The first Doctor is the initial incarnation of the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. He was portrayed by William Hartnell from 1963-1966.
He later reprised the role in the 1973 tenth anniversary story The Three Doctors-albeit in a reduced capacity due to his ailing health. Actor Richard Hurndall played the part of the First Doctor in the 20th anniversary story The Five Doctors after William Hartnell's death in 1975. A cinematic version of the character, Dr Who was played by Peter Cushing.
Within the story narrative, the Doctor is a centuries-old Time Lord alien from the planet Gallifrey who travels in time and space in his TARDIS, frequently with companions. When the Doctor is critically injured he can regenerate his body; in doing so, his physical appearance and personality change.
Hartnell's Doctor is the Doctor's "original" form. The regeneration plot device was introduced when Hartnell needed to leave the series, and consequently has extended the life of the show for many years. The First Doctor is the youngest incarnation of the Doctor, but has the most aged physical appearance.
The First Doctor was a mysterious figure. He appeared to be a frail old man, despite the eventual revelation that he was the youngest Doctor Incarnation, and yet was possessed of unexpected reserves of strength of will. Script editor David Whitaker described the "Doctor as frail looking but wiry and tough as an old turkey". He evidently held fantastic knowledge of scientific matters, and yet was unable to pilot the TARDIS reliably; his granddaughter Susan explained this by saying that her grandfather was"a bit forgetful". He could be abrasive, patronising, and cantankerous towards his human travelling companions yet shared a deep emotional bond with his granddaughter Susan. He could also show a streak of ruthlessness, being willing to lie-and in one case attempt to kill-to achieve his goals. At first he distrusted his first human companions, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, who were forced on him. Over time, though, as they shared adventures together, he grew closer to them, and the TARDIS crew came to share almost a family bond.
Finally, the Doctor began to to enjoy his travels through time and space, taking people along for the ride and always reluctant and sad to see them go, even when he knew it was for the best. He started to mellow around the time of the serial Marco Polo, and he evolved into the more familiar grandfatherly figure that the children came to love.
It was also during this time period that the Doctor first met his arch enemies the Daleks and the Cybermen. It would be the latter encounter that would see the first ever regeneration; "this old body of mine is wearing a bit thin" he collapsed at the end of the serial, regenerating in the TARDIS as the Second Doctor.
In the original pilot, the Doctor wore contemporary clothes (including a suit and tie).
When the pilot was re shot, however, his clothes was changed to a more Edwardian ensemble. The first incarnation of the Doctor carried a wooden walking cane, with a twisted handle. On one occasion, he was seen smoking a large bent tobacco pipe; to date, he is the only incarnation of the Doctor to be seen smoking.
The programme was originally conceived to be educational, so the stories were divided into two genres: historical (to teach about history) and futuristic (to teach about science), and these two genres alternated with each other. However by the end of the second series it become clear to the production staff that the futuristic stories were more popular and the historical stories were phased out.
The debut of the Daleks in the second story turned the programme from a children's series to a national phenomenon. It soon become a show that the whole family sat around the telly to watch, with monsters that children viewed behind there fingers or from "behind the sofa". Intelligent and funny scripts filled with far-out concepts compensated for the relative low budget and unsophisticated special effects, this layed the foundations of stories in decades to come.
Despite the regeneration television audiences would see the First Doctor on screen twice more (not counting flashback's or charity specials like Dimensions In Time). William Hartnell appeared in the 10th anniversary of the show in 1973, Hartnell appeared in the Three Doctors with Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor and Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. Due to failing health, Hartnell could not participate in any of the regular filming, so his scenes were shot separately at Ealing Studio's (not his garage or garden or his home, as long suggested by fan legend).
William Hartnell died on 23 April 1975, so for The Five Doctors (the 20th Anniversary Special), the role of the First Doctor was played by Richard Hurndall, although a film insert of Hartnell's Doctor taken from The Dalek Invasion of Earth opened the programme.
Visions of the First Doctor appear in The Power of the Daleks, Day of the Daleks, The Brain of Morbius, Earthshock, Mawdryn Undead, Resurrection of the Daleks, "The Next Doctor", "The Eleventh Hour", "The Vampires Of Venice", "Vincent and the Doctor", "The Lodger", and The Sarah Jane Adventures story Death of The Doctor.
In the charity special Dimensions in Time the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) refers to the First as "the grumpy one". The First Doctor is seen in a sketch in John Smith's book alongside the other past Doctor's in the episode "Human Nature". In "Time Crash", the Tenth Doctor says to the Fifth, back when I first started, at the very beginning, I was always trying to be old and grumpy and important, like you do when you're young." A brief clip of the First Doctor from the Time Meddler appears in both "The Next Doctor" and in "The Eleventh Hour". In a clip from "the Vampires of Venice" the Eleventh Hour shows his library card, which contains a photograph of the First Doctor and the address 76 Totters Lane. In "Vincent and the Doctor", both the First and the Second Doctors appear on a printout when the Eleventh Doctor Has the TARDIS identify him. In "The Big Bang" , the Eleventh Doctor briefly mentions the First while bidding his farewell to a sleeping Amy Pond, referring to himself as "the daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away".
The character also appeared in many licensed novels, comic strips, and audio dramas
The Eleventh Doctor's library card from "The Vampires of Venice".
The First Doctors Quotes:
An Unearthly Child:
The Doctor: Have you ever thought what it's like to be wanderers in the Fourth Dimension? Have you? To be exiles? Susan and I are cut off from our own planet - without friends or protection. But one day we shall get back. Yes, one day....
The Doctor: If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds, and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?
Ian: Just open the doors, Doctor Foreman.
The Doctor: [To himself.] Eh? Doctor who? What's he talking about...?
- This is the first use of the question "Doctor who? — by the Doctor himself, after being misaddressed by Ian.
The First Doctors Companions:
Susan Foreman is the First Doctors granddaughter and original companion, she was played by the actress (Carole Ann Ford) from 1963-1964, in the shows first series and the first two stories of the second series. She later returned for the feature-length 20th anniversary episode The Five Doctors in 1983.
Susan was the first ever on-screen companion of the Doctor and she stayed on Earth after the Dalek Invasion in the 22nd century. Susan is the granddaughter of the Time Lord known as The Doctor. Her last name of Foreman is an alias of the junkyard, owned by an "I. M. Foreman" at 76 Totters Lane, where she and the Doctor lived (inside the TARDIS) during their time in London in 1963. The original outline for the series did not intend them to be related, but writer Anthony Coburn created the family tie. According to founding producer Verity Lambert "----Coburn felt there was something not quite proper about an old man travelling around the galaxy with a young girl for a companion".
The Doctor explains in "An Unearthly Child" (the very first episode of Doctor Who and a title often used for the first four-part serial) that he and Susan are exiles from their own people. Susan adds, " I was in another time, another world". Susan is said to have claimed to have thought of the name The TARDIS the Doctors Time Machine, altho later episodes indicate that the term was widely used by the Time-Lords. (The non-broadcast pilot version of "An Unearthly Child" contained different dialogue, including a statement that Susan was born in the 49th century.)
Susan's age is given as 15. In The Sensorites (1964), the Doctor, when finding an unconscious a young woman from earth, remarks that "she is only a few years older than Susan", suggesting that Susan is the age of a normal secondary school student.
The Doctor and Susan had already been travelling for an undisclosed amount of time, before they decided to settle in London to make repairs to the TARDIS; Susan says that her and her grandfather have been in London for five months. Susan also refer's to other adventures to Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright in their course of their shared adventures; both on alien planets and Earth in differant past time periods (such as encountering a wrathful King Henry VIII). Susan starts to attend Coal Hill School in Shoreditch, where her highly developed knowledge of history and science atrract the attention of schoolteachers Barbara and Ian.