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I've recently bought some William Hartnell episodes as he's not a Doctor I've seen much of. Hmmm. Behind the cut is a massively biased review of Hartnell as the first doctor.

If you're a huge fan and wondering if you should click, I'll say it outright, I don't think he's very good, though he does have an excellent set of credits and some fine lapel holding moves. More blasphemy about the first doctor is behind the cut! (Along with non dial-up friendly pictures)

The Doctor in this incarnation spends most of the time in a shambolic semi-coma state and when he does 'spring' into action I worry that he will die before he makes it across the room. No honestly, you spend much of your viewing experience worrying that he will expire before your very eyes and that the BBC will show it because film costs money, you know.

Also he has issues with remembering lines and as this is the BBC and they were ever cheap they just film him clearly not really knowing what he is about to say and move on from there.

Also he is very fond of lapel acting. I think this might be because he does this when he can't remember his lines. Or to hold himself up. I'm not sure

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Here is Hartnell glaring malevolently at the viewer. He is probably crushing puppies underfoot because he is that sort of Doctor.

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Now this is some fine lapel acting. His companions are astonished and plan on getting lapels of their own soon so they can do the same. I will talk more of them below as Ian and Barbara are the best things about the show at this stage. And they are so doing it.

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The Doctor in his usual coma weakened by fighting off aliens. Or climbing stairs. He can only be awakened from this by the promise of being allowed to indulge in untramelled crankiness.

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Susan, his granddaughter. Or maybe not, as they sort of dance around that with later doctors. She does a lot of screaming and running down corridors, thus setting the pattern for companions forever. She is either living proof that the Doctor had a sex life at some point or a ruse by the BBC so that people wouldn't wonder what the Doctor was doing with a 16 year old in a police box.

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This is Ian. He's a teacher and actually does most of the actual saving of people on the show. He is very competent and often wears a cardigan. Though not in this picture.

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This is Barbara. She is also a teacher and probably doing more than 'marking' with Ian. If you know what I mean. She is also so competent that she can stare down giant insects. But please note the lack of lapels.

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This is Ian fighting off a Dalek. Either that or doing odd things to its plunger which is a bit kinky come to think of it. Note Ian's awesomeness even when possibly indulging in hanky panky with the Doctor's deadly enemy.

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This is quartet looking at some muddy water that is meant to be the Thames. They will shortly have to fight off Daleks. Or Ian and Barbara will because the Doctor isn't really up to it. He will however complain a lot

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A final shot of lapel acting at its finest.

In summation, the early series revolves around the two companions (Susan is a bit useless) not the Doctor. It's interesting to see how that changed with Troughton, who is so much superior to Hartnell that it is scary. Also it is fun to see that they haven't got the concept of who the Doctor is worked out in the beginning are keeping an air of mystery about the Doctor.

And most blasphmeous to say: the concept isn't as strong as I thought it was right out of the gate. I love Doctor Who, I really do, but it became a much better show once they realised that they needed to have him do something. Aged old man bickers with his companions and is a useless git apart from the fact he has a time machine that sometimes works is not a great idea. Time Lord who travels through space and time and is the central thing in the show is

Date: 2006-04-03 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] svilleficrecs.livejournal.com
Susan's kinda hot.

Date: 2006-04-03 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
In repose, yes. But in full on shrieky/crying mode? Not so much so.

Date: 2006-04-03 06:21 pm (UTC)

Date: 2006-04-03 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
And I was restraining myself!

Date: 2006-04-03 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cassiphone.livejournal.com
This is excellent. :) I hadn't realised quite how much the First Doctor sucked, but you have shown me the light - what I love about his stories is,indeed, Ian and Barbara.

You didn't mention Barbara's cardigans1 Cardigans so excellent that, in one story (I think The Chase which I love but no one else does) they become a major plot point and save her from a Dalek!

Date: 2006-04-03 07:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Yes, Barbara has excellent cardigans also! I don't think I've seen the Chase but I can well believe that they could fend off Daleks.

Ian and Barbara are really a lot of fun and absolutely unlike all the other companions, even the really competent ones, because the doctor is so floppy and useless and they often have to sort everything out while he just wibbles about.

Date: 2006-04-04 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nostalgia-lj.livejournal.com
The Hartnell I've seen makes me want to watch for Barbara. That's it. God knows how the series survived losing her and keeping the doddery old man.


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