Troughton’s Secret Lives

Patrick Troughton: The Biography of the Second Doctor Who is a deeply personal and often candid account of the great man as told by his son, Michael. A fascinating read, it is full of both exhaustive behind-the-scenes details as well as some surprising home truths about a man who effectively lead a secretive double life.

To celebrate its release the guys at SFX have compiled 34 discoveries, cherry picking those great professional and private moments that make this book nigh on indispensable for anyone with a penchant for the Second Doctor.

While we won’t spoil the book too much – here are our own favourites from amongst SFX’s list – which is by no means the limits of the what the book has to offer (seriously, go buy it now.)

One of the most personal, and bizarrely most Doctor-like moments of the book is Michael’s own recollections of Patrick’s second life:

“Troughton had two families: one with his first wife Margaret; the second with his girlfriend Ethel. He kept the existence of the second family hidden from his mother for over two decades, right until she died in 1979.”

Necessitating an act every Christmas and Easter when the family went to visit his mother.

Asked years later by his son why had he left them Patrick replied:

“I needed change. Things have to change all the time for me I’m afraid, that’s the way I am.”

Which is sounds so much like a piece of dialogue from the Doctor that Michael believes a similar line: “Life depends on change – and renewal”  used by the Second Doctor post regeneration was a suggestion by Patrick himself.

It isn’t all about finding solace in the Doctor – as is clear to see in most of his episodes Patrick has enormous fun with the role:

“Looks for the character which he tried out at home included, “the Victorian Prime Minister Gladstone, complete with mutton-chop sideburns; a mad scientist with spiky black hair and a ridiculously high voice; and a turban-headed character out of the Arabian Nights.”

The experimentation didn’t end there either – he also sketched several other ideas including:

“A Mississippi paddle steamer captain; a pirate with an eyepatch; and a tramp in battered clothes, pushing a pram full of his belongings and playing a tin whistle.”

Perhaps the most bizarre detail concerns the ‘comfort breaks’ Patrick would take while playing golf – a game that was said could rile his blood, leaving him a swearing, stomping shouting wreck if a ball went off course:

“While playing golf, Troughton had a habit of “urinating at as many locations on the course as possible”. He said he had a weak bladder, but his son reckons he just liked peeing in public…”

Patrick Troughton: The Biography of the Second Doctor Who is published by Hirst Publishing – where you can read glowing tributes and familial pride from other members of the Troughton family in the comments section –  for £19.99.

Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

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