It's late October 1881 in Tombstone and the Clantons are waiting in the Last Chance Saloon to knock off Doc Holliday when three (very) strangers drift into town: a Doctor calling himself Caligari (William Hartnell) who's looking for a good dentist, a singer calling himself Regret (Peter Purves) and a pianist called Dodo (Jackie Lane). When they mistake the eccentric Doctor for the gunman, Holliday decides to let them kill him to get a bit of peace and quiet once the Clantons assume he's out of the way. Naturally, things don't quite work out that way... especially since the Doctor is a time traveller whose TARDIS has just landed at the OK Corral. Yep, The Gunfighters is Doctor Who way out west - well, West London on a small TV soundstage masquerading as Tombstone's main street and populated by British actors with cowboy hats and dodgy accents and the odd Canadian like Shane Rimmer.
The casting isn't all bad, though: John Alderson makes a convincing Wyatt Earp, Anthony Jacobs is a decent Doc Holliday while the barkeep is played by David Graham, Brains from Thunderbirds and the voice behind many of Gerry Anderson's puppet shows including, perhaps most appropriately, the cowboy show Four Feather Falls. Best of all is Laurence Payne, usually typecast as tortured and ineffectual types (not surprising with a name like that) but clearly having a ball playing a charismatically rotten Johnny Ringo, a character who seems to have posthumously made up for missing the real gunfight by turning up in almost every fictional version of it.
Although from the last days when the series did historical adventures with no science fiction elements as part of a dimly remembered educational remit that had been part of the original pitch, this plays fast and loose with history with such rampant dime novel abandon that even Ned Buntline himself might have told writer Donald Cotton to hold his horses there for a moment. Urban legend has it that this was the lowest rated Doctor Who story ever (it wasn't, though it scored the worst audience appreciation rating of Hartnell's tenure), and while it does come from a period when it looked like the wouldn't be needing to regenerate its hero - then still a grumpy old traveller in time rather than a lord of it - it's more fun than its dismal reputation implies. It's certainly one of the more ambitious Who stories of its era, although that ambition isn't always realised and it often gets repetitive - the Clanton boys sure do spend a lot of time in the saloon talking about killing the Doc while Tristram Cary's Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon (sung by Lynda Baron) starts off as a nice nod to old Westerns but is quickly diluted by constant overuse, bookending just about every scene with only minor variations until you're hoping a stray bullet will shut the chanteuse up. The gunfight itself caused some friction behind the scenes, with director Rex Tucker taking his name off the credits because of the way it was re-edited, but despite one shot where the roof of the soundstage and its arc lights creep into view it's shot with some real panache.
It's hard to make a case for The Gunfighters as anything other than a modestly entertaining diversion, but it's a long way from the worst of the series even if its DVD release does treat it somewhat as leftovers, clumsily doubling it with an equally leftover story from the Fifth Doctor's third season and calling it a boxed set.
The Awakening is one of those Peter Davison stories that seems almost in danger of seeming overstretched at two episodes, and that when the series was still in its 25-minute format. With the Doctor, Turlogh and the less obnoxious than usual Tegan finding themselves in a 20th century English village where the local squire is disastrously turning the clock back with his increasingly draconian war games recreating the English Civil War - naturally part of a plot to revive a malignant alien that has been buried for centuries - it's an okay story that seems designed to fill in a gap between more ambitious stories. Once again it nods to Nigel Kneale's Quatermass and the Pit with its alien explanation for the Devil, but it never really builds up much tension or fear along the way as it hits the story points professionally enough but without much verve or inspiration. Rather like the character of Will Chandler, originally intended as a new companion along the lines of Jamie McCrimmon from the Patrick Troughton years but quickly discarded, you get the feeling that no-one knew quite how to make this one stand out from the crowd and just tried to salvage something passable from it all with only minimal interest.
Extras on The Gunfighters are an audio commentary by Peter Purves, Shane Rimmer, David Graham, Richard Beale, Tristan de Vere Cole and Toby Hadoke, a couple of featurettes (the best, The End of the Line, about the show's troubled future prospects at the time, while Tomorrow's Times - The First Doctor deals with contemporary press coverage of the show), stills gallery and trivia track. The Awakening gets an audio commentary by Michael Owen Morris, Eric Saward and Toby Hadoke, extended and deleted scenes, a trio of featurettes dealing with the troubled production, the making of the monster and the locations, an outtake and extract from the Golden Egg Award, isolated score, stills gallery and on-screen production notes.