Who’s There?


(6 customer reviews)

From light musical comedy to a succession of mean crooks and bullying sergeant-majors, William Hartnell’s long and varied career included a number of iconic British films including Carry On Sergeant, This Sporting Life and Brighton Rock. However, it is for his role as a time-travelling eccentric that he is most fondly remembered.

Hartnell played the very first Doctor from 1963 – 1966, pitting his wits again many foes and monsters including the Daleks and the Cybermen, laying the foundations for what was to become a global institution.

Jessica Carney’s closely researched biography of her grandfather includes stories from many of the hundreds of stars of stage and screen with whom he worked, among them Richard Attenborough, Verity Lambert, Bob Monkhouse, Carole Ann Ford, David Langton and Lindsay Anderson.

Updated and available for the first time in over fifteen years, Jessica Carney’s biography is published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the character that made him immortal – Doctor Who!

This 3 CD set is read by Anneke Wills, who played Polly in Doctor Who alongside William Hartnell.

Released 11th November 2013

Signed by Anneke Wills.

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6 reviews for Who’s There?

  1. Mark Gatiss

    “A fascinating and very moving account of a complicated and talented actor. William Hartnell rose from the humblest beginnings to become a heavyweight screen star and, ultimately, an unlikely hero to millions of children as the first Doctor Who. In this 50th anniversary year, it’s wonderful to see how Jessica Carney pulls together all the threads of a tangled life in such a sympathetic but honest fashion. Bill was no saint but he emerges as a fully-rounded, difficult and fascinating personality in this splendid biography”.

  2. Jeffrey Richards, Sunday Telegraph

    “Like the character of the Doctor himself, Hartnell went through several different incarnations during his career: light comedian, ruthless gangster, tough professional soldier. These, together with his private life, are the subject of this carefully researched and utterly absorbing biography by Hartnell’s granddaughter”

  3. timelord007

    This is excellently narrated by Anneke Wills (Polly)from the Autobiographical account of William Hartnells Life & career based on the autobiography written by Hartnells Granddaughter Jessica Carney.

    It’s quite shocking to know Hartnell was a illegitimate born in the slums of London a secret he took until his deathbed & is also shocking to hear that in his youth Hartnell was involved in a local gang turning to a life of crime.

    This biography goes into great detail about Hartnells early career as how he was always cast as Army sergeants.

    From The Army Game-Carry On Sergeant through to Verity Lamberts casting him in his most iconic role Doctor Who.

    Doctor Who defined William Hartnell were he became a true life Grandfather figure to many children & who relished the love & affection by many fan’s for his portrayal of the Doctor.

    During his tenure His Doctor battled Daleks & Cybermen yet the greatest battle Hartnell ever faced was his declining ill heath that caused him to fluff many lines & eventually he started forgetting them completely.

    Towards the end of his tenure as the Doctor Hartnells moods became ever irascible constantly agruging with cast & crew making come across as a awkward stubborn actor which is not the case he was starting with an illness which started effecting his mind.

    No longer able to continue with the series punishing schedule & suffering a bout of Bronchitis resulting in a major rewrite of episode 3 of the Tenth Planet.

    Hartnell returned for the 4th episode’s final part (although the 4th episode’s missing from the BBC archives it has been animated for the dvd release of the Tenth Planet.)

    Sadly in his final episode Hartnells ill health is clearly showing in his performance that in a way mirrors what his character going through & the line “This old body of mine is wearing a bit thin” a prelude to the first Doctor’s Regeneration into Patrick Troughton Second Doctor is a fitting statement of his ill health at the time.

    Although this is exceptionally written by William Hartnell Grandaughter Jessica Carney she does not shy away from her Grandfathers tetchy & at times awkward attitude but also includes his love of being the Doctor & his family life away from the the Doctor.

    With a career on Radio,Stage,Musicals,Film & Tv & Without that amazing performance William Hartnell gave as the Doctor we wouldn’t be celebrating the shows 50th Anniversary in 2013.

    William Hartnell got the shows future spot on as when asked how long the series would run for Hartnells response was “Forever”, He was correct.

    Excellent narration by Anneke Wills whom reading of this autobiography is clear & engaging to the listener.

    Recommended to fan’s of Doctor Who old & new as theres plenty to learn about the life & career of this Doctor Who legend.

  4. Melanie (verified owner)

    This was wonderful. I listened to the audio book read by Anneke Wills which was just superb. At first it was a little disconcerting to hear Anneke talking in the first person as someone else but quickly I got absorbed in the story. I knew very little about William Hartnell’s life before listening to this. I think the most interesting part was hearing about how he’d grown up quite poor and under such difficult circumstances. It really gave a feeling for the character he became. Likewise the biography paints a very vivid picture of his wife who sounded like a most remarkable woman and a good actor herself.

    Despite being written by his granddaughter the biography paints a very realistic portrait of this complicated man. Jessica talks about both the good and bad parts of her grandfather’s character. This book really does give you a glimpse into this interesting man. Unlike a lot of actor’s biographies this doesn’t dwell entirely on his career but balances out his acting with his personal life. It is full of stories from the people who worked with him or were his friends.

    Now I’ve finished the audio version I’m looking forward to reading the hard cover, especially seeing all the old photos. This book has been very expensive for the past decade and it is great that Fantom Films have published it with a new edition. For those of you who watched An Adventure in Space and Time I highly recommend this for learning the real story about the man who played the first Doctor.

  5. Helen

    This is an amazing book!!! It has made me laugh and cry at the same time!!! It’s the best book I’ve read in a LONG LONG time!!! Well done Jessica !!! ,<3 xxx

  6. K. J. Broadhurst

    This is a lovely story but short! I do wish this was not abridged because it felt it was finished before it had even begum but I will say if it was released as unabridged I would quite happily buy it again.

    Anneke Wills reads it with such warmth it was a delight to listen to even if you are not a Hartnell fan. A fascinating life and although it explores Williams grumpier side it is shared with affection and I found the story touching.

    Would highly recommend. Would be great for a long car journey!

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