Doctor Who: Season 20, Episode 23

The Five Doctors (23 Nov. 1983)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
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Reviews: 16 user | 5 critic

The Doctor and his previous regenerative versions are abducted to an isolated area of his home planet as part of a renegade timelord's scheme.


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Hurndall ...
The Doctor (archive footage)
The Doctor (archive footage)
Janet Fielding ...
Mark Strickson ...
Nicholas Courtney ...
Anthony Ainley ...
Philip Latham ...
Romana (archive footage)


In this feature-length twentieth anniversary special in the classic science fiction-fantasy series, someone uses a time scoop to lift all five incarnations of the heroic Time Lord known as the Doctor out of their respective time streams. The elderly, first Doctor is taken out of Wimbledon Garden. The Beatle-haired, Chaplainesque, second Doctor is removed from the grounds of UNIT H.Q.. The dashing, dandy, white-haired, James Bond-like third Doctor is scooped off of Earth in his Edwardian speedster car, Bessie. The curly-haired, tall, long-scarfed fourth Doctor is lifted out of a punt on the river Cambridge and trapped in a time vortex. And the youthful, striped-panted fifth Doctor must find all of his former selves and return them to their proper time streams, or face disintegration into the time vortex in which his fourth incarnation is trapped. Having abducted each of the Doctors, the mysterious agent responsible for this transgression of the First Law of Time, positions four of the ... Written by Kevin McCorry <>

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Release Date:

23 November 1983 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Wendy Padbury was pregnant during the recording and the costume she wore was in part designed to, in her words, "hide the bump". Sadly, she miscarried soon after wrapping. See more »


When Sarah Jane is grabbed by the time scoop she drops her bag but her "figure" has a handbag over its shoulder. See more »


Fifth Doctor: I'm certainly not the man I was. Thank goodness.
See more »


Featured in 'Doctor Who': The Troughton Years (1991) See more »


Destiny Waltz
Composed by Sydney Barnes
See more »

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User Reviews

A tall order
27 October 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

The Five Doctors has a lot to live up to in its 90-odd minutes of air-time, and it succeeds in part. After all, no-one should really expect such a short program to truly represent a series that was - at the time of filming - 20 years old. There were probably many ways the show could have been made, but in the end, its writer chose a very straightforward tale which tries to cram as many Doctors, companions, concepts, monsters and enemies into the same story and, like I said earlier, it succeeds in part. It's great to see all the old Doctors, for example (even if the first Doctor was dead and is played here by a lookalike and the fourth Doctor rather childishly didn't want to be in the show, so is featured via old, unused TV footage), but it's still a bit cheesy to have simply SO MUCH Doctor Who crammed into one show. Sure, it's better than the 10th anniversary story "The Three Doctors," but it's definitely not as good as the latter story, "The Two Doctors," made a few years after this, and which I recommend wholeheartedly.

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