William Hartnell (The Doctor) Jan 8 1908 to Apr 23 1975 (heart failure after a series of strokes)
Doctor Who credits
Played: The Doctor in 100,000 BC, The Daleks, Inside the Spaceship, Marco Polo, The Keys of Marinus, The Aztecs, The Sensorites, The Reign of Terror, Planet of Giants, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Rescue, The Romans, The Web Planet, The Crusade, The Space Museum, The Chase, The Time Meddler, Galaxy 4, The Myth Makers, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, The Ark, The Celestial Toymaker, The Gunfighters, The Savages, The War Machines, The Smugglers, The Tenth Planet (1963-66).
William also made a return appearance in The Three Doctors (1972-73), and appeared in archive footage/ images in The Power of the Daleks (1966), Earthshock (1982), Mawdryn Undead (1983), The Five Doctors (1983), Resurrection of the Daleks (1984), The Next Doctor (2008), The Eleventh Hour (2010), The Lodger (2010), The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Death of the Doctor (2010), The Name of the Doctor (2013) and The Day of the Doctor (2013).
Played: The Abbot of Amboise in The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve (1966).
|Pictures of a young William Hartnell (click to enlarge)|
William made his screen debut at the age of 24 in the British and Dominions Film Corporation's musical Say It With Music (inspired by Irving Berlin's famous song), released theatrically in November 1932. The 69-minute production starred bandleader Jack Payne, along with Percy Marmont, Evelyn Roberts, Sybil Summerfield, Anna Lee and Joyce Kennedy, and was directed by Jack Raymond. The only footage known to exist in the public domain is a poor quality trailer, which thankfully does feature William, albeit briefly. The picture quality is very poor, but if you look at the gentleman on the right providing harmonies during I'll Do My Best to Make You Happy (1m 03s), it's unmistakably Mr Hartnell!
William's next film gave him top billing. Called I'm an Explosive, this "quota quickie" was released in March 1933 by Nettlefold Studios and co-starred Gladys Jennings, Eliot Makeham, D A Clarke-Smith and Sybil Grove. The 50-minute comedy was written and directed by Adrian Brunel, based upon Gordon Phillips's novel, and William played Edward Whimperley, an inventor's son who unwittingly swallows a liquid explosive. The short was quite a hit, but sadly did not make William the star he wished for just yet. However, it's interesting to note how much more like the man we came to know he looks in this photo - quite a difference to the unruly-haired crooner in Say It With Music!
|Hartnell, aged 25, in I'm an Explosive|
William's third and final project in 1933 was in the August, The Lure, a 65-minute crime romance co-starring Anne Grey, Cyril Raymond, Alec Fraser and Philip Clarke, directed by Arthur Maude and based upon a play by J W Sabben-Clare. William played Billy. Again, I can't find any archival evidence of this production.
|D A Clarke-Smith|
There was also the 63-minute comedy Swinging the Lead, in which William played Freddy Fordum, a member of a criminal gang which sells a drug that changes people's personalities (don't all drugs?). His co-stars were Moira Lynd, Gibb McLaughlin and Marie Ault.
Released in February 1934, again for British and Dominions, was Seeing is Believing, a 70-minute crime caper co-starring Gus McNaughton, Faith Bennett, Vera Bogetti and Fewlass Llewellyn, in which William played Ronald Gibson.
William went uncredited in November 1935's Gaumont picture The Guv'nor (aka Mr Hobo in the US), in which George Arliss played a British tramp who is accidentally mistaken for a member of the Rothschild family, and is made a bank director. The film was quite a big success, so much so that it was re-released in the UK in 1944 and 1949. William played a car salesman in the film.
In 1935 William started to go by the professional name of Billy Hartnell, a credit he kept on and off for the next decade. This new moniker made its debut in December 1935's Old Faithful, a 67-minute drama starring Horace Hodges and Glennis Lorimer, as well as Wally Patch, who he'd appeared alongside in the previous year's The Perfect Flaw. However, William had only a minor role in a film concerning a stubborn taxi driver who refuses to give up his old horse even though his business is being taken from him by modern day car drivers. After a short period appearing to climb the career ladder, this fall was a blow to William's profile.
While Parents Sleep was released in February 1936 and featured William in the small role of George, alongside Wally Patch once more, and stars Jean Gillie, Ellis Jeffreys, Enid Stamp-Taylor and Mackenzie Ward. This was another project directed by Adrian Brunel, based on Anthony Kimmins's hit West End play, and is a rare example of one of the director's films surviving to the present day (it was actually made at the same time as, and in the neighbouring studio to, Citizen Kane). However, there's no footage online, although (just for historical interest) there is a filmed excerpt of the stage play from 1932 by British Pathe from London's Royalty Theatre. The scene does not feature the character of George, sadly, so we're no closer to finding out what sort of role William played in the movie version.
Parisian Life (1936) was a French English-language musical starring Max Dearly, Tyrell Davis and Austin Trevor, as well as Neil Hamilton (best known 30 years later as Commissioner Gordon in the Batman TV series). It was based on the 1866 operetta La Vie parisienne by Ludovic Halevy and Jacques Offenbach. In August 1936 came The Crimson Circle, starring Hugh Wakefield, Alfred Drayton, Niall McGinnis and June Duprez, based on Edgar Wallace's 1922 novel. Again, William was in a minor role. Another uncredited performance came in March 1936's The Shadow of Mike Emerald, with Leslie Perrins in the title role.
Also in 1936 was Nothing Like Publicity, a 64-minute comedy again co-starring Moira Lynd, as well as Max Adrian, who would later appear as King Priam in the Hartnell Doctor Who story The Myth Makers (1965). It was another "quota quickie" directed by Maclean Rogers, with William in the role of Pat Spencer.
|William Hartnell and Patrick Barr in|
Midnight at the Wax Museum
After a minor uncredited role in the Leslie Banks and Flora Robson vehicle Troopship (1937), William's next role was a bus conductor in They Drive by Night, released in June 1939. It starred Emlyn Williams, Ernest Thesiger and Simon Lack (The Androids of Tara, 1978) and concerned a released convict getting implicated in a murder and going on the run. William has a very small role, which is unfortunately not seen in close-up and is quite dimly lit.
In August 1939, just a few weeks before Britain declared war on Germany, the Sebastian Shaw vehicle Too Dangerous to Live was released. William only has a bit part in the film, but that same month he also appeared in the Jack Hawkins crime drama Murder Will Out, playing the character Dick. Sadly, this film no longer exists, and is actually one of the 75 most wanted films listed by the British Film Institute.
|Wally Patch (1888-1970)|
co-starred in many of William
Hartnell's early films
In June 1942, William played Saunders in Suspected Person, a crime thriller in which an innocent man discovers some stolen money and is then chased by both the robbers and the police. It starred Clifford Evans, Patricia Roc and David Farrar, as well as Robert Beatty, who would go on to appear as General Cutler in William Hartnell's final Doctor Who story, The Tenth Planet, in 1966. Although William does not feature, here's a brief scene with Beatty released to publicise Network's DVD release in 2016.
After a couple more uncredited roles in 1942's Flying Fortress (as Gaylord Parker!) and the Will Hay comedy The Goose Steps Out (as a German officer), William played Scotty in They Flew Alone (aka Wings and the Woman), a biopic of Amy Johnson starring Anna Neagle, Robert Newton and Nora Swinburne.
William's last role for 1942 was as engineer Jacob Digby in the hour-long wartime whodunnit Sabotage at Sea (and hello to Wally Patch again!), while his next role was in The Peterville Diamond, released in early January 1943 and starring Renee Houston, Donald Stewart and Anne Crawford. It was a comedy in which the ignored wife of an industrialist hatches a plan to make him pay more attention to her. William (here credited as Bill) played Joseph. Amusingly, William tries on a tiara for size in this film!
|William as Joseph in The Peterville Diamond|
|William as Brookes in The Bells|
Go Down (1943)
|William as Jim Towers in|
The Dark Tower (1943)
Next up was Headline, again directed by John Harlow and again featuring Anne Crawford and David Farrar, a film about a crime reporter who begins to investigate the disappearance of his boss's wife, who had been a witness to murder. Farrar plays reporter Brookie who is in a race against time with other news organisations to get the story, and William plays Dell, one of the rival journalists.
June 1945's The Way Ahead is one of the first films in which William really made a lasting impact, and it's also where his military typecasting may originate. Directed by Carol Reed, co-written for the screen by Peter Ustinov, and starring David Niven, Stanley Holloway and James Donald, the film is about a group of hopeless infantry conscripts during World War Two who are knocked into shape by their sergeant and lieutenant, before being stationed in North Africa. That sergeant is Ned Fletcher, played by William, alongside Niven as Lt Jim Perry. This film was for many years used as a training film for recruits at Sandhurst, the British Army's officer training school. You can watch the whole film on YouTube here.
|William as Sgt Ned Fletcher in The Way Ahead (1945)|
|William as Chris Lowe in Strawberry Roan|
|William as firebrand socialist Peter|
Pettinger in The Agitator (1945)
A month later William appeared in writer/ director Montgomery Tully's Murder in Reverse (aka Query), alongside Jimmy Hanley, Dinah Sheridan (The Five Doctors, 1983), Petula Clark (again) and Kynaston Reeves (again!). William plays dock worker Tom Masterick who is wrongly convicted of murdering a London crimelord. His death sentence is commuted to a long-term jail sentence, and while in prison he learns that the gangster is not really dead, but merely wanted to "disappear" and so framed him for a murder that never happened. When he is released as an old man, Tom vows to have his revenge and kill the crimelord - hence, murder in reverse! It's a great premise and is another example of William playing older than his then 37 years. There's no footage of the film to be found, but these two publicity pictures show William as a young, and then an older, man...
|William as Leo "the Lion" Martin in|
Appointment with Crime (1946)
Next came the British film noir Odd Man Out (1947), another film directed by The Way Ahead's Carol Reed, this time starring James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack, Fay Compton and (again!) Robert Beatty. William is Fencie, landlord of a saloon bar which harbours Mason's wounded main character for a time. Although the bar set was filmed in England, it was based upon the real Crown Bar in Belfast, and exterior filming took place on location in West Belfast. The film did phenomenally well: as well as winning a BAFTA for Best British Film, it was nominated for an Oscar for Fergus McDonell's editing, and Reed was nominated for the Grand International Award at that year's Venice Film Festival. Roman Polanski has also cited it as his favourite movie. You can watch the full film on YouTube; William first appears at 1hr 17m.
|William as Fencie the landlord in Odd Man Out (1947)|
|William as Jim Brown on the|
poster for Temptation Harbour
William's next film, released in December 1947, is a major landmark in his career - playing Dallow in John Boulting's Brighton Rock, adapted from the Graham Greene novel. Starring Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley and Nigel Stock (Time-Flight, 1982), the film tells the story of small-town hoodlum Pinkie Brown whose gang runs a protection racket at Brighton racecourse. William's character Dallow is a member of that gang who rails against Pinkie's criminal ways, and finally alerts the police about his murderous intentions. The film also featured Alan Wheatley (The Dead Planet, 1963/64) and, of course, Wally Patch!
|You can just recognise William in this|
publicity shot for Brighton Rock at the
Garrick Theatre in 1944
|Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell|
in 1948's Escape. William was 40, Patrick
was only 28
In May 1949, director Gordon Parry's Now Barabbas was released, which saw William play Warder Jackson. The film starred Richard Greene, Cedric Hardwicke, Kathleen Harrison, Richard Burton and Kenneth More, and told the story of the various inmates at a prison overseen by Hardwicke. Others in the cast included Leslie Dwyer (Carnival of Monsters, 1973) and Harry Fowler (Remembrance of the Daleks, 1988).
|William (centre) as Jackson in Now Barabbas|
|This cartoon of William with Dennis|
Price accompanied a review of The Lost
People in Punch in 1949
|Hartnell meets Hitchcock!|
|William on the|
poster for The
The Magic Box (1951) reunited William with his Brighton Rock director John Boulting. The film was made to form part of that year's Festival of Britain and featured a plethora of acting stars in both lead roles and cameos - Renee Asherson, Richard Attenborough, Johnny Briggs, Michael Denison, Robert Donat, Joyce Grenfell, Kathleen Harrison, Joan Hickson, Thora Hird, Stanley Holloway, Michael Hordern, Sid James, Glynis Johns, A E Matthews, Bernard Miles, Laurence Olivier, Eric Portman, Dennis Price, Michael Redgrave, Margaret Rutherford, Ernest Thesiger, Sybil Thorndike, David Tomlinson, Peter Ustinov, Emlyn Williams and Googie Withers!
|William in The Magic Box (1951),|
now aged 43
The 1952 adaptation of Dickens's The Pickwick Papers is a perennial favourite, and although William only had a small role in it, he was part of a brilliant cast, including James Hayter in the title role, plus Joyce Grenfell, Hermione Gingold, Hermione Baddeley, Donald Wolfit, Kathleen Harrison, Athene Seyler and our old friend D A Clarke-Smith. Notable Doctor Who names include Harry Fowler (Remembrance of the Daleks, 1988), Gerald Campion (Shada, unbroadcast), Walter Fitzgerald (The Dominators, 1968), Max Adrian (The Myth Makers, 1966), Alan Wheatley (The Dead Planet, 1963-64) and Raf De La Torre (The Keys of Marinus, 1964). William plays cabbie Sam in the first five minutes of the film (3m 01s) who transports Mr Pickwick to the Golden Cross. When he spots Mr Pickwick noting down his cab number (924) and every word he says, he feels "agitated into assault" and challenges him to a punch-up! William is great in this little cameo - well worth watching!
|William with Dora Bryan in The Ringer|
Denholm Elliott also appeared in William's next film, The Holly and the Ivy (December 1952), featuring Ralph Richardson, Celia Johnson and Margaret Leighton. It concerned an English minister and his family being reunited at Christmas time and included reminiscences of their World War Two trials and tribulations. Predictably by this point in his career, William was cast as a sergeant major who busts National Serviceman Mick (Elliott) when he tries to get back into Barracks after hours.
|William as the Company sergeant major in The Holly and the Ivy|
The Michael Anderson comedy Will Any Gentleman...? is something of a landmark production in William's career - and another notable Doctor Who star's! William played Detective Inspector Martin in a story about a henpecked bank clerk (played by George Cole) who lives a dreary life in suburban London. After a mix-up at a music hall, he finds himself on stage with magician Mendoza (played by Alan Badel), who hypnotises him into losing all his inhibitions! The magical thing about this film is that it also stars Third Doctor Who Jon Pertwee - and they share a scene together! Pertwee (who plays Cole's brother in the film) actually tumbles downstairs when he lays eyes on Hartnell! It's a wonderful moment in British film history when two Doctors-yet-to-be meet, Pertwee acting remarkably like Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith throughout! The film also stars Joan Sims (The Trial of a Time Lord, 1986), Peter Butterworth (the meddling Monk to Hartnell's Doctor)... and Wally Patch! You can see the Hartnell/ Pertwee footage below these images:
|The First and Third Doctors (William Hartnell and Jon Pertwee)|
in Will Any Gentleman...?, a decade before Doctor Who was
even invented! William was aged 45 here, Jon was 34
|William in Footsteps in the Fog (1955)|
The Inward Eye, broadcast on BBC TV in November 1955, was a Joseph Liss play, starring Patricia Owens, about a blind girl who is helped back to a more normal life with the aid of people at the Guide Dog Training Centre. William played Kenyon in the play, which co-starred Llewellyn Rees (The Deadly Assassin, 1976), as well as Graham Ashley (The Underwater Menace, 1966-67).
|Richard Hearne as|
Mr Pastry - not the Fourth
|William in Doublecross|
|William as Sergeant Sutton opposite|
Ian Carmichael in Private's Progress
In 1957 William appeared in a half-hour comedy mystery called The Red Geranium, also featuring Betta St John and Leslie Phillips, but there is little information on this production, even down to who William played. It was shown as part of Errol Flynn's Theatre series in the USA, and was filmed at Bray Studios for Motley Films, but other than that, the piece is a bit of a mystery itself.
|William with future Doctor Who guest|
star Richard Todd
The honest owner of a second hand car business discovers he has employed crooks on his staff in Date with Disaster (1957), starring Tom Drake as garage boss Miles Harrington and William as the tough gangster Tracey, who plans to rob the business. However, all of the crooks are distracted by the beauty that is Shirley Eaton! This film is only an hour long and co-stars Richard Shaw (The Space Museum, 1965, plus Frontier in Space (1973) and Underworld (1978)).
|William in Hell Drivers (1957)|
In February 1958, director Montgomery Tully released his film The Hypnotist (aka Scotland Yard Dragnet in the USA), about a test pilot (played by Paul Carpenter) who is injured in a plane crash and is taken to see a psychiatrist (Ronald Culver) by his fiancee Mary (Patricia Roc). However, the psychiatrist is unhappily married and develops a crush on Mary, and attempts to hypnotise the pilot into murdering his wife! William plays Detective Inspector Ross, another policeman character in a long line of authority figures on his CV.
|William in The Hypnotist|
On Boxing Day, 1957, at 9pm, ATV broadcast the 90-minute drama A Santa for Christmas, written by Sid Colin and Jimmy Grafton and directed by Brian Tesler. Although now lost, the TV film had a roll call of names, including comedian Arthur Askey, Pat Coombs, Tommy Cooper, Hughie Green, Irene Handl, Arthur Haynes, Dickie Henderson, David Jacobs, Alfred Marks, Bill Owen, Johnnie Ray, Terry-Thomas and Norman Wisdom! And of course, William Hartnell, but sadly the character he played is not known, and the TV Times described it at the time as simply "a seasonal fantasy". Footage from the recording of this was recovered in 2018, but sadly none of it featured the guest turns!
In 1958 William appeared in On the Run, written by Brian Clemens and Eldon Howard, about an ex-boxer (played by Neil McCallum) fleeing gangsters for refusing to throw a fight. He helps a garage owner and his daughter to boost their business. Surprisingly, William did not play one of the gangsters, but the garage owner, Tom Casey, whose daughter Kitty was played by Susan Beaumont. I can find no footage or images from this film, so if you can help, please leave a comment!
|William, here aged 50, in Carry On|
Sergeant as Sgt Grimshawe
|William as Grimshaw in|
Strictly Confidential (1959)
William appeared in a handful of television series between 1958-60. In 1959, he filmed an episode of the Anglo-Australian TV series The Flying Doctor, starring Richard Denning. In The Changing Plain, William played Abe McKeller, an old prospector who has struck it rich after 30 years of digging, but who falls desperately ill on site, with a rainstorm on the horizon threatening to obliterate his discovery. The episode was not shown in the UK until May 1960, and co-starred John Lee - who would later go on to play Thal Alydon in Hartnell's second Doctor Who story, The Dead Planet (1964) - and Alan White, who appeared in Hartnell's Doctor Who swansong, The Tenth Planet (1966). The regular cast of The Flying Doctor also included James Copeland as Alec Macleod (and who later appeared in The Krotons, 1968-69).
Another TV series William guest starred in was Probation Officer, made by ATV and the first hour-long drama screened on ITV. The episode William appeared in was episode 28 of Series 1 (broadcast March 1960), playing Greg Miller, but there is scant detail as to what the episode was about. It co-starred Emrys James (State of Decay, 1980) and Neil Wilson (Spearhead from Space, 1970).
|William Hartnell as Jeff Richards in Dial 999: 50,000 Hands|
|Patrick Troughton as a tramp in Dial 999: 50,000 Hands|
|William (left) with James Cagney (in|
black) in Shake Hands with the Devil
In The Mouse That Roared, William played another sergeant, Will Buckley, who helps Peter Sellers' Tully Bascomb to lead the 20-strong army of the fictional European duchy Grand Fenwick to war with the United States. It's a comedy directed by Jack Arnold, and Sellers appears as three different characters in the film. Doctor Who luminaries include Timothy Bateson (The Ribos Operation, 1978) and Colin Gordon (The Faceless Ones, 1967). Watch the trailer here.
|William Hartnell with Peter Sellers in The Mouse That Roared|
|The Desperate Man (1959)|
As the 1960s kicked in, William's career was to take the most dramatic turn of his life, but the role of Doctor Who was still three years ahead. In the meantime he continued to enjoy success in character roles in films, beginning with Jackpot (1960), written and directed by Montgomery Tully. The plot concerned an ex-convict enlisting the help of a former safe-cracker to help him rob a nightclub. There's very little information or material online about this film, in which William plays Superintendent Frawley. His co-stars include Eddie Byrne, George Mikell, Michael Ripper, Betty McDowall and Victor Brooks, as well as Howard Lang, who would appear as a caveman in his very first Doctor Who story, 100,000 BC (1963).
Next up was comedy film And the Same to You, in which Brian Rix plays a man called Dickie Dreadnought who feels forced into a career of boxing simply by his name! To satisfy his vicar uncle, he pretends to be the picture of religiosity, while his tough-talking boxing manager Wally Burton (William Hartnell) poses as a man of the cloth. The film was a remake of a 1958 ITV Playhouse of the Week called The Chigwell Chicken, and co-starred Leo Franklyn, Tommy Cooper, Vera Day, Sid James, Arthur Mullard, Terry Scott, Shirley Anne Field and Tommy Duggan (The Mind of Evil, 1971). The screenplay was written by John Paddy Carstairs, from a play by A P Dearsley, with additional material from none other than Dalek creator Terry Nation!
In Piccadilly Third Stop (1960), William played the fastidious Colonel, an over-the-hill safe-cracker who joins playboy Terence Morgan's gang of criminals to rob a foreign embassy's safe. Also on the cast list was Mai Zetterling, Yoko Tani, John Crawford, Dennis Price and Ronald Leigh-Hunt (The Seeds of Death, 1969, and Revenge of the Cybermen, 1975). You can see William in the following clip on YouTube (it's great to see him in the tunnels of the London Underground, as if he was in The Web of Fear!)...
|William in Ghost Squad|
As 1963 arrived, William was busier than ever in films, something that was soon to change, of course. His first film of the year was To Have and to Hold, directed by Herbert Wise and written by Jimmy Sangster, based upon the Edgar Wallace novel The Breaking Point. William plays Inspector Roberts, the boss of the main character Sgt Henry Fraser, and the film also starred Ray Barrett (The Rescue, 1965) and Nigel Stock (Time-Flight, 1982).
|William as "Dad" Johnson in|
This Sporting Life (1963)
On May 20th, 1963 William had a guest spot on an episode of The Plane Makers, a series focusing on the disputes between trades unions and management at an aircraft factory. The episode was called One of Those Days and featured William as Wally Griggs, but sadly this no longer survives in the archives. It co-starred Rex Robinson (The Three Doctors, 1972-73; The Monster of Peladon, 1974; The Hand of Fear, 1976) and Malcolm Taylor (The Ice Warriors, 1967).
|William as Major Fowler in|
|William in Tomorrow at Ten|
|William with his "daughter" Sylvia Sims|
in The World Ten Times Over
William had begun filming Doctor Who's first story - 100,000 BC - more than a month before this film was released. Doctor Who was originally to have debuted on Saturday, November 16th, but due to technical issues recording the first episode, the schedule was pushed back a week. In the event, William's time as Doctor Who - which he adored, likening it to being a cross between Father Christmas and the Wizard of Oz - lasted just shy of three years, from November 1963 to October 1966 (after which he passed the role to old friend Patrick Troughton, who was approached in June 1966 to see if he'd be interested in taking over). On July 16th, 1966, William informed his wife Heather that he'd agreed with Doctor Who producer Innes Lloyd to leave the series after recording one more story. William's departure was announced by the BBC on August 6th, 1966, the same day that Troughton was contracted for his first 22 episodes. William's final day on the series was October 8th, with the recording of episode 4 of The Tenth Planet.
|Poster for Puss in Boots|
at Cheltenham's Odeon
|William Hartnell interviewed for Points West, January 1967|
His earliest TV work after leaving Doctor Who was an episode of the police series No Hiding Place called The Game, broadcast on March 23rd, 1967. The plot involved an extortion racket involving illegal Pakistani and Indian immigrants, and featured William as Impey. Sadly, this episode is missing from the archives. It also featured series regular Sean Caffrey (Horror of Fang Rock, 1977) and George A Cooper (The Smugglers, 1966).
|William as Cliff Richard's dad in|
Life with Johnny (1969)
In July 1969, at the age of 61, William had a guest part in the first of a new Tyne Tees series called Life with Johnny, a vehicle for the pop star Cliff Richard, who played Johnny. In the episode Johnny Come Home, William plays Cliff's dad, while Una Stubbs plays his girlfriend. The production also features music from Cliff and the band The Settlers. Although the picture quality is poor, the sound is fine, and William's performance is gentle and warm. He appears at 4m 22s into the first part, and 4m 41s into the second part, both posted below. His last line is "We've got a wonderful celebration laid on for you", giving way to a performance of Celebrate!
William's penultimate screen acting work was for an episode of the series Crime of Passion, a courtroom drama set in France concerning the trials of murderers who commit crimes of passion. A total of 32 episodes were made, and only three are missing from the ATV archives - and you guessed it, William's episode is one of them! In Alain, broadcast on April 27th, 1970, William played Henri Lindon, alongside Desmond Cullum-Jones (The War Machines, 1966), Inigo Jackson (The Ark, 1966), Denis Lill (Image of the Fendahl, 1977, and The Awakening, 1984) and Jonathan Newth (Underworld, 1978).
|United with Patrick Troughton and Jon|
Pertwee in a publicity shot for The
|Hugh Blaker, William's|
William was born out of wedlock (a social taboo at the time) but was adopted in 1924 by art connoisseur Hugh Blaker, who became his guardian and sent him to acting school. Five years previously, Blaker had famously found a painting of the Mona Lisa in the home of an English nobleman, giving rise to the belief that Leonardo Da Vinci actually painted more than one portrait of Lisa del Giocondo (the other is in The Louvre, but we all know what happened with that).
William and his family (he married actress Heather McIntyre in 1929 - she can be seen in the 1954 film Bless This House) continued to live in one of Blaker's properties in Isleworth after the art expert died in 1936.
William became very ill in the late 1960s with arteriosclerosis, and was admitted to hospital in December 1974, suffered a series of strokes in January 1975 brought on by cerebrovascular disease, and died in his sleep of heart failure on April 23rd in Marden, Kent, aged 67. He was cremated and his ashes are buried at the Kent and Sussex Crematorium and Cemetery.
His granddaughter Jessica (born Judith) Carney wrote a book about his life entitled Who's There? (1996). She now works as a talent agent for a company her father Terry Carney helped set up (Terry married William's daughter, also called Heather, in 1952, while Terry's brother was John J Carney, who appeared in 1973-74's The Time Warrior). Heather Hartnell died in 1984.
|William and wife Heather with their grandchildren, Paul and Judith|
|William Henry Hartnell, pictured in 1966|