Patrick Troughton casting could have been end of Doctor Who

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 4 November 2016
Troughton as the Doctor

Patrick Troughton as Second Doctor in Power of the Daleks

Classic 'Doctor Who' actress Anneke Wills has revealed she and the rest of the cast of the BBC One sci-fi show were worried it was going to be cancelled when Patrick Troughton took over the titular role from William Hartnell in 1966

Patrick Troughton's casting as Doctor Who could have ended the series 50 years ago, actress Anneke Wills has claimed.

It's been 50 years since the late great Troughton took over the iconic role from First Doctor William Hartnell creating a plot device that would keep the BBC One sci-fi show going for decades and still to this day with current TARDIS incumbent Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Time Lord.

However, Anneke - who played companion Polly alongside both Hartnell and Troughton - admits she and the rest of the cast were worried they would still have jobs after that first regeneration in 1966.

She said: "We knew Bill (Hartnell) was going to finish, that he was gone, and then there were discussions ... 'OK, is that the end of the show or shall we have another actor? Shall we have an actor who looks like Bill, or shall we have a completely different actor?'

"We had no idea whether the British public would accept it, or whether they'd say, 'No, you can't do that - it's Bill, you can't just have a new actor altogether.' But you're not thinking in 50 years' time you'll be talking about it, you're just really hoping as an actor that you're going to be in work ... When we heard it was Patrick, we knew that we had a chance. But we still didn't know if the audience would accept the fact that the Doctor had completely changed his body and it was entirely up to Patrick that the audience did. He was adorable, you couldn't resist him and they didn't resist him!"

Luckily, the transition to a new actor was a success and the British viewing public took Troughton to their hearts.

However, Anneke admits before he was cast she was hoping that one of the other favourites for the part was going to get it - British rock 'n' roll singer Tommy Steele.

She said with a smile: "There were all the different people who were up for it. Michael Hordern was one, Tommy Steele was another one - and I thought, 'Cor, he's sexy, that would be good, wouldn't it?' "

Troughton made his debut as the Doctor in 'The Power of the Daleks' - which also starred Michael Craze as companion Ben Jackson -which aired in November 1966.

Unfortunately, the six-episode serial was lost when the BBC erased the master tapes with only a few clips salvaged.

Now, the historically important story - written by David Whitaker

Dennis Spooner - has been recreated as an animation by Charles Norton from audio recordings.

Anneke admits it was a thrill to watch the episodes in this new format after believing the adventure had been lost forever.

She said: "It's wonderful. We live on in animation!"

The animation will be released via the BBC Store on Saturday (05.11.16) at 5.50pm - 50 years to the minute since it first was broadcast on BBC One.

Although BBC Store is only available to UK residents, fans all around the world will be able to watch a live stream of the animation's first three minutes at the same time via the @BBCStore Twitter account.

Jonathan Green, BBC Store Director, said: "BBC Store is proud to be working with Twitter to bring fans this UK first. This episode broke the mould with the recasting of the Doctor and it's still thrilling audiences in new ways today."

The 'Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks' DVD will be released Monday, November 21.

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