Hard to believe it was over 49 years ago that Mr.Hartnell first appeared on the BBC in 1963 as the doctor in An Unearthly Child. But here we are,eleven doctors later. No one however has forgotten "the original,as one might say",to quote the first doctors own words. Of course the first doctor is the only one of them to be portrayed by two different actors during the shows original run. William Hartnell died in 1975,two year after participating in the show's tenth anniversary special The Three Doctors with Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee.
When the programs twentieth anniversary arrived,the first doctor was portrayed by Richard Hurndall,who himself has since passed on. A long time English character actor used to being somewhat in the back round, Hartnell came to greatly appreciate his role as the doctor and particularly his relationship to his younger viewers. His persona as the eccentric,mildly cranky grandfather helped establish the personality of every one whose ever played the role. As he himself once said,once one has been involved with the doctor some of the magic stays with you for the rest of your life. As much as I appreciate all the others, Hartnell's portrayal has already worked it's magic on me.