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The Second Doctor: Five Favourites

To celebrate Troughton’s date of birth guest contributor Francis Milan & K-Ci Williams pick out 5 of his best.

patrick-troughton-500-year-diary

As established on many occasions amongst the concatenation of actors to play the titular role, Patrick Troughton’s second incarnation is considered the Doctor’s Doctor. Naturally, he is a great inspiration to every one of them, and, back in his day, defined the far limits of flexibility which the show could reach. Conversely different to his predecessor, the Second Doctor changed the face of Doctor Who forever; his flamboyantly nutty charm and warm affability lay the foundations for every Doctor to follow suit and make the role their own.

After all – if the role of the Second had been played by an actor of a similar age and style to William Hartnell, would the show still be the same today? Absolutely not. His character is considered by some as far more important to the show’s future than Hartnell’s original incarnation, and for good reason. With the dawn of Troughton came change – the single word which represents the overriding ethos of Doctor Who today.

The Tomb of the Cybermen

tomb-of-the-cybermen-bfiThis is, for me (K-Ci), the single most definitive story of Patrick Troughton’s era. Let’s skip straight to the sequence where the Cybermen escape their tomb; ripping through the plastic covers, climbing down the ladder-ish ladders. The scene is expertly choreographed, and it’s the image of the Second Doctor’s era that has stuck with me. It’s just so sinister; the score is paced phenomenally well, and the shock on everyone’s faces is worthy of praise. This one scene of this one story was crafted with all facets brought up to scratch.

There is a particular fascination I have with this piece of television. Everything is practically perfect. The Second Doctor himself, Mr Patrick Troughton, is superb in this story. He’s just indescribable; I very much recommend this story to any first time watchers of his era. I adore Jamie as a character as well, and the whole script is crafted spectacularly. There’s not much more to say about this, except that it made the Cybermen a whole lot scarier (in my opinion, being a modern Who kid when it was revived, the Cybermen didn’t actually make me shiver). The one story that has ever shown them close to scary and haunting is The Tomb of the Cybermen.

I must also apologise for my small contribution to this particular Five Favourites edition. It’s got something to do with my laptop breaking (Cybermen possibly did it, not able to confirm) and losing all my data of what I had previously in store for you all (they probably deleted it), but I hope to make a full tech-recovery in time for the next edition. Still, after the scare of my laptop breaking, I can confidently say… that scene from this story is quite a degree more frightening.

The Mind Robber

doctor-who-mind-robberThere may be a little bit of imbalance on this list, considering we’ve already moved onto the Second Doctor’s final season; though what a cracking and almost untainted run of episodes it was. The Mind Robber was my [Francis, from now on] first ever favourite Classic era episode – to define it in a single word: bizarre! The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find themselves in a land of fiction, coming face-to-face with characters such as Gulliver and a comic-book superhero. As it turns out, the whole charade is the work of super-villain the Master (though not that Master, rather annoyingly). He’s a psychological menace, which makes for some very weird and wonderful scenes – it’s realm governed by a madman, which leads to some serious havoc: people become possessed, the TARDIS trio are threatened by Medusa and the Minotaur, and there’s plenty more where that came from.

The set design is simply sublime, from the white void to the forest, caves, and plenty of other locations explored by the Doctor. At one point, Jamie must be reassembled piece-by-piece, and the Doctor kept on clumsily misjudging parts of Jamie, which was complemented by some hilarious comic acting on Troughton’s behalf. The best stories of the Second Doctor’s era are the scripts that really push Patrick’s acting ability to the limit, and The Mind Robber is a terrific example of this.

The Invasion

cybermen-the-invasion-londonThe Invasion will forever be remembered for a number of reasons. The Dawn of UNIT! The Establishment of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and EverChangingMilitaryTitle Benton! And those timeless scenes of Cybermen rising from the sewers and advancing menacingly through the barren streets of London… Ach! The chills. But this wasn’t solely a Cyber-affair. (Cor, everything sounds cool with the word ‘Cyber’ in front of it, doesn’t it?) In amongst the Cyber-explosions, Cyber-guns, and cunning Cyber-plots, the Second Doctor remains as optimistically flamboyant as ever. This serial demonstrated one of Patrick’s rare stints as an action hero, albeit a reluctant one; towards the end of the story, he accompanies UNIT’s men on a Cyber-hunt. We see him dodging explosions, traversing buildings and generally running away from things.

The visuals in this episode are truly sublime, and the story isn’t too bad either. Zoe takes charge of saving the day with her maths-y brain, which leaves the Doctor to have a whole load of fun on the front line, which was a wonderful decision by the writers. In fact, this story was originally conceived as a four-parter, before it engulfed the timeslot of another four-parter which was scrapped in early stages, giving it a total of about 200 minutes to fill! And boy, did it give a good effort at keeping the pace. Kudos must also go to chilling villain Tobias Vaughn, a superbly cast character, and the sort of adversary we could do with more of in the show these days. Cyberlicious!

The Seeds of Death

doctor-who-seeds-of-death-dvdIf there’s one thing The Seeds of Death will be remembered for, it’s the triumphant return of the Ice Warriors. Which, though fantastic, is also a shame, as it brushes all of its other merits to one side. First up, there’s the terrific style of direction from Michael Ferguson: it was modern, fresh and experimental. Furthermore, the Ice Warriors’ crafty seed-pod plot resulted in some visually fantastic scenes where the crew brought out the foam machine, which Patrick had to manoeuvre clumsily around as the foam engulfed him.

There are some timeless concepts such as the amazing worldwide teleportation device T-Mat, around which the threat of the episode is centred. The episode is very savvy and forward-thinking in the way that it considered rockets to be a thing of the past, as one of our futuristic protagonists strives to lead a revolution to bring them back to the forefront. The Doctor and Co, on fine form as always, even had the chance to pilot a rocket, which made for a set of really inventive and convincing scenes in which they acted away gravity itself. Almost makes you wonder: did they really go to space…?

The War Games

war-games-dvdThe War Games is a story so ambitious – a roller coaster ride of locations, characters and drama – even the current Who production team would have a difficult job in finding the budget to make these days, which is really saying something. It holds a bit of status as the longest actual-proper serial of Doctor Who ever, although the fandom is in a bit of indecision about whether The Trial of a Time Lord counts as four serials or a single fourteen-part story. In effect, as The War Games progresses, it’s not difficult to draw parallels between the two: (or five?) the Doctor eventually ends up on trial by his own race for, well… Being the Doctor. But you’d be mistaken to think that that is all this story has to offer.

Among the hubbub of conflict and scandal, Patrick Troughton does an admirable job of remaining the centre point of the adventure. In a regimented world of soldiers and order, the Second Doctor is well and truly the life and soul of the party – and quite rightly so, as this was the very final outing of his era. As mentioned before, Troughton is considered one of the finest actors to fill the Doctor’s boots, and it’s not difficult to see why from watching The War Games. The Doctor’s dramatic confrontation with fellow Time Lord the War Chief in Episode Eight is performed sublimely, as he attempts to persuade his reasoning for leaving Gallifrey all those years ago. Think how fantastic the Doctor’s phone conversation with the Master was in The Sound of Drums. Patrick Troughton was doing it a year before either of them were born. There are some really gritty themes in The War Games; it’s a testament to the cast that they managed to uphold that in one of the most mature and potent episodes of all time.

Honourable Mentions – The Multi-Doctor Specials

Unlike some of the actors to leave the role, Patrick Troughton was hardly a stranger to the series following his departure, re-emerging in both the seventies and eighties to don the bow tie and collar for special adventures with his past and future selves. He played a leading role in three feature-length stories after 1969, so is among the most prolific returning Doctors.

The Three Doctors (1973) – Paired with Jon Pertwee by the Time Lords to battle Omega, this made for my favourite Doctor combo of all time. The Second and Third Doctors bounce off each other superbly, with witty repartee in its abundance between two conversely different personas of the same man. In fact, though I prefer Pertwee myself, Troughton almost put him to shame!

The Five Doctors (1983) – Yetis! Cybermen! The Brigadier! The big fluffy coat! If there was any doubt as to who Pat was playing in The Five Doctors, it was eased by a swarm of clichés that harked back to the late sixties.

The Two Doctors (1985) – Despite having been away from the part full-time for over a decade-and-a-half, it was wonderful to see that the spirit of the Doctor was still alive within Mr Troughton, as strong as ever. Not to mention the constant bickering between him and the Sixth Doctor, which was brilliant.

In loving memory of Patrick Troughton, (25 March 1920 – 28 March 1987) who would have been 94 today.

Step back in time...

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58 comments
ThatSecondOne
ThatSecondOne

Oh well. Oh my... this is very kind of you indeed. Really. It is.  












TimeLordVictorious
TimeLordVictorious

it's so frustrating that large chunks of his era are missing, having seen the LC recons i believe that the macra terror and the wheel in space would be high up on this list. bit surprised that the web of fear and enemy of the world weren't included. two of his greatest. although as i type this i realise they were all great.

Polyphase
Polyphase

Excellent article for an excellent Doctor :) Been watching my new Web of Fear dvd and I must say that The Great Intelligence is so well done that it makes me wonder why Moffat even tried to revive this villain but I suppose he thought WOF would never be found.

Adric the Genius
Adric the Genius

I should really watch more of Troughton's episodes.  I have seen The Tomb of the Cybermen, some of The Seeds of Death, some of The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors.

GaryKingston
GaryKingston

RIP Patrick I wonder what h would think of Doctor Who now? 

parrot999
parrot999

Enemy of the World, Tomb of the Cybermen, and Invasion are my top three...

microbat98
microbat98

Three of my all time favourites are up there! I love The War Games (my all time favourite), The Mind Robber and The Invasion.

Liana21
Liana21

I love Troughton, he's so funny

My choices are

Tomb of the Cybermen- I love the quote Keeping my eyes open and my mouth shout

Web of Fear- Really scary and interesting

Invasion- Tobias Vaughn is a great villain

Mind Robber- Crazy but really good

Moonbase- i love the polish remover trick of Polly.

lukeymollo
lukeymollo

-Evil of the Daleks, Tomb of the Cybermen, The Web of Fear, The Invasion & Seeds of Death for me








Nightmarish
Nightmarish

Great article! I haven't seen The Mind Robber yet, but I'm going to now.

jamface23
jamface23

Actually, The Daleks' Master Plan is the longest story with 12 episodes, although most are missing. And how could you miss out The Web of Fear?! That is seriously one of the best classic stories, so glad they found it. Absolutely brilliant. 

WeepingSilence
WeepingSilence

I haven't seen many classic who serials (need to order some) but Troughton is possibly my favourite classic doctor, he just fits the image of the fun cheeky Grandad that spoils you every time you go over and acts like he's still a kid. Tomb of the Cybermen is one of my favourite Who stories of all time, the Cybermen were so scary during his era (Moonbase made me scared to go up to bed), and every story with them was just outstanding, my favourites being Tomb and Invasion

ahunter8056
ahunter8056

I agree very much so with 'Tomb Of The Cybermen' and 'The War Games'. However I would personally disagree with 'The Invasion' and 'The Seeds Of Death'. Personally I think they're both decent serials, but nothing outstanding about them. I have never seen 'The Mind Robber', so I can't judge that.

Americanwhovian
Americanwhovian

I thought tomb of the cybermen was over rated, it was just ok. all the other ones were extremly brilliant though

Bollyknickers
Bollyknickers

A lovely little article, you two.  I enjoy Troughton's era, from what I've seen of it; it's fun and entertaining and distinct enough from Hartnell's that it gave the show its first new breath of life.  I love The Mind Robber, even if the plot isn't the strongest - it's adventurous and often very amusing.  The Invasion and Tomb are both superb; strong, interesting Cyber-stories.  But my favourite is The War Games; a terrific and thought-provoking to the actor's tenure.

Baker Street is excited for Series 8!
Baker Street is excited for Series 8!

I really need to see more of Troughton's stories, as I only have three (I have 60 classics overall though, don't worry!). It's such a shame that half of his are missing.

tcexect
tcexect

If only Power of the Daleks and Evil of the Daleks weren't missing, they are supposed to be some of Troughton's best ever.

luckemasse
luckemasse

I feel honored to share a birthday date with Mr.Troughton

Iris Wildthyme
Iris Wildthyme

Great article! My top five would probably be The Highlanders, Evil of the Daleks, The Web of Fear, The Mind Robber, and The War Games. Lots of his earlier seasons, while the companion teams aren't as strong as Jamie/Zoe, are still quite enjoyable. 

ilyootha is in the Divergent Universe
ilyootha is in the Divergent Universe

Patrick Troughton was adorable as the Doctor, no wonder Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Matt Smith have all said that the Second Doctor was their favourite! My Top 5 list of his stories goes very much the same way, except that maybe it doesn't include The Seeds of Death and maybe includes The Faceless Ones instead...

Gustaff
Gustaff

I cant enjoy tomb without wondering why the hell the cybermen designed such a stupid tomb and locked themselves inside with no door on the inside. That just ruins it for me.

I like the highlanders and the macra over seeds and robber. Throw in space pirates and thats me.

DoctorF0rever
DoctorF0rever

Love Patrick Troughton. Tomb Of The Cybermen is definitely my favourite classic story. Looking forward to watching The Mind Robber when it comes to the Horor channel and more stories from his era!

jmzlink
jmzlink

My list would be almost totally different and based largely on the audios and reconstructions:


War Games

Faceless ones

Evil of the Daleks

Abominable Snowman

Moonbase

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

I absolutely agree that Patrick Troughton's Doctor was one of, if not the, most important Doctor in terms of establishing the character, but honestly (and don't hate me for this) he's probably my least favourite Doctor. I just never really got into him as a character. I mean, he's still awesome. No Doctor can be a bad character, but still. Maybe it's because he was the template in a way that other Doctor's would follow in terms of characterisation. This means that after watching all their interpretations of the Doctor with all that extra stuff added on, Troughton's Doctor just seems a little boring. I also find his era quite dull as well. You can only do the base under seige format so many times in a row before it gets boring. I absolutely love "Tomb of the Cybermen", but the rest are quite a bore in my opinion.

I know he's one of the most popular Doctors, and I can see why he'd be so beloved, but I'm just not that keen on him.

AztecsDaleksAndCavemen
AztecsDaleksAndCavemen

Patrick Troughton was truly extraordinary. His era was all genre and all adventure. It puts me in mind of old horror films with a mix of sci-fi and fantasy. He had a perfect way about him in which he could adapt to any emotion and command the screen in both subtle and obvious ways. I would add the short scene where he comforts Victoria about her father in Tomb of the Cybermen (in my opinion one of the best scenes in Doctor Who's history). I would also give an honourable mention to The Evil of the Daleks.

Libertine80
Libertine80

The problem with opinion pieces is they're always formed on the writers' own opinion of the stories. There's no doubt that all Troughton serials are magnificent (although I'd hesitate calling Space Pirates anything complimentary), but I feel it short changes the character to have his special mentions being all multi-Doctor serials. Surely, fans should be celebrating the utterly genius Enemy of the World as one of Troughton's finest - he DID perform the dual role of antagonist and protagonist, after all - and despite being half-animated, The Moonbase sets up not only how Troughton would play his Doctor for the remainder of his tenure, but also introduce us to the format which would prove so successful time and again for his era. Still, like the original post, this is all opinion anyway!









Antee991166
Antee991166

Troughton for the win! He's my favourite Doctor and would recommend these episodes to anyone looking to get into the classics.

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

I love the 2nd Doctor! I havent seen many of his episodes yet though... I don't even remember the titles... a friend showed me a few episodes. That's how I started my foray into Classic, in fact. I saw the one with the ice warriors, if memory serves. The first one was when they were in a base and he had to find out what was making everyone sick. It was my first time seeing Troughton's Doctor and I really loved his style. :)

I saw the 3 Doctors and loved it. Saw the 2 Doctors too and liked it.

Gonna make a note of all those episodes and see if I can borrow them from my friend, if he has them, that is lol. Thanks for the article. :)

Mad-Mad With A Box Productions
Mad-Mad With A Box Productions

Fantastic article, guy's! Troughton is probably my favourite Doctor of them all. Right now I'm marathoning several of his stories, in honor of the great man himself.




A superb actor who was taken away from us too soon. Happy Birthday Pat!





Liana21
Liana21

@Baker Street I love the battle between book characters, i was hoping for Marcus Didus Falco vs Sherlock. No puns intended, Dear Baker Street

Liana21
Liana21

@Baker Street I bought Web couple weeks ago, now i have 3 Hartnell's, 4 Troughton's, 2 Pertwee's, 4 Baker's and 2 Davison's + Series 1,4,5,6,7, Day and Time.

Libertine80
Libertine80

@TheDreamer  The Moonbase is the serial you're thinking of, where the Doctor has to find what is causing the virus affecting most of the staff. The Ice Warriors is where a number of scientists discover a frozen warrior in a glacier and when it wakes, it sets about reanimating the rest of it's frozen warrior army.  If you ever get the opportunity, check out The Enemy of the World, too. Troughton plays two roles, that of the Doctor and the main villain, Salamander. It's one of the recently found serials and is absolutely brilliant!


bluBob
bluBob

@Polyphase @GaryKingston I really hope that Troughton of all Doctors would not be the one to think that the new ones were too childish. I could see Hartnell or Pertwee maybe, but not Troughton.

no_tweeter
no_tweeter

@Polyphase @GaryKingston  The Doctor who gave the show a new lease of life by playing the childlike hobo would find it a bit childish? I would say he'd be proud to say the current itteration, the Smith era is a mesh between Hinchcliffe era writing and Patrick Troughtons wonderful performace of childlike wonder and physical acting.

AztecsDaleksAndCavemen
AztecsDaleksAndCavemen

@Liana21 @Baker Street I have 5 Hartnells, 1 Troughton, 1 Pertwee, 1 T Baker, 1 Davison, 1 C Baker, 1 McCoy, series 1 Eccleston

Because I'm an all round guy. I'm hoping to have at least one of each doctor.

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

@Libertine80 @TheDreamer  Yes, thank you. :) The Moonbase, I couldn't remember the title. :) Will see if I can get my hands on enemy of the world too. Not sure he'll have it if it's only been found recently, but I'll check. Thanks. :)