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Respected and loved, Patrick Troughton is probably best remembered as the second Doctor Who - a role in which he made television history. A prolific actor, he was also a complex and troubled man, constantly wrestling with two lives, one of which he was determined to keep secret. Michael Troughton presents here an entertaining and personal account of his father’s profession Respected and loved, Patrick Troughton is probably best remembered as the second Doctor Who - a role in which he made television history. A prolific actor, he was also a complex and troubled man, constantly wrestling with two lives, one of which he was determined to keep secret. Michael Troughton presents here an entertaining and personal account of his father’s professional and private life. Meticulously researched, he explores Patrick’s childhood, his experiences at sea during World War II and the successful acting career which led to his historic casting as Doctor Who in 1966. Patrick’s Doctor Who years are recalled in vivid detail, from his initial uncertainty about taking on the part through the legendary ‘monster years’, to his troubled final season and three subsequent returns to the role. In this fascinating biography, Patrick’s extraordinary career and his multi-layered personal life are enhanced by the memories of family members, actors, friends and colleagues. Michael peppers the book with revealing extracts from Patrick’s own diaries, and many rare and personal photographs. This book is an honest, affectionate and complete account of Patrick Troughton the actor, and Patrick Troughton the man.


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Respected and loved, Patrick Troughton is probably best remembered as the second Doctor Who - a role in which he made television history. A prolific actor, he was also a complex and troubled man, constantly wrestling with two lives, one of which he was determined to keep secret. Michael Troughton presents here an entertaining and personal account of his father’s profession Respected and loved, Patrick Troughton is probably best remembered as the second Doctor Who - a role in which he made television history. A prolific actor, he was also a complex and troubled man, constantly wrestling with two lives, one of which he was determined to keep secret. Michael Troughton presents here an entertaining and personal account of his father’s professional and private life. Meticulously researched, he explores Patrick’s childhood, his experiences at sea during World War II and the successful acting career which led to his historic casting as Doctor Who in 1966. Patrick’s Doctor Who years are recalled in vivid detail, from his initial uncertainty about taking on the part through the legendary ‘monster years’, to his troubled final season and three subsequent returns to the role. In this fascinating biography, Patrick’s extraordinary career and his multi-layered personal life are enhanced by the memories of family members, actors, friends and colleagues. Michael peppers the book with revealing extracts from Patrick’s own diaries, and many rare and personal photographs. This book is an honest, affectionate and complete account of Patrick Troughton the actor, and Patrick Troughton the man.

30 review for Patrick Troughton: The Biography of the Second Doctor Who

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    It has taken a long time for a biography of Troughton to appear. William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker all had either biographies or autobiographies appear during the mid 1990s. Troughton's life was however more of a mystery and this volume answers at least some of the questions why. From the mid 1950s Troughton ran something of a double life, maintaining a pretense of a marriage for public purposes whilst living with another woman and having a separate family with her. A third significant It has taken a long time for a biography of Troughton to appear. William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker all had either biographies or autobiographies appear during the mid 1990s. Troughton's life was however more of a mystery and this volume answers at least some of the questions why. From the mid 1950s Troughton ran something of a double life, maintaining a pretense of a marriage for public purposes whilst living with another woman and having a separate family with her. A third significant relattionship also seems to have occured during the 1950s and he married again in the mid 1970s. This complex personal situation, in a time when 'appearances' were still important is the most reasonable explanation for his personal secrecy. This is not a conventional biography. It is a memoir written by the actor's son but with some interpolations from undated interviews with a number of figures in Troughton's life. However, there are no references, acknowledgements or footnotes and the interviewees sometimes go entirely uncredited. This robs the book of context. Some of the named interviewees have been dead a long time (Doctor Who producer Innes Lloyd, who is quoted extensively, died as long ago as 1991)and it is not clear if the memories recounted are from recorded interviews or are merely reported conversation. The writing style is a little clunky and the book is riddled with spelling and grammar issues. This independently published book desperately needed a good copy editor to tidy up the more obvious issues However, there are many delights in this book, including the recounting of Troughton's early life, the details of his many live television performances lost to history and the large number of photographs illustrating the life and work of this most chameleonic of actors. Troughton was a genius but perhaps the biography needed more distance - a cold eyed researcher to conduct interviews and research to give the text a little more weight. This is not a wasted effort but really quite disappointing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Peel

    Patrick Troughton was always something of an enigma, shunning interviews until very late in life, and frequently repeating the same simple stories about his life. His son, Michael, has taken us behind the scenes of his father's life with amazing clarity and detail, revealing an endearing - and often frustrating and unreliable - human being behind all of the wonderful characters he created. This is a delightful and insightful book that is sure to please anyone who remembers Patrick for any of the Patrick Troughton was always something of an enigma, shunning interviews until very late in life, and frequently repeating the same simple stories about his life. His son, Michael, has taken us behind the scenes of his father's life with amazing clarity and detail, revealing an endearing - and often frustrating and unreliable - human being behind all of the wonderful characters he created. This is a delightful and insightful book that is sure to please anyone who remembers Patrick for any of the many, many memorable characters he created on screens both big and small.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Justin K. Rivers

    The only book about Patrick Troughton. Draws on private diaries and extensive research. If have a burning desire to know any and all possible information about Patrick Troughton, then this is the book for you. But in the end, although it had lots of details, it still felt a bit thin. As if Michael had found a bunch of stuff but didn't add it up to anything. There are several chapters on Troughton's early career, which include lots of meaningless details about people he worked with or performance The only book about Patrick Troughton. Draws on private diaries and extensive research. If have a burning desire to know any and all possible information about Patrick Troughton, then this is the book for you. But in the end, although it had lots of details, it still felt a bit thin. As if Michael had found a bunch of stuff but didn't add it up to anything. There are several chapters on Troughton's early career, which include lots of meaningless details about people he worked with or performances he gave. No, meaningless is the wrong word, I'm not sure how to put this. The book is topheavy with this information, whereas his last decade flashes by in a few pages. And yet - no appendix to list all of this extra (and potentially useful for historians) information that the author has uncovered about old TV plays and such. What the book lacked was description and narrative. The search for one's father can in fact be a powerful unifying theme for a book about such an enigmatic person. Patrick Troughton's dual family life is covered in part, but with meaningful absences. Michael seemingly quotes people, but the sources of the these statements are obscure, the people who seem to be talking are out of context and in any event no footnotes or sources are cited for anything. Is this book a biography or a memoir? It is neither comprehensive nor rigorous enough to be a biography. And it is not unified enough (or personal enough) to be a memoir. In any event, it is the only book on the subject. So you will probably buy it no matter what, as I have done.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Buchanan

    Well, can't say I knew that much about Patrick Troughton beyond Doctor Who prior to reading this and I'm a bit surprised at some of the details of his private life. I certainly won't judge. While I would never make some of the choices he made in life, I've certainly made my own fair share of questionable decisions. A life lived with no mistakes is a life that took no chances and was probably boring as hell. Anyway, this is a surprising and enlightening tale of the life of probably one of the bes Well, can't say I knew that much about Patrick Troughton beyond Doctor Who prior to reading this and I'm a bit surprised at some of the details of his private life. I certainly won't judge. While I would never make some of the choices he made in life, I've certainly made my own fair share of questionable decisions. A life lived with no mistakes is a life that took no chances and was probably boring as hell. Anyway, this is a surprising and enlightening tale of the life of probably one of the best actors to ever portray the Doctor. Well worth the read, especially for classic Who fans.

  5. 5 out of 5

    B.M.B. Johnson

    Excellent book about the the life of Patrick Troughton. I won't even quibble that the title should have been Second Doctor, instead of, ugh, Second Doctor Who. Excellent book about the the life of Patrick Troughton. I won't even quibble that the title should have been Second Doctor, instead of, ugh, Second Doctor Who.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2962166.html Patrick Troughton, possibly the most versatile actor to take on the role as a regular, and certainly the only one to appear in a Oscar-winning film (as the Player King in Olivier's 1948 Hamlet, which also features Peter Cushing as Osric; John Hurt is in A Man for All Seasons which won the Oscar for Best Film in 1966, and of course Peter Capaldi shared the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 1994). The author is one of Troughton's many acting descen https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2962166.html Patrick Troughton, possibly the most versatile actor to take on the role as a regular, and certainly the only one to appear in a Oscar-winning film (as the Player King in Olivier's 1948 Hamlet, which also features Peter Cushing as Osric; John Hurt is in A Man for All Seasons which won the Oscar for Best Film in 1966, and of course Peter Capaldi shared the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 1994). The author is one of Troughton's many acting descendants, his third child Michael, who actually appeared in the 2014 Christmas special Last Christmas as Dr Albert Smithe. It must be very difficult to write about a father like Patrick Troughton, who was loving but physically distant. Troughton's own life was full of much human drama, which we must largely infer from Michael's childhood memories and his father's preserved correspondence. Soon after Michael was born in 1955, Patrick left his first wife, Margaret, for another partner with whom he had another three children; at the point that he decided to take on the Doctor Who role, he was in the middle of a brief and ultimately unsuccessful reconciliation with Margaret, played out to a certain extent in front of the children. At the same time there was a third partner in the mix. He married someone else entirely in the mid-1970s. He said to Michael, years after the final split with Margaret, "‘I needed change. Things have to change all the time for me I’m afraid, that’s the way I am made. I am sorry if I hurt you.’" Reminiscent of one of his first lines as the Doctor: "Life depends on change and renewal." He seems to have been a man who broke many hearts, but continued to take his emotional commitments to all his lovers and children very seriously, but always suffered from the pressure of generating enough income to meet his financial obligations to his two families, which eventually ground him down; he had his first heart attack at 58, and died of another at a convention eight years later. (Incidentally the circumstances of his death are clarified here, and are much less exciting than we had been led to believe.) There is quite a lot here about Troughton's approach to acting, including his early education ain London and New York. He is on record (sometimes contradictory) about his philosophy of theatre, particularly on how it defined his own sense of personhood: "My father was a complex man but one thing was very clear – he had to act. He once confessed to me, whilst working together on an episode of the seventies TV nursing drama Angels, that acting was part of his being, something he had to do rather than had chosen. He likened the process of inhabiting another character in performance to ‘a drug-like craving that seemed to keep my whole self in order. I can’t imagine my world without it. It sparks me with life.’" This craving for multiple identities perhaps played out in his complex private life, and even his approach to being an ex-Doctor Who, where he embraced the American convention circuit once he had discovered it, but was much less visible in the UK, where he wanted to avoid typecasting for the sake of future acting work. He would no doubt be pleased that IMDB ranks The Omen as his most notable performance. There's not much on politics here (Troughton fought in the second world war, where he became noted for wearing a tea-cosy; he was contrarian for the sake of it in argument). Interestingly, there is more on religion: Troughton was deeply hostile to organised Christianity, boycotted one son's wedding service and was dismayed when another decided to get ordained. It's a more lively book than Jessica Carney's biography of her grandfather, William Hartnell, because Troughton had a more lively life, and Doctor Who came in the middle of his career rather than at the end (chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10 out of fifteen total). It scratches one's itch of curiosity about its subject, while inevitably leaving you wishing you knew more.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jefferson

    The author's first-hand view of the subject helps to make up for an inconsistent writing style that meanders between first and third person. There are a weird number of inaccuracies in the chapter on convention appearances, as the author describes (clearly secondhand) a convention that very obviously happened after Troughton's death. But overall, it's a surprisingly balanced look at the actor's life. The author's first-hand view of the subject helps to make up for an inconsistent writing style that meanders between first and third person. There are a weird number of inaccuracies in the chapter on convention appearances, as the author describes (clearly secondhand) a convention that very obviously happened after Troughton's death. But overall, it's a surprisingly balanced look at the actor's life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I'm not entirely sure what I expected from a biography of Patrick Troughton, a great character actor, my personal favorite Doctor Who, and until recently, almost a total enigma. He hated giving interviews and when he did, he talked about very little outside his immediate job. When I heard the announcement of a biography - by his son, no less - I was pretty excited, and unconsciously, I probably expected something like Who's There?, the biography of William Hartnell by his granddaughter, Jessica I'm not entirely sure what I expected from a biography of Patrick Troughton, a great character actor, my personal favorite Doctor Who, and until recently, almost a total enigma. He hated giving interviews and when he did, he talked about very little outside his immediate job. When I heard the announcement of a biography - by his son, no less - I was pretty excited, and unconsciously, I probably expected something like Who's There?, the biography of William Hartnell by his granddaughter, Jessica Carney, almost 20 years ago. That had the benefit of two things Michael Troughton did not, however; one was the space Carney had to examine her grandfather's life at least reasonably objectively (he having died when she was a teenager), and the other was a reputable publishing house with a credible editing staff. Without both of these elements, Troughton's book is fairly shapeless - not a bad book, not at all, but also not a very satisfying one. I think the absolutely critical problem is that Michael Troughton didn't have a firm idea of what he wanted to write, and - perhaps even more importantly - he didn't have a good editor to guide him. Celebrity memoirs are often co-written, not just because the celebrities may not be natural writers, but because someone skilled in the medium can bring shape and form to the work. Otherwise they are often chatty and highly anecdotal, which can also work if the celebrity has a strong enough personality. Michael Troughton, though, seems to be caught between wanting to write a straight-up biography of "Pat," a remembrance of the absent father he loved but often missed, and some more anecdotal material about seeing his father on TV or visiting Doctor Who sets. Apparently, the suggestion of a book came out of some articles Michael wrote for Doctor Who Magazine, and that's not too surprising; it is even less surprising to know that this book was first published by a Who-oriented fan publisher, which really amounts to little more than vanity publishing with slightly better publicity. It's clear that no editor spent time helping Michael craft this book - or even proofread it (the original edition has a staggering number of typos). Crucially, there are at least a couple of different stories vying for attention here: first, up until around 1960, the story of a young actor learning the craft and getting embroiled in some complex personal relationships; and two, after about 1960, the story of a family - and particularly one son - struggling to understand why they have been abandoned. Those stories aren't mutually exclusive, but they do have significantly different viewpoints, and the addition of lots of material about recording Doctor Who stories just seems like a massive, massive distraction. The book is really at its best in the early chapters, when you get a picture of the young Patrick learning his art and making his first moves in both theatre and television. It helps that this section - the '40s and '50s, basically - contains numerous excerpts from his own diaries, which are brimming with character. In the '60s, the perspective shifts almost totally to Michael, with the only contribution from Patrick being his occasional, rather sadly disappointing, letters home to the family who felt like they weren't good enough. It's heartbreaking - and it's also uncomfortable. Rightly or wrongly, I ended up feeling like Michael was just too close to these events to talk about them like a biographer. They are clearly hurtful memories, and Michael seems unwilling to either fully explore that pain (which is his right!) or make some significant assumptions about his father's decisions. The result feels like a second half of a book that keeps you completely at arm's distance, with - as I said - the distraction of a lot of Doctor Who. Patrick's credits post-Who are practically rushed through, as if Michael realizes that the major selling point of the book is over and the potential moment of catharsis has simply passed. It is, then, a terribly unsatisfying book. I'm glad I read it; Patrick Troughton remains my favorite Doctor, and I enjoy his performance in practically everything I've seen him in. That much hasn't changed. I really don't feel any closer to understanding him - he remains an enigma - and that's okay. I do, however, feel tremendously sympathetic toward Michael. I am saddened to know how thoroughly his father betrayed his "first" family. And I can't help but wonder, with those wounds being so deep, if this book was really a good idea.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    I must admit I was a little disappointed in this. As a historian I found it quite frustrating that nothing was referenced. There were quotes from people, some living some dead, but Michael never stated any of the sources for the quotes he was using. Likewise there were lots of pictures, including pictures of things that should be still in copyright like theatre programmes, but no acknowledgement given for the sources. As I mentioned in my update there were several inconsistencies, like the fact I must admit I was a little disappointed in this. As a historian I found it quite frustrating that nothing was referenced. There were quotes from people, some living some dead, but Michael never stated any of the sources for the quotes he was using. Likewise there were lots of pictures, including pictures of things that should be still in copyright like theatre programmes, but no acknowledgement given for the sources. As I mentioned in my update there were several inconsistencies, like the fact that he was abused as a child, but then the next paragraph described his time before boarding school as idyllic. Michael clearly loved his father, but had issues with his behaviour. In a way it felt like Michael was too close to be able to write an objective biography about his father. Patrick seemed like a man who suffered from depression and guilt. Who had a great deal of love but felt like he was being condemned for expressing it. Michael just didn't seem to have a lot of understanding for his dad's psyche so the book came out as rather dry, like a list of tv show appearances but very little about the man himself. What I did really like were the excerpts from Patrick's diary and letters which gave a more personal glimpse. Even in his diary he seemed quite closed off, but there were some very interesting and insightful bits. That and the photos make this a book Patrick Troughton fans should have.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Taksya

    La figura di Patrick Troughton raccontata da suo figlio Michael. Lavoro, vita pubblica e privata, peccati e pregi del secondo attore che ha indossato i panni del protagonista di Doctor Who. Se cercate una biografia dettagliata, con riferimenti incrociati ed elenchi e citazioni provate... allora non fa per voi. È più una chiacchierata col figlio minore della prima famiglia di Patrick Troughton, che racconta del padre attraverso ricordi propri, delle famiglie (tre in tutto) e dei colleghi. Nessuna no La figura di Patrick Troughton raccontata da suo figlio Michael. Lavoro, vita pubblica e privata, peccati e pregi del secondo attore che ha indossato i panni del protagonista di Doctor Who. Se cercate una biografia dettagliata, con riferimenti incrociati ed elenchi e citazioni provate... allora non fa per voi. È più una chiacchierata col figlio minore della prima famiglia di Patrick Troughton, che racconta del padre attraverso ricordi propri, delle famiglie (tre in tutto) e dei colleghi. Nessuna nota a piè di pagina, tante foto e una bella carrellata di ruoli interpretati, molti non più reperibili per via della gestione BBC che ha portato anche distruzione di.buona parte dei serial da lui interpretati come Dottore. Considerato quanto poco si conosce di Troughton fuori dal palcoscenico, è un ottimo punto di partenza per guardare dietro al sipario.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristina Brown

    An intimate biography of the second Doctor. This is not written by a fan or professional biographer, but by Patrick Troughton's son, lending it a very personal feel. It is also surprisingly honest and open. The author carefully reveals enough of his own feelings about his father to make this feel almost like an autobiography yet he doesn't let his own bias sway his detailed account of his father's career. This is not simply a child remembering his father however. Michael Troughton is himself an a An intimate biography of the second Doctor. This is not written by a fan or professional biographer, but by Patrick Troughton's son, lending it a very personal feel. It is also surprisingly honest and open. The author carefully reveals enough of his own feelings about his father to make this feel almost like an autobiography yet he doesn't let his own bias sway his detailed account of his father's career. This is not simply a child remembering his father however. Michael Troughton is himself an actor and thus focuses an experienced eye over Patrick Troughton as an actor. He also includes a wealth of extracts from interviews, letters and the like which help to provide a more rounded view of events.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ade Couper

    Hmmm.....Patrick Troughton was the definitive Doctor Who (IMHO) , & 1 of Britain's finest actors . He was also a notoriously private man , so I hoped to learn more about him in this biography by his son Michael . I have to say I was quite disappointed in this . Troughton's life (including his incredibly complex private life- 2 marriages , a long term live-in relationship & numerous affairs) is recorded in detail , including his war service - although his life post Doctor Who is dealt with in quit Hmmm.....Patrick Troughton was the definitive Doctor Who (IMHO) , & 1 of Britain's finest actors . He was also a notoriously private man , so I hoped to learn more about him in this biography by his son Michael . I have to say I was quite disappointed in this . Troughton's life (including his incredibly complex private life- 2 marriages , a long term live-in relationship & numerous affairs) is recorded in detail , including his war service - although his life post Doctor Who is dealt with in quite a perfunctory way . However , you get a sense that this is reporting , rather than analysis : there is very little sense of what made him "tick". A light read , but abit of a disappointment.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    An honest but wholehearted story of my favorite Doctor. A great and celebrated Actor of his time, Patrick Troughton is portrayed truthfully but also with charm. Great read, and well written. Definitely worth the pick up. Read it at least 4 or 5 times.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    Well that was a bit of an eye-opener. The parts about the Doctor Who years were the best, but some of the personal stuff I think I would have rather not known, but kudos to his son the biographer for being so candid.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Recommended for Whovians and others! A fascinating insight into the life and work of a versatile actor and a complicated man, told with candour and love by his son Michael.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    This Troughton biography by Troughton Junior had a fair amount of new information (to me, anyway) do it's a pretty essential books for a Doctor Who-ey person. This Troughton biography by Troughton Junior had a fair amount of new information (to me, anyway) do it's a pretty essential books for a Doctor Who-ey person.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    I was really looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately it felt very stale very quickly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ellis Morning

    It was great fun to read about the actor behind my favorite Doctor! :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Todorsky

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ken

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sisters Who...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jason Clarke

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Pritchard

  27. 4 out of 5

    David

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul Butler

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  30. 4 out of 5

    A.j.

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