Interview with Jim Troughton
PUBLISHED: 11:54 02 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:23 02 May 2013
Warwickshire cricket captain Jim Troughton was on stage in a school production of Romeo and Juliet when disaster struck. The 15 year old was playing Gregory in the fight scene between the Montague and Capulet supporters at the start of the play. Any ambitions of following in the footsteps of his dad David (Dr Bob Buzzard from A Very Peculiar Practice) or grandfather Patrick, the second Doctor Who, died that afternoon at Trinity School in Leamington Spa.
We’re in the middle of the fight, when all of a sudden there’s this roar of laughter from the audience,” Jim says. Seconds later the boy who would one day lift the County Championship for Warwickshire, realised everyone was laughing at him. His trousers had fallen down. “That was the end of my acting career,” Jim says.
Luckily, four years earlier, Jim Troughton had taken up cricket at Stratford Cricket Club. “When we were younger, my brothers and I played football and that was pretty much it,” Jim says. “We didn’t have anything to do in the summer so we tried tennis down at the local sports club. The courts are next to the cricket ground and one day my older brother, Sam, saw some lads playing in the nets and said he fancied having a go at that. Back then, I was the little brother that did pretty much anything Sam did. So that’s how I got started with cricket – copying my big brother.”
It was soon obvious that Jim had talent, and after his full year, his club put him forward for the Warwickshire under-12 squad. By the time of the Trinity School incident, he was a regular in the Warwickshire junior teams.
Jim made his Warwickshire debut in 2001, aged 21. Nick Knight was out injured after being hit on the head by England team mate Andrew Caddick, when Caddick was playing for Somerset. “I was playing in a second team game, and was told ‘you’re in,’” Jim says. “I didn’t have time to get nervous.”
In 2003, after his first two years at Warwickshire, Jim was picked for England against South Africa. It didn’t go well, and while his county team mate Ian Bell, has thrived in England colours over the past decade, the call never came again for Jim to represent his country.
He’s been a Warwickshire regular ever since though and in 2011 was made county captain. Last year he led Warwickshire to the County Championship title, after missing out to Lancashire, on the final day of the previous season. This year it’s Troughton’s benefit season.
Jim is from a family of actors. Uncle Michael played the drippy Piers Fletcher Dervish, alongside Rik Mayall’s Alan B’stard in the New Statesman, television’s late 1980s pop at the Thatcherite regime. Older brother, Sam, played Much in BBC’s Robin Hood, and younger brother William recently made his West End debut in The Lady Killers. Harry Melling, Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films, is Jim’s cousin.
Jim’s mum, Ali, was a theatre actress and is now a co-director of The Drama Pool, which runs workshops in schools. Dad, David has appeared in Sharpe, Midsomer Murders, Poirot and Jericho.
David Troughton isn’t the biggest acting name in Jim’s family, though.
In 1966, when William Hartnell’s ill health meant that BBC had to find someone else to play Doctor Who the producer, Innes Lloyd, came up with an ingenious idea. The Doctor was an alien, so perhaps he could regenerate his body. This decided, they turned the white-haired adventurer, into a cosmic Charlie Chaplin who played a penny whistle and dressed like a clown. And over the next four years, Patrick Troughton cut himself a place in television folklore.
Jim Troughton was only seven when his famous granddad died, in March 1987, and his memories of Patrick are hazy. “I remember seeing him a couple of times, but most of my memories are through photographs and watching him on TV,” Jim says. Last year, Michael Troughton released a book about his dad’s life, and now travels around Doctor Who exhibitions.
Jim’s association with Doctor Who doesn’t end there. Frazer Hines, who played Patrick Troughton’s kilt-wearing sidekick Jamie in the 60s, is a good friend. In 1972, dad, David, guest-starred, alongside Jon Pertwee in a Who story called the Curse of Peladon. David Troughton was also an extra in two 1960a episodes and appeared again in 2008 alongside David Tennant.
“Peter Davison was the Doctor when I was growing up, so I watched the show a bit, back then,” Jim says. “Not much since.”
Jim Troughton was thinking about getting a Dalek to launch his benefit year, but decided against it. He does have one Doctor Who-themed event set for his benefit, though, The Time Lords’ Long Room Lunch, on October 11. Frazer Hines is a guest, so too is another former Doctor Who Colin Baker, who was best man at David Troughton’s wedding.
“People latched on to the fact that I was Doctor Who’s grandson pretty much as soon as I turned professional, but hopefully people know me for what I do with the bat, now.” n
To find out more about Jim Troughton’s benefit events see www.jimtroughtonbenefit.co.uk/