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Feb 17, 2012

Reprinted from wikipedia with thanks and respect

The Three Doctors is the first serial of the tenth season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, first broadcast in four weekly parts from 30 December 1972 to 20 January 1973. The serial opened the tenth anniversary year of the series.


The home planet of the Time Lords is under siege, by an unknown force that by all accounts should not even exist. The only person who can help them is the Doctor, but even he will need assistance – from his previous selves.

[edit] Plot

A superluminal signal is sent to Earth, carrying with it an unusual energy blob that seems intent on capturing the Third Doctor. In the meantime, the homeworld of the Time Lords is under siege, with all the power sustaining it being drained through a black hole. Trapped and desperate, the Time Lords do the unthinkable and break the First Law of Time, allowing the Doctor to aid himself by summoning his two previous incarnations from the past.

Unfortunately, the First Doctor is trapped in a time eddy, unable to fully materialize, and can only communicate via viewscreen, but the Second Doctor joins the Third in investigating the origins of the creature and the black hole, while UNIT headquarters faces an attack by the gel-like alien creatures.

The First Doctor deduces the black hole is a bridge between universes, and the other two Doctors allow the TARDIS to be swallowed up by the energy creature, which transports them, Dr Tyler, Jo Grant, Sergeant Benton and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart into an antimatter universe created by the legendary Time Lord Omega. Omega was a solar engineer who created the supernova that powers Time Lord civilization, but was considered killed in the explosion. In actuality, he had been transported to the antimatter universe, where his will and thought turned the formless matter into physicality. Trapped, due to the fact that his will is the only thing maintaining reality, he vowed revenge on the Time Lords who left him stranded.

It is clear that the exile has made Omega quite insane. Along with his revenge, he has summoned the Doctors here to take over the mental maintenance of the antimatter universe so he can escape. However, the Doctors discover that years of exposure to the corrosive effects of the black hole's singularity have destroyed Omega's physical body – he is trapped forever. Driven over the edge by this discovery, Omega now demands that the Doctors share his exile.

The Doctors escape briefly, and offer Omega a proposition. They will give him his freedom if they send the others back to the positive matter universe. Omega agrees, and when that is done, the Doctors offer Omega a force field generator containing the Second Doctor's recorder, which had fallen in it prior to the transport through the black hole. Omega knocks the generator over in a rage and the unconverted positive matter recorder falls out of the force field. When the recorder comes into contact with the antimatter universe, it annihilates everything in a flash, returning the Doctors in the TARDIS to the positive matter universe. The Third Doctor explains that death was the only freedom anyone could offer Omega.

With the power now restored to the Time Lords, they are able to send the First and Second Doctors back to their respective time periods. As a reward, the Time Lords give the Third Doctor a new dematerialization circuit for the TARDIS and restore his knowledge of how to travel through space and time.

[edit] Continuity

[edit] Production

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Episode One" 30 December 1972 24:39 9.6 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Episode Two" 6 January 1973 24:18 10.8 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Episode Three" 13 January 1973 24:22 8.8 PAL 2" colour videotape
"Episode Four" 20 January 1973 25:07 11.9 PAL 2" colour videotape
  • Working titles for this story included The Black Hole.
  • The script was originally supposed to feature all three Doctors equally, but William Hartnell was too ill to be able to play the full role as envisioned. He was, therefore, reduced to a pre-recorded cameo role, appearing only on the TARDIS's scanner and the space-time viewer of the Time Lords. It would be the last time he played the Doctor and his last acting role before his death in 1975. Hartnell's scenes were filmed at BBC's Ealing Studios and not in a garage or a garden shed as fan myth would have it. The serial's promotional photo shoot was the only time the three actors were shown together.
  • The production team also planned for Frazer Hines to reprise his role of Jamie McCrimmon alongside the Second Doctor; however, Hines was not available, due to his work on the soap opera Emmerdale Farm. Much of the role originally intended for Jamie was reassigned to Sergeant Benton.

[edit] Outside references

Jo references The Beatles' song "I Am the Walrus".[4]

[edit] In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in November 1975.

The novelisation provides a rationale for Omega's realm to be a quarry: over the millennia, Omega has become weary of the mental effort required to generate a verdant landscape and now makes do with rock and soil. The Second Doctor is referred to throughout as Doctor Two. In the book, Mr Ollis is renamed Mr Hollis.

Doctor Who book
Book cover
The Three Doctors
Series Target novelisations
Release number 64
Writer Terrance Dicks
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Chris Achilleos
ISBN 0-426-11578-3
Release date 20 November 1975
Preceded by '
Followed by '

[edit] Broadcast, VHS and DVD releases

  • The serial was repeated on BBC2 in November 1981, daily (Monday-Thursday) (23 November 1981 to 26 November 1981) at 5.40pm as part of "The Five Faces of Doctor Who".
  • This story was released twice on VHS, first in August 1991 and thereafter remastered and re-released in 2002 as part of the W H Smith's The Time Lord Collection boxed set.
  • This story was released on DVD in the UK in November 2003 as part of the Doctor Who 40th Anniversary Celebration releases, representing the Jon Pertwee years. Some copies came in a box set housing a limited edition Corgi model of "Bessie", the Third Doctor's vintage roadster.
  • A special edition of the DVD, with new bonus features, is to be released in the uk on 13 February 2012 in the third of the ongoing Revisitations DVD box sets.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "The Three Doctors". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  2. ^ "The Three Doctors". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  3. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2007-08-07). "The Three Doctors". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  4. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "The Three Doctors". Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 141. ISBN 0 426 20442 5. Retrieved 2010-09-03.

[edit] External links

Target novelisation