Doctor Who - The Three Doctors  [DVD] 
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This tenth anniversary adventure teams third Doctor Jon Pertwee with his predecessors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton as they battle against embittered renegade Time Lord Omega in his anti-matter Universe.
Made to mark the series' tenth anniversary, Doctor Who: The Three Doctors finds Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor teaming-up with the Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell incarnations to battle a universe-threatening foe. Omega (played by an excellent Stephen Thorne) is the Timelord who gave his race the power necessary for time travel. Long presumed dead he is actually trapped in an anti-matter universe inside a black hole, and is scheming an epic revenge. Set in UNIT HQ, Omega's domain and a chalk pit, Bob Baker and David Martin's yarn is both nonsensical and more wildly ambitious than the BBC effects unit could possibly visualise. This is so much the case that the best moments come with the metaphysically chilling scene in which Omega is unmasked, and in the bickering rivalry between Pertwee and Troughton. Sadly Hartnell was seriously ill with arteriosclerosis, so his brief scenes were all taped in a day and played on a monitor in the TARDIS, the reason given that the First Doctor is trapped in a "time eddy". If hardly a classic this is still a meatier tale than The Two Doctors (1985), which starred Troughton and Colin Baker, and it features ever-dependable support from Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier.
On the DVD: Doctor Who: The Three Doctors is presented in the original 4:3 ratio with good mono sound. The introductory 16-mm film footage is very grainy and lined, but later exteriors are good and the interior video-shot material in fine. The commentary by Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney and producer Barry Letts is informative and funny. Extras include excerpts from a highly entertaining 1973 Pebble Mill at One with Patrick Troughton and BBC props designer Bernard Wilkie (20 min) and a 1973 retrospective on the show from Blue Peter featuring Pertwee with the then new Whomobile, all presented by ex-Who companion Peter Purves. There are highlights from a BSkyB Doctor Who weekend from 1990, with brief interviews with Courtney, David Martin, Bob Baker, Pertwee, producer John Nathan Turner and writer Terrance Dicks (10 min). Rather more exciting is the appearances of the warm and witty Pertwee, Manning, and a very late Courtney at the 1993 Panopticon SF convention (29 min). There are also two trailers, info text and a scored photo gallery. --Gary S Dalkin
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Top Customer Reviews
I'd never seen an interview with Troughton before so the DVD extra from 'Pebble Mill at One' is fascinating and shows a nervous and quiet yet clever man in conversation. The other extras are worth seeing too including a superb half hour in the company of the third doc and Jo Grant at the 1993 Panopticon convention.
The commentary from Barry Letts, Katy Manning and Nick Courtney is satisfactory and the production subtitles make for interesting reading but these are indeed just bonuses to what is a great story.
After a rollicking start, where a mysterious and shapeless energy bubble begins terrorising the countryside and abducting random people, the story seems to settle into a classic Third Doctor Earthbound adventure. All goes well until we are properly introduced to Gallifrey, the Doctor's home planet, for the first time in the series, although the name is not used at this point. This could have been a fantastic plot device and given the fans a much-anticipated insight into The Doctor's origins, however it is simply presented as a load of crusty, hirsuite old men; the worst of whom is The President of the Timelords, played by possibly the most wooden and uncharismatic actor in the show's series (and yes, I've seen 'The Mutants'!) Still, it's good to at least see some more of The Doctor's people and it does give a good idea as to why he needed to escape!
The story's second episode is a somewhat stretched affair but Patrick Troughton is in fine form as The Second Doctor and gets all the best lines - before seeing this story I thought The Fourth Doctor was the originator of the jelly babies. The Third Doctor and Jo are transported to a world of anti-matter and we get to see the fabled Omega for the first time. Brief glimpses of The First Doctor (who is trapped in a 'time-eddy') show a clearly decrepit but still imposing William Hartnell and his line, "so these are my replacements, a dandy and a clown!" is pure joy.Read more ›
How do you celebrate your tenth birthday on air if you're over 700 years old? Get some friends round, probably have a couple of annoying relatives drop in, go out for the day, take in a pantomime, set off a few fireworks then all home in time for tea. `The Three Doctors' is `Doctor Who' in full party mode and it works brilliantly. There is a serious back story of the Time Lords in trouble with only the Doctor(s) to save them, but this often seems like a framework on which to hang as many party decorations as possible. Jelly monsters, glittering sets and costumes, the Doctors getting on each others nerves but still working together and the Brigadier light years out of his depth but soldiering on gallantly with some great one-liners - Nicholas Courtney plays it perfectly, with a straight face and militarily precise comic timing.
In the midst of all this frivolity, Stephen Thorne still manages to create the tragic role of Omega, driven mad by his long isolation and desperate to escape. It's one of the best voice performances in `Doctor Who'; Omega's mask is unchanging but his shifting moods of pride, anger and utter despair are clear to see. Still, this show is a birthday party and the intention seems obvious with references to Omega's fortress as "Aladdin's cave" and the point of singularity as the "magic lamp" so I suppose that makes Omega the conjurer - but not really an evil one, the Doctor feels sorry for him at the end. In keeping with the birthday atmosphere, this is a rare (unique?) `Doctor Who' where everyone survives - even Omega, but that's another story ...Read more ›
It's also very intelligently written - the Bristol Boys were seldom short of ideas - black holes were topical in 1973, meaning astrophysics was being talked about. 'Super luminescent emissions' wasn't too far from the Zeitgeist. It's good that the fairly daft piece of Deus ex Machina that the story hangs on isn't too implausible, and the Time Lord idea was overdue for development.
These are not quite the indifferent gods of War Games, and if not quite the the cynical politicals of Deadly Assassin, they are on their way there - I wouldn't trust Clyde Pollitt's Chancellor as far as the end of the street, never mind to the end of a light beam (he was at the trial in the War Games, and has presumably been promoted). Graham Leaman was previously a Time Lord in Colony in Space, and Barry Letts has confirmed that the two are playing the same characters (lending greater weight to the idea that Bernard Horsfall's character in War Games is Goth).
It's a pity about Bill Hartnell, and I'd like to know what his part might have been had his wife not phoned Barry Letts with the words, 'What do you think you're doing? He's ill, dammit!', but it's good that he's in it, though time had clearly not been kind to the poor man since 1966.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Celebrating the first 10 years of the show and is probably the best (as well as the first) of the occasional multi-doctor stories.Published 11 months ago by Caddyman
This tenth anniversary special (shown in 1973) is a fairly middling effort towards the end of Pertwee's time as the Dr. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Trevor G. Brown
DVD arrived on time I am an avid Dr Who fan not the best story but still a must for all fans.Published 20 months ago by Diane Armstrong
Bought it for my 6 year old grandson, who found the modern day Dr Who's hard to follow as all dialogue. This he loved and watched it over and over again.Published 23 months ago by julie eade
Forget the funny walk of the odd-looking monsters! This story is 5 star for the character interplay, and a surprise in that Pertwee outdoes Troughton for depth of character, whilst... Read morePublished on 7 Feb. 2014 by Grey Wolf
While the special effects look dated it still captures the essence of what Dr Who is all about. Clever plot with brilliant interaction between Troughton and Pertwee and a great... Read morePublished on 1 Jan. 2014 by julie daley