Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Five Doctors 

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)
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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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Most of the credits theme is a slightly remixed version of the original credits theme. When it gets to (and past) the middle eight, though, it reverts back to Peter Davison's. See more »


When Sarah Jane Smith says to the Fifth Doctor, "It was really nice meeting you," it is the Third Doctor who responds, "Thank you, Sarah Jane. Nice meeting you, too," suggesting he was picked up from his time line before meeting her in The Time Warrior, while still recognizing her on sight earlier. His "I'll explain later," comment is a "hanging a lantern" on the Doctors' continuity errors of memory without having to actually explain them. While that can explain the Doctors' recall of what should be future events, it wouldn't explain the Brigadier's. Or he was just having a little fun confusing her by answering on behalf of his future self. See more »


Second Doctor: We can't allow it, you know.
Third Doctor: The tomb is sealed for the best of reasons.
First Doctor: And when we get back to our own time-streams, it must be sealed again.
Second Doctor: Doctor, we need you! Join us!
First Doctor: He can't. It's some kind of mind lock. Fight it, my boy, fight it! Concentrate!
Second Doctor: We must be one!
Fifth Doctor: [the first three Doctors break Borusa's control over the Fifth Doctor] You see, Borusa? Together, we're a match for you!
Borusa: Perhaps, but you will never overcome it.
Fifth Doctor: But Chancellor Flavia will be here with her guards... or will you ...
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Referenced in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (2013) See more »


Destiny Waltz
Composed by Sydney Barnes
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User Reviews

Should be called 'The Four Doctors' ...
24 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

This particular Dr Who episode, which screened during Peter Davison's (the 5th Doctor) tenure, was intended to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dr Who. The plot - a mysterious individual has summoned all incarnations of the Doctor to the Death Zone on Gallifrey for some unknown purpose. The Doctors, unsure of why they are here try to reach the Tower of Rasselon (sp?) to find answers, where along the way they confront various obstacles (a Daalek, Cybermen, a Yeti etc.) Apparently the mysterious individual wants something within the tower and is using the Doctors to get it - one Doctor would not have been enough, but FIVE doctors might be (well 4 really, read below).

It's pretty much well known that Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) declined to appear in this special episode so the producers were forced to use some old footage from Baker's tenure as the Doctor and then use the plot device of having him 'stuck' in the vortex (or whatever they called it) to explain his absence, so contrary to the title the story from the outset only really involves 4 doctors. In addition William Hartnell (the 1st Doctor) had passed away in 1975 so a replacement in Richard Hurndall had to be found. Hurndall does a good job in keeping to the character as originally played by Hartnell but it's pretty obvious to all that it's another actor, but that couldn't be helped.

As far as the quality of the episode goes, it depends on what you want to get out of it. As an exercise in seeing all of the Doctors (well 4 of them

  • and 1 with a replacement actor) it's not too bad, especially seeing how

each Doctor reacts to the others being present (the verbal sparring between Patrick Troughton (the 2nd Doctor) and Jon Pertwee (the 3rd Doctor) is hilarious). However as far as plot goes its pretty weak on the ground - 90% of the episode seems to be made up of shots of each of the respective Doctors running from something, with the 5th Doctor killing time outside the zone trying to figure it all out and token references being made concerning the 4t Doctor being 'stuck' and thus not present. And the Master has a few scenes too. Clearly for the amount of Doctors involved (not counting all the sidekicks they bring along) 90 mins is nowhere long enough to adequately tell a story involving all of them (or 4 of them)

Worth a look to see all 5 (sorry, 4 ::sigh::) Doctors together in action, just don't expect anything major in the plot department.

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