Original Airdate: January 12, 1974 – November 23, 1983 (USA) / November 25, 1983 (UK)
Starring: Richard Hurndall (first Doctor), Patrick Troughton (second Doctor), Jon Pertwee (third Doctor), Peter Davison (fifth Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) and Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman)
Special Features: Special edition release features the episode with extended scenes, sequences previously not broadcast, and new visual effects; 33 minutes of soundtrack music; a “Who’s Who” of the Doctors and their companions.
In this DVD review I look back at “The Five Doctors,” a special 90-minute episode of Doctor Who that was broadcast in conjunction with the show’s 20th anniversary in 1983 during Peter Davison’s run as the fifth Doctor.
The Doctor's past incarnations are snatched out of their respective timelines by a forbidden time scoop device. The fourth Doctor becomes trapped in the vortex but the others find themselves, together with a number of their old companions, with the fifth Doctor and his companions in the Death Zone on their home planet of Gallifrey.
Here they face a Dalek, a Yeti, a quicksilver Raston Warrior Robot and numerous Cybermen. Also present is the Master, who has been summoned by the High Council of Time Lords to help the Doctor. It turns out that President Borusa is the mysterious operator of the time scoop. He aims to use the Doctors to breach the defences of the Dark Tower--Rassilon's tomb--so that he can enter there and claim immortality. When he does so, however, he is condemned by Rassilon to eternal existence in the form of a living statue.
The scene when Sarah Jane is first reunited with the third Doctor. She’s fallen down an embankment and he rescues her by tying a rope onto his car, Bessie, and pulling Sarah Jane back up. Being that her last memories of the Doctor were of his fourth incarnation, Sarah Jane is visibly bewildered when she sees this third incarnation in front of her again.
Sarah Jane: “Wait a moment – it’s you!”
Doctor: “Of course it’s me. Hello, Sarah Jane.”
Sarah Jane: “No, no – but it’s you you!”
Doctor: “That’s right.”
Sarah Jane: “No, no. you changed, remember? You became all (gestures to her hair and mouth) um…um…”
Doctor: “Teeth and curls?”
Sarah Jane: “Yes.”
Doctor: “Well, maybe I did – I haven’t yet.”
Sarah Jane: “Oh I see. No I don’t. Never mind.”
Aside from that great exchange above between the third Doctor and Sarah Jane I just mentioned, there are a few more bits of great dialogue in this story:
· In the scene where the Brigadier and the second Doctor are making their way through the cave on the way to the tower, the Brigadier complains, “Dammit, Doctor, I’m just not built for this kind of thing anymore.” To which the Doctor gleefully replies, “You never were!”
· During the scene where the first, second, and third Doctors have finally reached the Tomb of Rassilon along with Tegan, the Brigadier, and Sarah Jane, the Doctors are huddled around some ancient Gallifreyan inscription they’re trying to decipher. The third Doctor notices the Brigadier and shakes his hand, then blows him off, saying “We have a very important inscription to transcribe!” The Brig walks over to where Tegan and Sarah Jane are standing and the three begin having a gripe-fest:
Brigadier: “Typical. Absolutely typical.”
Sarah Jane: “Oh I know, I know! Drag you through time and space without as much as a by-your-leave and then leave you out when things get interesting!”
Tegan:“My version isn’t any better.”
Sarah Jane: “Well, which one’s yours?”
· I actually happened to stumble upon a connection to The Sarah Jane Adventures in this story! At some point, the fifth doctor’s TARDIS is paralyzed. His companion, Turlough, tells Susan (the first Doctor’s granddaughter) that “We’re nowhere in no time.” In The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, which aired during the third season of SJA, everyone gets trapped in a time loop thanks to the Trickster – and K9 tells the Doctor and the kids, “We’re nowhere, no when.”
I’ll be honest – I only watched this story because Sarah Jane was in it. The plot itself was confusing to me – even though this was the second time I’ve seen it – and I wasn’t even all that impressed with how Sarah Jane was included in the storyline. One thing I did enjoy about The Five Doctors, though, was having multiple incarnations of the Doctor and various companions come together all in one story.
The Five Doctors is available on DVD from Amazon.
Check out more about Sarah’s outfits from “The Five Doctors” over at The Sarah Jane Wardrobe Appreciation Society at http://sarahjanesmith.cosmic-archer.com/thefivedoctors.html.