a real world point of view
|The Five Doctors|
|Novelised as:||The Five Doctors|
|Main enemy:||President Borusa, the Master, Cybermen, a Dalek, Yeti, Raston Warrior Robot|
|Number of episodes:||1|
|Premiere broadcast:||23 November 1983|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The King's Demons||Warriors of the Deep|
|Another memorable moment|
|One more memorable moment|
- You may be looking for the in-universe video game of the same name.
The Five Doctors was a ninety-minute story which celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Doctor Who. It was part of neither season 20 nor 21, but an original Children in Need special, presaging a connection between Doctor Who and the charity that became more regularised by Russell T Davies in the 21st century.
It was the first story co-produced with overseas broadcasters. Though such arrangements have been commonplace since the 1996 telemovie, John Nathan-Turner's (JNT)'s procurement of money from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation was a financial innovation. Even more impressively, the Australians paid AUD 60,000 towards the production while agreeing to forego onscreen credit. It was similarly unique in that it was broadcast to American audiences on the actual anniversary date of the series, 23 November - two days before being aired to British audiences. (REF: The Fifth Doctor Handbook)
Its location work was completed in North Wales, with the Ffestiniog area doubling for Gallifrey. Though Wales inevitably provides the backdrops for most BBC Wales Doctor Who, it was at the time an unusual location choice for the Doctor Who production team based in London.
It was one of the first Doctor Who serials to make extensive use of matte paintings. With the the new Quantel Paintbox — whose use in Doctor Who had only hesitantly begun in season 18 — designer Malcolm Thornton replaced several model shots and glass shots with matte paintings via Paintbox. This became especially important, given the less-than-optimal weather in windy Wales. (REF: The Fifth Doctor Handbook)
This was the story in which the Fifth Doctor got the Mike Kelt-designed TARDIS console that would be used through the rest of the 1980s. It's perhaps more important for also introducing a re-design of the entire console room. Before this episode, there had been little thought about how the console sat in relation to the walls. Nor, indeed, had the walls been uniformly arranged in precisely the same ways. Thornton argued that, since a new console had been ordered by JNT, the entire set should be regularised. He made each facet of the console correspond to a particular wall of the set and each TARDIS wall more angular. This made the set assemble in only one way and reduced assembly time. This improvement to the set solved a problem that had been pointed out with Peter Brachacki's original interior for An Unearthly Child. Designers from Brachacki's replacement on Child forward had long complained that the TARDIS set was overly complicated and needlessly hard to assemble.
Someone is plucking the five incarnations of the Doctor out of time and placing them in the Death Zone on his home planet of Gallifrey. Here they will meet old friends and enemies and play out the deadly Game of Rassilon for the ultimate prize. Yet to lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose...
The Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are taking a break on the Eye of Orion, one of the most tranquil spots in the universe. Turlough is sketching. Tegan is enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. It's a change from their non-stop adventures that leave them no time to relax. In the TARDIS, the Doctor has just finished renovating the control room. He goes outside to join his companions and enjoy the quiet.
Elsewhere, in a hidden chamber, a dark figure manipulates the controls of a Time Scoop and kidnaps the First Doctor as he walks through a rose garden. The dark figure takes a figurine of the First Doctor from a window and places it on one of five spots on a diorama.
Back on the Eye of Orion, Tegan wonders why it is so restful there. The Doctor explains that it is because of the bombardment of positive ions. He feels a pain in his chest, but dismisses the thought that anything is wrong with him as Turlough and Tegan look worriedly at him.
Elsewhen, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is at a UNIT reunion, talking to his replacement about his former scientific advisor, the Doctor. The Brigadier says, "They're nice chaps, all of him", confusing his replacement. The Second Doctor bursts through the door and is happy to see his old friend. As they talk on the yard about their times together, the Second Doctor tells the Brigadier that he must go as he is bending the laws of time. However, they are taken by the Time Scoop. Models of them appear in the window and the dark figure puts them in the slot next to the First Doctor.The Fifth Doctor almost collapses. He tells his companions he must get back to the TARDIS. There is something definitely wrong with his past and he is in immediate danger.
Elsewhen, the Third Doctor is driving his vintage car, Bessie. He notices the Time Scoop coming towards him. He tries to evade it, but is taken anyway. A few years later, Sarah Jane Smith is about to leave home. K9 warns her not to, as the Doctor is involved in a strange occurrence. Sarah believes K9 is overreacting, dismisses his worry and walks off, only to be Time Scooped as well, crying she should have trusted K9's judgment. The Third Doctor and Sarah Jane appear as figures in the dark figure's window and he places them in the next slot in the diorama.
The Fifth Doctor is nearly to the TARDIS when he collapses in pain. He tells his companions he must find himself. Tegan and Turlough have no idea what he means. The Doctor explains he must find his past lives. They are being taken out of their times one by one. If a Time Lord's past incarnations cease to exist in the times they were supposed to, he will fade away into nothingness.Somewhen else, the Fourth Doctor and Romana are enjoying a punt along the River Cam. They are Time Scooped by the dark figure as well. However, to the growing anger of whoever is taking the Doctor's incarnations out of time, he cannot take the Fourth Doctor and Romana from the window as figures. They have been trapped in a time eddy in the time vortex and do not rematerialise. All the Doctors and their companions, save the Fourth Doctor and Romana, have actually been deposited on a desolate, rocky landscape — the Death Zone on Gallifrey.
The Fifth Doctor and his companions have entered the TARDIS. He collapses because his immediate past life is trapped in a time eddy. He begins fading. However, he sets a destination on the console and the TARDIS takes off.
Meanwhile, in the Capitol on Gallifrey, the Inner Council of Time Lords, headed by Lord President Borusa and consisting of Chancellor Flavia and the Castellan, watch in concern. The Eye of Harmony is being drained by whomever is taking the Doctors out of time, endangering all of Gallifrey. Despite the regenerated and still arrogant Borusa's misgivings, the High Council has voted unanimously to call in the Master to go into the Death Zone to help the Doctors. Offered a pardon and a new cycle of regenerations, the Master accepts. He is given a copy of the Seal of the High Council by the Castellan to prove his credentials and a transmat recall device. He is transmatted to the Death Zone.
In the Zone, the Doctors face many dangers. The First Doctor finds himself in a hall of mirrors and reunites with his granddaughter, Susan. Their reunion is cut short when a Dalek arrives and tries to kill them. They trick the Dalek into destroying itself by pushing it into a dead end, where its energy weapon ricochets and destroys it. The Second Doctor and the Brigadier escape from a squad of Cybermen and the Third Doctor rescues Sarah from her fall down an embankment. Sarah is confused; she had seen the Third Doctor regenerate into the Fourth (Planet of the Spiders), but is glad to see the Doctor she once knew. The Second and Third Doctors explain to their companions that in Gallifrey's past, known as the Dark Time, the Time Lords misused their powers. A device called the Time Scoop plucked beings out of their times and placed them in the Death Zone, where they fought each other in a sort of gladiatorial game. The Doctors' goal now is to reach the Dark Tower, where the Time Lord founder Rassilon is entombed, although there is some doubt as to whether Rassilon is actually dead.
The Master meets and fails to convince the Third Doctor he is there to help. He flees when thunderbolts fall from the sky. The Third Doctor only sees this as confirmation this is all a plot of the Master's.
The First Doctor and Susan find the TARDIS; the presence of the First Doctor seems to stabilize the Fifth for the moment. Together, they scan the tower and find three entrances — one at the apex of the tower, the main gate at the base and one underground, but a force field prevents the TARDIS's entry. The Fifth Doctor takes Tegan and Susan to the main gate, but encounters the Master, who has no better luck convincing the Fifth Doctor than the Third. At that moment, the two are surrounded by Cybermen. When they try to run away, the Master is knocked out by a cybergun blast. The Fifth Doctor finds the Master's recall device on his unconscious body and transmats himself to the Capitol. The Master, confronted by the Cybermen, offers himself as a guide to the Tower.
In the Capitol, the Doctor is informed of the situation by the High Council. The Doctor realises he has done the Master an injustice and that they were found too easily by the Cybermen. He opens the recall device and finds a homing beacon inside. The Castellan, who gave the Master the device, is arrested, and his quarters are to be searched. A box containing the Black Scrolls of Rassilon, forbidden knowledge from the Dark Time, is found. The scrolls spontaneously combust before anyone can examine them, and Borusa orders the Castellan taken to the mind probe for interrogation. However, as the Castellan is escorted outside, there is a shot. The Doctor rushes out to find the Castellan dead. The Captain of the guard reports he was shot while trying to escape. The Doctor voices his concerns to Chancellor Flavia — the Castellan was stubborn, but not a traitor. There is more to this than meets the eye.
The Second Doctor and the Brigadier are exploring a series of caves when they encounter a Yeti left over from the previous games. Taking refuge in an alcove, the Doctor tries to chase the Yeti off with a firework, but only maddens it, causing it to collapse the entrance to the alcove. However, the Doctor detects a breeze blowing further back, and discovers the underground entrance to the Tower.On the surface, the Third Doctor and Sarah come across a Raston Warrior Robot, according to the Doctor the most perfect killing machine ever devised. Able to move with blinding speed and fire bolts of metal at its targets, it detects its victims by motion. The Doctor and Sarah cannot move without attracting the robot's attention, but luck is on their side when a squad of Cybermen come over the ridge and are eliminated by the robot. Taking advantage of the distraction, the Doctor and Sarah run past the robot, taking some rope and spare bolts from its cave. Reaching a cliff face just above the Tower, the Doctor uses the rope and bolts for a grappling hook. He and Sarah abseil across to the top of the Tower.
Tegan and Susan have told the First Doctor what happened to the Fifth Doctor. The First Doctor decides to head for the main gate himself. Tegan insists on accompanying him. Opening the main gate with a keypad hidden under a bell, they find a chessboard floor blocking their way. The First Doctor determines the chessboard is a trap — electrical bolts will destroy anyone attempting to cross unless they find the safe path. The Master appears at this point, warning them the Cybermen are close behind. While the Doctor and Tegan hide, the Master lures the Cybermen onto the chessboard and they are all killed. The Master blithely steps across the board, moving into the Tower after telling the Doctor that "it's as easy as pie." The Doctor realises that the Master means the Greek letter pi and the safe path is calculated by means of the mathematical constant. Armed with this knowledge, the Doctor and Tegan make their way across the trap. In the Zone, the TARDIS is surrounded by Cybermen, who start to assemble a bomb to blow it up. Inside, Turlough and Susan watch helplessly, not knowing what to do.The Second and Third Doctors encounter more obstacles while moving separately through the Tower, with the mind of Rassilon emitting intensifying fear. They also encounter what appear to be their previous companions, the Third meeting Captain Mike Yates and Liz Shaw and the Second Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot. The Doctors soon realise they are just phantoms to impede their progress through the Tower and the spectres vanish with a scream. Finally, all three Doctors reach the tomb, Rassilon's sepulchre. While the Brigadier, Sarah and Tegan get re-acquainted, the three Doctors try to translate an inscription in Old High Gallifreyan on a pedestal near a control panel.
The Fifth Doctor finds Borusa has vanished from the Council chamber, but the guards insist the President could not have gotten by them at the only entrance. The transmat is out of power, so the Doctor deduces there must be a secret door. He finds it hidden behind a painting of Rassilon playing the harp. The key to opening the door is a series of notes played on the actual harp standing in front of the painting, notes indicated by the sheet music in the painting itself. The Doctor enters the secret chamber and finds the dark figure that had taken his other selves out of time: Borusa. The Lord President is not satisfied with ruling Gallifrey for his lifetimes — he wants to be President Eternal. Borusa has determined that Rassilon discovered the secret of immortality and he means to claim it, sending the Doctors into the Zone to clear the way for him. Using the Coronet of Rassilon, Borusa overwhelms the Fifth Doctor's will, forcing him to obey his commands.
In the tomb, the Doctors have deciphered the inscription. Rassilon did discover immortality. He was willing to share it with whoever overcame the obstacles to the tomb and took the ring from his body. However, a line troubles the First Doctor: "To lose is to win and he who wins shall lose." The Master steps out of the shadows to claim immortality himself, but is attacked from behind by the Brigadier and tied up by Sarah and Tegan. The Third Doctor fixes the control panel by reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, allowing the TARDIS to transport itself to the tomb just seconds before the Cybermen's bomb detonates.The Second Doctor contacts the Capitol. The Fifth Doctor answers, still under Borusa's control. The Fifth Doctor tells his other selves to await his and Borusa's arrival, knowing of the ring and immortality through his past lives and wishing to keep it a secret. Transmatting to the tomb, Borusa paralyzes the Doctors' companions with a command and tries to control the minds of the other Doctors as well, but fails as all four Doctors combine their wills against him. However, a booming voice echoes through the chamber. It is Rassilon, demanding to know who disturbs him. Borusa steps forward to claim immortality and, while the other Doctors protest, the First Doctor holds them back and says to the projection of Rassilon that Borusa deserves the prize. Borusa takes the ring from the body and puts it on, but finds himself paralyzed, then transformed into one of several stone faces carved into the side of the casket. Rassilon sends the Master back to his own time, and frees the Fourth Doctor from the time vortex before returning to eternal rest. The First Doctor smugly tells the Fifth that he finally understood the proverb. The prize was another trap — a means for Rassilon to discover who wanted immortality and get them out of the way.
The Doctors and their companions say their good-byes to each other and re-enter the TARDIS, save for the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. As the three watch, the others are transported back to their proper timezones. Chancellor Flavia arrives with guards and tells the Doctor that with Borusa's disappearance, the Council has appointed the Doctor as President. The Doctor orders Flavia back to the Capitol, saying that he will follow in his TARDIS and she has full powers until his return. Once in the ship, however, he tells Tegan and Turlough he has no intention of returning. Tegan asks if the Doctor really intends to go on the run from his own people in a "rackety old TARDIS." The Doctor replies, smiling, "Why not? After all, that's how it all started."
- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- The Doctor - Jon Pertwee
- The Doctor - Patrick Troughton
- The Doctor - Tom Baker
- The Doctor - Richard Hurndall/William Hartnell
- Tegan Jovanka - Janet Fielding
- Turlough - Mark Strickson
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney
- Susan - Carole Ann Ford
- The Master - Anthony Ainley
- Romana - Lalla Ward
- President Borusa - Philip Latham
- Chancellor Flavia - Dinah Sheridan
- The Castellan - Paul Jerricho
- Jamie McCrimmon - Frazer Hines
- Zoe Heriot - Wendy Padbury
- Liz Shaw - Caroline John
- Captain Mike Yates - Richard Franklin
- K9 - John Leeson
- Rassilon - Richard Mathews
- Cyber Leader - David Banks
- Cyber-Lieutenant - Mark Hardy
- Crichton - David Savile
- Dalek Voice - Roy Skelton
- Dalek Operator - John Scott Martin
- Commander - Stuart Blake
- Technician - Stephen Meredith
- Sergeant - Ray Float
- Guard - John Tallents
- Cyber Scout - William Kenton
- Raston Warrior Robot - Keith Hodiak
- Film Editor - M A C Adams
- Studio Lighting - Don Babbage
- Film Cameraman - John Baker
- Visual Effects Designers - John Brace and Mike Kelt
- Production Associate - June Collins
- Production Assistant - Jean Davis
- Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
- Theme arrangement - Peter Howell
- Make-Up - Jill Hagger
- Incidental Music - Peter Howell
- Costumes - Colin Lavers
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Studio Sound - Martin Ridout
- Assistant Floor Manager - Pauline Seager
- Script Editor - Eric Saward
- Writer - Terrance Dicks
- Designer - Malcolm Thornton
- Director - Peter Moffatt
- Producer - John Nathan-Turner
- The Death Zone — "the black secret at the heart of your Time Lord paradise" — was created in the days before Rassilon, when Gallifreyans kidnapped aliens for sport.
- The Second Doctor says that his ancestors had "tremendous powers, which they misused".
- Borusa kidnaps the Doctors to the Death Zone on Gallifrey, using the time scoop.
- The Dark Tower is accessible from three points.
- The plinth in the Tomb of Rassilon contains writing in Old High Gallifreyan.
- Borusa, who has regenerated again, is at least the fourth Time Lord to play the Game of Rassilon in search of immortality.
- The Second Doctor mentions the Terrible Zodin and Omega while walking with the Brigadier outside UNIT HQ.
- UNIT is now headed by Colonel Charles Crichton.
- When Borusa attempts to kidnap the fourth incarnation of the Doctor and Romana, they become trapped in a time eddy.
- The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough sit around enjoying the Eye of Orion.
- A Dalek's top is blown off, revealing the mutant inside. It is a green creature with a thick, brain-shaped body and thin, long tentacles that fly around, but possibly because it is in danger.
- The Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith encounter a Raston Warrior Robot.
- This story marks the only time the Third Doctor encounters the Cybermen on screen.
People from the real world Edit
- Whilst punting down the river the Doctor rambles to Romana, mentioning:
- The Time Lords plan to get the Master into the Death Zone by means of a "power-boosted open-ended transmat beam".
Story notes Edit
- The story united the then-current Fifth Doctor with his predecessors in an adventure which also featured several of his past and current companions and enemies.
- In addition to its inclusion of a number of characters not normally seen together, The Five Doctors was the first episode of Doctor Who ever to premiere abroad, the only other being the 1996 television film. It was also the first Doctor Who narrative broadcast as a part of the UK's Children in Need charity telethon. For the first, and so far only time, a previous incarnation of the Doctor is brought into an episode by having a different actor play him on screen; Richard Hurndall took over the role of the First Doctor, as William Hartnell had passed away.
- Although it was broadcast only a month before Season 21, The Five Doctors is generally considered the seventh and final story of Season 20, which had otherwise concluded the previous March. As such, the story concluded a loose story arc from Season 20 that involved the Doctor and his friends attempting to reach the Eye of Orion.
- This story commemorated the twentieth anniversary of Doctor Who.
- Elisabeth Sladen said she wished she hadn't filmed the shot of her rolling down the embankment because it didn't look very good afterwards.
- Robert Holmes was initially commissioned to write the special, which initially had the working title The Six Doctors because it originally included a robot impostor of one of the Doctors. Holmes, however, was unable to come up with a workable script, so Terrance Dicks was commissioned to write the piece. Ironically, the story immediately preceding The Five Doctors, TV: The King's Demons, did in fact introduce a robot character, Kamelion, with the ability to impersonate others. However despite being introduced in that story as a new companion, not only is Kamelion not referenced or seen once in The Five Doctors, the character disappeared from the series for a full year.
- The Five Doctors was co-produced with the Australian Broadcasting Commission who put in AUD $60,000. This was the first and only occurrence of this. Later, the 1996 TV movie and first four seasons of the new series would also incorporate non-UK support.
- The companion-hallucination cameos were last-minute additions to the script. Dicks had already completed his first draft of the script when Tom Baker pulled out of the project.
- William Hartnell was deceased by this time and Tom Baker declined to return to his role as the Fourth Doctor as he felt it was too soon after his departure from the show (a decision he later said he regretted). An early idea to incorporate footage of Hartnell and Baker into the story's action in a way similar to the contemporary film Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid was abandoned in favour of hiring actor Richard Hurndall to give his own impression of the First Doctor, while clips of Baker and Lalla Ward from the unfinished and (at the time) never-before-seen story Shada were used to show only the Fourth Doctor's abduction and return, without any interaction between himself and the other Doctors. For a publicity cast photo, a figure from Madame Tussauds of Tom Baker as the Doctor was used, although according to discussion on the Special Edition DVD, Baker himself was at one point supposed to take part in the photo shoot, but pulled out.
- This story was first broadcast via satellite on 23 November 1983 to North American viewers, before its transmission in the UK. However, this version had a number of small edits. UK viewers saw the unedited version during Children in Need broadcast on 25 November 1983 as well as a short pre-recorded interview with Peter Davison and Terry Wogan shown directly after.
- Terrance Dicks is said to have been displeased with Eric Saward's changes to his original story. He especially felt the Cyberman, for whom Saward had a particular fondness, were overused in the finished story.
- A 102 minute Special Edition of the story was released on VHS in 1995 with extended scenes and dialogue added or deleted, and some of the visual effects and the voice of Rassilon redone. The resulting version continues to receive mixed reactions from fans.
- This was only the second time in the series' history that there was a pre-credits sequence. Castrovalva (1982) was the first such story. Subsequently, Time and the Rani (1987) and Remembrance of the Daleks (1988) also featured pre-credits teasers. This idea was re-used in the 1996 TV movie. The pre-credits sequence became a regular occurrence starting with the 2005 series episode The End of the World.
- This serial explicitly indicated in dialogue that the Davison incarnation of the Doctor was in fact the fifth, officially discounting fan speculation dating back to The Brain of Morbius that the First Doctor wasn't actually the first. Amusingly, Terrance Dicks wrote both stories.
- Just as the Doctor is (almost) never referred to as "Doctor Who", so too are the terms First Doctor, Second Doctor, etc. never actually uttered on screen. This episode comes closest to breaking that precedent when the First Doctor asks the Fifth, "Regeneration?" and the Fifth replies, "Fourth".
- The Quarks were set to return in this story, but were removed from the script at an early stage and replaced by the Raston Warrior Robot.
- This story marks the end of a long series of linked storylines that began with The Leisure Hive. Each story had been linked in some way, either as direct continuations, or in more subtle ways such as dialogue references to previous events. In this case, The Five Doctors is linked to The King's Demons and earlier stories by the fact it resolves the subplot of the Doctor finally arriving at the Eye of Orion.
- Commander Maxil, last seen in Arc of Infinity, was at one point to have appeared. The character was dropped from the final script, most likely due to actor Colin Baker's imminent appointment as the Sixth Doctor.
- Two versions of the end sequences were made. For the original broadcast version the Doctors and companions were returned using the TARDIS, with an image of the TARDIS "splitting off" from the remaining one and the accompanying dematrialization sound effect. For the Special Edition version the Doctors and companions were returned via a Timescoop effect after they entered the TARDIS. The two versions also used different footage from Shada to show Tom Baker's Doctor's return to earth.
- Discounting the Brigadier, this story has the distinction of marking the first time companions from different eras had met and interacted. This would occur only once more in the original series, in The Two Doctors when Peri and Jamie meet. It has occurred several times in the 2005-present revival.
- Dicks' original script featured Autons, with the Third Doctor saving Sarah Jane from them in Bessie. This was cut as there was not enough time to film it. It was replaced with Sarah falling down a hill. Eric Saward said afterwards simply, "It was a lot simpler."
- This story was the first ever in which the Daleks and the Cybermen both featured (though they did not meet). This would not occur again until the Series 2 finale Army of Ghosts/Doomsday in 2006 (excluding the Cyberman head seen in Dalek). They would feature in the same stories again in TV: The Pandorica Opens, GAME: Return to Earth, and GAME: The Mazes of Time, although The Five Doctors sees the only time the Mondasian Cybermen have featured in one such story. All the others appear to have been the Cybus variant.
- This marks the only time the Third Doctor ever came close to meeting with the Cybermen on screen. He only observes them, however, and avoids any encounter. He would meet them again in AUDIO: The Blue Tooth.
- The Brigadier's line, "Wonderful chap, all of them," is a slightly altered version of a line he said in The Three Doctors, "Wonderful chap, both of him".
- Footage of Sarah Jane and K9 from early in this story was later used in the 2009 episode TV: The Mad Woman in the Attic.
- In the blooper reel added in the twenty-fifth anniversary edition, a clip has the director shouting for a reshoot. Peter Davison says in response, "Shit". The Dalek also said, "Bugger, I lost them!" in another blooper. Jon Pertwee also said, "Shit," when Bessie failed to go. He added that his car was a sod to drive at the moment.
- The Raston Warrior Robot costume is a silver repaint of one of the Cyberman androids' costumes from TV: Earthshock.
- Peter Davison would later parody the Fifth Doctor's "I am being diminished" speech in the second episode of the second series of his black comedy, Rigor Mortis. Davison's character, a workaholic pathologist, doesn't respond well to a sudden drought of deaths. Undergoing a form of withdrawal, he says: "I am being diminished, whittled away, piece by piece. A doctor is the sum of his contributions to humanity, you know; a pathologist even more so."
- Most of the credits theme is a slightly remixed version of the original credits theme. When it gets to (and past) the middle eight, though, it reverts back to Davison's.
- In early drafts of the script, some of the Doctor and companion combinations were different. Originally, the Fourth Doctor would have been paired with Sarah Jane, the Third Doctor with the Brigadier and the Second Doctor with Jamie. When Frazer Hines proved unavailable for more than a cameo appearance the script had to be altered, pairing the Second Doctor with Victoria Waterfield. This was revised again when Deborah Watling became unavailable and Tom Baker decided not to appear, resulting in the pairings as they were screened.
- Wendy Padbury was pregnant during the recording of The Five Doctors, and the costume she wore was in part designed to, in her words, "hide the bump". Sadly, she miscarried soon after wrapping. (DOC: MM VHS 7)
- The scenes in which the Second Doctor and the Third Doctor are captured were reused and put on new backgrounds to show Clara Oswin Oswald going throughout the Doctor's timeline. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- 7.7 million viewers
- The Five Doctors was to feature Omega. Though various past villains were considered for inclusion in this story, Omega was never one of them.
- Richard Hurndall died immediately after the episode aired. He actually died some months later, in April 1984. There is an associated rumour questioning whether he lived long enough to be paid for his work.
- The Master's real name is Jehoshaphat. This originated from fan writers misunderstanding the Third Doctor uttering the word upon recognising the Master. In truth, it was a somewhat antiquated exclamation of surprise - a shortened version of "Jumping Jehoshaphat!"
- In early drafts, the First Doctor was to appear with Dodo and Steven, and K-9 was to accompany the Fourth Doctor and Romana II (or Sarah Jane) throughout the episode. Susan was the only companion ever considered to appear alongside the First Doctor. While K-9 was present throughout most of the draft scripts, none of them had him appearing in more than a small cameo.
- Kamelion was supposed to appear for this story. He was never intended to take an active part in the story, due to the difficulty in operating the Kamelion prop. An explanation for his absence may have been in one of the draft scripts, though no firm evidence exists for this.
Filming locations Edit
- Plas Brondanw, Llanfrothen, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd (Eye of Orion)
- Manod Quarry
- Tilehouse Lane, Denham Green, Buckinghamshire
- West Common Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex
- Carreg Y Foel Gron, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd
- Cwm Bychan, Llanbedr, Gwynedd
- Denham Manor, Halings Lane, Denham Green (UNIT HQ)
- North Common Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex
- Ealing Television Film Studios, Ealing Green, Ealing
- BBC Television Centre
- Portmerion, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, Wales
Production errors Edit
- When the Cyberman attacks the Brigadier, the jeans of the actor playing the Cyberman are visible.
- The long shot of the Third Doctor and Sarah sliding to the top of the tower reveals their slide rope doesn't go from a high location to a lower one, or from two positions along a straight line. Rather, the tower is actually above the position from which they start.
- At one point in the caves, a boom mic is visible above the Second Doctor's and the Brigadier's head (and it stays there for around 3 seconds).
- When the Master arrives in the Death Zone, he is wearing a black cloak which he was not wearing when he stepped into the transmat.
- After the Raston Warrior Robot defeats the Cybermen, there are several small fires burning on the ground; when the scene is cut for when the Robot jumps and vanishes, the fires disappear.
- Three different incarnations of Borusa had previously met the Doctor on various return trips to Gallifrey. (TV: The Deadly Assassin, TV: The Invasion of Time, TV: Arc of Infinity)
- The Brigadier refers to Yeti (TV: The Web of Fear) and Cybermen. (TV: The Invasion)
- The Second Doctor mentions Omega. (TV: The Three Doctors)
- The Second Doctor critcises the redecorating of UNIT HQ in much the same way he did the redesigned TARDIS console room. (TV: The Three Doctors)
- Sarah Jane is seen with K9. (TV: A Girl's Best Friend)
- The Eighth Doctor and the Fifth Doctor would later encounter a Raston Warrior Robot and at the Eye of Orion. (PROSE: The Eight Doctors)
- This story occurs after TV: Mawdryn Undead from the Brigadier's point of view, given that he recognises Tegan and later the Fifth Doctor.
- The Time Lords offer the Master a complete life cycle, which they do later in their history. (TV: The Sound of Drums)
- The First Doctor fails to recognise the Master, who says they went to the Academy together. This is the first direct reference to the fact the two enemies knew each other in their youth, a theme later picked up in TV: The End of Time, among other stories.
- The Doctor was Lord President of Gallifrey in The Invasion of Time. He would later be offered the presidency again in TV: The Ultimate Foe, though he declined. In TV: Remembrance of the Daleks, the Seventh Doctor describes himself as President-Elect of the High Council of Time Lords.
- Before the Fifth Doctor arrives in the Capitol, the Master's transmat recall device sends him to an alternative Death Zone where he met his former companions Ian Chesterton, Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom, Polly Wright and Nyssa and battled the Daleks and the Sontarans. (AUDIO: The Five Companions)
- The Second Doctor calls the Third Doctor "Fancy pants", to which the Third Doctor replies "Scarecrow", causing the Second Doctor to jump in surprise. The Second Doctor would later be killed by a group of animated scarecrows, causing him to regenerate into the Third Doctor. (COMIC: The Night Walkers)
- One of the incarnations of Clara Oswin Oswald was present during those events calling out to the Third Doctor as he drove past her in Bessie. He seemed to notice her for a second but ignored her due to trying to escape his abduction. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
The temporal placement of this story for each incarnation of the Doctor within his own time stream has been the source of speculation and conjecture. Some indications are given within the story for reasonable assumptions, however.
- It is implied that the Doctor and Susan have not met for a while and Susan is considerably more mature than she was when last seen, thus it must be after TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth for both her and the First Doctor. An exact placement is difficult to determine.
- The Second Doctor knows of the fate of Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot, implying this may take place after TV: The War Games, or he otherwise learned of their fate in advance.
- The story gives several indications that this is after the events of TV: The Three Doctors for the first two Doctors, and they at this point remember those events. The Second Doctor mentions Omega while reminiscing with the Brigadier. He also comments on his replacement being "unpromising" when he is in UNIT headquarters. The First Doctor refers to the Second as "the little fellow" and after learning who the Fifth Doctor was exclaims, "So there are five of me now".
- For the Third Doctor, it clearly takes place some time between TV: The Time Warrior and TV: Planet of the Spiders, as he recognises Sarah Jane, who was his last companion before his regeneration.
- The Brigadier refers to the Yeti (TV: The Web of Fear) and the Cybermen (TV: The Invasion). He also recognises the Fifth Doctor and Tegan, indicating it is after TV: Mawdryn Undead.
- Sarah is at home with K9, placing the these events sometime after the K9 and Company spinoff.
- The Third Doctor reacts to Sarah's mimed description of the Fourth Doctor by saying, "Teeth and curls?" and telling her the change has not happened yet for him. The Third Doctor is presumably just interpreting her gestures. His accuracy has led some fans to speculate on an unseen encounter with the Fourth Doctor. In the short story The Touch of the Nurazh from the anthology Short Trips: Monsters, an injury makes the Third Doctor begin to regenerate into his fourth incarnation but the process is reversed. This is witnessed by Jo Grant. The theory is that she subsequently describes the Fourth Doctor's appearance to him. According to both Elisabeth Sladen and Terrance Dicks, the "all teeth and curls" line was supposed to be Sarah's, but Jon Pertwee appropriated it for himself.
- The time-placement for the Fourth Doctor depends upon which version of The Five Doctors is viewed, and whether HOMEVID: Shada, despite being unbroadcast and incomplete, is considered canonical (which in turn relates to whether the webcast version is considered canonical.) In any event, Romana is in her second incarnation, placing this between TV: Destiny of the Daleks and TV: Full Circle; Shada was placed between TV: The Horns of Nimon and TV: The Leisure Hive. According to the 1983 version of The Five Doctors, it may be reasonably inferred that the events of Shada were disrupted due to both Romana and the Fourth Doctor being timescooped. The 1995 Special Edition, however, only has the Doctor timescooped and after the defeat of Borusa, Rassilon returns the Doctor to just before the Timescoop took him away, which would allow the events of Shada to unfold.
Home video and audio releases Edit
VHS Releases Edit
The Five Doctors had three separate VHS releases:
It was released on video by BBC Enterprises in 1985. This was the edited version screened in USA and had 2 minutes of footage edited out.
It was released again by BBC Worldwide in 1990 in an unedited format.
Box set Edit
It was released on video by BBC Worldwide in 1995 as part of a boxed set in the UK, Australia and the US. This was the Extended/Special Edition version of the story. In all regions, this edition was notable for being twinned with The King's Demons, which was never released on VHS on its own.
Laserdisc releases Edit
- The original (broadcast) version of the story was released on laserdisc in 1994.
DVD release Edit
The Five Doctors was the first Doctor Who DVD to be released by BBC Worldwide. It introduced several features that remain with the range today. The intro-theme music used into the DVDs was the Davison-era theme music, and remains for all DVDs. While the original release of the DVD had no special features, it did feature a CGI created TARDIS console room (based on the one featured in this story).
First release Edit
In 1999 The Five Doctors was released on DVD by BBC Worldwide. This was the same Extended / Special Edition as the 1995 VHS release, with no additional features. It was released in Australia 2000. Only the North America release had commentary and the Who's Who features.
Second release Edit
In 2008 The Five Doctors was re-released celebrating the story's 25th anniversary. In this case it was a dual DVD release showcasing the original version of the story and the Extended / Special Edition.
- Commentary track on 1983 version by Carole Ann Ford, Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen, Mark Strickson.
- Commentary track on 1995 version by Peter Davison and Terrance Dicks
- Celebration - a 52-minute documentary hosted by Colin Baker looking back at the 1983 anniversary year
- The Ties that Bind Us, a 26-minute documentary narrated by Paul McGann looking at the links between The Five Doctors and both past and future Doctor Who storylines (right up to Last of the Time Lords)
- Five Doctors, One Studio - raw video footage of the only studio recording session in which Davison, Pertwee, Troughton and Hurndall were all together
- Outtakes and bloopers
- (Not So) Special Effects - raw footage of the filming of several special effects sequences
- Publicity clips from Saturday Superstore, Blue Peter, Nationwide and Breakfast Time
- Isolated music track for both versions
- Trails and continuities, including the cliffhangers created for the four-episode version
- Photo gallery
- Production notes subtitles option on both versions
- DVD ROM feature: Radio Times listings
- Easter eggs:
- Disc One- Go to Audio Options in the Special Features menu, go down to Companions Commentary and click right on your remote, you should get a green doctor who logo, click it to hear a commentary by some of the New Series Team: David Tennant, Helen Raynor and Phil Collinson
- Disc Two- Go to Nationwide on the DVD menu; hit left, a green logo should appear, click it and you get the clip of the BBC Logo being eaten by the Black Triangle as present on the original BBC Video release of the Special Edition.
- Editing for the Special Edition VHS and DVD releases and 25th Anniversary DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
Audio release Edit
Silva Screen Records released a CD, The Five Doctors: Classic Music from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume 2 (FILMCD 710), which contains a suite of music from this story. (The rest of the album contains music from other Fifth Doctor stories.)
- The Five Doctors at the BBC's official site
- The Five Doctors at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of The Five Doctors at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Five Doctors at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Five Doctors at The Locations Guide