DOCTOR WHO: What if PATRICK MOORE was The Doctor?

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On what would've been Patrick Moore's 92nd Birthday, Christopher Morley imagines an altogether different destiny amongst the stars for the legendary astronomer...

"Our destiny is in the stars, so lets go and search for it."
What if those words had been spoken by a First Doctor played by a man arguably better qualified to argue the merit of them than William Hartnell? And having guided us in watching The Sky At Night for many a year until his sad death in December 2012, Sir Patrick Moore's Doctorly incarnation might have proved something of an accomplished TARDIS operator, having fled Gallifrey & opted to "stand on my own two feet" in much the same manner as his alternative portrayer chose to turn down a grant to study at the University of Cambridge following his RAF service during the Second World War.



A sense of himself as the grand old man of the universe might indeed have informed his first meeting with potential companions, too! Picture the scene. In a junkyard on Totters Lane, an old man stands with his eye to a telescope. He is disturbed by the arrival of two schoolteachers- & Ian Chesterton's conception of science is blown wide open after he & Barbara Wright stumble into the TARDIS, with a full working observatory par for the course! "I may be accused of being a dinosaur, but I would remind you that dinosaurs ruled the Earth for a very long time." might have been re-purposed as one of many withering put-downs for the '' stubborn young man''so ably played by William Russell to digest as he begins his travels with the monocled alien eccentric whose world he's now part of.


That eccentricity in turn throws up another possibility. What if Hartnell had played the First Doctor as history records, but after his old body wore a bit thin up sprang a Patrick who wasn't also a Troughton to take his place? Say hello to the Second Moore!


Every bit as astrologically/scientifically aware as his First self might have been, but allowed to show off his quirks more regularly. Startling new companions Ben Jackson & Polly Wright, everything's perfectly fine once he rediscovers his beloved xylophone!



In reality Patrick was a proficient player/composer, as this excerpt from a 1998 Daily Telegraph interview with the great man shows-
"Patrick Moore is hammering the living daylights out of the xylophone in his dark, cluttered drawing-room. Over it hangs a sharp message to visitors: "No, you may NOT put your cup on the xylophone". I have a sudden vision of him attacking an offender with his mallets.

Moore, as all viewers of The Sky at Night know, is an innately funny man - both boffin and buffoon. Here is the man who commentated on the moon landings, who mapped the moon for NASA and who has an asteroid named after him, playing "Penguin Parade" and thrilling at critical tributes such as: "He writes marches of which Sousa would have been proud"."
To Queen guitarist Brian May, who holds a PHD in Astrophysics, Patrick was the same mad uncle figure that many seasoned Doctor Who viewers would acclaim Troughton to be. After his death, Brian said:
"Patrick will be mourned by the many to whom he was a caring uncle, and by all who loved the delightful wit and clarity of his writings, or enjoyed his fearlessly eccentric persona in public life. Patrick is irreplaceable. There will never be another Patrick Moore. But we were lucky enough to get one."
Kind words indeed regarding a man he'd also called a"dear friend and a kind of father figure to me".


And like the Doctor, he was multi-talented! 'He was a lifelong devotee of cricket and an accomplished musician, playing both piano and xylophone in public with great success. He wrote science fiction, plays, spoof operas, and satirical commentaries on the foolishness of bureaucracy, under the assumed name of RT Fishall. He ribbed those who believed in flying saucers or astrology, but had an open mind as to whether intelligent life may exist elsewhere in the universe.

The man himself was even a fan of Doctor Who, though he gave up for very much un-PC reasons:
"I used to watch Doctor Who and Star Trek, but they went PC - making women commanders, that kind of thing. I stopped watching."
Though he does appear as himself in The Eleventh Hour...



Perhaps this, though, is the ultimate clincher for his Time Lord credentials!
"One of his greatest triumphs was to explain the concept of a giant black hole in the centre of our galaxy. This was a particularly difficult feat to accomplish on television, where directors strive for “visual interest”. So Moore had a map of the Milky Way drawn on the studio floor. He walked towards the centre, explaining Einstein’s general theory of relativity in the most lucid manner as he did so, and then, by some feat of technological conjuring, simply disappeared."
Sounds familiar, no?




Previously
What if Brian Blessed was the Doctor?
What if John Noble was the Doctor?
What if David Jason was the Doctor? 
What if David Bowie was the Doctor? 
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