Last month I created another entry in my series of Doctor Who portraits, based upon the actors who have played the title role in this long-running BBC science-fiction series. I time-traveled to the year 2013 this time, for an illustration of the current incarnation of the Doctor, as played by Peter Capaldi. Some people will quibble over the numbering, but I’m counting him as number thirteen and that’s that! 🙂
The thirteenth actor continuing the role of the Doctor is Peter Capaldi…
Peter Capaldi is a proper fan of the show too, having grown up watching it and even famously writing fan letters! With the ever-younger modern casting of the role, he had feared perhaps his time might have passed him by before being cast. Maybe it is his look, but he reminds me a bit of Jon Pertwee (the third Doctor) but if I close my eyes I can almost hear Tom Baker (the fourth Doctor). I guess what I’m saying is that while he is absolutely putting his own acting talents and spin into the role, he is evoking classic Doctor vibes as well, and that is a part of what makes this whole regeneration thing work for the show.
This is actually my first color illustration in my portrait series. My earlier illustrations of the first Doctor and the second Doctor were in black and white with shades of grey as a homage to how their episodes were shot and originally aired that way. All of the other Doctors have been shot and broadcast in full color, so that’s how they will be drawn by me.
Who will be next? Only time will tell! 🙂 Meanwhile, please let me know what you think of this and remember, if you’d like an original commission by me or would like to hire me as an Illustrator, please use the Contact page and let me know as much as you can about your request.
I’m finally getting back to my promise of creating a series of portraits based on the actors who have portrayed the Doctor in this classic BBC science-fiction program. Patrick Troughton took over the role in 1966 from William Hartnell, who was there in the beginning. This was a huge thing, conceptually for a television program of any kind to attempt.
Sure, actors have replaced other actors in roles all the time. It happens on the stage regularly and people don’t really bat an eye… but there is an understood contract with the audience in play when it happens. The actor agrees to do his best to continue the role began by another and the audience agrees to ignore the change in actor and assume the character is the same as it has always been. This is far easier to do in a play, where it is a single story being played out over and over again. Serialized television, however, asks you to accept that the new stories with a different actor are still happening to the same character as before.
Some shows cannot pull off the switch. When an actor decides to leave a role, or unfortunately is taken by surprise death in real life, studios have to make a tough call as to whether to attempt to continue the role, and even the show, without that actor or write off the role, or cancel the show. Many a show has been derailed by a casting change.
But with Doctor Who, the BBC did something quite genius that hadn’t been tried before… they not only didn’t ask you to ignore the change in actor… they specifically asked you to embrace the change by acknowledging it within the show itself. Regeneration was offered as an explanation of how a Timelord could restore a failing body to new life. The old personality and facade goes away and is replaced by a new persona with all the memories and experience of the previous edition. The viewer doesn’t have to ignore anything, it’s all incorporated into the story! You get to know the new Doctor as he gets to know himself. The grandfatherly curmudgeon was thus replaced by the scheming amiable prankster, and the show marched onward.
The second actor tasked to continue the role of the Doctor was Patrick Troughton…
While Hartnell is properly credited for being a huge part of the show’s early and ongoing success… Troughton is sometimes not given enough credit for establishing the template that would allow this show to endure for more than 50 years now! Patrick Troughton unquestioningly convinced you that he was both the same Doctor that always was AND an entirely new Doctor you had never before seen. His run in the role made it possible for all the other actors that followed.
Similar to my first illustration in this series, this one is in black and white as well. The TV show did not change over to color production until the third doctor (Jon Pertwee coming soon). I like the look of this style of illustration and feel like it pairs well with my previous drawing of the first Doctor.
Please let me know what you think and remember, if you’d like an original commission by me or would like to hire me as an Illustrator, please use the Contact page and let me know as much as you can about your request.
Doctor Who is a science-fiction program produced by the BBC. It goes way back to before I existed, debuting in November of 1963. The show originally ran until 1989, minus a couple of setbacks in production, before ultimately going on a long hiatus. A poorly received 1996 joint venture with FOX for a TV movie was all there was to be, until the successful modern relaunch of the series in 2005. If you’re already a fan, then you know more than I could ever tell you in a brief blog post. If you’re not a fan, look it up! 🙂 Seriously, it is a wonderfully unique and uniquely British take on aliens and time-travel that you can’t help yourself but enjoy.
One of the interesting twists with the Doctor is his ability to regenerate. It’s a beautiful solution to an old problem in television… what do you do when the main actor wants to move on but you still want to keep the show running? This nifty little work around allows the show to continue while replacing the Doctor with a new actor and not insulting the viewer OR dissing the previous actor. The show must go on… and it does!
I’ve decided to tackle illustrations of all the Doctors, beginning with the very first one… William Hartnell.
The early years of the show were in black and white, so I opted to work this illustration only in shades of grey instead of in color. I plan to do the same for the second Doctor when I get to him. I feel like this has a nice effect, and it also keeps true to how most people will recognize seeing William Hartnell as the Doctor. Hartnell’s Doctor was a little gruff and brash, but also grandfatherly to his companions, ultimately saving the day and chastising them for getting into nonsense along the way.
I haven’t yet decided whether to draw the Doctors in order… or skip around. My next in the series will either be the second Doctor, portrayed by Patrick Troughton, to complete my black and white illustrations or I might skip to the end and go with the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi. Either way be on the lookout for all the Doctors coming soon to this very blog!
Please let me know what you think, and feel free to wax poetic on your love of this timeless (see what I did there?) bit of science-fiction. Remember, if you’d like an original commission by me or would like to hire me as an Illustrator, please use the Contact page and let me know as much as you can about your request.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a long-time fan of Doctor Who. The only reason I haven’t watched every episode of the series is because of the tragic loss of so many of the earliest episodes of this long-running science-fiction show from the BBC. So over a period of a few days during the past week I decided to tackle creating some of my favorite logo designs from this show’s history.
The blue diamond logo design first showed up near the end of Jon Pertwee‘s tenure as the Doctor. It lasted until the next-to-last season of the Tom Baker era. The title sequence used the blue version, while the more colorful version has been used in various marketing and product offerings. If you look closely, there are slight differences beyond just the color changes.
Next up is the neon logo, introduced in Tom Baker‘s final season and used all the way to the end of Peter Davison‘s tenure. This is probably my favorite version of the show’s title design. It was more painful to draw than you might imagine, not because it was difficult but in order to get all the accents just right, I had to be painstakingly methodical about the way I constructed it.
Last, and I guess in some ways least… the title design from the Sylvester McCoy era. In the actual title sequence, this is a three-dimensional design that rotates. It’s actually kind of slick when you see the animation in action. I don’t hate this logo design by any means, I just don’t love it as much as the others in this post.
Let me know what you think!