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Doctor Who Profile: The Second Doctor

Doctor Who Profile: The Second Doctor

Patrick Troughton as Doctor Who second doctor

The Second Doctor

Portrayed by: Patrick Troughton

Companion(s): Ben Jackson, Polly, Jamie McCrimmon, Victoria Waterfield, Zoe Heriot

Tenure: 24 stories (127 episodes), from The Power of the Daleks (Nov, 1966) to The War Games (June, 1969), plus The Three Doctors (Dec, 1972), The Five Doctors (Nov, 1983), The Two Doctors (Feb, 1985)

Signature look: Enormous fur coat, oversized jacket, bow tie, plaid pants, recorder

Catchphrase: There are two that stand out- “When I say run, run!” and “Oh my giddy aunt!”

Personality: The Second Doctor is wily, silly, and thoughtful. He’s happy to play the clown or sit quietly in the background, allowing others to underestimate him. He has no interest in recognition or praise, often slipping away with his Companions after saving the day as soon as those he’s just helped start trying to celebrate him or rope him into assisting them further. Unlike the First Doctor’s early grouchiness and avuncular grandfather persona, the Second Doctor is more of a crazy uncle, less interested in educating or otherwise bettering his Companions and more focused on them as individuals and friends. He opts for disguise and deception over outright confrontation when it comes to gathering information and defeating his foes and the Second Doctor is perhaps best known for his close bond and comedy duo rapport with Jamie, the longest-running Companion in the series.

Best TARDIS team: Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot

Worst TARDIS team: Ben Jackson, Polly, and Jamie McCrimmon- they’re not bad together, but with Ben and Jamie overlapping a bit in their role as Male Action Hero(es), one Companion is usually left without much to do

Signature foe: The Great Intelligence and the Yeti

Best Stories: The Seeds of Death is a lot of fun, particularly for Jamie, The Web of Fear brings back recurring ally Prof. Travers and introduces the Brig, as well as giving the Doctor a rematch with the Great Intelligence, and The Power of the Daleks is one of the absolute best Dalek stories, despite being lost and only available as a reconstruction

Worst Stories: It’s hard to get past the villains presented in The Macra Terror and The Space Pirates is a definite low in its season

Highlights of tenure: The Doctor’s rapport with Jamie, bunging rocks at the Yeti in The Abominable Snowmen, reminiscing on family with Victoria in The Tomb of the Cybermen, and losing to Zoe on a math test in The Krotons

Lowlights of tenure: Scream-averse seaweed? As a main villain? Come on. (Fury from the Deep)

Regeneration/First Words: The First Doctor seemingly dies of old age, much to Ben and Polly’s surprise. The Second Doctor’s first words are, “Slower! Slower! Concentrate on one thing. One thing!”

Death/Final Words: We don’t actually see the Second Doctor regenerate. The Time Lords, in punishment for whatever conflict caused the Doctor to go on the run in the first place, force him to change his appearance (“regeneration” as a term didn’t come into the lore until later), and we cut away before actually seeing this occur. However, the Second Doctor may have been sent on numerous missions by the Time Lords before the events of Spearhead from Space, the first story with the Third Doctor. The Second Doctor’s final onscreen words are, “Is this some sort of joke? No, I refuse to be treated in… What are you doing? No! Stop! You’re making me giddy! No! You can’t do this to me. No! No! No! No! No! No! No!”

Memorable quotes:

– “There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought.”  The Moonbase

– “Well, now I know you’re mad; I just wanted to make sure.”  Tomb of the Cybermen

– “Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority.”  The Wheel in Space

Other notes: The Second Doctor, and more specifically Patrick Troughton’s performance as him, was incredibly important in convincing audiences to accept the concept of regeneration. By changing the character substantially, while keeping him recognizable and eminently likable, Troughton won over the viewership, redefined the series, and ensured its longevity.