The Five Doctors: Doctor Who: 20th Anniversary Special
The Five Doctors SYNOPSIS:
A shadowy Black garbed figure takes all Five Doctors out of time incarnation by incarnation using a time scoop. Several of the Doctor's companions past and present are also taken out of time however his fourth incarnation becomes trapped in a time vortex. The High Council of Timelords has summoned the Master to investigate the re-activation of the Death Zone on Gallifrey in exchange for a pardon and a new set of regenerations as the Doctor can not be located.
Inside the Death Zone the remaining four incarnations of the Doctor try to avoid the multiple hazards. The First Doctor and Susan survive a dalek attack, the second Doctor and the Brigadier escape from cybermen and then a yeti and the third Doctor and Sarah Jane are pursuing by more cybermen and a Raston Warrior robot the latter destroys the cybermen.
All the Doctors are trying to reach the Dark Tower and the Tomb of Rassilon to seek the way home as the Tardis is paralysed. The fifth Doctor attempts to get there first but is forced to use the Master's recall device to escape the cybermen and returns to Gallifrey where he must determine which one of the High council members is reenacting the game of Rassilon to achieve immortality
The Master attempts to help each of the Doctors in turn and eventually teams with the cybermen to take the tower, while the remaining Doctors overcome their obstacles to deal with the final puzzle "To win is to lose and he who wins must lose".
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The Five Doctors DETAILS:
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The Five Doctors CAST & CREW
Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor)
Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor)
Patrick Troughton (Second Doctor)
Richard Hurndall (First Doctor)
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka)
Mark Strickson (Vislor Turlough)
Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)
Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman)
Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart)
Lalla Ward (Romana)
Anthony Ainley — The Master
Philip Latham — Lord President Borusa
Dinah Sheridan — Chancellor Flavia
Paul Jerricho — The Castellan
David Banks — Cyber Leader
Mark Hardy — Cyber Lieutenant
Richard Mathews — Rassilon
Frazer Hines — Jamie
Wendy Padbury — Zoe
David Savile — Colonel Crichton
Caroline John — Liz Shaw
Richard Franklin — Captain Yates
John Leeson — Voice of K9
Roy Skelton — Dalek Voice
John Scott Martin — Dalek Operator
Ray Float — Sergeant
Keith Hodiak — Raston Robot
Stuart Blake — Commander
Stephen Meredith — Technician
John Tallents — Guard
William Kenton — Cyber Scout
Production Staff for 6K:
Writer - Terrance Dicks
Director - Peter Moffat
Script editor - Eric Saward
Producer - John Nathan-Turner
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The Five Doctors REVIEWS
Onward thus to the Five Doctors from the heady 13th century England to the rolling fields and quarries of modern day England doubling for the Death Zone on Gallifrey.
Read that fans love to have a go and deride the Five Doctors, why I don't know. It's a celebratory romp and not many had been made for a 20th anniversary back in 1983. Remember first seeing the ads for this on the ABC only a couple of months after finding out there were OTHER Dr Who's apart from Davison and Baker and now they were ALL going to be in this one special called the Five Doctors like the three Doctor's only with so much more.
Fans expected the Five Doctors to be perfect, I reckon good old uncle Tewwy Dicks did a bang up writing job of getting all the diverse elements of the show from a 20 year period in for nostalgia sake AND have something of a plot, hell even Robert Holmes turned it down after drafting one storyline saying there were too many characters to do any of them justice. But as a quest plot this works well, in fact it's the only one that could've worked. Makes sense that various Doctor's and companion's could be kidnapped and then make their way through the hazards of a death Zone to the only way out - the Dark Tower while finding out whose behind bringing them there.
Then there's the scheduling, imagine trying to make sure every key companion and Doctor can make it. Course there was always going to be problems with Hartnell as apparently his agent wouldn't return calls - stubborn bugger! But guess no one predicted the most famous Doctor of all would crack the sads and decide not to be in it, but that's Tom Baker for you and he would've had the Davison role and been the one that goes back to Gallifrey and sorts out which of the three council members is the culprit.
There were a couple of other casualties thanks to Tom's decision, originally he would've been paired up with Sarah, the 2nd Doctor with Jamie and the 3rd with the Brig (as Katy Manning was living in Australia back then) plus the cameo's included long after Tom had passed on the project would've included Victoria and Zoe and Benton and Jo and we even lost an Autons scene due to running out of time and money.
But let's look at what we did get. We still got four out of the five doctors, one always destined to go missing I suppose, (guess they were probably worried about writing the Two Doctor's after this), even though Hartnell's part was re-cast with Richard Hurndall who gives a credible performance as a first doctor maybe not the first doctor bearing little resemblance to Hartnell's acting but maybe that's a good thing. Troughton's walks in to his first scenes in UNIT HQ as though he's never left the part (unfortunately adding in a huge continuity gaff to 20 years of established history) continuing to be comic and insightful for the whole show and steals the scenes he's in. The ones he doesn't steal Pertwee tries to steal - in form as the third Doctor and not looking really any older after 9 years away. Plus good 'ol Davsion matches up to these old pro's proving he's as good as any and gives one of his best breathless perfomances.
For companion's we got Susan turning up, Carole Ann Ford's showing her acting unfortunately hasn't changed from 20 years ago. Why she still sprains her ankle and doesn't at least act her age rather than her teenage self is a mystery. The Brig returns for his second time this year and bounces of Troughton well though where Jamie vanished to is a mystery, Elisabeth Sladen becomes Sarah Jane again as if by magic and the aging process obviously doesn't work on her looking no different after 7.5 years and there's Tegan who's given plenty to do and nice to pair her with the first Doctor, the crankiest companion and Dr team and Turlough finds himself stuck in the Tardis for most of the time giving Carole Ann Ford acting lessons.
Then we gots dem monsters. The cybermen were good for the most part and are involved in one of the best action sequences ever in classic Who as they are massacred by the Raston Warrior robot. It's not that they are defeated too easily just think the Raston was way too good and a marvellous creation, simple and unstoppable with quite a supply of weapons. It was good to see cameo's by a dalek (though the pseudo Skaro interior isn't explained, maybe their death zone base?) that the D1 & Susan destroy and give us the first appearance of the Mutant inside the machine. The Yeti even got a cameo and again we can mourn the loss of the Auton scene. The Dark Tower seemed to very easy to get into by all and sundry and the only thing that let down the tomb of Rassilon is the fact they have a bloody transmat terminal in it.
Oh there's villains too, the Master is starting to go panto but very good to have a scene where he meets the Doctor 3 & Sarah who just doesn't believe he's in the Death Zone to help but doesn't add much to the plot and what's left of the greatly diminished time lord high council whose hats and robes look cheaper than ever and the sets are smaller but again they had to accomplish so much with so little. The castellan gets the worse acted line ever in the show "Not the mind probe" surely they could've done another take and the only effective one is Borusa even though he reminds me of my high school english teacher. He is suitably helpful, concerned and sinister and proves even though he was a friend of the Doctor, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The final scene with most of the five Doctors in the tomb all hanging shit on each other is great to see and one can only wonder what it would've been like with Tom's input and interaction but the Shada clips work well, maybe with some creative writing they could've added in more clips? But in all they did their best to satisfy and everyone seemed to enjoy doing it for nostalgia's sake and for the fact the Five Doctors actually holds together despite all the potential pitfalls am going to give it full marks.
THE FIVE DOCTORS You gotta admire JNT for not only coming up with this idea but following it all the way through to the end. Imagine the hassles along the way; the worst being Tom Baker's non involvement, although Robert Holmes pulling out probably ain't too far behind....There is tonnes to love about the Five Doctors. As a thirteen/fourteen year old in 1983 when this got first shown on the ABC I was beside myself. All the five Doctors in the one show!
DOCTORS.... Richard Hurndall is very good as William Hartnell - and you gotta remember that at the time VHS wasn't really around much and the screening of Hartnell stories even less so, therefore you only had your memory to rely on to compare the original with the replacement. Its a very broad interpretation of Hartnell really, but Hurndall does a very good job - although it is also a very broad scripted character for the first Doctor as well....
Potty Patrick is as fine as ever - and I couldn't give a toss about where he fits into the continuity thing. He does a very nice comedy double act with the Brigadier all through the story and I liked watching Patrick doddering about pulling various things out of his pocket to deal with the yeti. Naturally the second Doctor got most of the comedy lines of the story, which in itself can be a little odd. Out of all the original Doctor's, the second Doctor is by far the most violent (look it up Tim!). His haircut looked a little weird though, not in the style of how his Doctor originally looked. But these are exceptionally minor niggles; it was terrific to see him back again.
As with the other Doctors, its a very broad script for and by the third Doctor which is strange as Tewwance worked with Pertwee more than any other Doctor. But the third Doctor is more or less spot on and is as condescending towards Sarah as he ever was during his run of it. Errol Flynn-ing his way into the top of the Dark Tower is definitely the stylish way for his Doctor to travel. And he finally got to meet the cybermen too!
At that stage I didn't actually know that Tom wasn't in the Five Doctors and I honestly didn't notice it at the time. Using the Shada footage is a very inventive way around it and it does more or less fit in with the overall story. Although I couldn't work out the scene where he got put back and was scrambling under a gate somewhere.
Naturally you have to have the current Doctor (Davison) take the centre stage, although I would have preferred him to be dashing about the Death Zone a lot more and have the authoritative first Doctor go to the Time Lords. Despite three (or four) other Doctors around him, Davison still makes it his show and you always get a genuine feeling of urgency with him.
COMPANIONS They all get pretty short shifted in one way or another - particularly Turlough and Susan - but you can't really expect anything else. There is an awful lot for Tewwance to chuck into this story so with Doctors, Time Lords, The Master, monsters and a reasonably coherent plot then something has to give. Even though they are there to have the plot explained to, its still great fun to see them all again. I always liked the Brig so his continuation from Mawdryn was good to see, although why he never said anything to Turlough was beyond me! After all, he did teach him. Elisabeth Sladen (nearly said "Gertner"!) was just as good as she was originally, but Susan was pretty weak. Where was she scooped from? I don't think that was ever scripted although there is a scene in the book. Another added bonus were the ghost companions which were nice little surprises - Fraser Hines obviously hasn't aged a bit and Wendy Padbury looks great in bubble wrap (one of Tim's fetishes!)
THE MASTER Well he had to be in it didn't he? A nice change NOT to make him the villain for once. He is starting to get very panto though.
TIME LORDS If anything, this is the one part of the story I would have cut right down. These scenes in the High Council really bore me shiteless cos they are as old and creaky as the actors who play the parts. However, Paul Jerrico was very good as the snivelling Castellan and we can thank scheduling problems that stopped Colin Baker turning up to reprise the role of Maxil (kidding Tim!)
MONSTERS Yeah; they're bloody everywhere. That scene where the cybermen got massacred by the Raston Robot is amazing. As a kid I was sooooooo stoked about seeing that! I thought it served them right for killing Adric! Would liked to have seen more Daleks though. And how many cyberleaders were in the Death Zone? Three?
Quibbles aside, the Five Doctors freaking rocks!!! Its got everything in it that a pimply faced Who geek could want. I recorded the Five Doctors on audio tape when it was first screened and I listened to it at least once a week back then. JNT really came through with this one so a lot of the credit goes to him for pulling The Five Doctors off. Freaking love it.
I give it a zero out of ten.
Okay just kidding.
I guess the Five Doctors really shouldn't work. How can you get a believable plot involving 5 leads, 10 companions and 1/2 a dozen monsters and have it all work in 90 minutes?
If you were to sit down and analyse the whole thing, the Five Doctors probably doesn't work. There are a lot of plot holes and faults I guess :-
- if the time scoop was "never to be used again", why didn't they just destroy it?
- if Borusa wanted to use the Doctors to get to the tower, then why did he bring in all the Doctor's enemies to try and destroy him?
- hang on, Borusa was about the only non-treacherous time lord... why did they turn him? Immortality I guess... pity though...
- why get all the Doctors back together, only to have them interact with each other for 10 minutes at the end?
That's before getting to all the various continuity problems with companions and Doctors being taken out of time. But... I don't care! I love The Five Doctors so much, because it's really a celebration of all things Who... and for Who fans, of course the best way to celebrate is to give the fanboys 90 minutes of cannon to debate for the next 20 years! This works so well because of the collection of set pieces and performances... and nods!
Richard Hurndall is better at Hartnell than Hartnell ever was - and Susan shows more in her first couple of minutes than she ever showed in the series too (although the way Davison leers at her when she walks into the TARDIS is a bit odd!). His defiance at the end to convince his other selves to allow Borusa immortality is perfect - as is his by play with Davison and Tegan at the start (I love the way Davison tells Tegan to just humour him!). Troughton is brilliant as usual, and works well with the Brigadier who's continuing on from his fine form in Mawdryn... who doesn't like seeing him finally punch the Master! Pertwee is over the top, as is Sarah, but you can tell they're both enjoying it a hell of a lot, and you can't help but enjoy them.
Having Baker stuck in the scoop works well for the story (originally he was going to be the one with Borusa at the Capitol, Davison with Tegan in the front door and Hurndall in the Tardis with the first and latest companion) - and not having him in it really shows the strength of the others... the show doesn't rely on its biggest icon. Finally Davison is brilliant as always - not afraid to give the limelight over to the others, despite being the current Doctor. Although I don't really get why he fades away when his other selves are being pulled out of time... but I don't really care either! Tegan is really good here too - looking like she's having a ball, and Turlough has a new arc... he can draw! BTW - why is he still wearing his tie? Doesn't matter, I still like him.
All the baddies in the Five Doctors work too - this is probably Ainley's best performance as the Master, complete with some nice nods to his history at the academy, and he's probably given the meatiest stuff any Master has had to work with to date (except for Sims!). The Dalek scene, although a bit awkward, was done well and is memorable for the vision of the sizzling alien inside, the cybermen are good again - and meet some violent conclusions at the hands of the Raston warrior robot (a nice creation - never to be seen again!), the master, and the pi grid (solving it makes absolutely no sense at all btw!), and the only appearance of the yeti for those of us who weren't around in the 60s to see the only run of their complete stories... wouldn't mind seeing them pop up again in the new series. Would have been nice to see the Autons with Pertwee (as intended), but seeing Pertwee finally meet the Cybermen was nice.
The conclusion to the Five Doctors is awesome. The pay off ( of all the five doctors, um ok four doctors meeting up) is worth the wait - there are some classic one liners, as you'd hope - and the whole "to lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose", is really what the series had been building up to (especially with Mawdryn and Enlightenment).
I still remember this vividly as a kid. The build up with all the extra advertising and magazines made it feel special for this 9 year old geek... and I reckon my five doctors tape is probably my most watched tape (besides footy replays) ever... complete with its "best of 1984" video clips from Sounds and Countdown afterwards! Basically, the Five Doctors is all about memories. Looking back at old memories, and creating new memories... and after all, a man is the sum of his memories... a time lord (geek) even more so...
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