Completing today’s trilogy of 1st Doctor interviews, here’s Richard Hurndall talking about taking over the role from William Hartnell in ‘The Five Doctors’. He apparently got the job after impressing in ‘Blake’s 7’.
“I enjoyed (playing Nebrox in) Blake’s 7 very much. There wasn’t, as far as I know, any indication that the Seven were to meet their doom at the end of the series. Apparently Doctor Who’s producer, John Nathan-Turner, saw my likeness to William Hartnell when I played Nebrox (although my friends can’t see the likeness very much) and asked me to play it! I admired William Hartnell a great deal and I tried to play the part as he would have done. I understand that William’s widow, Heather, approved of the choice. I remembered his approach to the role very well, but decided it would be stupid to try and mimic him so I hoped I split the difference between his performance – his personality and mine, just adding a few of his more familiar mannerisms.
“I found ‘The Five Doctors’ very difficult and was glad that I knew the other Doctors – I’d first worked with Patrick Troughton in ‘Someone at the Door’, a 1949 TV comedy / thriller, and with Jon Pertwee in ‘The Final Chapter’, a comedy quiz game in 974. I think I’m a little too old to comprehend science-fiction, really. I’ve seen very few ‘Doctor Who’ episodes, but my favourite in the part is undoubtedly Patrick Troughton, who gets so much humour into it. I rather liked ‘Star Trek’, but otherwise I have left science-fiction to my grandchildren. I think ‘Doctor Who’ has lasted so long, perhaps, because it was the first of its kind.”