|Index||4 reviews in total|
How great it was for me to see my two Doctors, numbers 2 & 3, Patrick
Troughton, my first and the one I really watched the most growing up as
a kid, Jon Pertwee in the same adventure. Actually, the first doctor,
the crotchety William Hartnell, sadly ailing at the time of production,
also makes a necessarily curtailed cameo appearance to give the
adventure its title and act as almost a sort of paternal referee
between his two younger, but very different successors as they bicker
The story itself is fine, involving a renegade Time Lord's plan to destroy the universe and neatly appropriates the old legend of Hercules and Atlas for the crux of the tale. Pertwee and Troughton are both excellent in their different ways with neither hogging the limelight and bouncing off each other most entertainingly.
It was good to see the crusty Lethbridge-Stewart nonplussed at the appearance of the two docs as well as getting to finally enter the TARDIS. Katy Manning, as usual, gets to wear a mini-skirt and fawn over Pertwee, although she does at least come up with the idea for the feuding Doctors to pool their resources to effectively fight Omega. It might have been nice for say, Frazer Hines to make a showing too as Jamie, to assist Troughton and balance the ticket, but you can't have everything.
The only weakness is the usual laughably unscary monsters employed by Omega, which look like freshly-made jam puddings, but on the whole this deliberately nostalgic episode is an almost complete success and certainly one of the most memorable.
Review of the Complete Story:
THE THREE DOCTORS is a well-remembered serial from the Jon Pertwee era of DOCTOR WHO. It's certainly a memorable production which packs plenty of ingredients into the narrative: not one, not two, but three different incarnations of the Doctor; the welcome return of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Sergeant Benton; a world-eating alien blob; time travel; ugly lava monsters; and a renegade Time Lord known only as Omega.
Inevitably the story was going to be an entertaining one with all those ingredients and Who fans are in for a treat with this one. The best scenes are those in which Pertwee and Patrick Troughton are paired up to constantly belittle each other - a real delight. It's a real pity that William Hartnell's poor health meant that he was relegated to appearing on a monitor for a handful of scenes, but at least it's a fitting swansong for the first Doctor.
Those stories featuring the Brigadier are always among my favourites and Nicholas Courtney is on top form here. It's also good to see John Levene's Benton get more screen time than usual. THE THREE DOCTORS is chock full of cheesy special effects work, from dodgy alien planets to monsters which look like walking pasta bakes, but the late-stage intervention of the megalomaniac Omega only adds to the fun. It's not perfect - what is? - but it's a whole lotta fun nonetheless.
Review of all 4 episodes:
This story marked the 10th anniversary of the series and it is a pretty good birthday party as all three actors who had played The Doctor appear and have dialogue together. It is their interplay which adds the magic to this adventure.
The storyline involves a legendary Time Lord, Omega, who is trapped in a world of antimatter inside a Black Hole which he created to bring the power of time travel to the Time Lords. He has been there for a very long time and has become mad with bitterness and rage at being 'left' trapped after giving the Time Lords their powers by his ingenuity and bravery. Over the vast time he has been trapped he has developed ways to attack the known universe and the Time Lords using antimatter. The Time Lords realise The Doctor may be able to fight Omega and to increase his chances they allow his two previous incarnations to cross into their own future so that the three Doctors can combine their intellect and battle Omega. The first Doctor (Hartnell) is caught in a 'time eddy' so cannot physically join them but he is able to communicate with the 2nd and 3rd Doctors. They bicker and banter but along with Jo and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart they bravely pool their efforts to save the universe.
The production in general is very good but not necessarily really great in every respect. The blob monsters serving Omega are the worst example of the imperfections to be found. However the magic touch from the three Doctors make this something special. The dialogue is beautifully written and Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee are all marvellous. The scripting and performance of all their scenes together is terrific and often very amusing. There is also an epic quality to the storyline with the universe being threatened and the involvement of the Time Lords and their legendary hero turned adversary Omega.
An enjoyable romp with some superb work from the 3 tremendous actors who made Doctor Who's first 10 years so fantastic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Review Of All Four Episodes - Some Spoilers
Outside the debut season of Pertwee season ten is probably the most consistent . It's certainly the most colorful and being the tenth anniversary producer Barry Letts came up with the idea of a celebration by reuniting all three Doctors in one adventure . It's not an unqualified success since William Hartnell was to ill to take part so only appears in a time-bubble on the Tardis monitor screen which is a great pity . That said Patrick Troughton as Doctor Two dominates the entire story and steals every single scene he appears in
The story itself is rather basic and no great shakes with the universe being in danger from a black hole which in galactic terms is like the whole of human civilization being threatened by a hurricane . , Despite this the plots not what people tuned in for and trailers along with the Radio Times ensured the audience were going to be treated to some nostalgia and it works much better here than in NuWho where everything including the kitchen sink is thrown in . It's a much more disciplined probably because the production team weren't rabid fans , they were merely professional TV people not interested in trying to second guess what the audience wanted and one wonders if we'll ever see this type of professionalism in a show that nowadays can become painfully post modernist and overblown ?
Where the story succeeds is in the character interaction . The second and third doctors soon descend in to bickering which is genuinely amusing and all too short as the third doctor gets transported with Jo in to the black hole in the first episode cliffhanger . This sets up the second episode where the Brigadier meets the second doctor and jumps to the conclusion that he's regenerated back in to the character he first met in The Web Of Fear . Nicholas Courtney is fondly remembered in fandom since he was as much a part of the programme as Jon Pertwee in the early 1970s He's written as being somewhat narrow minded and stupid in this tale but Courtney rises above the material
Where the story is less successful is in some of the designs . The Gell Guards look like tinsel jelly babies and as they stumble about in the battle scene in episode one they are quite laughable . It's a colorful story but literally too colorful . Colour television was becoming a more common item in British homes in 1972 and you're left with the impression that the designers are taking advantage of this . Everything is a little too glittery and gaudy . The story is also wrapped up a little too easily but that said we've seen far worse dues ex machina endings from both Russel T Davies and Steven Moffat
It's a pity Hartnell couldn't have played a bigger part in the story but what we have is an entertaining nostalgia piece without the production team going overboard . Whislt it looks back it also looks forward and the time lords send the doctor a dematerialsation circuit for the Tardis effectively ending his exile on Earth .
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