Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Paul of Tarsus (1960), starring Patrick Troughton

I posed a trivia question yesterday, "Which of the ten doctors also played the apostle Paul?" Some of the suggestions in comments were amusing, including Eric Idle (who played neither) and Anthony Hopkins (who played Paul but not the Doctor). The correct answer is Patrick Troughton (1920-1987), the second doctor (1966-9), who played the tile role in Paul of Tarsus, a BBC series which broadcast in 1960.

Until yesterday, I head never heard of this production, but I was listening to the latest episode of Doctor Who Podshock (Ep. 96), which featured an archive interview from 1986 with Patrick Troughton. He mentioned Paul of Tarsus as one of the things he was most proud of.

The production has relatively little internet presence. It has no IMDb page, for example, and no Wikipedia entry. It has never been released on video or DVD. Indeed, it is not even clear to me whether it still exists. A lot of the BBC productions from that era, including many of Troughton's own Doctor Who episodes, were wiped.

So what do we know about it? BFI's Film and TV database lists it as:
A cycle of ten plays telling the story of the Acts of Christ's Apostles. BBC tx 1960/10/16 - 1960/12/18 (Sun).
It names two episodes, To the Gentiles and The Feast of Pentecost. The associated Cast List credits the screenplay, production and direction to Joy Harington. This latter clue proves helpful since there is a book by the same name produced in 1961 which apparently features pictures from the production (see book cover above). I have this book on order, and will report back when I have it.

I can find only one other picture from the production online, but it is a good one, of Troughton in the key role, folding his arms and looking rather mean.

Does anyone know anything about this forgotten production? Does anyone remember seeing it? Does anyone have a copy? I hope to do some more investigation over the coming months and to report back.

10 comments:

James F. McGrath said...

If you get hold of a copy, please do find a way to share it with a wider cohort of biblioblogging Dr. Who fans!

Martin Davison said...

Yes, I remember it well - and fondly. I'm pretty certain that it was broadcast in the early evening, effectively on children's television. It was right up there with Boots & Saddles, Gary Halliday and Champion the Wonderhorse. Don't ask...

Martin

Tony from Jersey said...

It is mentioned in the IMDB Biog for Troughton
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0873743/bio

The Jewish Contemplatives blog also has this entry:

"My parents were not “religious” and I was an only child. I saw Patrick Troughton as “Paul of Tarsus” on the TV (1960) and the next day I was hooked. It was as simple as that."


http://jewishcontemplatives.blogspot.com/2007/11/shammash-ninth-light-nov-2007.html

Anonymous said...

Omigosh, I can't believe it. I thought I was the only person who remembered the "Paul of Tarsus" series. It used to be broadcast on BBC on Sunday evenings at 5.30pm, and I remember it clearly because I always went to choir practice afterwards, and was usually late because I had waited until the credits had finished. Even now, after so much time has passed, I can remember the effect of Patrick Troughton's portrayal of Paul. It was electric, and I was riveted each week. I think that is why he has remained my favourite Doctor Who - his acting was superb. He could knock the spots off David Tennant any day.

SARAHBAKKER said...

I have the original film negatives from this film!

SARAHBAKKER said...

I have the original film negatives from this film!

Mark Goodacre said...

Wow! How did you get hold of them?

DFH said...

His son Mark Troughton is the pastor of York Evangelical Church. I exchanged emails with Mark several years ago on this topic.

I recall watching the series when I was a young teenager. It made a deep impression on me.

I have a copy of Joy Harrington's book, though I have lent it to a friend.

GrahamS said...

I remember watching tbis as a 10 year old and being struck by his performance to the extent that to this day if anyone ever asked me who my favourite actor is. I would reply Patrick Troughton and i am always delighted when i find a film with him in it.

GrahamS said...

I remember watching tbis as a 10 year old and being struck by his performance to the extent that to this day if anyone ever asked me who my favourite actor is. I would reply Patrick Troughton and i am always delighted when i find a film with him in it.