Archive for the 3rd Doctor Category

Doctor Who 30/12/72 – The Three Doctors

Posted in 2nd Doctor, 3rd Doctor, Doctor Who on December 5, 2010 by watsonprime

“The Three Doctors” is an incredibly important moment in Doctor Who history. While written as a 10th anniversary celebration, it does feature several key moments that are huge additions to Doctor Who folklore. First and foremost, it establishes that while a Doctor may have died, it doesn’t mean we can’t see them again. It also shows us that not only can different incarnations of The Doctor meet, but they also don’t get along with each other. This also marks the last episode in which The 3rd Doctor was stuck on earth, having his ban from travelling removed at the end of the serial.

After a series of attacks on UNIT headquarters, The Doctor is forced to call upon the help of the Time Lords, who enlist the help of his two previous incarnations. As soon as the 2nd and 3rd Doctors meet, they start a delightfully antagonistic relationship, which is kept in check by the appearance of the 1st Doctor. Due to William Hartnell’s illness, which originally caused him to leave the show, he only appears briefly via the TARDIS scanner screen, but he immediately puts the two squabbling Doctors in their place with a few choice putdowns. It’s always interesting to se how different incarnations of The Doctor deal with their other selves, and while it’s great when they get along ie. “Time Crash”, it’s so much more fun when it’s revealed they don’t like each other, and it’s not really a surprise that the elegant, dashing 3rd Doctor is annoyed by the clownish, bumbling 2nd, and that they’re both a disappointment to the stern 1st Doctor, who acts like a father figure to his future selves.

As the various cast members are teleported to an antimatter universe, which looks surprisingly like a quarry, it is revealed that the attacks on UNIT are being orchestrated by someone with immense power and that The Two Doctors must put aside their differences and work together.

One negative point about this serial is that the Time Lords, who were quite intimidating in “The War Games” appear to have regenerated into a bunch of argumentative old men. However, considering the main villain of the story is a crazed Time Lord, by making them less intimidating, it makes the villain more imposing by comparison.

And what a villain! It seems fitting in an anniversary episode that The Doctor should fight a character from his past. While the energy monster thing and the hobbling lumps of bubble wrap are laughable, the real orchestrator behind the curtain is a figure that frightens even the 3rd Doctor.

Overall, it’s a fantastic celebration of Doctor Who, it’s always fun to see actors enjoying their work, and there are times when you can see Jon Pertwee is almost about to start laughing (just before the two Doctors conjure up a door on the Antimatter planet). There are moments of humour, as well as some genuine scares and while the effects are pretty ropey, they don’t detract from the quality of the story telling.

Also, the fight scene between the 3rd Doctor and Omega is amazing

Doctor Who 03/01/70 – Spearhead from Space

Posted in 3rd Doctor, Doctor Who on November 30, 2010 by watsonprime

Due to the fact that I’m still unemployed, I”m watching a lot of Doctor Who, so hear goes another Doctor Who review.

When people refer to ‘their’ doctor, they usually mean the first Doctor they watched. So, by that reckoning, my doctor is The Third Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee. At some point in the 90s, the BBC showed some Doctor Who, and while I was fully aware of Doctor Who and his most important facts (the TARDIS, regeneration, Daleks etc) I had never seen an episode. So I watched Spearhead for Space, which was Jon Pertwee’s first serial as The Doctor and (unknown to me at the time) the first Doctor Who filmed in colour.

After watching the first few few serials, I stopped, I can’t remember if that was because they stopped being aired or if I found something better to watch, but I still remembered Jon Pertwee and his dashing interpretation of the Doctor. Of course then came the reboot and Eccleston and my passion for Doctor Who was reignited, so when I recently started collecting the DVDs, one of the first ones I bought was Spearhead from Space.

First aired in January 1970, “Spearhead from Space” finds The Doctor after his forced regeneration at the hands of the Time Lords in the previous serial “The War Games” and sees the start of his forced exile on Earth. We see the start of three plots: an alien invasion, The Doctor dealing with his new form, and the arrival of Liz Shaw at UNIT, which will all quickly be thrown together as the story progresses. We also see the reappearance of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
As a child I was always terrified by mannequins, even more so by living statues (the people that paint themselves gold and stand very still until money is put in their pot) so imagine my fright when my first Doctor Who villain was The Autons, creepy living plastic dolls that kill innocent civilians!

While it’s not the most dignified way to introduce a new Doctor, there have been worse and by falling out of the TARDIS and being brought to hospital, we are quickly introduced to some of the key elements about the time lord. We learn that he travels in a police box, is an alien with two hearts, has a history with UNIT and can change his appearance. While Troughton was a fantastic Doctor, Pertwee brings a whole new interpretation of the character and very quickly makes it his own. The Third Doctor is a far cry from the timid, easily panicked Second, although just as friendly and a lot more charismatic. Also, he’s taller.

The first episode doesn’t do The Doctor justice as he both starts and ends the episode while unconscious. We see that he’s crafty, as he wakes up and manages to escape a group of kidnappers by using a wheelchair, but it’s not exactly a great introduction to one of the most dynamic incarnations of the Gallifreyan. But by the second episode we see his ability to think quickly, his hiding in plain sight trick as he evades a doctor by having a shower is inspired, as well as well as the introduction to his unique dress sense and love of classic cars.

“Spearhead from Space” refers to the initial attack on earth by The Autons, which were seen more recently in the latest season finale. As a child I was always terrified by mannequins, even more so by living statues (the people that paint themselves gold and stand very still until money is put in their pot) as I always assumed they were evil for some reason, so imagine my fright when my first Doctor Who villain was The Autons, creepy living plastic dolls that kill innocent civilians! Watching them shoot innocent shoppers is just as shocking now as it was when I first saw it as a child and it really helped separate Doctor Who from anything else I watched, in Doctor Who, people die and it doesn’t matter if they’re bad guys, good guys, or just caught in the middle and it’s a frequent theme that’s brought up. At least in this serial as opposed to some others, The Doctor isn’t to blame for the killings.

In a episode full of new faces, it’s nice to see a familiar one in The Brigadier. Still the hardened military man, we see that he is fully prepared to protect the earth from any form of invader, even issuing the order to shoot any civilian who wanders near the TARDIS. While the interaction between him and Liz Shaw is based on the now classic sci-fi plotline of “skeptical scientist meets organisation that fights aliens and isn’t convinced at first”, it’s his interactions between him and a new, more confident Doctor that are a delight.

While the serial has one of the scariest villains ever, matched only, in my opinion by the Weeping Angels (which are another group of aliens that look like statues,)there is plenty of humour, and while the Doctor isn’t particularly funny or silly, most of the laughter originates from him, for example his escape via wheelchair, his hesitation at entering a “Doctors Only” room in the hospital, or his sheepish exit from the TARDIS after failing to pilot it are all pretty humorous and help break up what is a fairly slow moving plot. It also demonstrates Pertwee’s ability to not take himself too seriously, despite playing one of the more serious Doctors.

Overall “Spearhead from Space” is a pretty good serial, and one of the better introductions to a Doctor, although it takes a while to get going. It  has many of the qualities of a good Doctor Who; the villains are scary, the Doctor is intelligent, quick-thinking and charismatic, The Brigadier doesn’t suffer fools gladly and a female companion shows she can hold her own.