Thursday, 22 December 2011

Patrick Troughton: The Biography by his son Michael Troughton

To say that I have been keenly anticipating the release of this book would be something of an understatement, like many of my fellow Doctor Who fans I have been following the progress of the author, Michael Troughton, via the social networking site Twitter. He has been very generous with his time answering questions posed by fans and sharing stories about his dad.

So has Michael been able to meet the extremely high expectations raised when the book was first announced? Absolutely yes!

Michael Troughton has written a very fair and balanced account of his father's life, Patrick was a wonderfully talented character actor and a rather complex person who seemed torn between his life as a family man and the life of a high profile actor.

During his career as an actor, Patrick was able to inhabit a wide variety of roles, including starring as Robin Hood in the first televised version of the classic tale, he also played Paul of Tarsus in a much lauded production.

After reading this book, the one performance (outside of the rest of his remaining missing Doctor Who episodes) that I would dearly have loved to have seen would be his much admired interpretation of the vile Quilp in Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, broadcast in 1962.

The book is full of interesting stories including several accounts of Pat's bravery during his navy years in the second world war.

There is also an air of sadness as the author writes about his father leaving the family home, Patrick by many accounts was a lovely man, but it must be said that he treated his wife rather badly.

Michael could easily have glossed over this aspect of his father's personality, he obviously loved him dearly, and to his credit, he has given us a fully rounded view of this most interesting man. While his acting career was a great success, I think he had a romantic notion that if he could only find a perfect partner he would be truly happy, but in reality I think he realised that he had made some very bad errors of judgement and chose to put a brave face on it.

Although there are quite a few traumatic moments brought to light in this biography, I would hate anyone to think that it is a depressing read, there are plenty of fun anecdotes scattered throughout the pages that will bring a smile to your face.

There are some great photographs featured in the book including a great shot of Pat in his legendary Tea Cosy hat!

One minor quibble would be a few typos that missed the scrutiny of the proof readers, since this review was originally posted, a friend who also writes for Hirst Publications pointed out that the wrong version of the manuscript was sent to the printers and that this will be rectified in time for the next print run.

For many people Patrick Troughton will be most fondly remembered as the second actor to play the lead role in Doctor Who. This period in Pat's career is covered in extensive detail, with some wonderful first hand accounts of visits to the television studios, these passages provide a fantastic insight into the work that went on behind the scenes to make one of the most iconic series to be shown on British television.

So to sum up if you are a fan of, in my opinion, one of Britain's finest character actors, this book is not to be missed.

This fine book is available from Hirst Publishing and It can be ordered here


  1. Is The Box of Delights mentioned?

    1. It is indeed! There's some fascinating stories inside this fine book.