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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Patrick Troughton: The Biography of the Second Doctor Who
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 28 April 2012
And never was a truer word spoken in regard to Patrick Troughton. I think the most disappointing aspect of this book is not Troughton's cheating - many are guilty of that, and the man was human - but his cavalier attitude towards it and the people around him who suffered because of it. Almost immoral in some ways as though he had no consideration for others at all. Or when interests came into conflict, Patrick's interests would always be the better served whatever the circumstances. I've done some things I'm not particularly proud of but I was quite shocked at some of Troughton's antics and his disregard for others closest to him.

This is the problem when you have heroes; your expectation of them is so high that they could never possibly live up to the ideal. After all they are just people and carry the same burden as the rest of us.

The book is very informative and well worth reading; it is quite confusing at times due to the writing style not being made clear, but that said very enjoyable.

I did feel for Troughton's first wife, out of the three she was the only one that came across as a genuinely decent person and she was shoddily treated by him. It is quite understandable that the straw that broke the camel's back, as far as his daughter was concerned, came with his dealings with another woman and his daughter never spoke to him again. I think Troughton genuinely regretted that, but by that time the damage was done and a reconciliation never occurred - speaking as a father - that is sad.
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on 18 January 2015
This review is for the 'new' anniversary edition. I am guessing the anniversary is Dr Who's 50th, but it never states this clearly, though that wasn't a selling point for me. I was happy to manage to get a copy, as the initial run seemed to disappear very quickly. This came direct from the author, and is signed by him. The service he supplied was first class, and could not be faulted, and the fact it is self published by PT's son gives it a very nice personal touch.(Thank you Michael)

Like other reviewers I have noticed that in places the book should have been better proof read and edited, my copy has been published directly by the author, and I imagine on quite a low budget, so with that in mind I think the book is very good. The biggest editorial issue I have are the last three chapters, (I think these have been added to the anniversary edition), which really flesh out the last few years of PT's life with him getting involved in fandom and attending the US convention circuit. There is a very detailed, but factually incorrect, description of the 20th Anniversary Longleat celebration. Maybe some help in the research may have helped at this point. Also there is mention of the recovered story's 'Enemy of the World' and 'Web of Fear'. It goes into some dialogue with the dvd range's 'restoration team'. Though strangely refers to one member as 'Crocker' and not his full name of Peter Crocker, which I did think slightly disrespectful, but more likely just a publishing error.

On the whole the book is a good chronological account of the man's life. He is definitely a complex man, who never appears to have 'opened up' to his children. This explains why the book can only hint at PT's inner thought's and motivations. At times it can seem shallow, but this is solely because PT at times was a stranger to his families. The strain of his complicated private life had to be a burden, but that was for him to bare. The author uses a lot of quotes from people who knew PT well, but there is nothing from his eldest son David, and Michael rarely mentions his older brother. Certain things do become evident, the estrangement from his daughter Joanne really should have been resolved, and though he tried, he never seemed to push hard enough to get in touch, and it is clear Michael just wanted to be in his father's company and you can sense he never got enough time with him, and wanted to know him better. Maybe we can conclude that PT had three families, many children and grandchildren, but he never got close enough to any of them.

It told more about PT than I knew, and for that I am grateful. When you realise how vast his body of work was, it puts his three years as the Doctor into perspective. We were very lucky to have such an actor to play the Doctor.

In an age where character actors have been replaced by 'celebrity' actors, it reminds me how much I missed the 'jobbing' character actors of the 50's,60's and 70's.
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on 13 December 2017
A really interesting book. Facinating person and well narrated by his son Michael.
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on 5 December 2017
bought as a present very much appreciated
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on 15 December 2015
finaly got to read it, very well writen by his son and eye opener to a caracture we all loved
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on 15 October 2015
Very fast delivery. Excellent cd. Many thanks
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on 27 April 2012
I purchased this book through Amazon as a birthday gift for my son-in-law and he was delighted as he has been looking everywhere for this book, as has my daugther and myself. One of only two on offer we were all very pleased to be able to purchase this copy. It is a must for every Dr. Who fan.
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on 20 May 2013
A thoroughly enjoyable read from the son of the best Doctor Who of them all. Highly recommended. Patrick troughton Number 1...
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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.
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on 16 December 2011
It's a good account of the man's life and illustrated with many rare photographs. We learn just why Troughton was so private. He had, shall we say, a rather complicated home life and incredibly he managed to keep it a secret from even his mother for nearly 25 years.

There are lots of lovely anecdotes here as well as a brisk telling of his extensive film and tv career. Predictably, and perhaps the reason why we are all reading this, there is plenty of first hand detail about Troughton and his work on Doctor Who. It's interesting to read that some of the creakier episodes were seen for exactly what they were even back then ie tv produced on slightly too little budget with the results being less than convincing.

There's a bit of a feeling of reading his life through a filter (perhaps inevitable when your biographer is one of your children and a fair amount of time has passed). The effect is a bit like watching the Zarbi through a Vaseline smeared lens. You kind of feel you are close to seeing the real picture but not quite. Tellingly, there is almost no contribution from Patrick's third wife - and that's a real pity. And one point of annoyance - quite a few spelling/grammar mistakes and other typos have been left in. It's not enough to spoil your enjoyment, but you might laugh at some of the dafter ones.

In the end, while I felt I'd got a few flashes of insight about Troughton, I still found him a bit of enigma.
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