Doctor Who: What if PATRICK McGOOHAN was the Doctor? - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: What if PATRICK McGOOHAN was the Doctor?

Wil is not a number...

Join me as we travel back in the alternate timeline where David Jason is the Seventh Doctor, John Noble is the last of the Time Lords, Brian Blessed fends off polar bears with a Sonic Screwdriver, the 60s belong to Patrick Moore and David Bowie is the Doctor eternal, as we consider another 'What If...' for the mad man in a blue box.

Jon Pertwee portrayed his Doctor as a smooth man of action. He'd disarm his enemies with a lethal combination of Aikido and a Sonic Screwdriver. He loved his gadgets, gizmos and cars and, with his Earth bound constraints, fitted nicely in with the popular 'spy-fi' genre of the time.

Legend has it that Ron Moody was considered for the part of the Doctor before Pertwee was cast, but I think someone else could've totally owned the role, possibly even out-Pertwee'ing Pertwee. Ladies and Gentlemen, what if Patrick McGoohan was the Third Doctor?

McGoohan is a fine actor, I've seen him in multiple roles but, let's face it, it's The Prisoner that he is best known for, and his role in that show is my basis for championing him here. There are actually quite a lot of elements from The Prisoner which would've worked perfectly if McGoohan had been the Third Doctor.

For instance tell me this couldn't have been a potential Bessie...

...and I firmly believe this is the greatest non-Doctor Who potential Doctor-style costume the television world has ever seen...

There are so many similarities between the two shows. The third Doctor was stuck on Earth, unable to travel in time and space. For a Time Lord one small alien planet must feel like a prison cell. In The Prisoner, No. 6 was held captive in the village, a place that actually was a prison and seemed like a very alien environment.

The Prisoner's battles against No. 2 would be replaced by the Doctor's many encounters with his arch nemesis the Master. I can only image that the on screen rapport between Patrick McGoohan and Roger Delgado would've been legendary.

Show comparisons aside Patrick McGoohan was clearly no stranger to the spy-fi genre. Before The Prisoner he had starred in Danger Man (aka Secret Agent) and was even offered, and turned down the roles of James Bond and The Saint. He'd be very comfortable with the direction the show was going, plus he knew his way round a gadget or two, and would've had no problem with the technobabble that often troubled Jon Pertwee.

"No. 6. Have you tried reversing the polarity of the neutron flow?"

"I am not a number. I'm the Doctor. And that makes no sense!"

In 1970 Patrick McGoohan was 42. A physically fit actor who was more than capable of portraying the action packed Doctor that Terrence Dicks and Barry Letts wanted to bring to the screen. Take that Autons...

"HAI!!! Akido"

You might want to sit down for this, as some of you may not know that Patrick McGoohan is actually American! He was born in New York but raised in Ireland and Sheffield. If they'd introduced an American Doctor in 1970 it could've had a huge impact on the show in later years. Nowadays it's sacrilege to even mention the possibility of an American born actor playing the part - try it in public and fandom will likely throw verbal bricks at you... before picking up real bricks to finish you off. But I doubt it would've raised any eyebrows at the time.

And really though, why must the Doctor always be British? Is it just simply because that's how it's always been? But if it hadn't always been that way then those stories of a potential female Doctor, black Doctor, Australian Doctor etc etc wouldn't hold any of the stigma that they do today, and all of those possibilities and more might have actually been reality already. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Surely all that should matter is who is the best person for the job?

The Doctor had only regenerated once before so there was no real guidelines on who must play the part, no formula or template set in stone like there is nowadays. So I argue that breaking the mold so early on, and with someone as talented and well liked as Patrick McGoohan, would've only been good for the show.

"Vote me. 6 as 3."

Patrick McGoohan was well known on both sides of the Atlantic, which is another thing that could've only helped Doctor Who. It was not a cheap show to produce, and in 1970 many budget constraints were levied on to the production - hence the Earth bound storyline. To have a name like McGoohan's attached to the show would likely have bought in US interest and a lot more potential overseas sales.

There's one more reason I think he'd have made a great Doctor - he's Patrick 'freaking' McGoohan! What more do I need to say? The finest Bond that never was, and potentially the finest Doctor that never was too.

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?
What if Patrick Moore was the Doctor?

Geek. Lover. Fighter. Dwarf. Follow Wil on Twitter.

This article was originally published 4th May 2015.

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