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THE FIVE DOCTORS


Chase - Posted on 14 July 2009

 

1

Come back with me to a time, long ago, 1983, when DW aired in the US BEFORE it aired in the UK. Then, I hadn't seen the First Doctor or the Second Doctor or the Third Doctor in anything. I read about them in magazines, in the novelizations, and in fan fiction and fan made publications. There was no internet, no youtube, no reconstructions that I could find anyway. The First, Second, and Third Doctors were fantasies to me, thoughts. I thought I'd never really get to see any of them, let alone the stories that were lost. Thus, seeing Hartnell in the opening was fantastic but to be honest, it was better having him in an adventure, the First Doctor if not Hartnell. David Tennant on the recent FIVE DOCTORS dvd special commentary (WHY put HIM on the commentary, he wasn't even in it) was most flippant about that, "It's some bloke in a wig,"  but to me, it WAS the First Doctor, the characters. I really got what JNT was trying to do with this story. It was a celebration, an action adventure "game" with all the players in places and settings, doing what they do, it was fun, and for me anyway it was DOCTOR WHO the way it used to be. Tom Baker not being in it was a disappointment but to be  honest at that time, I had had enough of Tom Baker to last twenty years or so. It would have been nice to see his Doctor interacting with the others but to be honest again, how would his Doctor WORK with the others when his so obviously the most interesting, most funny, and most dramatic and emphatical?

SO you know, I went back to the broadcast version of this special, the way it was, warts and all. As far as I know there are many versions of this and special re-edited versions, extra special special effects put into it, etc. I wanted to see it the way it was when broadcast.

The DVDs, for those who do not know, are edited, touched up, with all mistakes that can be wiped off, wiped off. DALEK INVASION OF EARTH has been reported to have things taken out that were flubs, parts of the backstage seen, etc that was OFF THE DVD. To me this is awful and downright criminal but whatever.

This story, from start to finish, is just GREAT. I know it's just fun, fun, fun, and not very deep but back then...and even now it just entertains. ANd in a way it is s crossover of five diffrent shows: DOCTOR WHO with the First Doctor, DOCTOR WHO with the Second, etc. It was nice to see stuff from SHADA, stuff I'd not get to see until one of the Gallifrean Embassy Members (Brian Q if I recall correctly) got somehow on video tape. Seeing it here in pristine color is so nice. But to see the Doctors, that were just concepts to me, is the best. Patrick Troughton is here, marvelous, a little imp who says, "Thank you,"  to people that don't deserve it, just as he did in his time on the show. His other quotes, in fact his whole demeanor is just right, just fun, and just makes this so great. ANd he remeets the Brig...the Brig! WHile at UNIT and making fun of the new Brig and the new decorated UNIT office. NOt that any of the facts that UNIT always changed, that the Brig never traveled with this Doctor much, or any of the toher "facts"  and continuity bothered me. Just where was the Third Doctor lifted from? The First? Who cared back then? It was all so wonderful that it's amazing it was done at all.

The Script must have been somewhat difficult to write but with imagination...and the show was having it in spades here, it was done and done well. It is also easy to see the great humor the show had with the first three Doctors...all of them are quite funny. Compared to Davison they are very very funny and the current show cannot be compared favorably to the others for they were such showman. Still, it has been said Davison, in his scenes with the others, holds his own and it remains to be seen if he really does...I would say yes he does. That still doesn't stop me from thinking that among the first three Doctors, Tom's Doctor, and Davison, Davison comes up the weakest. For me, at that time, he was my second favorite Doctor after Baker but now... I feel differently.

Seeing Susan again in a maze that she thought was Skaro, along with the First Doctor ("As soon as I found myself in this horrible place, I started looking for you...") made me think that this is what the show was like in her time...and in reality it wasn't too far off. The Dalek: I was just so happy to see a Dalek, I didn't mind that it was stupid, slow moving, shot indiscriminately, and couldn't find the DOc and Susan who were kneeling down, etc. I was just  happy to see it attack and be destroyed as it must have been done that way in the past and here, with all these elements...just great...It was nice that Susan recognized Gallifrey. How as another matter...let's face it, she's his grand daughter like it or not...

The Cybermen scene with the Brig and the 2nd Doctor was strange. One just sits there. Another one grabs the Brig through a hole in a wall. WTF? I didn't care. It was just fun. This Doc and this Brig are just a hoot together and I am glad circumstances put them together. OTherwise we might have had Jamie and the DOC 2 together and the Brig with Doc3. Ditto Doc3 and Sarah Jane. If TOm has been in this, it would have been he and Sarah but I found that Sarah and this Doc--3--also work well together. Frankly, I thnk it more intresting to see pairs that have not been with each other often. It makes it more unusual.

Finally seeing this Eye Of Orion made things jell together. The scene set there is tranquil and peaceful. I'd like to go there. Tegan makes a few jokes about the Doc's new console but she laughing and in a good mood. Turlough even seems to be enjoying himself and painting. THe location is nice as well.

The whole Doctor fading away, his other selves gone, is nicely done but...sort of forgotten about later on. The same thing about Gallifrey's energy draining away.

Frankly it was NOT nice to see the Master again so soon after THE KING'S DEMONS mess but...here, he's sent to rescue the Doctor and some of his lines makes one thing that...well, he really likes the Doctor. In KING'S DEMONS he even called the Doctor, "You're getting old, Doctor..." Who is older, he or the Doctor? Are they REALLY contemporaries?  Could the Doctor be his father rather than as others have speculated, the other way around?

Either way this story was a glimpse into the past of the show while still being refreshing from the stories around it.              

The Five Doctors 2

I know this was shown as a long movie, and it went by fast and it was very enjoyable. Anyway in this part Sarah Jane remeets the Third Doctor and ther'es no BOO HOO you left me, I thought you were dead, you were my life bull garbage. Sarah never changes and her lines here are funny, and her annoyance at being dragged here is funny and her confusion is just as good as it was in PLANET OF THE SPIDERS when he regenerated. Her interplay, in fact, everyone's interplay is just well done. You see, crossovers need a story and there is one here and a mystery besides and it also needs time to have the characters meet who haven't yet or have but a long time ago. This does all of that marvelously.

The First meets the Fifth, who also remeets Susan and they interact with Tegan and Turlough. At the time this was first on, my cousin was a little boy and he found Tegan's interaction with the First Doctor quite funny. I found the First Doctor excellent here. Tegan is most funny when interacting with him and not at all the nag of previous stories or seasons. Her "Hang on a minute" when asked to get refreshments is funny as is the Fifth's reactions to the First and vica versa. I think the First finds the Fifth a bit out of his depth and he rolls his eyes often.

The Second gets to sing a song and his interaction with the Brig as they make their way into the Tower or to the Tower is spot on. "Are  you in pain, Doctor?"  The Brig asked as the Doctor sang the nursery rhyme. "Age hasn't mellowed you, Brigidier." Just well done and a terrific spotlight for Troughton (unlike THE TWO DOCTORS).

The Cybermen: there seem to be more than two dozen milling around and after The Third Doctor (Who never really appeared with them although they made brief cameos, ever so brief in THE MIND OF EVIL (I think) and CARNIVAL OF MONSTERS. Sarah also gets to meet the Master and the Master has a brilliant scene with Jon's Doctor who is in Bessie. Ainley is in top form in this entire story, even in the duller Gallifrey conference scenes. "A universe without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about."  He's THAT good in this.

The location stuff still looks great the Death Zone looks misty, gravely, field-ish, forest-like, stoney, and wet. And the cast carry on like troupers.

Davison is touted, often, as the Doctor who works on Gallifrey. Well, that maybe be true, however it might be true because he and they are boring. When he gets tranmatted via the Master's recall homing device, he gets to go to Gallifrey or rather out of  Gallifrey's death zone (some confusion remains in the script as to the Death Zone being out of Gallifrey or part of Gallifrey, even being in the Heart of the Time Lord paradise whatever that means but for the most part it seems the Death Zone is on Gallifrey so how can Flavia return to Gallifrey from the Death Zone in the ending?). Anyway the Gallifrey scenes in the High  Council Chamber are not terrible, nothing here is but ...they slow things down considerably. When the Castellan mentions the Doctor wants revenge it could do with ARC OF INFINITY's sub plot.

Either way, this story is still very well done and this "episode (as it was shown in some places as episodes later on after the first airing as a 90 min movie)"  is as good as the first. One thing that is annoying is that Susan and Turlough are afraid a Cyberman bomb can destroy the Tardis ? do they know something we do not? I guess maybe just maybe one of their bombs can be designed to damage a TARDIS...

In any event, the joy at seeing the Master with the Cybermen and Susan with Turlough and all the rest is just one aspect of this special story, which truly is special. How the show can carry on as normal after this is beyond me. Then again, this season saw the Master, Omega, the white and black Guardians, the Master again, the Mara...and now all this...and truthfully I didn't mind one bit. I found it added to the DW mythos and helped Davison find his feet.  Troughton and Pertwee seem to have a ball doing what they do best and it shows. Hurndall as the First is jsut as good and has difficult shoes to fill but he does it admirably and to be honest, he was, for me on first viewing, just the best thing about this. I love a hero who is old, cranky, and bossy. It's so...British....or at least it was. Nowadays British heroes are love lorn vampires and/or small magical boys, nothing wrong with that but for once, I liked that an old man could be the main character in a science fantasy show. Or a little man like the Second Doctor.      

Oh and Gallifrey, or at least the Death Zone, has a paved road apparently with a street sign!

3

Okay another good part. Lots of Cybermen get killed in various ways: lasers, spears, blasted. I dn't understand why the Cybermen didn't see Tegan the First Doc in the hallway nor why the Cyberleader didn't see the Master had picked up a Cybergun, there was no way he could hide the bulk of it.

Despite this and other flaws, this part is very entertaining and filled with action bits, mostly involving the Third Doctor. The Second Doc and the Brig get to continue their little comedic duo, in caves under the tomb and with a Yeti left over from the games...is it a real Yeti? If so then why is it mean? Is it a robot yeti? Either way, well done as the Doc rummages through his pockets, finds jelly babies and puts them in the Brig's pocket! Neither wants to go through a door that might lead to a trap.

Sarah and the Third Doctor avoid this story's original creation, the well remembered, innovative Raston Warrior Robot, which just decimates the other group of Cybermen. They also use its rope to slide across to the Tomb's roof. Sarah is just wonderful here, the correct mix of complaining, warmth, humor and fear. She's probably the most human female companion the Doctor ever had. Inside she displays irrational fear, as does Tegan with the First Doctor, who laughs it off after telling her what she feels. The appearance of Liz and Mike is interesting just to see them but they're illusions...same as the trick in TIME-FLIGHT and I wish they could have found another way to use Liz and Mike and in the next "episode" Jamie and Zoe. Still, it is good to see all four of them.

THe First Doc doesn't know the Master for some reason. The Master says believe it or not we were at the academy together, which means they were there but not necessarily in the same capacity. Did someone or something mess with the Doctor's memory?  Or just the First Doctor's? How did the Third recall the Master in TERROR OF THE AUTONS then? If you look at this too hard, it doesn't really jell but why bother? It's not a major plot point.

Love Tegan calling the First Doctor, "Doc" and him snapping at her, "Kindly refrain from referring to me as Doc!" 

The Gallifrey scenes are shorter here, I think or they seem shorter and the Castellan is shot dead...and does NOT regenerate, so Time Lords that are shot don't just regenerate (RTD!) here but they do in Big Finish Alt Doctor stories and in the new show (LAST OF THE TIME LORDS)...

Again, another good part. A good celebration...also a good mystery, I had no idea who was doing these things although I did suspect Flavia or one of the guards...  the original idea was to have the First Doctor be the traitor ....as he wasn't really the First Doctor...

4

Okay that annoying horn sounding off is really starting to annoy me big time. Rassilon is a bit of a let down and his voice embarassing. Borusa being the traitor was surprising but it makes sense from what we've seen of the man in the past, for the most part. It's nice to see the Doctors all mingling in the scene and gratifiying to see the Brig punch out the Master. It might have been nice but maybe repetitious to have Susan talk with Sarah and/or Tegan. What chat there was was funny and interesting ("You as well..."" with the Brig getting most of the best lines. The Jamie Zoey thing was embarassingly played out. The rest was okay and in all this story was a fitting celebration of DW, perhaps the last really good celebration and until SIRENS OF TIME, the last good meeting of Doctors... I also like the melding of the old theme with the new theme, it works well.

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