Patrick Troughton: A Warning

I might have mentioned before that my four year old, BTP, is something of a Dr. Who nut. And I don’t just mean new Dr. Who (I’m no longer sure whether his favourite Doctor is David Tennant, Tom Baker or Patrick Troughton…)

I told him that I’d buy him a treat when I started my new job, and he asked for the ‘Bred For War’ boxed set which has just come out featuring Dr. Who and the Sontarans (a Jon Pertwee story, two Tom Baker stories, and one story which sees Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton appearing together).

He’s become quite a fan of Patrick Troughton — despite the fact he keeps wondering what has happened to the colour and what is even more alarming is that I appear to be developing this same Dr. Who-itis.

I’ve found myself buying some of the old Dr. Whos on DVD for me (as opposed to the usual stuff where he gets a DVD of his choice every now and again for a treat), and I’ve been picking up some of the Dr. Who DVDs from the 1960s — ones that I’ve never seen before, but in some cases I read the books — and so I’ve picked up three black and white DVDs in the last week or so.

Dr. Who ‘Lost In Time’ is a collection of the surviving episodes of the serials which have been lost in their entirety — in total, there are 18 episodes, ranging across the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton eras. But it’s a little weird because there’s not so much in the way of continuity: episodes 1 and 3 of The Crusade, episodes 2 and 4 of The Moonbase, the few surviving clips of ‘The Tenth Planet’, the first appearance of the cybermen and so on.

Dr. Who ‘Tomb Of The Cybermen’ is one that was believed lost since it was originally screened in 1967 until it turned up in 1992 in a TV station in Hong Kong, and features ‘old style’ cybermen (back in the days where it looked like they were wearing a wet suit painted silver — they were — with associated wires stuck randomly to the outside). Obviously, watching with today’s expectations on special effects, they are somewhat … shit … but the plot is actually quite good, and the character presented by Patrick Troughton is rapidly becoming my favourite doctor, despite having only seen a handful of them…

Dr Who ‘The Seeds Of Death’ is a six-parter that features the Martian ‘Ice Warriors’ who are one of the few “classic” Doctor Who monsters that I’ve never actually seen on the screen before. And I’m really looking forward to watching it. Which is the worrying thing.

I mean, I’ve always liked Dr. Who, don’t get me wrong, but after starting to watch these Patrick Troughton stories, I think I’m in danger of becoming an official ‘fan’. I’m even starting to feel somewhat narked that various episodes from the early days were wiped because now I won’t get the chance to watch them something which wouldn’t have bothered me in the slightest six months ago.

So this is a warning for anyone else who might be tempted to watch any of the old Patrick Troughton Dr Who adventures — you do so at your own risk. You might even end up a Whovian, and I’m not sure whether that is even curable…

2 Responses to “Patrick Troughton: A Warning”

  1. Steve responds:

    No, it isn’t curable!

    I’ve hardly seen any of the Troughton series apart from The Krotons which I thought was good. Apparently his era was the most wiped or lost when the BBC decided to get rid of old black and white programmes during the 70s.

    I have been introducing my daughter (who is also a Who nut) to the old series via YouTube and we watched a chunk of The Time Warrior recently which is the first Sontaran story with Jon Pertwee. Looks a bit tame now although it made me cry in 1974.

  2. Graham Cluley, Sophos responds:

    I think Patrick Troughton is my favourite “classic” doctor - even though I was born just as his era was coming to a close, and by rights I should be more of a Pertwee or Baker (Tom) fan.

    If your son wants to see some more Troughton in colour then I can recommend “The Three Doctors” or “The Five Doctors” (broadcast for Dr Who’s tenth and twentieth anniversaries respectively).

    It’s a scandal that so few of Troughton’s original episodes still exist - the BBC must be kicking themselves that they trashed so much material that they could now be making a pretty penny out of…

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