So, with The Tenth Planet, we said farewell to William Hartnell as The Doctor.  The First Doctor is a hard character to like, especially when you’re a younger viewer and you got started with the gregarious Tom Baker (or the action-oriented Jon Pertwee before him, or like many of my fans, the young and vulnerable and accessible/approachable Peter Davison.)

I’ve never cared for William Hartnell’s Doctor all that much.  He’s snotty, demeaning, talks down to his companions, is impatient and not very kind.

Or, so it seems at casual glance.

Having started with the first serial and watched his entire run – 29 serials – I have walked away with a completely different appreciation of this character.  This First Doctor, as we know refer to him… is amazing.  Where before I thought rather that he was lazy and let the companions do the work for him, he was actually allowing, and even encouraging (especially with Stephen), them to grow, to discover their own strengths.

Yes, he’s argumentative and arrogant – but WHICH Doctor isn’t?  He’s harsh when angered or irritated, and he’s a bit more irritable than many of the incarnations of The Doctor, but that’s just flavour.  That’s what makes him, well, human.

William Hartnell brought much to the role.  The tender side, the few times we saw it… his farewell speech to Susan.  The time he felt alone, abandoned by everyone, before Dodo wandered into the TARDIS, and Steven returned immediately… was almost heart-wrenching.

The Doctor, every single incarnation, is afraid to be alone.  What weighs so heavily upon him that this is so?  This is one of the greatest mysteries of The Doctor.