1973 was a big year for Doctor Who, reason being it was its 10th anniversary. But the celebrations had started early for on December 30th 1972 a story had began that would have the fans salivating at the mere mention of its title, The Three Doctors.
Starring Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell it was unlike The Five Doctors as it didn’t rely on old enemies and old companions to help out. This relied on the team that was already in place which meant the returning Doctors didn’t need assistants to aid them, instead relied on what was there already.
The Time Lords are in crisis. A powerful force is draining their energy into a mysterious Black Hole – and they must recruit the Doctor to save them. But one Doctor isn’t enough for this mission…
Everything you’d want from an anniversary story is here; extra Doctors, a memorable bad guy in Omega and a tight script. Where as The Five Doctors was an overblown celebration which relied on the show’s history to entertain, The Three Doctors has a far more interesting story to tell and just feels more natural instead of a forced celebration.
Pertwee is at his most chin-rubbing brilliant here whist Troughton slides easily back into the role of Doctor 2. What makes this classic Doctor Who is the performance from William Hartnell. He was very ill whilst making this and though he is restricted to appearing on a monitor (and it’s a well known fact he read from boards, but hey if it’s good enough for Marlon Brando it’s good enough for Bill) he gives a superb performance and a perfect end to his interpretation to the character.
Nicholas Courtney keeps the proceedings going though the special effects, of which there are lots really do leave a lot to be desired though the Gellguards are fun to watch. One must also acknowledge the contribution from John Levene as Sergeant Benton. He was always steady support and is solid support during this adventure. Stephen Thorne is great value as the larger the large baddie Omega, he does over-egg the part at times but as he explains in the documentary on Disc 4 this was deliberate.
Disc 1 Extras
Commentary – Barry Letts, Katy Manning and Nicholas Courtney are here for the commentary and it’s a bitter-sweet affair, mainly because two of these wonderful people are no longer with us. It’s a great extra with the old crew reminiscing about the good times.
Pebble Mill At One – I feel so old. Pebble Mill At One was a magazine show that ran for years in the 70s and early 80s on BBC1. Bernard Wilkie, a designer from the show is interviewed about the monsters he helped create and he’s very humble when talking about his achievements. Bizarre at time as there’s various monsters roaming around inside and outside the studio. There’s also the show’s “biggest fan” on hand to give his opinion. Wonderful nostalgia as next up is an enthusiastic interview with Patrick Troughton.
Blue Peter 5/11/73 – More classic moments this time Jon Pertwee is on hand to show of his Who Mobile to Peter Purves. Jon is relishing this moment, chatting away as if this was an edition of Top Gear rather than a kids magazine show. It then dives into celebrating the 10th anniversary with a look back at the first adventures as well as Peter’s time on the show.
BSB Highlights – These cheap and incredibly tatty pieces to camera were shown on the BSB service when it was celebrating the shows 31st anniversary and its Doctor Who Weekend when The Three Doctors was shown. Nicholas Courtney and Terrence Dicks are interviewed together whilst John Nathan-Turner chats to Bob Baker and David Martin about their creation K9. We then jump to Jon Pertwee has a quick chat about how he got the part.
Five Faces Of Doctor Who Trail – The trailer for the BBC2 season of repeats which included The Three Doctors.
BBC1 Trail – The original trailer from when it aired. Of interest Basil Brush started a new series then as well.
40th Anniversary Promo – A montage of classic clips accompanied by a jazzed up version mix of the theme. A great piece that makes me wonder where did the last 9 years go!
Info Text – As you know by now the ultimate extra that’s always worth viewing.
PDF Materials – Radio Times listings, that’s all.
Coming Soon – A cracking trailer for The Face OF Evil.
Disc 2 Extras
Happy Birthday To Who – A nice look back at the creation and production of the story. Terrence Dicks, Bob Baker, Stephen Thorne and Barry Letts are on hand to recall the shows first big celebration and how the ill health of William Hartnell was taken on board and how arrangements were made so the man that helped the series to become such a success could be part of its first commemoration. I would have loved to have heard opinions from the three Doctors on what they thought about this serial.
Was Doctor Who Rubbish? – Starting with clips of Michael Grade talking about how crap Doctor Who was, this is a clever and informative exposing of negative clichés that are used against the show. You know the ones, “The sets were wobbly”, “Always set in a Quarry” etc etc. Fans are on hand to defend the show from these and this extra should be viewed by anyone who uses such terms, usually and tabloid hack who talks about the classic series.
Girls, Girls, Girls: 1970s – Caroline John, Katy Manning and Louise Jameson are the focus here as to how the role of the female companion changed for this decade and were used more for the Dads to look at rather than the plot. Introduced by Peter Purves it’s an intelligent rather than exploitative look at their roles and well worth watching.
Photo Gallery – A collection of shots taken from the production of the story.
As celebrations go this is one of the best and this new edition does it justice. Next, we’re off to journey on board a sand miner filled with robots and a hint of Agatha Christie…
The Revisitations 3 boxset in which The Three Doctors Special Edition features was released on February 13th 2012 - you can pre-order from Amazon today for just £25.97, a saving of 28% on the RRP!