Remember when… the First Doctor regenerated?

June 11th, 2012
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...
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For this week’s Remember when…, we’re journeying back to 29th October 1966. On this iconic day, history was made when the Doctor regenerated for the very first time.

Nowadays it is impossible to imagine what Doctor Who would be like without that little thing we call ‘regeneration’. The premise that our hero can quite literally change his face before our eyes has kept our favourite series fresh and revitalised for nearly 50 years. Back in the earliest days of the show, however, regeneration itself was an alien concept.

After three glorious years in the TARDIS, William Hartnell decided to call it a day, and as a result, producers had to put their heads together to come up with a way to continue the programme without the Doctor’s initial incarnation. And thus regeneration was born! After battling the Cybermen on The Tenth Planet, the Doctor became a brand new man…

Do you remember the First Doctor’s regeneration? Did you see its original broadcast? If so, what was it like seeing Patrick Troughton taking over the reigns? Regeneration is now an essential part of the show’s success, but where does this regeneration rank compared to the ones that followed? If you weren’t around for its first transmission, when did you witness the classic scene? Discuss the First Doctor’s regeneration below…

4 comments on this article
  1. Tom Versey
    June 11th, 2012 at 10.16am | #1

    My Grandad said that watching this moment was strange… He thought that Doctor Who would never be the same again.. My Grandad was always there when it came to watching William Hartnell on Doctor Who, since he watched Power Of The Daleks, he told me it was the best Dalek story in the Black and White era.
    At this point, I was jealous because POTD is an adventure I will never see.

  2. Steve
    June 11th, 2012 at 6.55pm | #2

    Ah, life was so simple back then, you had the Doctor, his companions and a story over 4 or 6 weeks. The Doctor and his companions, had fun, got into trouble and then went on their way. The this happened, the first regeneration. It is an historical moment in TV history and one never beaten. It is a shame this episode is now lost. It is worse that most of Pat Troughton’s era has been destroyed. The BBC should be ashamed of themselves!

  3. Mia
    June 11th, 2012 at 7.00pm | #3

    I didn’t watch it live, because I’m a 90’s kid and wasn’t born until a couple of years after the classic series ended. I have only watched it on YouTube, unfortunately. One day I will be watching the classic Doctor Who, definitely.

  4. Profzed
    June 11th, 2012 at 9.42pm | #4

    One can only imagine how bizarre that must have been for anyone watching at the time.

    I can only relate it to watching Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor fall from the radio telescope in “Logopolis”. I had only just started watching DW on Chicago’s PBS station. I had no idea what was going to happen when the Doctor was on the ground, obviously about to die. Then when the Watcher “absorbed” into him and changed into the young vet from “All Creatures Great and Small”… Well, that was completely unexpected!

    The same must have held true for viewers who saw the 1st Doctor change into Patrick Troughton.

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