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Pat Troughton Book
on 15 May 2012
This is the first book I am aware of about a much loved actor, and a great Doctor Who. Little is known about Patrick Troughton the man, and having read this book, that is as he wanted it. A secretive and distant man, who at times seemed incredibly cruel to family, he was incredibly well liked within the acting profession. A man of contrasts and contradictions then.
But what do we know about Mr Troughton's long history after reading this book? Disappointingly little. For really, in some ways, this is less about Patrick Troughton the actor, and more about a man's relationship as a father, with his young child; a child who was understandably sad and hurt to have been abandoned for the 'love' of a woman who wasn't his mother, and the children she and PT were to have together. This book while acknowledging the 'other' family, the 'other' partners, and wives, only superficially deals with them. For example, we know little about Pat's second wife other than they married and that fact was discovered by Michael from a newspaper. Michael met and had a bad meal with her and his father once and got sick and maybe didn't go round to his father's new place after that. Maybe he and his step-mum just didn't get on. Who knows? It's never really said one way or the other. No clues as to whether she was spoken to in researching the book, or even if she is still alive. And "Bunny' his long standing partner, and their children. There was very little about them, or how they saw things, at the time things happened, or reflecting on events now.
What the book does do well is to fill in our knowledge of Pat's early days from birth to his road to drama school, early theatre, tv and film. This was all nicely cataloged, with some good picture research, without much obvious attempt to contact actors, directors etc who might still be around for comment. One or two actors, and old friends, are quoted without getting any great perspective on events. And Michael's brother David is THE big glaring omission in the book. Even his sister, Joanna, seems to have little to say. There seems to have been access to Pat's diaries which are quoted a few times in the book, but nothing is really reflected upon in any depth.
There is a better biography to be written about Mr Troughton than this book; more detail on his work by those who worked with him would have been interesting, and more from his family about how they saw him while growing up and looking back. It doesn't need the salacity, but an exploration of events may explain more about the man. But, as a personal memoir about a son's relationship (or lack of) with his father, this book does have insightful, emotional, moments.