Patrick Troughton

Last updated 09 January 2020

Patrick Troughton (1920-1987)
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Patrick George Troughton

Born: Thursday 25th March 1920
Died: Saturday 28th March 1987 (age: 67)


Patrick Troughton was born in Mill Hill, Middlesex, England to Alec George Troughton, a solicitor, and Dorothy Evelyn Offord. Troughton attended Mill Hill School and continued to live in Mill Hill for most of his life. While at Mill Hill School, he acted in a production of J.B. Priestley's "Bees on the Boat Deck" in March 1937.

He attended the Embassy School of Acting at Swiss Cottage, under Eileen Thorndike, and won a scholarship to the Leighton Rallius Studios at the John Drew Memorial Theatre on Long Island in New York, U.S.

In the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy and served as a Lieutenant, R.N.V.R. on East Coast Convoy duty from February to August 1941, and Coastal Forces (M.G.B.'s) based at Great Yarmouth from November 1942 to 1945, where he was mentioned in dispatches.

After the war, Troughton returned to the theatre working with the Amersham Repertory Company, the Bristol Old Vic Company and the Pilgrim Players at the Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill Gate. He made his television debut in 1947 and his fim debut a year later. In 1953 he became the first actor to play Robin Hood on television, starring in six half-hour episodes broadcast from 17 March to 21 April on the BBC. Troughton's other notable film and television roles included Kettle in Chance of a Lifetime (1950), Sir Andrew Ffoulkes in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1955), Phineas inJason and the Argonauts (1963), Quilp in The Old Curiosity Shop (1962), Paul of Tarsus (BBC 1960, title role), Dr. Finlay's Casebook (BBC 1962, semiregular). He voiced Winston Smith in a 1965 BBC Home Service radio adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Prior to Doctor Who he appeared in numerous TV shows including, The Count of Monte Cristo, Ivanhoe, Dial 999, Danger Man, Maigret, Compact, The Third Man, Crane, Detective, Sherlock Holmes, No Hiding Place, The Saint, Armchair Theatre, The Wednesday Play, Z-Cars, Adam Adamant Lives! and Softly, Softly.

In 1966, Doctor Who producer Innes Lloyd cast Troughton in the series, replacing {p1}}. Lloyd later stated that Hartnell had approved of the choice, saying, "There's only one man in England who can take over, and that's Patrick Troughton". Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman suggested he play the role as a "cosmic hobo" in the mould of Charlie Chaplin.

Producer Lloyd credited Troughton with a "leading actor's temperament. He was a father figure to the whole company and hence could embrace it and sweep it along with him". Troughton found Doctor Who's schedule gruelling, and decided to leave the series in 1969, after three years in the role. He later returned to the series on three separate occasions.

After Troughton left the series, he appeared in various films and television roles. Film roles included Klove in Scars of Dracula (1970), Father Brennan in The Omen (1976) and Melanthius in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). Television roles included the recurring role of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk in five of the six episodes of The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970), the villainous Nasca in Thames Television's Aztec-themed drama The Feathered Serpent (1976-1978), a guest starring spot in the comedy series The Goodies in the episode "The Baddies", as well as episodes of Paul Temple, Dr. Finlay Casebook, Doomwatch, The Persuaders!, A Family at War, Coronation Street, Softly, Softly: Taskforce, Colditz, Play for Today, Z-Cars, Special Branch, Sutherland's Law, The Sweeney, Jason King,Survivors, Crown Court, Angels, Warship, Van der Valk, Space: 1999, The Onedin Line, All Creatures Great and Small, Only When I Laugh (Series 2, Total Episode #9), Nanny, Minder, and the first episode ofInspector Morse. He portrayed Cole Hawlings in a BBC Television dramatisation of the John Masefield children's book The Box of Delights (1984).

Troughton's suffered two major heart attacks, one in 1978 and the other in 1984, which prevented him from working for several months. On Friday, 27 March 1987, Troughton was a guest at the Magnum Opus Con II science fictionC onvention in Columbus, Georgia, USA. He suffered a third and final heart attack at 7:25 a.m. the next day.

Troughton was married three times. He had two daughters and four sons, as well as a stepdaughter and stepson.

The actor is played by Reece Shearsmith in the 50th Anniversary drama An Adventure In Space And Time.