Doctor Who: The Three Doctors Review

The Three Doctors 3

By Will Barber – Taylor

    Third Doctor: Jo, it’s all quite simple – I am he and he is me!

    Jo Grant: And we are all together, coo coo cachoo?

                                                                                 Both Doctors: What?         

    Jo Grant: It’s a song by The Beatles.

    Second Doctor: Really? How does it go?

    Third Doctor: Oh, shut up!

Time itself is in peril! The Time Lords find themselves besieged by a mysterious enemy, the legendary Time Lord, Omega. Omega has been inhabiting the anti-matter universe on the other side of the black hole from which the Time Lords draw their power. They enlist the Doctor in his first three incarnations to battle this foe, which turns out to be a legend from the Time Lords’ remote past. However, vital cosmic energy is draining into a black hole and the Time Lords are under siege. The Doctor is their only hope but, trapped in the TARDIS, he’s powerless. The only way out is to break the First Law of Time to let the Doctor help himself – literally.

The Three Doctors” was Doctor Who’s tenth anniversary special and reunited the first three incarnations of The Doctor in their battle against Omega. In Doctor Who’s fiftieth year there is probably no better story to review.

The Three Doctors has a brilliantly quick pace and makes the audience watch it from start to finish. The whole story is virtually plot less and is more of a foil so that we can see Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee interact wonderfully as The Doctor.  Each one gets brilliantly comic lines (including the above quotation) which means that between the frantic almost train like pacing of the story we get nice still moments when the characters are joking between one another. Even the Brigadier gets some funny lines and you can see Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge Stuart) is thoroughly enjoying being able to do some funny jokes. Indeed, with its pieces of Timelord mythology, rather silly monsters, an excellent villain and lots of silliness “The Three Doctors” is almost the blueprint for how to write and produce a Doctor Who story.

Jon Pertwee holds the show together excellently. Whilst Patrick Troughton gets to play a comic cosmic hobo; the task of being the man of action and recipient of most of the dramatic dialogue falls to Pertwee. Pertwee was and still is one of the most respected comic actors of his generation as proved by “Worzel Gummidge” and “The Navy Lark”.  However, he was also a great dramatic actor. During the scenes in which the two doctors face down Omega, Pertwee proves to be the more heroic of the two. When The Third Doctor battles with Omega possibly at the cost his own life; it is a truthful piece of drama. Pertwee gives an extra dimension to the character of The Doctor; if the role had fallen on Harntell or Troughton, it would have been unbelievable, Pertwee’s Doctor is the man of action. Not only do we see him battling with Omega’s dark side we also see him fight with himself, quite literally, in fact. The relationship between the two doctors is excellently played by both actors and by the end when The Doctors part on friendly terms, we see that Pertwee’s Doctor been accepted by his predecessors and also by the Time Lords.

“The Three Doctors” isn’t the greatest Doctor Who story, the plot is relatively simple and the drama isn’t too much part of the plot. “The Three Doctors” is incredibly good fun and with the exception of the later 20th anniversary special, “The Five Doctors” (1983) it is probably the best story to sum up what Doctor Who is really like; a battle between good and evil with a big dollop of silliness thrown in for good measure. If you are a new series fan and have not seen the classic series then I suggest you start by watching this story as I think you will find that it contains the essence of what Doctor Who is.

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