Saturday 4 September 2010

Not Getting No. 1

The first two multi-Doctor stories The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors are of debatable merits. In my opinion, one of their biggest failings is in their portrayal of the First Doctor (and I am not even going to talk about Richard Hurndall!).

The First Doctor is portrayed in these two stories as older and wiser. In Three Doctors, he is sent by the Time Lords to keep his other two incarnations in line. He takes an air of authority and superiority towards them. In The Five Doctors, he figures out the mystery of Rassilon's game (which the other Doctors somehow forget) and generally acts like his other incarnations are younger men.

This is a total failure to grasp the character of Hartnell's Doctor. Just as the Fifth Doctor was an old man in a young man's body, the First Doctor is a young man in an old man's body. The Doctor's first incarnation has lasted some time and has aged, but in comparison to the other Doctor's (apart from Six, who seems to be going through some sort of crisis) he is easily the least mature. He acts like a selfish, stroppy, and impulsive teenager. He can be lovable, but he is not somebody you want to be with when he is not in the best of moods. He obsesses over small things and frequently endangers his companions with his unwise decisions. In no way is he older or wiser than later Doctors.

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