William Hartnell (1908–1975)

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William Hartnell was born on 8 January 1908, just south of St. Pancras station in London. In press materials in the 1940s he claimed that his father was a farmer and later a stockbroker; it turns out that he had actually been born out of wedlock, as his biography "Who's There?" states. At age 16 he was adopted by Hugh Blaker, a well-known art ... See full bio »

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Known For

Carry On Sergeant Sergeant Grimshawe
Doctor Who Dr. Who / The Abbot of Amboise / The Doctor
Escape Inspector Harris
The Ringer Sam Hackett


Jump to: Actor | Self | Archive footage
Hide Hide Show Show Actor (90 credits)
 1963-1973 Doctor Who (TV Series)
Dr. Who / The Abbot of Amboise / The Doctor
- The Three Doctors: Episode Four (1973) ... Dr. Who
- The Three Doctors: Episode Three (1973) ... Dr. Who
- The Three Doctors: Episode Two (1973) ... Dr. Who
- The Three Doctors: Episode One (1972) ... Dr. Who
- The Tenth Planet: Episode 4 (1966) ... Dr. Who
 1970 Crime of Passion (TV Series)
Henri Lindon
- Alain (1970) ... Henri Lindon
 1969 Life with Johnny (TV Series)
Mr. Brown
- Johnny Come Home (1969) ... Mr. Brown
 1968 Softly Softly (TV Series)
Henry Swift
- Cause of Death (1968) ... Henry Swift
 1967 No Hiding Place (TV Series)
- The Game (1967) ... Impey
 1963 To Have and to Hold
Insp. Roberts
 1963 The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre (TV Series)
Insp. Roberts
- To Have and to Hold (1963) ... Insp. Roberts
 1963 Tomorrow at Ten
Freddie Maddox
 1963 Heavens Above!
Major Fowler
 1963 The Plane Makers (TV Series)
Wally Griggs
- One of Those Days (1963) ... Wally Griggs
 1963 This Sporting Life
 1961 Ghost Squad (TV Series)
Fred Rice
- High Wire (1961) ... Fred Rice
 1960 Jackpot
Supt. Frawley
 1957-1960 The Army Game (TV Series)
CSM Percy Bullimore / Sergeant Major Percy Bullimore / CSM Bullimore
- The Artist (1960) ... CSM Percy Bullimore
- The Kindest Man in Britain (1960) ... CSM Percy Bullimore
- Waltzing Matilda (1960) ... CSM Percy Bullimore
- It's in the Book (1960) ... CSM Percy Bullimore
- Insurance (1960) ... CSM Percy Bullimore
 1960 Piccadilly Third Stop
 1960 ITV Television Playhouse (TV Series)
Jim / Reynolds
- After the Party (1960) ... Jim
- Place of My Own (1960) ... Reynolds
 1960 Probation Officer (TV Series)
Greg Miller
- Episode #1.28 (1960) ... Greg Miller
 1960 And the Same to You
 1958-1959 Dial 999 (TV Series)
Jeff Richards / Joss Crawford
- 50,000 Hands (1959) ... Jeff Richards
- The Killing Job (1958) ... Joss Crawford
 1959 Strictly Confidential
 1959 The Desperate Man
 1959 The Flying Doctor (TV Series)
Abe McKeller
- The Changing Plain (1959) ... Abe McKeller
 1959 Make Mine a Double
W / O Bright
 1959 The Mouse That Roared
Will Buckley
 1959 Shake Hands with the Devil
Sergeant Jenkins
 1958 Carry On Sergeant
Sergeant Grimshawe
 1958 On the Run
Tom Casey
 1957 A Santa for Christmas (TV Movie)
 1957 Date with Disaster
 1957 Scotland Yard Dragnet
Detective Inspector Ross
 1957 Hell Drivers
 1957 Battle Hell
Leading Seaman Frank
 1956 The Errol Flynn Theatre (TV Series)
- The Red Geranium (1956)
 1956 Tons of Trouble
 1956 Doublecross
 1956 Private's Progress
Sgt. Sutton
 1955 London Playhouse (TV Series)
- The Inward Eye (1955) ... Kenyon
 1955 Josephine and Men
Detective Sgt Parsons
 1955 Footsteps in the Fog
Herbert Moresby
 1955 Rheingold Theatre (TV Series)
- The Auction (1955) ... Christy
 1953 Will Any Gentleman...?
Detective Inspector Martin
 1953 Seagulls Over Sorrento (TV Movie)
Petty Officer Herbert
 1952 The Holly and the Ivy
C / Sgt. Major
 1952 The Ringer
Sam Hackett
 1952 The Pickwick Papers
Irate Cabman
 1951 The Magic Box
Recruiting Sergeant
 1951 The Dark Man
Superintendent of Police (Harry)
 1950 Double Confession
Charlie Durham
 1949 The Lost People
 1949 Now Barabbas
Warder Jackson
 1948 Escape
Inspector Harris
 1948 Brighton Rock
 1947 Temptation Harbor
Jim Brown
 1947 Odd Man Out
 1946 Appointment with Crime
Leo Martin
 1945 Query
Tom Masterick
 1945 The Agitator
Peter Pettinger (as Billy Hartnell)
 1944 Strawberry Roan
Chris Lowe (as Billy Hartnell)
 1944 The Way Ahead
Sgt. Ned Fletcher (as Billy Hartnell)
 1943 Headline
Dell (as Billy Hartnell)
 1943 The Dark Tower
Jim Towers (as Bill Hartnell)
 1943 The Bells Go Down
Brookes (as Billy Hartnell)
 1943 The Peterville Diamond
Joseph (as Bill Hartnell)
 1942 Sabotage at Sea
Jacob Digby
 1942 The Goose Steps Out
German Officer at Station (uncredited)
 1942 Suspected Person
Detective Saunders (as Billy Hartnell)
 1942 Wings and the Woman
Scotty (as Billy Hartnell)
 1942 Flying Fortress
Gaylord Parker (uncredited)
 1941 A Voice in the Night
Radio Location Aerial Operator (uncredited)
 1940 They Came by Night
Undetermined Role (unconfirmed, uncredited)
 1939 Murder Will Out
Dick (as Billy Hartnell)
 1939 Too Dangerous to Live
Bit Part (as Billy Hartnell)
 1938 They Drive by Night
Bus Conductor (as Billy Hartnell)
 1937 Troopship
Minor Role (uncredited)
 1936 Nothing Like Publicity
Pat Spencer (as Billy Hartnell)
 1936 Parisian Life (as Billy Hartnell)
 1936 Midnight at the Wax Museum
Stubbs (as Billy Hartnell)
 1936 The Shadow of Mike Emerald (uncredited)
 1936 The Crimson Circle (as Billy Hartnell)
 1935 Mister Hobo
Car Salesman (uncredited)
 1935 While Parents Sleep
 1935 Old Faithful (as Billy Hartnell)
 1934 Swinging the Lead
Freddy Fordum
 1934 The Perfect Flaw
 1934 Seeing Is Believing
Ronald Gibson
 1933 Follow the Lady
Mike Martindale
 1933 I'm an Explosive
Edward Whimperley
 1933 The Lure
Show Show Self (2 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (90 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

(1967-68) Acted in Robert Bolt's "Brother and Sister" at the Bristol Old Vic with Sonia Dresdel, Basil Henson, Bridget Turner, Norman Tyrrell and Geoffrey Whitehead in the cast. Val May directed. See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Biographical Movie | 1 Print Biography | 1 Portrayal | 4 Articles | 2 Magazine Cover Photos | See more »

Alternate Names:

Billy Hartnell | Bill Hartnell


5' 8" (1.73 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

At one time (in late 1964) I thought we might extend the series and I suggested giving the Doctor a son and calling the programme The Son of Doctor Who. The idea was for me to have a wicked son. We would both look alike, each have a TARDIS and travel in outer space. In actual fact, it would have meant that I had to play a dual role when I 'met' my son. But the idea was not taken up by the BBC so ... See more »


He was the oldest actor, starting at the age of 55, to play the Doctor in Doctor Who (1963) until David Bradley was cast to play The First Doctor in 2017's Christmas episode (as well as a small teaser at the end of the previous episode) at the age of 75. Bradley had previously played Hartnell himself in the 2013 BBC biopic An Adventure in Space and Time (2013), including reconstructions of ... See more »


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