The Third Doctor: The Dandy

Farewell, days of black and white. Doctor Who is now in color!

Up to this point, we’ve had two incredibly solid versions of the Doctor. The first with William Hartnell (later by David Bradley) gave us a stern, somewhat grumpy but wise and kind grandfather. The second with Patrick Troughton gave us a much more energetic and comedic take on the character. Both were incredibly solid performances from remarkable actors.

And now, we reach the third iteration, played by Jon Pertwee.

Once again, this version of the character completely changed things up from the previous. Whereas the second Doctor was a goofy and caring cosmic hobo, the third is a suave gentleman. He dresses well, speaks elegantly, and has a more serious approach to solving his problems.

Not to say that the third Doctor is entirely mature. He still maintains that childish goofiness integral to the character. Plus, he has a habit of screwing with people – mostly the Brigadier – and otherwise acting ridiculous.

He also has a tendency to clobber people. Like, a lot. Of every version of the Doctor to date, the third is the one most likely to straight-up throw hands with the bad guys.

On top of that, he had a strong affinity for cars. Which made sense; he didn’t have the Tardis for a while, so he had to get around somehow. So he just hijacked cars. What else is a Time Lord to do?

Does all of this sound more like a classic spy thriller than a sci-fi romp? That’s because it kind of was. Doctor Who was made to fit the times, and in the early 70s, stuff like early James Bond was taking over the cultural landscape. So naturally, the Doctor himself was changed to fit the landscape.

Thankfully, the core of the character remained unchanged. He still took a more mind over matter approach to resolving conflict. While he would often throw hands with his enemies, he still maintained his pacifistic principles, refusing to use a gun or cause genuine, permanent harm to others. The third Doctor may have been more of an action hero than some of the others, but he was still the Doctor.

All of this was brought to life by the wonderful Jon Pertwee. He had a natural charisma and energy to him that let him easily capture every scene he was present in. On top of that, his face was highly expressive, allowing him to capture the ancient wisdom and childish innocence integral to the character. He’s still a delight to watch, even all these years later!

The third Doctor is definitely one of the best of the classic series. Sure, the show still had the budget of a middle-schooler’s piggy bank. But with him in the lead, the show managed to deliver some truly incredible episodes.

But even he could not compare to the actor that would succeed him. It could be argued that none ever would.

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