The First and The Second join The Third on an adventure in an anti-matter universe for the Ten Year Anniversary of Doctor Who
Podcast: Play in new window | Embed
It’s the Ten year Anniversary of Doctor Who and to treat Whovians around the globe, Pertwee’s Third Doctor joins forces not only with companion Jo Grant and Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart — aka Bag(e)ls – but with William Hartnell’s First Doctor and Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor to boot!
When a black hole appears and a beam of condensed light, a rainbow road or something like that shoots out of it and begins to consume all of Galifrey’s energy, “Some kind of powerful organism thing” is sent to Earth to hunt The Doctor. Thus, the Time Lords come up with an ingenious plan to provide The Doc with some backup.
Now joined by his two prior incarnation, Doc & Co must travel through the black hole into an anti-matter universe to confront a very disgruntled civil engineer with a comedically sized helmet and a rather limited imagination.
Subscribe to us on iTunes now! We're dropping a new episode every week (pretty much), reviewing Classic Who, New Who and all kinds of bonus stuff from spin-offs and conventions to Doctor Who comic books.
No real “Arthur Fuxake” moments in this serial, although I would dearly have loved to have seen more of an effort made to present an “antimatter” reality as something other than the usual quarry, filmed at a 45° angle. The monsters, however, were bizarre enough as they appeared to be made out of puss-filled, scab tissue and had crab-claw guns for hands.
It was refreshing to see the return of a random, wife-beating country yokel even though – surprisingly enough – he didn’t end up getting killed to death.
There were some genuinely creepy moments and enough suspence and intrigue to keep you watching. Great fun seeing multiple Doctors together for the first time and not too fan-wanky. The interaction between Troughton and Pertwee was highly entertaining (and not entirely based on fiction!)
I liked the fight sequence with the dark side of Omega’s mind and thought this was a nice touch. The sequence had a dreamlike quality and there was something strangely disturbing about the appearance of Pertwee’s adversary. In any case, I had decided to adopt the same method of battling any people I come across that fancy their chances against the dark side of my own consciousness. I am unbeaten so far and have even managed to hospitalise the bloke that scratched my car whilst reversing out of a Lidl car park and driving off.
All in all, a fitting anniversary special and season opener. I would like to give this serial a 3.8
As a story, this 10 year celebration is only so-so. It looks cheap (which is weird for an anniversary story), we get the Brigadier reaching new depths of buffoonery, and although I liked Omega’s look and the performance, I never really bought the threat to the universe that he supposedly posed. But none of that matters, since the spectacle of three classic Doctors working together makes this amazing.
Pertwee and Troughton have such a great rapport that I could watch these two polar opposites squabble all day. And it was awesome seeing Hartnell again. It’s a shame that ill health confined him to a small cameo, as I would have loved to see him berate his two predecessors in person, but at least he got to participate in the celebration of the show that couldn’t have existed without him. Although in my fantasy rewrite, Ian and Barbara would have found the balloon in episode one, with Ian instead of Ollis whisked off to Omega-land and Barbara joining up with the Doctors to save the day.
Beyond the Docs, Benton and Jo continue to be great and Benton’s reaction to entering the TARDIS was superb. But the characterization of the Brigadier really bugs me. Considering how readily he accepted everything in early Pertwee, his refusal to believe that he could have left Earth is just dumb (although if the plan was to write a character having a breakdown after seeing too much, then the writers are doing a good job). Saying that, Courtney is still great.
For a story, I’d give it 2.5. For getting three Doctors in one helping, I’d give it 5, averaging out to a 3.75.
And congrats, Who Back When, for reaching this Who-milestone. Here’s to the next 16 years of classic-Who.
When Space Donald Trump shoots off strange space lightening from his antimatter Mar-A- La-Go on the other side of “The” Black Hole, the “Fake News” Time Lords attempt to stave off the effects of the cosmic brain drain by sending The Third Doctor some fact-checking help in the form of his two previous incarnations to stop it.
Thus the first multi-Doctor story was born, and right in time for the 10 th anniversary of the show. Due to failing health, William Hartnells involvement is sadly kept to a minimum, as prerecorded scenes intercut with the remaining action of the story. Would that time could have been kinder to old Bill. Still, a delight to seem him one last time.
Through what must have been a “sheer force of will” to conjure a peanut butter and jam sandwich just before getting zapped into “The” Black Hole, Omega literally surrounds himself with both living and decorative generic “Blob Monsters of the Week” with lazer claws, as he bellows and gesticulates wildly in his very best fancy party mask.
One Game Warden with possible ‘Nam flashbacks, a scientist who very likely experiments with his own LSD, The Disbelieving Brigadier and Sgt “Juicy Fruit” Benton tag along with Jo Grant and the Two Doctors on their wild ride through a space quarry. In the end its a lunch box with a recorder in it that saves the day.
Despite the rather simple story and some silly effects, this serial is very enjoyable if for no other reason than that Pertwee and Troughton soak up all the energy on screen, whether together or apart. A solid 3.2/5 for nostalgia.
More aptly named, “The 2.5 Doctors”, this story has pacing issues. Or could it better be described as simply not having enough content to fill 4 episodes? possibly there just wasn’t enough action and excitement throughout? After all, firing at monsters that barely move and wrestling in slow motion don’t make for a thrill a minute. Whichever of these is the true culprit, the truth is that this story is rather dry.
Luckily there’s some sweet points to counter this problem. The three Doctors at once is a glorious, bold move. We get more Timelords in action, more lore and the groundwork for how they will be portrayed going forward. They’re brilliant, but not omniscient. They’re squabblers, political, corruptible, and at times forgiving.
In the past, I watched this story as an old VHS copy recorded from a poor transmission. What stands out in the restored version is the detail of the antimatter creatures and their bubble-set city. I went from hating these baby-step definition-less masses to loving the colorful forms, especially the eye which I was never able to see before.
There’s not much to rewrite here, but that’s mainly because there’s just not much here. Just a barren antimatter world that’s apparently one foot higher than the regular universe. Add more character development and action and we’d really have something. As it is we’re left with some great fan service, but little more. This story rates a, “now we know why he gave up the recorder”, 2.4
“The Three Doctors” is the first in the line of multi-Doctor stories and highly regarded by most fans as the best multi-Doctor story ever. I’m inclined to agree.
The Three Doctors themselves give a wonderful performance. Pertwee is great as always, Pat Troughton slipped back into the role like a glove, and though limited in his involvement, William Hartnell was wonderful in his final appearance on Doctor Who before his passing in 1975.
What I really like about this story is that the Doctor’s exile comes to an end. After three years stranded on Earth for the most part, we can now get a fully blown travelling season, complete with Daleks and Drashings and… well, I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? Perhaps I should talk about Omega first. Stephen Thorne’s maniacal ranting does become wearing, although the suspense was killing I’m sure as to what disfigured horror might lurk beneath his Grecian mask. And when nothing was there, I’m sure everyone was surprised.
This story does have one tiny problem: it suffers from padding. This story has some bits where it can get a little boring at times and really can take a bit to get through. I mean, that bit in episode two where they are just waiting in the corridors is a fine example of it. However, the positive greatly outweigh the negatives here.
As I said, this is probably the best multi-Doctor story out there. Though not the best story ever told, it’s definitely the finest television example of a multi-Doctor adventure. 3.8/5, hands down.
Hi guys, it’s a Tracey! Some might say, THE Tracey, but of course that’s absurd. I’m sure there’s at least two other Traceys.
These old ones are always hard for me to review. I assume these must be really good sets, props, and effects, but sometimes it’s hard to see them as anything but hopelessly outdated. Those red bubble creatures are very distracting, as well as the technicolor scribbles.
On the really fantastic side, I do love Troughton and it was good to see him interacting with BAGLS again. And being in color! Hartnell managing a short appearance was welcome. A shame he was so ill.
BAGLS is disappointingly stupid but it does leave room for Benton to keep growing as a character. He’s impressively on-board with the concepts thrown at him.
What a tragic character we have in Omega! Founder of the ability to travel in time, but repaid with a near eternity of solitude to drive him mad. I liked much of the concept surrounding the antimatter universe. I could probably go on at length about the many interesting ideas but I’m sure you already have so I’ll stop here.
Rating: giant golden mask
DOCTOR WHO is unique in television for having multiple actors portraying the same title character. Producer Barry Letts brought back both of the show’s previous stars to celebrate its tenth anniversary. In Bob Baker and Dave Martin’s story, Time Lord hero, Omega, felt betrayed and abandoned in an antimatter universe inside a black hole. His vengeance on the Time Lords involved an energy draining attack that threatened the entire universe and sought the Doctor in particular. It compelled the godlike Time Lords, for whom action was anathema, to respond. They not only acted, but did what, for them, was unthinkable.
The story began when Ollis, a game warden, found a balloon Doctor Tyler was using to research cosmic rays. After reporting strange readings to UNIT and opening his equipment in the Doctor’s lab, Tyler, like Ollis, disappeared. After the Doctor and Jo investigated the game preserve, a blob of antimatter processed to exist in our universe attacked them and caused the Doctor’s car, Bessie, to vanish. They reported to the Brigadier and Benton, as UNIT Headquarters was besieged by more antimatter blobs. The Time Lords knew the Doctor was besieged, but were in trouble themselves and couldn’t spare anyone to help. So, they sent the Doctor’s second incarnation, played by Patrick Troughton. He described the time Lords’ situation, explained his own arrival, played his recorder, and argued with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor about TARDIS decor and what to do next. Since the two Doctors didn’t seem to be getting along, the Time Lords sent the first Doctor to advise his future selves from a time eddy in which he got caught. Actor William Hartnell’s poor health was the real reason for the first Doctor’s limited, advisory role.
Regardless, he told the Doctor the antimatter blob would send him somewhere and to go. When he did, Jo rushed after him and they both vanished into Omega’s antimatter universe, which they explored in Bessie. They found Doctor Tyler as Ollis watched and followed them. In our universe, the second Doctor tried to explain to the Brigadier, as well as his superiors in Geneva, what was happening. Despite the Brigadier ordering his headquarters evacuated, UNIT troops outside were surrounded, but ordered not to engage the antimatter blobs. Inside, the Doctor, who had lost his recorder, built a machine to keep the blob in the lab calm and left Sergeant Benton to watch it. The Doctor’s machine, though, stimulated the antimatter instead of calming it and sent the Doctor, the Brigadier, and Benton retreating into the TARDIS, which was eventually taken to the antimatter universe with UNIT Headquarters. Benton’s initial reaction to the TARDIS interior was classic while the Brigadier’s was unfortunately typical. He routinely coped with extraordinary events, but spent this serial trying to make rational sense of the the multiple Doctors’ efforts to deal with Omega’s attack. His efforts were funny, but undermined his characteristic professionalism. Ollis helped the Brigadier’s character by giving the officer someone to command in the antimatter universe. Fortunately, their frontal attack on Omega’s palace turned into a strategic withdrawal as the Doctors and the others escaped.
Earlier, Omega had sent antimatter blobs to bring everyone to his palace while the Brigadier and Ollis followed. In the palace, Pertwee learned the world in which they found themselves was the product of Omega’s will. The world’s ruler therefore could not both give up control and escape to our universe He proposed, however, the Doctor take over the power of the singularity he controlled, which amounted to the antimatter world, thereby enabling Omega to escape. Pertwee’s Doctor was negotiating the humans’ release when the second Doctor arrived and began testing Omega’s self control. When Omega realized the two doctors in his palace were the same Time Lord, he became angry and challenged the third Doctor to fight the dark side of his mind. The second Doctor convinced Omega not to kill his other self and the Time Lords persuaded the first Doctor to enter the antimatter universe. Everyone retreated to the TARDIS, where all the Doctor’s consulted each other telepathically. The second Doctor realized his recorder had fallen into the TARDIS force field and wasn’t processed to exist in the antimatter universe. The Third Doctor discovered Omega’s will was all that remained of him and offered to free him from his world if he let the humans go. After Omega agreed and the humans returned to Earth, the Doctors gave the recorder in a force field to Omega, who knocked it from its bearer’s hands. The resulting matter antimatter explosion blew up Omega’s world, from which the Doctors returned to Earth in the TARDIS. The third Doctor received a new dematerialization circuit from the Time Lords,who also released him from his exile on 20th century Earth.
“The Three Doctors” told a pivotal story that sent ripples through DOCTOR WHO mythology. More immediately, it was an entertaining treat for fans, who saw each actor from the title role interacting with his counterparts for the first time in a solid story dealing with the nature of existence. The serial also revealed Time Lord lore and history as they and the Doctors overcame a threat that justified lifting the Doctor’s three year old exile. This decision corrected a problem with the show’s format which severely limited its storytelling potential, while leaving UNIT in place as a framework in which to tell tales set on modern Earth. Brilliant!
The Three Drs. What a wonderful glorious sound without hesitation, repetition, or deviation. I digress. (Proof I listen to your ramblings of future programming) Fans stood at attention, ha ha, amazed at watching The Time Lords putting the band back together; Coo coo cachoo. Smart outfit Jo Grant, polychromatic shades of blue with a furry jacket. The Time Lords are in need of desperate help, only our beloved drs together can solve. Watch out for burn holes in the film stock, because soon it will cause an Attack of the pomegranate jelly monsters with claws that shoot flames. Next you find yourself trapped in a house of overly sequined walls and endless hallways only to reveal Omega. For producing everything by will, his will could use an interior decorator. The lair was a bit shabby. Production failed to buy enough green spray paint to finish the walls. Contact! Great idea! Now be careful next time you walk over a steam grade in the city, you might disappear. Have you seen my recorder? A deal is a deal Omega, to bad your still alone in your anti matter universe. Mainly because Hartnell and Troughton back and seemed to be the first time having many Drs together at the same time, I liked it. I sure do miss the first two Drs. 4.3
Robert the OBX Pirate
I’m so sorry we didn’t read your review on the show. I lazily did a search for “three doctors” at the time and unfortunately your “three drs” didn’t come up. My bad.
Couldn’t agree more!! ;-)
Sorry again. We’ll be more vigilant next time. Thanks for sending in your mini!
Well done on producing another top-quality listening experience and a fitting tribute for the 10th anniversary special, even if partly-fuelled by Tesco Blue Spark :-D
Just thought I’d better chip in and attempt to shed a little extra light on my comments regarding the Pertwee/Troughton debate. Nik was indeed correct in his assumption that I was implying that there was an element of friction between the two actors. Ponken was also correct in saying that both Pertwee and Troughton would go on to play off one another and recreate their “Three Doctors” patter at shows, conventions, etc.
Although the two were to become great chums, and that they had discovered a winning formula of co-existing as a kind of double act in post-Who circles, there was a certain degree of tension during the filming of this serial. Apparently, the on-set bickering between the two Doctors very much reflected their own relationship as actors (which is possibly why it worked so well!)
I’m pretty sure I read about this in Barry Letts’ autobiography, although it may have been somewhere else. Anyhow, I think we all know that Pertwee took his role as the Doctor very seriously, and was careful to ensure that he wouldn’t have his limelight stolen by companions that were too intelligent for their own good, busty potential sidekicks, and even staving off the threat of Delgado’s popularity as the Master. Appearing alongside the two other previous Doctors had therefore become a massive threat for him, and he immediately found himself naturally competing with Troughton in particular.
Jon was essentially playing the Doctor as himself, yet relied heavily on sticking as closely to the scripted dialogue as possible. Patrick, on the other hand, was a character actor and prone to frequent bouts of ad-libbing. This contrast in acting styles made it difficult for the two of them to work together and became the catalyst for a some animosity which would, as a result, seep through into their performances.
Nothing major by any means and, as I mentioned previously, both the actors and the series itself benefited greatly by this spark of verisimilitude. I feel there are a few similarities with Wilfred Bramble and Harry H. Corbett’s ‘Steptoe & Son’ which – although primitive by today’s standards – are generally regarded as one of the most successful British comedy double-acts of all time.
All the best,
Arthur Fuxake (or Fuxake)
Oh, by the way… I forgot to mention that the reason why Benton had so much to do in this serial was because he was given the lines that were originally meant for Jamie. Fraser Hines couldn’t get the time off Emmerdale Farm.