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Who's The Clown In The Tardis? How Viewers Disliked Every New Doctor

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NEW Doctor Who Matt Smith made no secret of his fear at getting a poor reception when he took the role. Now one reason for his nerves has become apparent, the often vitriolic reaction previous Doctors received when they first appeared on screen.

One viewer described Patrick Troughton as a 'half-witted clown' when he took over 34 years ago.

Successor Jon Pertwee fared little better in 1970, when the BBC's Audience Research Department declared in an internal memo: 'Reaction to this first episode of the new series can hardly be described as enthusiastic.'

Others who have upset loyal fans include Tom Baker, dubbed a 'loony' and 'too stupid for words' in 1974, and the 'aggressive' Colin Baker in 1984.

Smith, 27, became the 11th actor to take on the role when he replaced David Tennant.

He has received wide critical approval for his performances and there has been little sign of unrest among fans.

Doctor regenerations were introduced in 1966 to allow programme bosses to write a new face into the show's plot.

However BBC archives, spanning more than 40 years and published online for the first time yesterday, reveal the difficulties of bedding in a new Doctor. The character first changed physically in 1966 when William Hartnell handed over to Troughton.

'Once a brilliant but eccentric scientist, he now comes over as a half-witted clown,' said one viewer.

The debut of Tom Baker, who went on to become one of the most popular incarnations, was the subject of much criticism in 1974.

'General opinion was that the new Doctor Who is a loony, he is an eccentric always, but the way it was presented made him stupid,' said one viewer.

The arrival of Colin Baker in 1984 proved to be a turn-off, with the show failing to impress half a viewing panel.

'The new Doctor is too stern and doesn't have enough humour,' thought one fan, while another said: 'I find him too aggressive and just not as pleasant as other Doctors.'

Sylvester McCoy's arrival in 1987 was even worse.

His 'approval rating' was considerably lower than Colin Baker's, although the reception given to his sidekick Mel (played by Bonnie Langford) proved a low-point. A quarter of viewers said she was the worst thing about the series, which was axed two years later. -- Doctor Who's regenerations were based on the 'hell and dank horror' of a bad LSD trip, according to the archives.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Revoir, Paul (2010-04-13). Who's The Clown In The Tardis? How Viewers Disliked Every New Doctor. Daily Mail .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Revoir, Paul. "Who's The Clown In The Tardis? How Viewers Disliked Every New Doctor." Daily Mail [add city] 2010-04-13. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Revoir, Paul. "Who's The Clown In The Tardis? How Viewers Disliked Every New Doctor." Daily Mail, edition, sec., 2010-04-13
  • Turabian: Revoir, Paul. "Who's The Clown In The Tardis? How Viewers Disliked Every New Doctor." Daily Mail, 2010-04-13, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who's The Clown In The Tardis? How Viewers Disliked Every New Doctor | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who%27s_The_Clown_In_The_Tardis%3F_How_Viewers_Disliked_Every_New_Doctor | work=Daily Mail | pages= | date=2010-04-13 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Who's The Clown In The Tardis? How Viewers Disliked Every New Doctor | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Who%27s_The_Clown_In_The_Tardis%3F_How_Viewers_Disliked_Every_New_Doctor | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>