The Five Doctors

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, Tegan and Turlough find themselves in no immediate danger for once, until the Doctor suffers from repeated, severe pain, claiming that his past is being altered in a way that could endanger him in the present. Somewhere on Gallifrey, long-abandoned machinery from the earliest days of the Time Lords is reactivated and its powers are brought to bear on each of the Doctor’s first four incarnations, snatching each of them from their own timeline and depositing them in Gallifrey’s infamous Death Zone, where the tomb of Time Lord founding father Rassilon stands. The fourth Doctor is trapped in the time vortex and never makes it to Gallifrey. As the various personae of the Doctor join forces, along with many companions, they find themselves fighting a variety of old adversaries – and one new antagonist – for the future of Gallifrey itself.

Order the DVDwritten by Terrance Dicks
directed by Peter Moffatt
music by Peter Howell

Guest Cast: Richard Hurndall (The First Doctor), Patrick Troughton (The Second Doctor), Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), John Leeson (voice of K9), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Frazer Hines (Jamie), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Anthony Ainley (The Master), Philip Latham (Lord President Borusa), Dinah Sheridan (Chancellor Flavia), Paul Jerricho (Castellan), Richard Mathews (Rassilon), David Savile (Colonel Crichton), Ray Float (Sergeant), Roy Skelton (Dalek voice), John Scott Martin (Dalek), Stephen Meredith (Technician), David Banks (CyberLeader), Mark Hardy (Cyber Lieutenant), William Kenton (Cyber Scout), Stuart Blake (Commander)

Appearing in footage from The Dalek Invasion Of Earth: William Hartnell (The First Doctor)

Appearing in footage from Shada: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana)

Broadcast November 23, 1983 (US) / November 25, 1983 (UK)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: I still have a remarkably soft spot for The Five Doctors, the first show I ever saw to feature any Doctor other than Tom Baker. Baker gets a mention in this episode, and is even shown thanks to footage from the 1979 story Shada, which was never completed for broadcast, but the episode is so jam-packed with information that he isn’t missed that much. Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee fall right back into step as the second and third Doctors, not even missing a beat, though there is a question raised about both of them. The second Doctor remembers events surrounding his trial in 1969’s The War Games, even though that is generally considered to be the point at which that incarnation of the Doctor ended, and the third one began. And the third Doctor seems to have some foreknowledge of what his fourth incarnation will look like – perhaps as a result of some untold tale, not unlike this one, in which the third and fourth Doctors worked together. These, however, are minor details for which a variety of explanations have been offered by fans over the years. The first Doctor is brought back to life by Richard Hurndall, who was cast in the role after producer John Nathan-Turner saw him in a somewhat Hartnell-esque role in the 1981 Assassin episode of Blake’s 7. And with all due respect to the late Mr. Hurndall, I think his guest shot on Blake’s 7 was much more first-Doctor-ish than his appearance in The Five Doctors. This may be due to the script, which emphasized his crabbiness over his whimsical sense of humor – a frequent misjudgement of Hartnell’s take on the character, who could often verge on being quite amusing.

The various companions are good to see again, but my favorites among them are Lis Sladen as Sarah and Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier, and it was interesting to see K9 in Sarah’s possession, which makes the 1981 K9 and Company special “official” as a part of the Doctor Who storyline.

One welcome change seen in The Five Doctors is the return of Gallifrey to a more gothic, sinister setting as seen in 1975’s The Deadly Assassin. The gleaming, pretty sets that served as the Time Lords’ home planet in the 1980s didn’t suit its inhabitants as well as the darker, more ancient environs of previous Gallifrey shows.