The Day TV changed forever

Had a great Day in San Antonio. Got Autographs from David Tennant and Sean Pertwee.

But today is momentous for another reason.

It was fifty years ago today, on Saturday 29th October 1966, that we bid farewell to the First Doctor.

At exactly 50 minutes and 47 seconds past five, 7.5 million viewers tuned into BBC 1 to hear the theme music ring out and the last William Hartnell episode begin. 24 minutes later it was all over. We had a new Doctor.

William Hartnell had appeared in 127 episodes of Doctor Who, appearing in 29 stories. He would return to the series in 1972, in four episodes of The Three Doctors. To date only one actor, Tom Baker, has appeared in more Doctor Who episodes than Hartnell, whose episodes, if played sequentially, would last for 2 days. 5 hours and 38 minutes.

Fifty years on, William Hartnell’s influence is still felt in the series, and in the character he created. His final episode has been lost, but one sequence survives. It is perhaps the most important sequence in the series history. The regeneration. With that one scene, the programme’s future was guaranteed. The series could outlive its creators. Its immortality was assured.

 a gamble that enabled the show to still be with us today

William Hartnell “renews” his body as Doctor Who becomes Patrick Troughton

Interviewed in 1986 for Fantasy Empire by John Peel, Troughton said: “I didn’t think it was a particularly good idea of the BBC to replace Billy. I thought it was pretty silly, really. I thought that the difficulties of selling it to the audience were enormous … almost insurmountable. However, in the end, I was persuaded over a week of negotiations, and I thought, ‘What the heck, let’s do this for a while and see what happens’.”

Patrick Troughton as the second incarnation of the Doctor
Patrick Troughton as the second incarnation of the Doctor. Photograph: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Troughton’s first story as the Doctor – The Power of the Daleks – is lost, but will soon be issued by the BBC in animated format.

Theatre showings in the US on November 14th and then on November 19th on BBC America.



About mydoctor1962

Doctor Who fan like few others. Also a fan of Science Fiction, Cooking Shows and more.

Posted on October 30, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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