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Doctor Who - The Three Doctors

episode 65

UK 1973
produced by
Barry Letts for BBC
directed by Lennie Mayne
starring Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Stephen Thorne, Nicholas Courtney, John Levene, Rex Robinson, Laurie Webb, Roy Purcell, Richard Franklin
written by Bob Baker & Dave Martin, script editor: Terrance Dicks, music by Dudley Simpson

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee), Doctor Who (William Hartnell), Doctor Who (Patrick Troughton), Doctor Who (classic series), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Task Force) headquarters is apparently under attack by an alien being from a black hole, homing in on our time & space travelling hero Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee), UNIT's scientific advisor (at least concerning such agendas as alien invasion). So he locks himself, along with companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning) & Seargeat Benton (John Levene) into his time machine TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space - a machine that can transport him almost everywhen, everywhere, but looks exactly like a London Police Box ... & it's bigger on the inside than on the outside). But the good Doctor's own race, the Timelords, are also under attack from that same being, & they come to the conclusion, that the only man who can help them now is the Doctor. But for a case as grave as this one, one Doctor might not be enough, so they summon a previous incarnation of the Doctor (Patrick Troughton, henceforth called Second Doctor) & have him materialize to aide our Doctor (the Pertwee-version, henceforth called Third Doctor for reasons to be explained later). When that still doesn't help, they even summon an even earlier version of the Doctor (William Hartnell, henceforth called First Doctor) to gieve the 2 of them pointers via tv-screen. So, it is soon decided the Third Doctor has to face the alien being, & soon he - along with Jo Grant - is sucked to a planet inside the black hole, where they meet up with scientist Tyler (Rex Robinson), who was sucked to this place earlier, their car Bessie (also sucked there earlier), & are soon abducted by the aliens inhabitating the planet. But the monster back on earth is not inactive in the meantime, soon sucking all of Unit's headquarters (& that's a pretty big mansion) to the planet too, so along with our Third Doctor, Jo & Tyler, soon the Second Doctor, Seargeant Benton, Brigadier Letheridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) & Ollis (Laurie Webb), a gamekeeper of little importance to the plot are prisoner to the superior alien intelligence on the planet inside the black hole. Soon, our Doctors find out that the whole alien world inside the black hole just has to be an illusion conjured up by the alien, who is in fact Omega (Stephen Thorne), an inventor who actually gave the Timelords the power of timetravelling in the first place but who many millenia ago disappeared in a supernova. But not only that, Omega himself has also long ago ceased to be as a corporeal being & now only exists by his own will, making him immortal - & he wants deadly revenge on the Timelords, thinking they have abandoned & betrayed him, & should he have to destroy the whole universe in order to destroy them, little does it matter to him. But somehow our 2 Doctors manage to infuriate the superior intelligence of Omega enough to find his vulnerable spot & with the emerging energy turn the black hole into a supernova, seasing Omega to be & returning everything to normal.

 

By & large, when Jon Pertwee took the lead in the Doctor Who television series (1970 - 1974), the scripts were - despite (or because of) the occasional over-the-top idea - solid science fiction, that actually made sense within the parameters of the genre, & they were more mature than the stories given to his predecessors in the lead, Patrick Troughton or William Hartnell. This self-congratulatory episode however is rather an exception to the rule: Despite the occasional good idea (e.g. a being only willing himself to be), the script is very muddled, not really thought through, & everything is further complicated by the fact of the many elements that (for some reason) just had to be integrated into the plot: It just borders on the impossible to combine all the 3 Doctors, plus Jo, Benton & the Brigadier, plus the Doc's car Bessie, plus UNIT headquarters plus an alien world inside a black hole, into a comprehensive, satisfying plot. Some of Jon Pertwee's & Patrick Troughton's antagonistic dialogues are pretty amusing, though.

William Hartnell, by the way, was supposed to have a bigger role in this one, but a grave illness prevented him from doing more than sitting in a studio & reading lines from a teleprompter. This would be his last tv-appearence before his death.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD