Son of Doctor Who
The main theme of our Leaders’ Conference in 2016 was evangelism and for pastor Mark Troughton it inspired a pretty unique idea. He’s willing to offer himself to evangelistic events with a Doctor Who theme because he has a very personal link to the sci-fi series. Phil Topham has been finding out more.
Mark Troughton had quite an unusual childhood. His father would often go out dressed in disguise, while family holidays were spent hiding from autograph-hunting fans.
Why? Because Mark’s dad was Patrick Troughton – the second Doctor Who.
“Growing up in the 1960s, it gradually dawned on us as kids that everyone knew who dad was,” Mark explains. “For example children at school would make Dalek noises down the school hall and so in public dad would try to fly under the radar.
“He had a Sheikh outfit with a turban, a false beard and dark glasses as he tried to avoid being approached in public and he would refuse autographs when we were on holiday together. But everywhere we went, people just knew him.”
A Big Celebrity
Patrick Troughton was a huge TV star as he played Doctor Who between 1966 and 1969. At the time there were only three television channels and the show went out every Saturday night on the BBC.
Mark says he would now like to offer his story as the son of a “Doctor” to churches who want to host a Doctor Who themed evangelistic event. He thinks the sci-fi genre offers a great opportunity to share something of the gospel.
“Of course, the big picture is the story of good versus evil,” he said. “Then there are other themes such as fighting for the dignity of the human race and the planet; the doctor as a saviour figure, regeneration, new life, changing identities, tolerance, diversity, etc. Doctor Who has become a cultural icon – a national institution as Parkinson used to say – and tends to mirror the times we are living in.
“I just think this could be an easy way to organise something in a restaurant, a church or even someone’s home. Perhaps there could be a meal before a Doctor Who themed quiz, but I am just really keen to make the most of this opportunity I have, which was prompted by the theme of the Leaders’ Conference.”
Engaging with Sci-fi fans
Mark first offered his story and testimony to St John Newland Church, led by Melvyn Tinker. After a Doctor Who quiz, Mark was interviewed and gave his testimony. The quiz was full of Doctor Who fans who were eager to hear Mark’s story and to talk about his father’s role as the second Doctor.
“I was on a table for the quiz with someone who knew the colour of my dad’s socks in episode three of the fifth series,” Mark recalls. “So this is a great opportunity to engage with sci-fi fans and to offer my story and how I came to Christ.
“Though my dad was famous he was a terrible sinner, and just like me he needed a Saviour. He was a megastar in the 1960s but before God he was no different to me – we all have to turn and trust in Christ.”
If your church is interested in hosting a Doctor Who themed event with Mark, please get in touch with the FIEC office and we will put you in touch with him. Mark is pastor of York Evangelical Church and though he is keen to offer himself to churches, the diary will need to fit with his own pastoral responsibilities.