From light musical comedy to a succession of mean crooks and bullying sergeant-majors, William Hartnell’s long and varied career included a number of iconic British films including Carry On Sergeant, This Sporting Life and Brighton Rock. However, it is for his role as a time-travelling eccentric that he is most fondly remembered.
Hartnell played the very first Doctor from 1963 – 1966, pitting his wits again many foes and monsters including the Daleks and the Cybermen, laying the foundations for what was to become a global institution.
Jessica Carney’s closely researched biography of her grandfather includes stories from many of the hundreds of stars of stage and screen with whom he worked, among them Richard Attenborough, Verity Lambert, Bob Monkhouse, Carole Ann Ford, David Langton and Lindsay Anderson.
“A fascinating and very moving account of a complicated and talented actor. William Hartnell rose from the humblest beginnings to become a heavyweight screen star and, ultimately, an unlikely hero to millions of children as the first Doctor Who. In this 50th anniversary year, it’s wonderful to see how Jessica Carney pulls together all the threads of a tangled life in such a sympathetic but honest fashion. Bill was no saint but he emerges as a fully-rounded, difficult and fascinating personality in this splendid biography”. Mark Gatiss
“Like the character of the Doctor himself, Hartnell went through several different incarnations during his career: light comedian, ruthless gangster, tough professional soldier. These, together with his private life, are the subject of this carefully researched and utterly absorbing biography by Hartnell’s granddaughter” Jeffrey Richards, Sunday Telegraph
Updated and available for the first time in over fifteen years, Jessica Carney’s biography was republished to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the character that made him immortal – Doctor Who!