In Review: The Doctors: The William Hartnell Years

A collection of interviews with actors, producers and script editors paying tribute to The First Doctor Who William Hartnell.

Description: A collection of interviews with actors, producers and script editors paying tribute to The First Doctor Who William Hartnell.

Review: Due for release on 13 November by Koch Media is this brilliant tribute to the First Doctor Who William Hartnell. The two disk DVD set includes some of the most comprehensive interviews with actors that worked with the late actor.

Included in the set are interviews with Carole Ann Ford, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell, Jackie Lane and Peter Purvis.

Aside from these interviews, there is also a plethora of footage and interviews with the likes of Verity Lambert (The first ever Executive Producer of Doctor Who).

Introduced by Nicholas Briggs & producer Keith Barnfather this DVD set takes you back to a time where television was made in an entirely different way to it is made now.

The set kicks off with a wonderful hour-long tribute to William Hartnell in which Nicholas Briggs interviews Hartnell’s Grandaughter and biographer Jessica Carney. For me, this interview is the stand out of the entire set. Whereas Carole Ann Ford and William Russell share fond remembrances of working with the actor. Carney’s memories of Hartnell as the man bring a more human element to the actor that many a child got to know as the Doctor. In this interview, Carney talks about Hartnell’s very humble beginnings and the fortuitous and difficult journey he went through to become the actor and ultimately the First Doctor.

We learn about Hartnell’s early aspirations to become a Jockey and how when that didn’t work out he joined a theatre company, which was led by Sir Frank Benson.

We also learn of the circumstances in which he was ultimately cast as the Doctor and how the grueling schedule combined with his age saw him get retired from the role. But for me, it is the way in which Carney talks about her Grandfather’s journey from street urchin to an actor of stage and screen that fascinates.

Also included in the set is a wonderful tribute to Jacqueline Hill who played Barbara in the series. Jacqueline passed away in 1993 just as conventions were beginning to become a big thing with Doctor Who fans. This tribute includes anecdotal stories from William Russell, Carole Ann Ford and many people that worked with her.

This DVD set is a must-have all Doctor Who fans that not only appreciate the present state of the series but also appreciate the show’s history. It is also a fascinating insight into the great actor who played a huge part in making Doctor Who the phenomenal success it has become.

Doctor Who: The Doctors: The William Hartnell Years
  • Packaging
  • Artwork
  • Interviews
  • Editing

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
No Comment