Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Five Doctors

So the current story poll has closed and no prizes for guessing which adventure has won!!  Possibly no other episode of Doctor Who has been so much steeped in the shows Anniversary celebrations since this feature length special was first aired in November 1983!  The story was specially requested by Producer John Nathan-Turner, when the planned Dalek story (which later became Resurrection of the Daleks) fell through.

Could this particular story sway the Anniversary celebrations for the shows Fiftieth Anniversary in 2013!?  Let's hope it's a multi-Doctor adventure, or could it be similar to Remembrance of the Daleks in the shows Twenty-Fifth Anniversary year?  That story took elements from the shows past and wove them together into a brand new adventure.  However the idea of reuniting the Doctors has been used three times, in the Tenth Anniversary special The Three Doctors, the Twentieth Special The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors transmitted during the Twenty-Second Season just as Michael Grade decided to take the show off the air!

All three stories stand the test of time even today, but there is something extra special with The Five Doctors.  It really does feel like a celebratory adventure, right from the moment the credits come up!  Despite Tom Baker's reluctance to return to the show, it was still delightful to watch the return of Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee who both looked so comfortable.  They looked as if they had never been away!  Richard Hurndall gave a lovely performance as William Hartnell's First Doctor.  But William Hartnell himself was not forgotten as he appears in flashback from a scene taken from the close of The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

It's interesting to note that the original title of this story was going to be The Six Doctors!  Yes The Six Doctors!  That's because there would've been two First Doctors in there and one would've been revealed as an android duplicate! The storyline was also completely different from what we saw on screen as originally Robert Holmes was going to write it but dropped out because of the complexities of tailoring it to the amount of actors who were being asked to appear in it!  Terrance Dicks then stepped in to give us a terrific adventure which ended up with the Doctor going on the run from his own people again, in a rackety old TARDIS!!!

The Five Doctor's has something for everyone, there's nostalgic moments with an Abominable Snowman and a rather battered Dalek!  Tom Baker even appears in footage filmed for Shada!  The wonderful Raston Robot, which massacres several troops of Cybermen!  Even The Master turns up too!  Peter Davison's current incarnation more or less takes centre stage but there's plenty for the other Doctor's to do!

And then there's the companions, the very much missed Elisabeth Sladen returns as Sarah Jane Smith, the wonderful Nicholas Courtney who we lost a few months ago returns as the Brigadier and has some very memorable scenes with the Second Doctor!  Carole Anne Ford even returns as Susan just in time to sprain her ankle one more time!

The whole story feels just so nostalgic now as a celebration of the programme, and I'm sure many fans will have their hankies out by the close of the adventure!  You do wonder though what Steven Moffat has up his sleeve for the Fiftieth Anniversary!  Whatever it is, I do wonder can it possibly top The Five Doctors!!?!

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