“One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye Susan. Goodbye my dear.”
Fifty years. I can’t believe Doctor Who has been around that long. So, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my all-time favorite Sci-fi show, I’m going to start a monthly miniseries looking at each era of the show. So, why not start with the man who started it all.
About William Hartnell
William Hartnell was the son of Lucy Hartnell, but never discovered his father, despite efforts to locate him. He started out as an actor in 1928 in the play Miss Elizabeth’s Prisoner, where he met his wife, Heather McIntyre. His first movie was Say it With Music. Most of his roles were either comic characters or “tough guys”. It was his role in This Sporting Life in 1932 that made Doctor Who’s first producer and creator Verity Lambert consider him for the role of the Doctor. Hartnell agreed to the role because he felt typecast and enjoyed the prospect of working on a children’s show. Hartnell had also suffered from atherosclerosis, often causing him to forget his lines. Another interesting thing to note is that many of the elements we’re used to with the First Doctor weren’t established until other ones came along, such as the sonic screwdriver and his alien origins. Not long after he left the show, he retired from acting, but in 1973, returned to the role of the First Doctor for what would be his final acting role in the Doctor Who story “The Three Doctors”. He died in 1975.
My Opinion on Hartnell
The Hartnell era is not something I enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the episodes I watched from it. But its experimental nature threw me off, as well as Hartnell’s portrayal. I’m used to a more lively version of the Doctor, not a grumpy old man.
Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford)
First Appearance: “An Unearthly Child” Last Appearance: “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”
I see Susan as wasted potential. All she did was scream and act stupid. They could’ve done so much better. After all, she was the Doctor’s daughter. Think of the possibilities.
Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton (Jacqueline Hall and William Russell)
First Appearance: “An Unearthly Child” Last Appearance: “The Chase”
Of these two, I like Barbara best. In fact, she’s my favorite companion from this era. She has undaunting courage and I like how she was the first companion to challenge the Doctor (in “The Aztecs”). Ian is great comedy relief and I love the chemistry he has with the Doctor. In the Sarah Jane Adventures episode “Death of the Doctor”, we learn that Barbara and Ian are not only happily married, but also immortal.
Vicki (Maureen O’Brien)
First Appearance: “The Rescue” Last Appearance: “The Myth Makers”
In a way, Vicki is a substitute for Susan. And just about as annoying too. There’s really nothing about this character to like, in my opinion.
Steven Taylor (Peter Purves)
First Appearance: “The Chase” Last Appearance: “The Savages”
Steven is my second favorite companion from this era. He does a great job at providing the action and I like his sense of morality. Heck, anyone who can put up with Vicki and Dodo has to have a good temper!
Katarina (Adrienne Hill)
First Appearance: “The Myth Makers” Last Appearance: “The Daleks’ Master Plan”
All I know about Katarina is that she is the first companion to die. All her stories have at least one missing part.
Sara Kingdom (Jean Marsh)
First and only Appearance: “The Daleks’ Master Plan”
Another character I know little about. I do know she’s supposed to be from the year 4000.
Dodo Chaplet (Jackie Lane)
First Appearance: “The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve” Last Appearance: “The War Machines”
I HATE Dodo. She’s such an idiot. Worst companion ever!
Polly and Ben Jackson (Anneke Wills and Michael Craze)
First Appearance: “The War Machines” Last Appearance: “The Faceless Ones (w/2nd Doctor)
I know nothing of these two. The only story I’ve seen is the only one that is completely intact: “The War Machines”. In the Sarah Jane Adventures episode “Death of the Doctor”, it’s stated that they now run an orphanage.
Many of the First Doctor’s episodes are missing because the BBC purged them from their warehouses. For this reason, I have not watched much of it. But of what I’ve seen, I can recommend the following, all of which are complete:
1. “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” (6 episodes)
The Daleks actually succeed in conquering a parallel Earth, but a small resistance is fighting back. This marks the departure of Susan, and I still think it’s one of the show’s most heartwarming moments.
2. “The Time Meddler” (4 episodes)
The Doctor meets the Meddling Monk, a rogue time traveler with his own TARDIS. The story is a great battle of wits and I enjoyed the twist ending.
“The Ark” (4 episodes)
This is one of Dodo’s stories. The worst thing about it is that the whole story could have been avoided if Dodo had done the sensible thing and stayed in the TARDIS until she got over her cold. That’s right, Dodo makes a whole colony of humans and aliens sick because they don’t have good immune systems anymore. See why I hate this character?