this. If he couldn't wring his hands, he'd twiddle his fingers and drum them on things, such as his other hand. Also lots and lots of eyebrow quirking.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • This was the first time the Doctor changed and no-one quite knew what effect this could, or should, have on the Doctor's personality - only that he would have to be different to the First Doctor. He started out being written as an interstellar 19th-century ship captain, then as a 'Mr Hyde' version of the First Doctor who took on distorted, dark versions of his quirks, before settling down into the cuddly but dangerous Hobo character he'd be for the rest of his run. Fortunately, this worked really well - this initial confusion over his personality was explained eventually as the result of the shock of undergoing an obviously physically traumatic process, and became a stock feature of regeneration ever after. Later Doctors, even ones whose personalities have already been planned out in full, traditionally kick off with a story in which they are completely loopy (ranging from confusion to yelling non-sequiturs to thinking they're their previous incarnations to trying to murder their companions) before settling into their main personality.
    • He started out with several gimmicks, such as his fondness for ridiculous hats, playing the recorder, and his love of disguises. As his character became more fleshed out these were gradually abandoned. His hat obsession is gone for good after "The Underwater Menace", his disguises are dropped in favour of Master Actor bluffing after "The Enemy of the World" and his recorder is last seen being (inexplicably) used as a telescope in "The War Games", with it last being played in "The Web of Fear". Season 6 gives him "Oh my word" and "oh my giddy aunt" as catchphrases and alters his sense of humour to be more of a Deadpan Snarker rather than a clown.
  • The Chessmaster: Not to the extent of Seven, but he had his moments of this.
  • Continuity Snarl: Since the Second Doctor got so many opportunities to meet his other incarnations personally, there were going to be continuity glitches. There is even an "Season 6B" theory to explain the references to "The War Games" in "The Two Doctors," which the BBC has officially acknowledged as "making sense".
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: Contrasts his predecessor's grumpiness with a warm, emotional attitude. He also contrasts One's stubborn straight-forwardness by being ruminative, subtle, and sneaky.
  • Cowardly Lion: The only Doctor who frequently shows open fear of his enemies, and in a way that does not make it look like a deliberate performance.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Always seemed to have some sort of situation-suitable item in those pockets of his.
  • Cuddle Bug: Has his arms around his companions more often than not.
  • Denser and Wackier: Though ultimately, the series proved to be Growing the Beard.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Whether it is by accident or design, this is a Doctor who can watch a civilization go up in flame or a man being sucked out through the TARDIS doors into space, dust himself off, and play a few notes on his recorder. Cold as ice.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: With much glee.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • As noted, this was the first time regeneration had been introduced, and certain elements would get changed or dropped as it got codified. Among other things:
      • In "The Power of the Daleks", the Doctor describes what's happened as having been "renewed", and in "The War Games", the Time Lords view it as a change of appearance. It wasn't actually called "regeneration" until "Planet of the Spiders".
      • On a related note, the concept of the Doctor dying as part of regeneration is absent; it wouldn't be established until Three to Four.
      • The Doctor says it's part of the TARDIS, without which he couldn't survive; later on, it became an innate ability of the Doctor's, though it remains strongly associated with the TARDIS, with the majority of regenerations happening in or near it.
      • The Doctor's clothes change, which wouldn't happen again in a regeneration until Thirteen to Fourteen.
    • For most of Second's TV era, the guiding assumption is that the Doctor is Ambiguously Human, as in "The Evil of the Daleks", where the Daleks don't use him to find the Human Factor because he's travelled too much in time, making him "more than human". He's not established as a Time Lord until "The War Games", and not as an alien until "Spearhead from Space".
  • Failed a Spot Check: He does this quite often. Notably in "The Dominators," when he clearly pointed out that the newly formed volcano was erupting, but didn't notice that the volcano was erupting.
    Jamie: C'mon! The whole place is going to blow up!
    Second Doctor No, it's quite all right, Jamie. The planet is quite safe. There's only going to be a localized volcanic eruption. It'll only affect the island.
    Jamie: Maybe so, but we happen to be on the island.
    Second Doctor: Oh, my word!
  • Fun Personified: He was very childlike in his love of play, dancing a jig in his new body, on the outskirts of Atlantis, and a beach in Australia. Unlike his reclusive predecessor, he was quite willing to enjoy fame, and even fortune, when he could find it.
  • The Gadfly: "Well, now I know you're mad. I just wanted to be sure." Two will irritate his foes just to see what they're like, such as with Klieg or Omega.
  • Gainax Ending: His regeneration into Three. The timeline is all screwed up, and it's very possible that what we saw on screen wasn't even his regeneration — these days, the Beeb considers the Season 6B theory valid.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Oh, my giddy aunt!" and variations.
  • Harmless Lady Disguise: Harmless lady with a gun concealed in her robes. (It's not like it was even loaded, though.)
  • Herr Doktor: Or as he liked to call himself, Doktor von Wer.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The Doctor and Jamie were together for all but one serial and for more episodes than any other companion.
  • Hobos: More like a WHO-bo.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The Doctor crawls out of the TARDIS on all fours, waving a white hankie in surrender — and then lobs a smoke bomb. Viva la revolucion!
  • Iconic Item: His recorder (the musical instrument), though it was used less and less over time. Loses one in "The Three Doctors" as a necessary sacrifice, but gets a replacement.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: It's been argued by many that Troughton is when the general concept of "the Doctor" snapped into sharp focus. David Tennant noted that all the Doctors these days are variations on the themes he set down.
  • Identical Stranger: This regeneration had a doppelganger, Ramón Salamander, a nefarious Emperor Scientist from the near future. Not only was Salamander a capable villain, he bluffed his way into the TARDIS (a feat which few have accomplished).
  • Idiot Hair: There's always this one bit of his hair that loves to stick up.
  • Indy Ploy: The Doctor loves this. Half the time he'll jump into action while readily admitting that he has no plan or even any real idea what's going on.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Typical Cosmic Hobo apparel. Most often a rumpled frock coat, baggy checked trousers and bowtie.
  • Master Actor: He was a convincing actor, being able to masquerade as the Chameleons' Director without arousing suspicion, and, against his will, also impersonated his physical double, Ramón Salamander, with a performance convincing enough to fool Jamie and Victoria.
  • Master of Disguise: He easily donned disguises without self-consciousness to age, gender, or dignity; he posed as a German physician, a washerwoman, and a wounded British soldier in Scotland, and dressed as a strange, gypsy-like musician in Atlantis.
  • Messy Hair: He had an unkempt mop-top haircut as well as an abiding five o' clock shadow, both of which sets him off against the clean-cut First Doctor. He has his hair tidied in "The Macra Terror" and "Enemy of the World" and apparently hates both the look and sensation of having it combed both times.
  • Nice Guy: When compared to his predecessor, the Second Doctor is an enthusiastic, considerate and whimsical oddball with a clownish sense of humor and a strong moral compass. He generally demonstrates a readiness to tackle challenges and forge new friendships whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Usually when he's frightened at something.
  • Noodle Incident: A possible adventure with the Eighth Doctor, it seems. Also, in "The Five Doctors" he recalls a never-seen adventure with "The Terrible Zodin".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Mercurial, clever, and always a few steps ahead of his enemies, at times he could be a calculating schemer who would not only manipulate people for the greater good, but act like a bumbling fool in order to have others underestimate his true abilities. Although he frequently gave the impression that he never knew what he was doing, this was simply an act put on to fool those who would underestimate him.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: As seen in "The Name of the Doctor", he had a mostly off-screen adventure with the Eighth Doctor.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Absolutely can't stand Three, and has a lot of fun insulting old "fancy pants" every chance he gets. Two and Six arguing is also a sight to behold, as Two is one of the few people who can give it back to Six as well as Six can dish it out.
  • Parental Substitute: To Victoria, after her father died saving his life on Skaro. She even refers to him as her guardian.
  • Protect This House/You Shall Not Pass!: The "Base Under Siege" episodes. These became a trademark of the Second Doctor's tenure, though they're not exclusive to him.
  • Recycled In Space: Is often described as Charlie Chaplin IN SPACE!
  • Rogues Gallery: Daleks, Professor Zaroff, Cybermen, Macra, Chameleons, the Dalek Emperor, the Cyber-Controller, the Great Intelligence, Robot Yeti, Ice Warriors, Ramón Salamander, Cyber-Planners, Dominators, Quarks, Tobias Vaughn, Krotons, and the War Chief.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Invokes the trope at times, especially towards UNIT.
  • Security Cling: All the time. Given and received.
  • Shot at Dawn: In "The War Games." Don't worry, he was saved... but as the show went on and the writers hammered out what exactly regeneration was, his "change of appearance" later on in that episode was revealed to have been his execution.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: He was so good at this that he successfully did it to himself in "The Three Doctors."
  • Summon Bigger Fish: His eventual undoing.
  • Tranquil Fury: "You tried to destroy an entire world", his chillingly calm response to the Ice Warriors' protests that he's destroyed their fleet.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Used on occasion.
  • Trope Codifier: Having defined most of the Doctor's chief characteristics, Second's role influenced several of the later Doctors, especially the Seventh and Eleventh.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: 99% of his dialogue with The Brigadier is them trying to out-snark each other.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: He loved dressing up.
  • Younger and Hipper: Compared to the First Doctor. Also, at this phase, the show had clearly abandoned the Edutainment aspect that was part of the show's initial conception. With the casting of Troughton, The Doctor now became an established Action Hero in his own right, now that he was young enough to actually participate in action scenes.note  This effectively ended the practice of having a strong, young male companion who was there specifically to handle fighting or action scenes.note 

    Comic Tropes 

Tropes associated with the TV comics line

  • Arch-Enemy: The Cybermen are still a consistent threat during John and Gillian's time with the Doctor, but they become overshadowed by the Quarks by the time Jamie rejoins the TARDIS.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Extortioner, Daleks, the Master of Spiders, Cybermen, the Grand Witch, Sabre-toothed gorillas, Quarks, Father Time, and the Time Lords.

    Book Tropes 

Tropes associated with Eighth Doctor Adventures

  • What the Hell, Hero?: Basically says this to the Eighth Doctor when the amnesiac older Doctor suggests calling the Time Lords for help ending the War Games, as his older self can't be sure if his presence is interfering with what the Second will decide to do.

Tropes associated with the Virgin Missing Adventures

Tropes associated with BBC Past Doctor Adventures

  • Never My Fault: An interesting example of this, as Heart of TARDIS sees the Doctor claim that his difficulties in piloting the TARDIS are actually the result of security protocols that inhibit a thief’s ability to control a stolen TARDIS rather than just that he doesn’t know what he’s doing (although the evidence suggests that he was at least exaggerating the impact these protocols have on his ability to control the ship).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In The Roundheads, the Doctor brings a Ladybird history book out of the TARDIS to help him keep track of some of the historical details of the time, only to lose the book and have to track it down so that nobody can use that information to change history.
    • The Final Sanction sees the Doctor almost alter history so that the planet Ockara and the ruthless Selachian natives aren’t destroyed in 2204, to the point that a group of surviving Selachians nearly destroy Earth in retaliation.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Doctor adopts one in World Game to pose as Napoleon Bonaparte and deliver important messages for the British during the Battle of Waterloo. Characters explicitly observe that the Doctor only bears a slight resemblance to Napoleon, but with the right clothes the Doctor makes a convincing enough Napoleon to the average Frenchman who would never come that close to his Emperor but only see him at a distance.
  • Rogues Gallery: Administrator Greene, Captain Stanislaus, General Cruger, Kepennis, Leonard De Sande, Myloki, the Players, President Sabit, & Selachians.

Tropes associated with other books

  • Amnesia Loop: At the end of Save Yourself it's revealed that after he completes each mission for the Time Lords his memory is erased, so he believes this is his first mission and therefore he goes into it believing he will soon be free.
  • Colour-Blind Confusion: The novelization to The Day Of The Doctor says that the first two incarnations of The Doctor could only see in monochrome and that it took him centuries to realize that he was colour blind. Presumably as a nod to the show being black and white back then.

    Audio Tropes 

Tropes associated with Big Finish
Voiced by: Frazer Hines (2007–present); Michael Troughton (2022-present)

Stories with Two tend to be sweet and relatively drama-free, staying extremely close to the atmosphere of his TV series episodes.

  • Ambadassador: Much prefers making peace to fighting.
  • Leonine Contract: The CIA essentially has one with The Doctor. He, at first, is told he will have his freedom as himself so long as he does occasional errands for the CIA. However, he soon learns that the things he has to do are despicable, and that his TARDIS has been tampered with to include remote control devices, and that if he even thinks of stepping out of line, back into the timestream he goes to his forced regeneration and exile.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Second basically has this reaction in "Daughter of the Gods" when he realizes that his predecessor and Steven are on the planet Urbania with Katarina rather than Vicki or any of their later companions, as he knows he didn't spend enough time with Katarina for her to be here.
  • Other Me Annoys Me:
    • While he sympathizes with his first incarnation's attachment to Katarina, he's frustrated that his younger self can't acknowledge the larger issues involved.
    • In "The Final Beginning", Two is given a vision of the Third Doctor by the Time Lords recruiting him to work for the Celestial Intervention Agency. The Doctor is immediately horrified by his successor's choice of wardrobe..
  • Rogues Gallery: Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, the Master, the Monk, Selachians, and Vardans.
  • The Slow Path: In "Shadow Of Death", he stays inside the base for a few years to have a chat with the Monster of the Week.

Alternative Title(s): Second Doctor