The First Doctor


William Augustus Elizabeth Hartnell played the Doctor from 1963 to 1966. Born in in Ethopia in 1897, Hartnell was a noted civil rights activist and Reggae drummer during his teenage years. His plans to enrol in Marlene Dietrich Hand Acting Academy in Addis Abbaba were cut short by the outbreak of the First World War in 1909, but his acting career resumed with the cessation of hostilities in 1921.

After returning to England in 1938, "Betty" Hartnell, as he had been widely known in the trenches, soon became famous for a number of notable film roles. He was notoriously prone to putting other thespians off their guard, often with hilarious results. It was at Ealing Studios, during the filming of The Ladykillers (1955), where his impromptu turn as an eccentric old widow with a rickety outhouse and a parrot fixation charmed a young Bruce Purchase and saw him trouncing Katie Johnson for the lead. (To respect professional obligations, Miss Johnson's name was kept in the credits: "Betty" only received a minor nod as "Davida Agnew, Movement Consultant"). Indeed, it was by this surprise turn that "Betty" first sowed his seed in Alistair Sim, who later paid tribute to Hartnell's star performance in his own rendition as the feisty spinster schoolmistress Barbara Wright in the sadly overlooked St Trinian's films.

Other film roles soon followed, including Ethel Walters's brother Brian in Carib Gold (1957) and Bea Richards' hairdresser in A Giant Step (1959). His lifelong hatred of children put paid to a disastrous stint as a Blue Peter presenter in 1961, after which he took on the role of Doctor Who at the personal request of Martin Luther King. He died tragically in 1972, as a direct result of Rick James's performance as Cotton in the Jon Pertwee classic, The Mutants.

Episode Zero: A Little Queer

The boys kick off the podcast by discussing the untransmitted pilot episode of Doctor Who.

  • The unaired pilot

Season 1

Episode 1: Horribly Blond(e)

Brendan, Richard and Nathan discuss the first half of the show's first season: An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, The Edge of Destruction, and Marco Polo. With hilarious results. (We hope.)

  • An Unearthly Child
  • The Daleks
  • The Edge of Destruction
  • Marco Polo

Episode 2: So Maudlin

It's 1964, and Brendan, Richard and Nathan take on the back half of Season 1: The Keys of Marinus, The Aztecs, The Sensorites and The Reign of Terror. More Barbara! More Billy-fluffs! More German Expressionism!

  • The Keys of Marinus
  • The Aztecs
  • The Sensorites
  • The Reign of Terror

Season 2

Episode 3: Bernard Cribbins in Vinyl

Brendan, Richard and Nathan take on the first three stories of Doctor Who's difficult second season: Planet of Giants, The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Rescue. Spoiler alert: we think that almost all of them are fantastic!

  • Planet of Giants
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth
  • The Rescue

Episode 4: Why Can't I Wear Trousers?

This episode, Brendan, Richard and Nathan tackle the difficult subjects of ants and fraternity as they discuss three ant-astic stories from the middle of Doctor Who's second season: The Romans, The Web Planet and The Crusade. So tune up your lyres, pull up a dormouse, and listen along. There's a bit of that cold peacock left in the fridge, I think.

  • The Romans
  • The Web Planet
  • The Crusade

Episode 5: She's Madame Mao

Brendan, Richard and Nathan bring Season 2 to a triumphant close with The Space Museum, The Chase and The Time Meddler. And we like them all. No, really.

"I shall miss them. Yes, I shall miss them, silly old fusspots. Come along, my dear, it's time we were off."

  • The Space Museum
  • The Chase
  • The Time Meddler

Season 3

Episode 6: Nipples, Dear Listener

Hold your breath, everyone! Brendan, Richard and Nathan besiege, invade and finally burn down the first three stories of Doctor Who's highly controversial third season: Galaxy Four, Mission to the Unknown and The Myth Makers. Dusty Springfield wigs at the ready, girls!

  • Galaxy Four
  • Mission to the Unknown
  • The Myth Makers

Episode 7: How Would You Address a God?

Our flight through Season 3 continues with an episode devoted to Doctor Who's longest (oh, okay second longest) story ever: The Daleks' Master Plan.

Is Katarina a companion? Which is the delegate with black balls all over his head? Is Bret Vyon a companion? Has anyone ever been more fabulous than Sara Kingdom? And should Doctor Who be doing this sort of story at all?

  • The Daleks' Master Plan

Episode 8: Someone Lost Their Beagle

Our endless flight through Doctor Who's third season chokes, stalls and crashes into The Massacre, The Ark and The Celestial Toymaker. And Nathan's not at all happy. (Let's put a cork on that, Nathan!)

  • The Massacre
  • The Ark
  • The Celestial Toymaker

Episode 9: Tropes Tropes Tropes Tropes Tropes

We've finally reached the end of our flight through Doctor Who's third season. It's been a long and controversial journey, but happily it ends with The Gunfighters, The Savages and The War Machines. So have one on the house. It isn't every day we get the over–twenties in this place. (Oh wait, it is.)

  • The Gunfighters
  • The Savages
  • The War Machines

Season 4

Episode 11: Bum Wetting

It's the end of an era. In this episode, Brendan, Richard and Nathan say goodbye to the Doctor and hello to his suspicious new replacement, as we discuss The Smugglers, The Tenth Planet and The Power of the Daleks.

Thank you. It's good. Keep warm.

  • The Smugglers
  • The Tenth Planet
  • The Power of the Daleks