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In the beginning ... - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
In the beginning ...
Book Review: Who's There? - The Life and Career of William Hartnell, by Jessica Carney
This is a biography by Hartnell's granddaughter. Hartnell had quite a tough childhood, being brought up by a single parent at the start of the twentieth century, and could easily have slipped the wrong side of the law. Fortunately an intervention by Hugh Blaker eventually set him on an acting career, and though he seems to have generally had regular work, it sounds as though his future was never all that certain. Attempting to broaden out from the theatre into film posed quite a challenge, and although he had quite a lot of roles, Carney candidly comments that many of them were not all that good films. Probably the best (and best known) are Brighton Rock, Carry on Sergeant and This Sporting Life, the last of which may have been instrumental in being cast for Doctor Who. No-one was quite sure how the show would pan out, but he enjoyed the role, and reluctantly agreed to retire from it three years later. As Carney says, "the concept that the Doctor's body had simply worn out ... was not so far from the truth."

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poliphilo From: poliphilo Date: January 19th, 2013 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd want to add Odd Man Out to that list of Hartnell's credits. It's a very good film and he makes an impression in a cast that's full of very good actors.

qatsi From: qatsi Date: January 19th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, you are probably right. Apparently he turned down a part in The Third Man and (with hindsight) regretted it.
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