The Doctor (Doctor Who)(02)
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Patrick Troughton played this version of the Doctor on TV, and most observers of the phenomenon that is Doctor Who credit him with being largely responsible for showing the BBC that they had a property that could outlive its star. Without his success in reinventing the character, most people think, the show would have died a quiet death after his predecessor relinquished the role.What's interesting about the comic version of him, mostly seen in TV Comic, is that it's used by scholars of the show, and even some of its mid-80s writers, to justify the continuation of his version of the character in the continuity long after Troughton himself had passed the baton to Jon Pertwee.The theory goes something like this:At the end of Troughton's last serial, "The War Games", the Doctor is charged with "meddling in the time stream", and is sentenced to enforced regeneration, separation from his companions, and banishment to Earth. The episode--and Season 6--ends with a shot of Troughton spiraling down a big black tunnel, his face stretching as if he's about to regenerate. In the next episode of Doctor Who, Season 7's opener, "Spearhead From Space" (Part One), we see a figure dressed like Troughton exit the TARDIS on Earth, and fall to the ground. It is only later, when the figure has been taken to a local hospital, that his face is actually shown.In short, we never see the exact moment of regeneration. It could be that he was the Doctor (02) as he exited the TARDIS and fell, and was the Doctor (03) only by the time that the ambulance arrived and got him to the hospital. Thus it has been widely speculated that the two episodes, though contiguous in the series, are not necessarily sequential in the Doctor's life.And this is where the comics come in. Beginning the week after "The War Games" (Part 10) aired, TV Comic began "Action in Exile". This story specifically proposed that the Second Doctor was "exiled to Earth by the Time Lords". Every Doctor Who comic strip that appeared in TV Comic thereafter had tales of the Doctor trapped on Earth. The last five stories of the Second Doctor's run "Action in Exile", "The Mark of Terror!", "The Brotherhood", "U.F.O." and "The Night Walkers" could thus be said to have occurred in what Who fans call "Season 6b" an apparently vast period of time that actually occurs between seasons 6 and 7.
Is it true? Maybe. The conclusion to "The Night Walkers" certainly dovetails nicely into the Third Doctor's first televised adventure, "Spearhead from Space". But, honestly, TV Comic had little other choice but to do what they did. There was, after all, an unusually long gap between Seasons 6 and 7, as the programme changed from a fall to a winter debut date. Unable to use the Third Doctor until after his first appearance on television in January, TV Comic could either put the strip on temporary hiatus, or continue using the Second Doctor. In the end, they chose to do a little of both. They ran Second Doctor strips until mid-November, then gave the Doctor two months off before returning with the Third Doctor in mid-January.
This practical compromise has since had a rather profound impact on the way subsequent Doctor Who writers, in all sorts of media, have looked on the events of "The War Games". From this simple notion that the Second Doctor spent some time in exile on Earth, it's all gotten rather more complicated than all this. After all, it's Doctor Who, and complication is no stranger to this unweildy property. There are hints of the Doctor working for another shadowy organization outside the "regular" Gallifreyan government that sentenced him in "War Games". There's conspiracy stuff. There are even some fans who argue that in some way the Doctor's actions in this mysterious, mostly-comic-based Season 6b have something to do with the hints of Time Lord genocide described by the Ninth Doctor in 2005's series.Whatever the "truth" of this fiction, though, be sure of this: no single part of the history of Doctor Who comics has had quite the impact on the perceived continuity of the series as these seemingly forgettable two-page comic strips. And their writers and artists would be absolutely shocked that their work is a vital underpinning to several novels, a few television episodes, and a seemingly never-ending debate.
The Second Doctor was the first comic Doctor to have had a televised companion along for the ride. Though he initially inherited the comics-only companions of John and Gillian from the comic First Doctor, Jamie joined him in the pages of TV Comic towards the end of the run for a few adventures.
The TV Comic Second Doctor can be said to have three distinct "periods".
The first, running from Christmas 1966 to September 1968, is in many ways indistinct from the First Doctor's era. Tales in this period feature John and Gillian and mostly take few cues from the television series. However, it is during this period that major races from the series notably the Cybermen and Daleks first made their way into the pages of TV Comic.
Following the Doctor's separation from John and Gillian, the Second Doctor entered his second phase. Jamie joined up for about seven months, after which the Doctor had a few adventures in the TARDIS on his own.
By July of 1969, the final episode starring Patrick Troughton had screened on television. TV Comic immediately followed suit with the third, and last, period for their Second Doctor. For the final five stories of the run, the Second Doctor was exiled on Earth, with the TARDIS almost unseen. He was living in posh digs at the Carlton Grange Hotel in London, and had become famous and, by appearances, relatively wealthy. He was also on the run from the Time Lords. Though he had succumbed to the first of their two punishments exile on Earth he had somehow escaped the second enforced regeneration. Eventually, they caught up with him, giving the comics the honor of actually depicting the regeneration itself. It is to date the only time that a regeneration of a televised Doctor has been published in comics.
At right are a number of images of the Second Doctor, drawn from these distinct periods.
From top to bottom are:
a portion of a painted cover for Doctor Who Classic Comics, often considered amongst the best renditions captured in comics.
a typical frame from the earliest, color part of his run in TV Comics, where it was quite common to find him wearing the "stovepipe" hat he actually wore only in his first televised adventure.
the usual image of the Second Doctor used in the masthead of the comic during its last black-and-white period
a typical image of the Second Doctor running away from an enemy (in this case, the omipresent Quarks)
an image of the exiled-to-Earth Second Doctor, in blissful repose on Earth at his lodgings at the Carlton Grange Hotel
The final image of the Second Doctor as he undergoes his Time Lord-enforced regeneration. This is quite an historic panel, as it is the only case to date of a televised Doctor's regeneration actually being shown in comics.
Who is Dr. Who?
Like his predecessor, the Second Doctor was often called "Dr. Who" in TV Comic. In fact, in one story, grateful residents of a particular society put the Second Doctor's name forward in a political contest, leading to background placards reading, "WHO FOR PRESIDENT!"
To modern fans of the show, this might seem a trifle, well, weird. However, it must be remembered that at this point in the show's history, it wasn't yet clear what else to call him. The only thing to go by were the end credits on television, which did call the character, "Dr. Who".
Doctor Who Classic Comics (1992)
First Appearance: TV Comic (1951) #784
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(01)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(03)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(04)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(05)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(06)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(07)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(08)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(09)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(10)
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(11)
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Doctor Who (1984)
Doctor Who Classics (2007)
Doctor Who Graphic Novel (2004)
Doctor Who Magazine (1979)
Doctor Who Magazine Special (1980)
Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition (2002)
#4 Doctor Who: It's Bigger on the Inside! (1988)
- 'The Complete Second Doctor'
Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time (2013)
Doctor Who: The Forgotten (2008)
HCTPB#2 MAD (1959)
- 'Part 2: Renewal'#6
- 'Part Six: Reunion'
The Comic Relief Comic (1991)
The Doctor Who Fun Book (1987)
The Dr Who Annual (1965)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century (2009)
TV Comic (1951)
TV Comic Annual (1951)
TV Comic Holiday Special (1963)
Time Lords and Gallifreyans
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