‘THE THREE DOCTORS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Omega with the Three Doctors, Jo, the Brigadier and Benton
For Stephen Thorne
The Doctor is 10 years old here! (Pause) No, not really! 😀
These Blu-ray box sets of classic ‘Doctor Who’ seasons have become successes. I find myself pre-ordering them every time they get announced via trailers on the ‘Doctor Who’ YouTube channel and somewhere else. It’s only a matter of time before every classic ‘Doctor Who’ season gets re-released on Blu-ray!
I saw the ‘Hello Boys’ trailer for the Season 10 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’ with Katy Manning and Stewart Bevan via the ‘Doctor Who’ YouTube channel. It looked pretty exciting and I was looking forward to receive the Blu-ray box set of Season 10 containing various brand-new special features featured in it.
There would be brand new ‘Behind the Sofa’ features on each of the five stories featured in Season 10 as well as new documentaries focusing on certain people like directors; actors and a new CGI effects option for a certain story. It’s something to please all ‘Doctor Who’ and Jon Pertwee era fans.
The Blu-ray box set of Season 10 of ‘Doctor Who’ is a 6-disc set. The first five discs contains each of the five stories of the season including ‘The Three Doctors’, ‘Carnival of Monsters’, ‘Frontier In Space’, ‘Planet of the Daleks’ and ‘The Green Death’. Disc 6 contains brand-new bonus material on it.
Season 10 of ‘Doctor Who’, now part of ‘The Collection’ on Blu-ray, is a very special season in the Jon Pertwee era. Beforehand, Jon Pertwee’s Doctor had been mostly exiled to Earth by the Time Lords. He had spent a lot of time with U.N.I.T. led by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, thwarting alien threats.
All of that was about to change in Season 10. The production team of producer Barry Letts and script-editor Terrance Dicks had been trying to get the Doctor back into time and space and rid him of his exile. They’d done it a few times during Season 8 and 9 in order for the Doctor to be off Earth.
Thankfully, in the first story of Season 10 and with the celebration of the show’s 10th anniversary looming, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks saw the opportunity to actually rid the Doctor off his exile placed on him by the Time Lords. This is a superb thing to do since the Doctor deserves to be free of his exile.
I did watch the stories of Season 10 of ‘Doctor Who’ out of order like I’d done with other ‘Doctor Who’ stories released in random order on DVD. Thankfully though, ‘The Three Doctors’ was the first story I saw from the Jon Pertwee era after I’d actually seen him play the Doctor in ‘The Five Doctors’.
The early 1970s was a magical time for ‘Doctor Who’. It was in the world of colour on television and it had the action-packed elegant style of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor thwarting alien threats with U.N.I.T.’s help. Jon Pertwee had been playing the Doctor for three years by this point and he became popular.
Along with Jon Pertwee as the star of the show were Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart. There was also Richard Franklin as Captain Mike Yates and John Levene as Sergeant Benton. There was also Roger Delgado in his reoccurring role of the Master.
Things were quite stable by that point in the series. But could the stableness last? Would Jon Pertwee’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ prosper and be a happy period of the show during the early 1970s? Well, it seems not always as we are about to discover in this particular season of ‘Doctor Who’ itself.
Let’s take a look! The season begins with the four-part story ‘The Three Doctors’ by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, directed by Lennie Mayne. Now like I said; it was time to celebrate as ‘Doctor Who’ had reached its 10th birthday by 1972 to 1973. It’s an exciting and momentous time as the production team planned to celebrate.
For the first story of the season, we have a romp of an adventure with three Doctors in it! Yes, that’s right! Jon Pertwee is joined by the previous two Doctors Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell who help him to thwart a powerful enemy. ‘The Three Doctors’ is definitely one of my favourite TV tales!
The idea of reuniting the three Doctors had been hanging in the air for a while from fan letters sent to the production team of Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks. They initially dismissed the idea at first, but as the show’s 10th anniversary was coming, they reconsidered and decided to go ahead with it.
I first purchased ‘The Three Doctors’ on DVD back in 2007. This was the original 2003 DVD release. I’m lucky to have had the original DVD cover of ‘The Three Doctors’ signed by Katy Manning at the ‘Cardiff Film and Comic Con’ in March 2014. Katy Manning is a lovely person to meet at conventions!
I’ve also had the original DVD cover signed by John Levene at the ‘Bournemouth Film and Comic Con’ in August 2015; by Stephen Thorne at ‘The Capitol II’ convention in Gatwick, May 2017 and by co-writer Bob Baker at the ‘Pandorica 2014’ convention in Bristol, September 2014. That’s four people!
At the time, it was great to watch this adventure on DVD with Jon Pertwee as the leading man of the show. Like I said, it was the first ‘Doctor Who’ story I saw from Jon Pertwee’s era and it was good to cushion the experience with Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell featured in it with Jon Pertwee.
‘The Three Doctors’ was re-released again as a 2-disc Special Edition DVD in 2012 and was a part of the ‘Revisitations 3’ DVD box set (along with ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ with Patrick Troughton and ‘The Robots of Death’. with Tom Baker). The new DVD contained the original DVD special features as well as some new ones.
Now of course, the story has been re-released as part of the Season 10 Blu-ray box set, hasn’t it? 😀 Back in 2007, I was getting to know ‘Doctor Who’ as a newcomer when I saw ‘The Three Doctors’ for the first time. It was an exciting and unusual time as I was getting to know more about ‘Doctor Who’.
Not only did I see the first three Doctors together in this adventure, but I also got to see the Brigadier and Sergeant Benton who I recognised from seeing in ‘The Invasion’. I also got introduced to the lovely and the very delightful Katy Manning as Jo Grant, the Doctor’s companion in the series.
As I indicated, ‘The Three Doctors’ is a story where a crisis occurs. In this, anti-matter monsters attack U.N.I.T. HQ. They do this in order to capture the Doctor. After he, Jo and Benton escape into the TARDIS, the Doctor sends out a distress call to the Time Lords for help. Can the Time Lords help?
Well, it seems that they can’t. The power being generated to create these anti-matter monsters by an unknown force in a black hole is draining power on the Time Lords’ planet. But despite the Time Lords not being able to help the Doctor, perhaps the Doctor can help ‘himself’. And I mean literally!!!
The Time Lords decide to lift the first two Doctors out their time-streams in order to meet the Third Doctor in the future during the present-day at U.N.I.T. on Earth. Confused? Yeah, it does seem confusing when you think about it. But it all works and Jon Pertwee’s Doctor meets his other selves.
But as it turns out, it’s not an easy working relationship between the Doctors. There’s bitterness between the Second and Third Doctors and the First Doctor needs to referee them. The Doctors need to work together in order to defeat a foe from an anti-matter universe. Can they achieve that?
From watching this story, I found Jon Pertwee to be great as the Third Doctor! I enjoyed Jon as the current Doctor for the show’s 10th anniversary story. Despite sharing the story with two other Doctors, Jon’s Doctor gets to be the action hero especially when working out how to defeat Omega.
I did enjoy the relationship Jon’s Doctor had with Jo. He does get annoyed with Doctor 2’s ‘twittering’ early on in the story but they soon realise that they need to work together. I like how Jon’s Doctor gets to meet Omega and how he tries to be gentlemanly and agreeable when having chats with him.
The emotional moments Jon’s Doctor has with Jo at the story’s end were touching when they talk about Omega’s fate. Also at the story’s end, Jon’s Doctor gets a new dematerialisation circuit. He gets to travel in time and space again in his TARDIS with his exile on Earth ended by the Time Lords.
I also found Patrick Troughton equally great as the Second Doctor. I loved it when he interacted with Jon’s Doctor and it was great to see Patrick’s Doctor being impish and mischievous compared to Jon’s magnificence. I did like how the two Doctors worked together despite the differences they had.
They put their minds together in order to defeat Omega. I enjoyed how Patrick’s Doctor made his first appearance in the story. There’s the TARDIS sound effect which startles Jon’s Doctor, Jo and Benton. A recorder then appears in the TARDIS. Then Doctor 2 appears and takes the recorder off Doctor 3.
I love Patrick’s line “Oh, I see you’ve been doing the TARDIS up a bit. Hmm! I don’t like it!” That line would be used again in future stories. I enjoyed Patrick’s Doctor’s scenes with Benton in the story, especially when he gets to reunite with him as well as the Brigadier since their time in ‘The Invasion’.
William Hartnell is equally good as the First Doctor in this adventure. Sadly, William Hartnell had a small part to play in the story. Due to his ill health, Hartnell couldn’t take part in a full-on supporting guest role. This is a shame as I would’ve liked to have seen more of him in the actual TV story.
It would’ve been great to see the First Doctor interacting with the Second and Third Doctors and stopped them bickering with each other. Fortunately, William Hartnell does get to have a small appearance in the story when he turns up on the TARDIS scanner to tell the other Doctor what to do.
I liked William Hartnell’s line, “Oh, so you’re my replacements. A dandy and a clown!” It’s a great testament to see a fine actor who played the Doctor at the start of the show to appear in this 10th anniversary tale. Sadly this is William Hartnell’s last appearance in the show as he died shortly after.
Katy Manning is excellent as Jo Grant in this adventure. I’ve met Katy at conventions and I find her to be a truly lovely, bubbly person. 😀 I’m happy I’ve met Katy as she’s great to chat to. When I first saw Jo in this story, I found her to be a wide-eyed, young girl full of heart and fiercely loyal to the Doctor.
I liked it when Jo came up with the idea for Doctors 2 and 3 to put their minds together to create a door out of their prison cell in Omega’s domain. It was gripping when I saw Jo being willing to give her life for her Doctor and to stand by him, especially when he was sacrificing himself to save others.
Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier is great to watch too in this adventure! I enjoyed the Brigadier, especially when he’s the link between the Second and Third Doctors throughout. He’s bewildered by what’s going, especially once he comes across two Doctors in the same tale. He was not expecting it.
The Brig gets easily frustrated once Doctor 2 returns to his life and a little annoyed by his twitterings and whimsical ways too. I like how the Brigadier manages to cope in this adventure, especially when and the others visit Omega’s anti-matter world. Some of Nick Courtney’s lines as the Brig are superb.
I enjoyed John Levene as Sergeant Benton in this adventure. Unlike other stories, Benton gets to be a main part of the adventure. I liked it when he reunites with Patrick’s Doctor and I liked it when he explained to Jo how Jon’s Doctor used to look like Patrick’s Doctor. He does cope well in this TV tale.
I enjoyed Benton’s scenes with Patrick’s Doctor and the banter between him, Patrick’s Doctor and the Brigadier when they’re in the TARDIS or in the U.N.I.T. lab on Earth and in Omega’s domain. I’m sure John Levene enjoyed the material he was given as Benton compared to other stories he’s been in.
Stephen Thorne guest stars as Omega, the story’s villain. I’ve heard him voice Treebeard in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ radio series. My fondest memory of Stephen Thorne was on a panel at the ‘Regenerations 2013’ convention in Swansea, September 2013 where he bellowed the immortal line, “A HERO?! I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A GOD!!!” Everyone in the audience laughed at that great moment!
In the story, Omega happens to be an important figure to the Doctor. He was the first stellar engineer to create time travel for the Time Lords. But Omega got caught up in an explosion and survived in an anti-matter world. Now Omega wants to return to unleash revenge on the Time Lords.
The slaves of Omega are the Gell Guards. Now, I can’t take these guys seriously. They do look like blobby jellies with actors inside the costumes who can’t see where they’re going. Seeing the Gell Guards put me in mind of Mr. Blobby at times. I even say, “BLOBBY, BLOBBY, BLOBBY!!!!” at them. 😀
The guest cast also includes Rex Robinson as Dr. Tyler and Laurie Webb as Mr. Ollis who get caught up in the adventure with the three Doctors, Jo, the Brigadier and Benton. There’s also Patricia Prior as Mrs. Ollis; Roy Purcell as the Time Lord President and Clyde Pollitt as the Time Lord Chancellor. 😀
The original DVD special features were as follows. There was the ‘Pebble Mill at One’ featurette with monster maker Bernard Wilkie and actor Patrick Troughton. There was also a ‘Blue Peter’ item shown on 5/11/1973; the ‘BSB Highlights’ and the ‘PanoptiCon 93’ convention panel interview with Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning and Nicholas Courtney.
There was ‘The Five Faces of Doctor Who’ trailer and the BBC 1 trailer for ‘Episode One’ of the story. There was also the 40th Anniversary Celebration music video of ‘Doctor Who’; a stereo sound audio mix option for the story; a DVD audio commentary with Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney and producer Barry Letts; an info-text commentary option to enjoy and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story. There was also a ‘coming soon’ DVD trailer for ‘The Face of Evil’ with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson (which is now included on ‘The Deadly Assassin’ Blu-ray disc for the Season 14 Blu-ray box set).
There was the ‘Happy Birthday to Who’ making-of documentary; the ‘Was ‘Doctor Who’ Rubbish?’ documentary; and the ‘Girls, Girls, Girls: The 1970s’ discussion between Caroline John, Katy Manning and Louise Jameson who talk about the trails of playing a ‘Doctor Who’ companion during the 1970s. There was also a photo gallery of the story.
On Disc 1 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 10’ Blu-ray, the ‘BSB Highlights’; the stereo sound audio mix option for the story; the DVD audio commentary and the ‘Happy Birthday to Who’ making-of documentary can be found on there. The info-text commentary option and the photo gallery for ‘The Three Doctors’ have been updated for 2019 on the Blu-ray.
The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘The Three Doctors’ with Katy Manning (Jo Grant); Richard Franklin (Mike Yates) and John Levene (Sgt. Benton) as well as new series producer Phil Collinson; new series writer Joy Wilkinson and new series writer Pete McTighe. There’s also the ‘Looking For Lennie’ documentary with Toby Hadoke and deleted scenes from the ‘Looking For Lennie’ documentary. There’s also the cleaning opening and closing titles of the Jon Pertwee era of ‘Doctor Who’ as well as the alternative Delaware opening and closing titles of the Jon Pertwee era. There are BBC trailers and continuity announcements for ‘The Three Doctors’ including the BBC1 trailer for ‘Episode One’. There’s also a ‘Blue Peter’ item shown on 27/11/1972 instead and a ‘Nationwide’ item with Jon Pertwee.
On the PDF front, as well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story, there are also production documents; scripts and studio floor plan and design drawings of the story. You need a special Blu-ray computer drive for that. The ‘Pebble Mill at One’ featurette; the ‘Blue Peter’ item shown on 5/11/1973 and the ‘PanoptiCon 93’ convention panel interview (updated for ‘The Panopticon Archive’) is included on Disc 6 of the Season 10 Blu-ray box set. The 40th Anniversary Celebration music video of ‘Doctor Who’ and the ‘Was ‘Doctor Who’ Rubbish?’ documentary aren’t included on ‘The Three Doctors’ disc for the Season 10 Blu-ray box set. The ‘Girls, Girl Girls: The 1970s’ discussion is now included on ‘The Face of Evil’ Blu-ray disc for the Season 14 Blu-ray box set and ‘The Five Faces of Doctor Who’ trailer is now included on the ‘Logopolis’ Blu-ray disc for the Season 18 Blu-ray box set.
‘The Three Doctors’ is a lovely anniversary ‘Doctor Who’ story to celebrate 10 years of the show. I had great pleasure watching this, especially when Jon Pertwee’s Doctor teamed up with Patrick Troughton’s and William Hartnell’s as well as Jo Grant, the Brigadier and Benton to thwart Omega. 🙂
This anniversary story would start off a chain for more multi-Doctor adventures to be made on TV and audio. This includes ‘The Five Doctors’, ‘The Two Doctors’, ‘Time Crash’ and ‘The Day of the Doctor’ on TV and also ‘The Sirens of Time’, ‘The Light at the End’ and ‘The Legacy of Time’ on audio.
‘The Three Doctors’ rating – 9/10
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