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Creator / Patrick Troughton

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"I believed totally in the possibilities implied by the series. I never thought of it as fantasy. Far from it."

Patrick George Troughton (25 March 1920 – 28 March 1987) was an English actor, best known for playing the Second Doctor in the TV series Doctor Who. He was in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was the first actor to play the folk hero Robin Hood on television.

Troughton was known largely for his comedic roles before playing the Doctor, and thus decided to play the character differently from William Hartnell: the stern but caring grandfather was replaced by a clownish eccentric. This established a major factor to the show's popularity: the idea that regeneration not only changed the Doctor's appearance, but elements of his personality as well, allowing each actor who played the Doctor to put their own mark on the character. Hartnell fully endorsed Troughton's casting, reportedly saying that "there is one man in Britain who can take over [the role of the Doctor] and that's Patrick Troughton."

Troughton left the role after three years alongside co-stars Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury out of fear of being typecast and from pressure from his wife.note  It would be over 40 years until the entire cast changed at once again. He retained a life-long affiliation with the programme, returning to play the Doctor three more times in various special episodes ("The Three Doctors", "The Five Doctors" and "The Two Doctors"). By extent, he is also the actor who reprised his role for televised multi-Doctor specials most often, beating runner-up Jon Pertwee ("The Five Doctors" and "Dimensions in Time" ) by one storynote . Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, cites Troughton as an inspiration for his version of the character, and it shows, right down to the outfit. Troughton advised Peter Davison to limit his time to three seasons in order to avoid being typecast as the Doctor, and the rule has since been followed by David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittakernote . He spoke out in favour of a female incarnation of the Doctor many decades before the Thirteenth Doctor was cast.

He died of a heart attack at the Magnum Opus Con II Science Fiction convention in America, after ignoring the advice of his doctors who had told him not to go. He had two daughters, four sons, and two stepchildren across two marriages and a partnership. Many of his sons and grandsons have followed in his footsteps and become actors. His son David Troughton has made two significant Doctor Who appearances, as King Peladon in the Third Doctor story "The Curse of Peladon" and as Professor Hobbes in the Tenth Doctor episode "Midnight" (in addition to minor roles elsewhere throughout the series, the first two of which were during his father's tenure). His other son Michael Troughton appeared in the 2014 Christmas special, and as of 2022 is the new official Second Doctor for Big Finish's Doctor Who audio dramas. David's son, Sam Troughton, is best known as Much in the 2006 BBC Robin Hood series. The son of Patrick's daughter Joannanote , Harry Melling, is best known as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films. (Alice Troughton, who directed two episodes of Doctor Who in 2008, is not a close relative of his.)

Works this actor has appeared in:


  • Hamlet (1948) — Player King

Live-Action TV

  • Danger Man episodes:
    • "Bury the Dead" (1960) — "Bart" Bartello
    • "The Lonely Chair" (1960) — Brenner


Tropes associated with this actor's work include:

  • Follow the Leader: Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi are all big fans of the Second Doctor, and even Tom Baker has admitted that his performance as the Fourth Doctor was partially inspired by Troughton's; the Doctor's affinity for jelly babies, while codified by Baker's Fourth Doctor, actually first began with the Second Doctor. Troughton also chose to reinvent the Doctor rather than portray him as Hartnell did, something which all subsequent actors who took the role of the Doctor have done as well.
  • Money, Dear Boy: At first, he was reluctant to take over from William Hartnell as the Doctor, but he had a large family and the prospect of long-term work was too good to pass up.
  • Throw It In: Troughton loved to improvise and improve the script on the fly. This ended up leading to a number of clashes with Jon Pertwee, who preferred to stick to his scripts, during the making of "The Three Doctors", to the point where Terrance Dicks intentionally limited the pair's shared screentime in "The Five Doctors" to mitigate the possibility of this happening again.
  • Trope Maker: For The Nth Doctor. His decision to play his incarnation of the Doctor very differently from William Hartnell's (mostly out of worry that this whole "regeneration" business wouldn't work) helped to bring about the idea that a change of actor allows the Doctor to be played in a new way.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Had this dynamic with Jon Pertwee: While filming ''The Three Doctors'' their two approaches to acting clashed (Pertwee was incredibly "by the book", Troughton enjoyed ad-libbing) and they got on each other's nerves. After that they grew to become close friends but kept bickering during public appearances as they enjoyed this effect. They were disappointed about their lack of shared screentime in the twentieth anniversary special. It also helped that Troughton had an interest in religious history, and Pertwee, a descendant of French Hugenots (the original family name was Pertuis) reluctantly at first, helped Troughton to get a better understanding of Hugenots history.
    • Same with Colin Baker, who Troughton called "Miss Piggy" in reference to his weight in an interview, yet Colin still thinks of Troughton as the definite incarnation of the Doctor.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Troughton could've appeared on Doctor Who much earlier; he was initially offered the role of Johnny Ringo in "The Gunfighters", but turned it down.
    • His initial idea for the Second Doctor would've been to dress up as a mix between a pirate and a genie in blackface, mostly to disguise his visage so that people wouldn't see him on the street and say "that's the man who killed Doctor Who!" The idea fell through very quickly, ultimately leading to the "mop top hobo" appearance shown on-screen. Ironically, the idea of a pirate-themed persona for the Doctor was considered by Steven Moffat for the Eleventh Doctor, before Matt Smith (who watched the Second Doctor's tenure for inspiration for the role) came up with the bowtie-wearing persona his Doctor would end up adopting.
    • He was considered for the role of Dr. Hans Reinhardt in the 1979 Disney film The Black Hole. Maximilian Schell was cast in the role.
    • When BBC controller Michael Grade contacted Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman asking for ideas for retooling the show, Newman came up with a scenario where Troughton would've returned to the role of the Doctor for Season 24 before regenerating into a woman at the end of it. However, negotiations between Newman and BBC head of drama Jonathan Powell fell apart due to Creative Differences, and even if they didn't, Troughton's death in March of 1987 would've nixed the idea of him returning. 35 years later, the overall concept itself would be Refitted for Sequel with David Tennant returning for a short stint as a new incarnation, before being replaced by Ncuti Gatwa at the end of a set of specials created for the show's 60th anniversary. Ironically enough, Tennant’s new incarnation is succeeding the first female Doctor.

Oh my giddy aunt!