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Patrick Troughton obituary (The Telegraph)

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1987-03-30 Daily Telegraph.jpg


PATRICK TROUGHTON, the actor, who has died aged 67, was appropriately appearing at a "Dr Who" convention in Columbus, Georgia, at the time of his sudden death.

For although he had a long list of solid classical and modern parts to his name he only became well known in 1966 when he took over as the ancient time traveller of children's television.

William Hartnell had played the doctor in his first incarnation as a grandfatherly, almost senile old man, which explained why his spaceship veered eccentically from past to present to future.

But when Troughton took over the role at the age of 46, he was 13 years younger than his predecessor and the character was accordingly trimmed of a couple of centuries from the 10 centuries with which he started.

His Dr Who was a whimsical, almost Chaplinesque figure, who paved the way for the greater eccentricities demonstrated by his seccessors in the part. The second of seven actors chosen for the role, he played it for three years until 1969, but returned on the show's 10th anniversay in 1973, it 20th in 1983 and again in 1985.

Patrick George Troughton was educated at Mill Hill School and studied at the Embassy School of Acting. He served in motor torpedo boats with Coastal Forces during the war and later joined the Old Vic.

His classical training won him parts in Olivier's films of Hamlet and Richard III. he also appeared in Treasure Island, The Franchise Affair and Waterfront. In later years, he was a memorable Brother Brennan in The Omen.

Although theatre was his first love, Troughton was attracted early to television. In one production at Lime Grove of Robin Hood, a photograph of trees used as a backdrop appeared upside down, prompting him to say afterwards that he had though of playing the scene on his head but disisted because of the possible embarrassment to Friar Tuck.

Throughout the 1950s. he consolidated his reputation on both stage and small screen, appearing notably on television in Shaw's Misalliance, Gals-worthy's The Silver Box and in David Copperfield.

His major break came when he was chosen for the title role in the 10-part series Paul of Tarsus in 1960. He was said to bear a marked resemblance to a portrait of the saint on a marble fragment of the first century AD found in Rome.

He leaves a widow and six children, including Joanna and David who have followed in his professional footsteps.

Highly accomplished

Peter Cotes writes: Pat Troughton was one of those always dependable and frequently, highly accomplished character actors of which the British theatre has never been short. Often in the "wings". they have graced the stage whenever called to act, adding-to the lustre of every production and providing a bonus to the overall proceedings by the strength of their characterisations.

Troughton was a strong and unobstrusive actor who was an excellent swordsman. His sucess in Dr Who enabled him to display his extrovert side to the utmost. In one modern dress Hamlet he succeeded in making the comparatively minor role of Horatio a character of considerable force.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (1987-03-30). Patrick Troughton obituary (The Telegraph). The Daily Telegraph .
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  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Patrick Troughton obituary (The Telegraph)." The Daily Telegraph, edition, sec., 1987-03-30
  • Turabian: "Patrick Troughton obituary (The Telegraph)." The Daily Telegraph, 1987-03-30, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Patrick Troughton obituary (The Telegraph) | url= | work=The Daily Telegraph | pages= | date=1987-03-30 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Patrick Troughton obituary (The Telegraph) | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=16 April 2024}}</ref>