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TV's First 'Dr Who' Dies

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1975-04-24 Coventry Evening Telegraph.jpg


ACTOR William Hartnell, television's original Dr. Who, died in hospital today near his Matden, Kent, home. He was 67 and had been ill for about three years.

Hartnell was a familiar face to two generations, first as a tough sergeant major in dozens of war-tine films. and secondly as Dr. Who.

He created the Doctor Who role to 1963 and in spite of predictions that the programme would run only six weeks, he kept the part for three years. Three other actors hare since taken turns in the serial which is still running.

"Billy" Hartnell as he used to be known, began his career in 1924, went into films in 1931 and had his first London stage part the next year.

'Greatest critics'

He invalided out of the Royal Tank Corps during the war. In 1944 fame came with the role of Sergeant Fletcher in "The Way Ahead."

He was 55 when he became a hero to millions of children as the eccentric time traveller Dr. Who -- a part which brought him great pleasure after years of playing what he called "bastards."

He said: "I was so pleased to be offered Dr. Who. To me, kids are the greatest audience -- and the greatest critics -- in the world.

"When I knew it was a children's programme, I thought 'I really must make something of this'."

Hartnell is survived by his wife, Heather McIntyre, the former actress and playwright, a daughter Anne, and two grandchildren.

Writer Terry Nation, who created the Daleks for the first series of Dr. Who, said: "The biggest tribute to William Hartnell is that he started a show which is still going on with huge audiences.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (1975-04-24). TV's First 'Dr Who' Dies. Coventry Evening Telegraph p. 1.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "TV's First 'Dr Who' Dies." Coventry Evening Telegraph [add city] 1975-04-24, 1. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "TV's First 'Dr Who' Dies." Coventry Evening Telegraph, edition, sec., 1975-04-24
  • Turabian: "TV's First 'Dr Who' Dies." Coventry Evening Telegraph, 1975-04-24, section, 1 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=TV's First 'Dr Who' Dies | url= | work=Coventry Evening Telegraph | pages=1 | date=1975-04-24 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=29 January 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=TV's First 'Dr Who' Dies | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=29 January 2023}}</ref>