Companion O’Brien defends ‘fun’ Hartnell

By Darren Scott

Sixties companion Maureen O’Brien, who played Vicki, defended her Doctor at the Doctor Who Celebration in London’s ExCel.

Speaking about Mark Gatiss’s drama about the genesis of the series, An Adventure in Space and Time, she said the production was “very close” to the real thing.

“I found it very sad and very upsetting to watch,” she revealed, adding that she also “thought it was terrific.”

She went on to defend First Doctor William Hartnell. “We had fun. Our rehearsals were fun, despite when he broke into spitting, snarling rages. He had a laugh, he liked to work. He liked his whisky. We had a good time.”

O’Brien, who is now an author, told the audience that they had a routine before filming the series. “We used to go to Bill’s dressing room. Jackie [Hill, who played Barbara, Bill and I used to gather, we had a glass of wine and some lovely food before we did the show. There’s that side that no-one seems to stress.”

The Doctor Who 50th Celebration is a three day event at ExCeL celebrating 50 years of the world’s longest running sci-fi drama, Doctor Who. The event welcomes over 20,000 fans to East London over the anniversary weekend and features cast and crew from the very first episode to the most recent. Matt Smith, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy lead the all-star cast and are joined by Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat, Bernard Cribbins, Carole Ann Ford and many more.

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