Notwithstanding the fact that the photo gives away the answer... Do you know who was the first actor to play Robin Hood on television?
You probably didn’t, but Patrick Troughton was the man in question... a hugely versatile actor who is undoubtedly best remembered for his portrayal of the second incarnation of Doctor Who, Troughton passed away on this day in 1987.
Born in 1920 and a Naval lieutenant during the Second World War, Troughton made his first television appearance in 1947 and big screen debut the following year. He had a string of acting credits to his name including Father Brennan whose memorable demise was very much a case of wrong place, wrong time as he was impaled during the 1976 film The Omen. But to a generation of 1960s youngsters, Troughton will always be “the Doctor”... and forty ahem plus years later, his interpretation of the renegade Time Lord remains (as far as I’m concerned) the standard against which other characterisations are judged.
The biggest disappointment is that the majority of his early Doctor Who stories were “junked” back in the 1970s and video records range from limited to nothing... Some of the later adventures still exist, but it’s Sod’s law that the quality of these stories is much weaker than some that remain missing... either that or the glasses have a slight tint of rose...
Troughton’s tenure includes my favourite all-time Doctor Who tale... the 1967 six-parter The Faceless Ones, which was set in GatwickAirport... and in outer space. Here again, most of the episodes no longer exist (just two or the six remain), but the soundtrack is available and if I had one wish...
It would be to win the lottery, but if I had several, maybe finding the four missing episodes might be one of them.
At the foot of the page is a still from the story, signed by Wanda Ventham, who played the part of Jean Rock, the airport commandant’s secretary. Trivia teaser no.2... who is her famous son?
No pictorial clues this time... the answer is Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch...
Anyway, back to Patrick Troughton... He suffered heart attacks in 1978 and 1984, but on both occasions, after recovering, he simply returned to the same hectic schedule of film and television work. I guess a third attack was always likely to be fatal... and so it proved, but his legacy remains and I would go as far as to suggest that some of Doctor Who’s current and enduring popularity can be attributed to the performances and personality of Patrick Troughton...
I might just have to watch a DVD in his memory tonight...
Patrick George Troughton (25th March 1920-28th March 1987)
All my own work... almost.