NME 3 - 1982
The Five Faces of Dr. Who - Tim Fern and J.C. Reynolds
(page 5/19)
Neither Man Established

The Five Faces of Dr. Who

by Tim Fern and J.C. Reynolds

Doctor Who, in the eighteen years since its inception has almost become an institution. This series was an attempt to chart its history.

The inaugural series, with William Hartnell as the Doctor, was to the eyes of today's sophisticated audience, awful. Something of this was due to what was (sic) then dramatic, such as the Tardis travelling, today being commonplace. The Doctor was not the forceful character we now know, but a doddering old man who didn't want to get involved. However, from what little indication we have here, including a few glimpses of him in "The Three Doctors", he appeared to be the most serious of them. No doubt the character matured over Hartnell's tenure, indeed it would have been interesting to have seen one of his later series: nevertheless it is hard to see how the character could have been started in any other way.

Patrick Troughton brought humour to the character, making him more flippant, as well as eccentric. Much of his persona is centred around his curous mannerisms and expletives delivered in an extremely mild manner. Here he is the leading character, with assistants, not the other way around.

Jon Pertwee's portrayal was deeper, his eccentricities being more in his accoutrements, such as his dress (I know what you mean, but I don't like the way you put it. Ed) and Bessie (his car). His more serious nature worked well in his enforced stay on Earth, counterpointing the Brigadier, for whom the term "military intelligence" would be an oxymoron, and Jo, perhaps his best assistant. His was a more dynamic version, a man of action.

Tom Baker combined something of the previous two. Although coming out with some lovely one-liners, he is more active following Pertwee. Perhaps this trend is due to the decreasing age of the Doctor's incarnations. Admittedly, "Logopolis" was not the best series to see, but being the most recent Doctor, he is the best remembered by his audience.

The inevitable question arises: who was the best Doctor? Non was definative, and though ourselves tending to support Patrick Troughton (or Tom Baker T.F.), we have heard four different opinions. It is the character himself the Doctor, who is more important than the actor playing him; the mad scientist is a standard role in much science fiction, though rarely exploited so successfully. One can but wait and see how Peter Davison will portray his sixth incarnation (there was a pre-Hartnell one in "The Brain of Morbius") and hope that they will bring back the old signature tune.