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Peter Davison
The Five Doctors
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Synopsis


Doctors Reunited
Doctors Reunited
 “I am being diminished, whittled away piece-by-piece. A man is the sum of his memories you know, a Time Lord even more so…

 Someone is taking The Doctor's past selves out of time and space, placing them in a vast wilderness - a battle arena with a sinister tower at its centre.

 As the various incarnations of The Doctor join forces, they learn they are in the Death Zone on their home world of Gallifrey, fighting Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti... and a devious Time Lord traitor who is using The Doctor and his companions to discover the ancient secrets of Rassilon, the first and most powerful ruler of Gallifrey.

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Twenty
Production Code: 6K
Story Number: 129
Episode Number:602
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: March - April 1983
Broadcast Date: 25 November 1983
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: Ealing Television Film Studios and BBC Television Centre (TC6)
Location: Plas Brondanw (Llanfrothen, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd); Manod Quarry and Carreg Y Foel Gron (Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd); Cwm Bychan (Llanbedr, Gwynedd); Denham Manor and Tilehouse Lane (Denham Green, Buckinghamshire); West Common Road and North Common Road (Uxbridge, Middlesex)
Writer:Terrance Dicks
Director:Peter Moffatt
Producer:John Nathan-Turner
Script Editor:Eric Saward
Editor:M A C Adams
Production Assistant:Jean Davis
Production Associate:June Collins
Assistant Floor Manager:Pauline Seager
Designer:Malcolm Thornton
Costume Designer:Colin Lavers
Make-Up Designer:Jill Hagger
Cameraman:John Baker
Incidental Music:Peter Howell
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:Martin Ridout
Lighting:Don Babbage
Visual Effects:John Brace
Title Sequence:Sid Sutton
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Peter Howell
Daleks Originally Created By: Terry Nation
Number of Doctors: 5
The Doctors: Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor), Richard Hurndall (The First Doctor) (Returns), Patrick Troughton (The Second Doctor) (Returns), Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor) (Returns) and Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor) (Returns)
Number of Companions: 7The Companions: Carole Ann Ford (Susan) (Rejoins and Departs), Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) (Rejoins and Departs), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) (Rejoins and Departs), Lalla Ward (Romana 2) (Rejoins and Departs), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Mark Strickson (Turlough) and John Leeson (voice only) (K9 Mk III) (Joins and Departs) Guest Cast: William Hartnell (The First Doctor), Anthony Ainley (The Master), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), Wendy Padbury (Zoe Heriot), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates), David Banks (Cyber Leader) Additional Cast: Philip Latham (Lord President Borusa), Dinah Sheridan (Chancellor Flavia), Paul Jerricho (The Castellan), Richard Mathews (Rassilon), Mark Hardy (Cyber Lieutenant), David Savile (Crichton), Roy Skelton (Dalek Voice), John Scott Martin (Dalek Operator), Stuart Blake (Commander), Stephen Meredith (Technician), Ray Float (Sergeant), John Tallents (Guard), William Kenton (Cyber Scout), Keith Hodiak (Raston Robot)Setting: Eye of Orion, Cambridge (circa 1980), England (circa 1983), The Capitol and The Death Zone on Gallifrey Villains: A Dalek, A Yeti, Borusa, Cybermen, Raston Warrior Robot and The Master

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
602The Five Doctors25 November 198390'23"7.7PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 30 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 7.7
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)79.38%  (Position = 23 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2003)601 Points (Position = 16 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)80.27% Higher (Position = 38 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)84.18% Higher (Position = 25 out of 241)


Archives


 This story exists exist as a PAL 2" colour videotape.



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Notes

Only the First 50 Story Notes are shown below - Click to Show All Story Notes


"The Five Doctors" is unique in the history of Doctor Who being the first full-length story containing the return of previous incarnations of The Doctor as well as many former companions including the very first companion Susan. This special story was created to celebrate the show’s twentieth anniversary.

The idea to produce a special story to celebrate this milestone in the show’s history was conceived by Producer John Nathan-Turner and Script Editor Eric Saward as early as 1982 when they approached former Script Editor and writer Robert Holmes to write the script for a story called "The Six Doctors". (Robert Holmes had last written for the show during Season Sixteen, contributing both "The Ribos Operation" and "The Power of Kroll").

The initial plan for "The Six Doctors" was for it to feature the Second through to the Fifth Doctor - alongside a robotic version of the First Doctor (re-cast as William Hartnell had passed away in 1975) and Susan - combating The Master and the Cybermen on the planet Maladoom. In this proposed story each incarnation of The Doctor are lured to the planet Maladoom by The Master and the Cybermen. The Cybermen are trying to determine the element of Time Lord physiology which makes them distinct from all other races, and have selected The Doctor as their guinea pig. To aid them in their ploy, they have created cybernetic versions of the First Doctor and Susan (thereby explaining the recasting of William Hartnell’s role). After defeating the Cybermen, The Doctors must then stop The Master, who has supercharged his TARDIS to create a time paradox which threatens all of time and space.

As a variation on this, Robert Holmes suggested that, instead of drawing all the incarnations to Maladoom, The Master’s time paradox could cause the Fifth Doctor to regress backward through his regenerations. However, this idea would have made the issue of including various companions much trickier. Both ideas though did not progress very far and Robert Holmes dropped out at an early stage and so another former Script Editor, Terrance Dicks (who had last written the 1980 Fourth Doctor story "State of Decay"), was approached to write something from scratch. This resulted in "The Five Doctors". Some elements of Robert Holmes’ original plotline would be reused in "The Two Doctors".

The concept of having a robot with the ability to impersonate others was not new as ironically, the story immediately preceding this one, "The King's Demons", did in fact introduce a robot character, Kamelion, with the ability to impersonate others. However, despite being introduced in that story as a new companion, not only is Kamelion not referenced or seen once in "The Five Doctors", the character disappeared from the show for a full year.

Originally, John Nathan-Turner envisaged celebrating the show’s twentieth anniversary during the programme’s regular season, but was concerned because the revamped schedule (thirteen weeks commencing in January), that was introduced for Season Nineteen, meant that the show would not be on-air during the actually Anniversary week.

Fortunately since John Nathan-Turner became the show’s producer with Season Eighteen, the programme had received a budget sufficient for twenty-eight episodes. For Season Nineteen, two episodes’ worth had been diverted into the 1981 spin-off special "K9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend", and it was suggested that Season Twenty could similarly run with just twenty-six episodes, with the remaining money held off for the anniversary special which could be shown in November. (In the event, Season Twenty would run only twenty-two episodes when industrial action by the BBC’s electricians union forced the abandonment of its final four-part story).

It was thought that additional funding might come from BBC Enterprises, the commercial wing of the BBC, who reaped considerable benefits from the extremely merchandisable Doctor Who. However, due to tight timescales this proved not to be possible. Luckily it was agreed that the BBC would co-produce this story with the Australian Broadcasting Commission, who had been broadcasting Doctor Who since the Sixties and had already co-produced other science-fiction programmes - like Day of the Triffids and the second season of Tripods - with the BBC. This was the first and only occurrence of this in Doctor Who. Later, the 1996 television movie "Doctor Who: The Movie" and first four seasons, when the show was revived in 2005, would also incorporate non-UK financial support.

As well being co-funded by the Australian Broadcasting Commission funding for this story also came from the cancelled story "The Return" which would have been the original closing four-part story of the Season Twenty ("The Return" was eventually made the following year as "Resurrection of the Daleks").

There was no doubt that following the lead of the tenth anniversary adventure, "The Three Doctors", that "The Five Doctors" should feature a reunion of all the incarnations of The Doctor, along with as many companions as was feasible - and with at least one companion paired up with their original incarnation of The Doctor.

Because William Hartnell, who had played the First Doctor, passed away in 1975, that role would have to be recast. William Hartnell’s widow, Heather was approached and she gave her approval that her husband’s former role being recast for this anniversary special.

The re-casting of the First Doctor went to Richard Hurndall after fan consultant Ian Levine suggested the similarity between him and William Hartnell after seeing Richard Hurndall in the Blake’s 7 story "Assassin". Richard Hurndall was chiefly a radio performer, although he had appeared in numerous plays, films and television shows over the course of his lengthy career, including Whodunnit (with Jon Pertwee) and Bergerac.

As a pre-credits hook a clip, of William Hartnell, was used from his farewell speech to Susan in episode six of the 1964 Story "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". Video Effects Designer Dave Chapman elected to give this clip a rose tint, so that the transition from monochrome to colour would be less jarring.

Originally, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward were approached to be part of this story. But Tom Baker refused to take part in this story as he believed that it had been too short a span of time since he had left Doctor Who to permit a return appearance (a decision. it has since been revealed, that he regretted).

Originally, it was the Fourth Doctor, with Romana, who travelled to the Capitol, while the Fifth Doctor, with Tegan Jovanka, went on to the Dark Tower and the First Doctor remained behind in the TARDIS with Susan and Vislor Turlough. Terrance Dicks had also included a subplot casting suspicion on the Fourth Doctor as the villain of the piece, since he felt Tom Baker’s incarnation was the most likely to ‘go bad’.

To ensure that the Fourth Doctor still had a presence clips, of the Fourth Doctor and Romana, from the un-transmitted Season Seventeen story "Shada" were used. Both Tom Baker and Lalla Ward consented to the use of these segments, and so Terrance Dicks devised the subplot of the two of them being trapped in a time eddy to explain the Fourth Doctor’s absence from the main action.

Ironically, Tom Baker’s decision not to participate in this story resolved another problem facing Terrance Dicks. As it transpired, none of the Second Doctor’s companions were available to play a major role in the production. Michael Craze (who played Ben Jackson) and Anneke Wills (who played Polly Wright) had both retired from acting; Frazer Hines (who played Jamie McCrimmon) was busy with the soap opera Emmerdale Farm; Deborah Watling (who played Victoria Waterfield) was involved in a theatrical production and The Dave Allen Show; and Wendy Padbury (who played Zoe Heriot) was pregnant. With Tom Baker no longer a consideration, this meant that companion Elisabeth Sladen (who played Sarah Jane Smith), could be paired with the Third Doctor while Nicholas Courtney (who played The Brigadier) could partner up with the Second Doctor.

Major guest stars also included Carole Ann Ford (who played Susan) as well as Anthony Ainley’s Master. While also returning to the show were John Leeson (the voice of K9), Frazer Hines (who played Jamie McCrimmon), Wendy Padbury (who played Zoe Heriot), Caroline John who played (who played Liz Shaw) and Richard Franklin (who played Captain Mike Yates) who all returned for cameo appearances.

Former popular companions Katy Manning (who played Jo Grant), John Levene (who played Sergeant Benton), Ian Marter (who played Harry Sullivan) and Louise Jameson (who played Leela) were all originally to take part but couldn’t because of various reasons. Katy Manning was now living in Australia, and the cost to fly her back to England proved prohibitive. John Levene was to appear as Colonel Crichton’s second-in-command, but he had just moved to the United States. While Ian Marter and Louise Jameson were otherwise engaged in other work.

Also starring was Paul Jerricho, as the Castellan (a role he had originated in "Arc of Infinity"). It was hoped that Elspet Grey and Leonard Sachs, who had appeared alongside Paul Jerricho as Thalia and Borusa, would also reprise their roles. But neither performer proved available. The character of Thalia was replaced by the similar Flavia (played by Dinah Sheridan). This character has subsequently been mentioned in spin-off fiction as becoming President of the High Council and then subsequently removed from office due to a scandal (as detailed in Virgin Books’ The New Adventures novel "Happy Endings").

Philip Latham was brought in as the fourth actor to play Borusa (the other actors previously playing this part being Angus Mackay in the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Deadly Assassin", John Arnatt in the subsequent year’s "The Invasion of Time" and Leonard Sachs in "Arc of Infinity").

The character of President Borusa was brought in to replace The Master as the mastermind behind the events, when it became clear that The Master was simply too obvious a culprit to fool viewers.

David Savile, who played the part of Crichton, played Lieutenant Carstairs in the 1969 Second Doctor story "The War Games".

This story contained the first view of Rassilon and his eternal Tomb. In the Death Zone the individual incarnations of The Doctor come across a Yeti (‘probably left over from the games’), a Dalek, the Cybermen and a Raston Warrior Robot (‘the most perfect killing machine ever devised’).

The Quarks (who appeared in the 1968 Second Doctor story "The Dominators") were set to return to the show but were removed from the script at an early stage and replaced by the Raston Warrior Robot. The Raston Warrior Robot costume is actually a silver repaint of one of the Cyberman androids’ costumes from the 1982 story "Earthshock".

The original script also featured an appearance by the Autons, last seen in the 1971 Third Doctor story "Terror of the Autons". After being dropped into the Death Zone, Sarah Jane Smith would have been attacked by a group of them before being rescued by the Third Doctor. However, due to budgetary restrictions, the scene was dropped and replaced by a briefer scene set on a steep hillside. Also dropped at the script stage was a brief sequence on Gallifrey with Leela.

The creature encountered by the Second Doctor and The Brigadier in the caves was not originally going to a Yeti, but simply an unspecified monster. The Yeti costume used in this story was last used in "The Web of Fear" in 1968. As it had decayed badly in storage dim lighting and selective camera angles had to be used during filming.

It was decided early on that the Daleks would not form the main part of the action due to difficulties involved in operating them during location filming, which would form a substantial part of this special.

Omega, contrary to popular belief, was never included in a story draft.

The Director that was assigned to this story was Peter Moffatt, who had recently completed work on "Mawdryn Undead" - which ironically included the brief return of former companion, The Brigadier. John Nathan-Turner’s first choice of director for this story was Waris Hussein, who had directed the first ever Doctor Who story, "An Unearthly Child", in 1963. However, Waris Hussein was in America at the time and was unable to accept the offer. Veteran director Douglas Camfield was also contacted but had to decline the offer due to ill health.

The increased budget for this story allowed Peter Moffatt to go farther afield, for location filming, than would normally be the case, and after briefly contemplating shooting in Scotland, the director settled on locations in Wales, principally around Gwynedd and Ffestiniog. Buckinghamshire was also used for some material.

John Nathan-Turner also directed some scenes (for the first time in his career), performing some second unit work with the Cybermen while Peter Moffatt directed elsewhere.

During location filming various publicity photos of all five Doctors from this story were taken. It had been hoped that Tom Baker might attend. When this did not transpire John Nathan-Turner produced a wax replica of Tom Baker, that he had acquired from the 1980 Doctor Who Exhibition in Madame Tussauds, as he suspected that he might not turn up. The use of the dummy was a source of much merriment for the cast.

During studio recording some aspects of Terrance Dicks’ script were still being refined. The final change of all involved the scene featuring the phantom Jamie and Zoe. Wendy Padbury’s pregnancy prevented her from taking a larger role in the special, but she was happy to accept this brief appearance. This sequence was originally due to feature Victoria and Zoe instead of Jamie, with The Doctor realising the pair are fakes when Victoria refers to Lethbridge-Stewart as ‘Brigadier’ (she had encountered him prior to his promotion from Colonel). Deborah Watling had to drop out at the last minute because of a change in the shooting schedule of The Dave Allen Show, but fortunately Frazer Hines was able to take time out from Emmerdale Farm for his cameo appearance.

Phantom images of Captain Mike Yates and Liz Shaw are also seen within the Dark Tower. Along with the phantoms of Jamie and Zoe they are trying to dissuade the Second and Third Doctors from progressing through the Dark Tower in scenes highly reminiscent of a scene in Season Nineteen’s "Time-Flight" with a ghost of "Adric" - who had died in the previous story "Earthshock".

This story featured the debut of the new TARDIS console and room, the first redesign since 1977. This console would remain until the end of shows original run in 1989.

Bessie, the Third Doctor’s car, made her return to the show for the first time since the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "Robot". It has been revealed that John Nathan-Turner even managed to convince BBC Exhibitions to help pay for the automobile’s refurbishment, with the understanding that BBC Exhibitions would be allowed to use Bessie after filming was completed.

At the start of the story, Sarah Jane Smith is seen with K9, a direct reference to the 1981 spin-off special "K9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend". Interestingly Sarah Jane Smith shows no concern about K9 being visible to passers-by in her driveway, and her gate bears the sign, beware of the dog. In The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith", however, she hides K9 and panics when he rushes past her fiancé, quickly making up a cover story. Parts of the footage with K9 from "The Five Doctors" was also used in The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Mad Woman in the Attic". Both Sarah Jane Smith and K9 later returned in the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "School Reunion".

During the scene where the Second Doctor ‘bends the laws of time’ to attend a reunion with The Brigadier he discovers that UNIT is now headed by Colonel Charles Crichton. The Brigadier and The Doctor then reminisce about the Yeti ("The Web of Fear"), Cybermen ("The Invasion") and Omega ("The Three Doctors"). The Doctor also tells The Brigadier about ‘the terrible Zodin’ (see also the 1985 Sixth Doctor story "Attack of the Cybermen").

Whilst punting down the river the Fourth Doctor rambles to Romana mentioning; Isaac Newton, Andrew Marvell, Christopher Smart, Ernest Rutherford, Chadwick, William Wordsworth and Judge Jeffries.

When President Borusa attempts to kidnap the Fourth Doctor and Romana, they become trapped in a time eddy. A similar problem occurred to the First Doctor in the 1973 Tenth Anniversary story "The Three Doctors" - so underlining the difficulty (even for Time Lords) in deliberately attempting to cross time streams.

It also explicitly indicated in dialogue that the Peter Davison’s incarnation of The Doctor is in fact the fifth, officially contradicting the Morbius/Doctors speculation that had circulated, since the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Brain of Morbius", that there had been additional incarnations of The Doctor prior to William Hartnell.

Trying to determine when exactly this story takes place in each of The Doctor’s timelines is very difficult. Evidence suggests that this story takes place after "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" from the point of view of the First Doctor and Susan, given Susan’s mature appearance and the implication that they have been separated for some time.

Although it is never made clear exactly where this story takes place within the Second and Third Doctors’ chronology, it is made clear that it takes place after the events of "The Three Doctors". The Second Doctor mentions Omega while reminiscing with The Brigadier, and also makes a comment about his own replacement being ‘unpromising’ when he is in UNIT headquarters and meets The Brigadier’s successor. The Third Doctor also refers to ‘that fellow in the check trousers and black frock-coat’ when he meets the phantoms of Captain Mike Yates and Liz Shaw. The story also appears to take place after the events of "The Three Doctors" from the First Doctor’s point of view as well, as the First Doctor asks the Third Doctor, ‘What's happened to the little fellow?’. Also after learning who the Fifth Doctor was the First Doctor exclaimed ‘so there are five of me now’.

The Second Doctor’s method of determining that Jamie and Zoe are phantoms, which references the events of "The War Games", is, seemingly, a continuity error. The memories of Jamie and Zoe’s travels with The Doctor, as opposed to their respective initial adventures with him in their own home eras (the 1966/67 story "The Highlanders" and 1968 story "The Wheel in Space") were wiped in the last episode of "The War Games" when they were returned to their own times at a moment just before they would have left in the TARDIS. However, a possible explanation amongst fans for this is that "The Five Doctors" takes place a season of adventures post "The War Games" but before "Spearhead From Space" (referred to by fans as Season 6B). Indeed it is suggested that it is during this season that the Second Doctor has the adventure with the Sixth Doctor in the 1985 story "The Two Doctors".

This story takes place some time between the 1974 stories "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" and "Planet of the Spiders" from the Third Doctor’s point of view, as he is driving Bessie when he encounters and recognises Sarah Jane Smith, for whom events take place after the 1981 spin-off special "K9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend". It is unknown what year it is for Sarah Jane Smith or if Brendan is staying with her, or if her Aunt Lavinia is deceased yet.

The Third Doctor’s reaction to Sarah Jane Smith’s mimed description of the Fourth Doctor by saying, ‘Teeth and curls?’ and telling her the change has not happened yet for him, has though resulted in an anomaly. It could be that the Third Doctor is just interpreting her gestures. His accuracy has however, led some fans to infer from this an unseen encounter with the Fourth Doctor. In the short story, "The Touch of the Nurazh" (published in the Big Finish Productions book "Short Trips 9: Monsters "), an injury makes the Third Doctor begin to regenerate into the Fourth but the process is reversed. This is witnessed by Jo Grant, and the theory is that she subsequently describes the Fourth Doctor’s appearance to the Third Doctor. According to Elizabeth Sladen and Terrance Dicks, on the Twenty Fifth Anniversary DVD commentary for this story, the line was supposed to be Elizabeth Sladen’s, but Jon Pertwee negotiated with her for him to say this line instead, leading to this anomaly.

The time-placement for the Fourth Doctor depends upon which version of this story is viewed, and whether "Shada", despite being un-broadcast and incomplete, is considered canonical (which in turn relates to whether the webcast version is considered canonical). In any event, Romana is in her second incarnation, placing this between "Destiny of the Daleks" and "Full Circle" (when the TARDIS enters E-Space and events unfold that lead to her leaving The Doctor). "Shada" was placed between "The Horns of Nimon" and "The Leisure Hive". Therefore according to the original broadcast version of "The Five Doctors", it may be reasonably inferred that the events of "Shada" were disrupted due to both Romana and the Fourth Doctor being Timescooped. The 1995 ‘Special Edition’, however, only has The Doctor Timescooped, and after the defeat of President Borusa, Rassilon returns The Doctor to just before the Timescoop took him away, which would then allow the events of "Shada" to unfold.

This story occurs after "Mawdryn Undead" from The Brigadier’s point of view, given that he recognises both Tegan and the Fifth Doctor.

It is implied that the past Doctors do not retain memories of being involved in events where they meet their future selves. Otherwise, each of the later Doctors, starting with the Second Doctor, would have had foreknowledge of the outcome of events having participated as their earlier selves. Furthermore, earlier Doctors would also have direct assurance that they survive beyond their current incarnation.


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First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first full-length Doctor Who story.

 The first re-appearance of the First Doctor (played by William Hartnell) since the 1973 Tenth Anniversary story "The Three Doctors".

 The first re-appearance of the Second Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton) since the 1973 Tenth Anniversary story "The Three Doctors".

 The first re-appearance of the Third Doctor (played by Jon Pertwee) since the 1974 story "Planet of the Spiders".

 The first re-appearance of the Fourth Doctor (played by Tom Baker) since the 1981 story "Logopolis".

 The first, and only, appearance of Richard Hurndall as the First Doctor.

 The first re-appearance of companion Susan (played by Carole Ann Ford) since the 1964 First Doctor story "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".

 The first re-appearance of companion Jamie McCrimmon (played by Frazer Hines) since the 1969 Second Doctor story "The War Games".

 The first re-appearance of companion Zoe Heriot (played by Wendy Padbury) since the 1969 Second Doctor story "The War Games".

 The first re-appearance of companion Liz Shaw (played by Caroline John) since the 1970 Third Doctor story "Inferno".

 The first re-appearance of companion Captain Mike Yates (played by Richard Franklin) since the 1974 Third Doctor story "Planet of the Spiders".

 The first re-appearance of companion Sarah Jane Smith (played by Elisabeth Sladen ) since the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Hand of Fear".

 The first re-appearance of companion K9 (voiced by John Leeson) since the 1981 Fourth Doctor story "Warriors' Gate".

 The first re-appearance of companion Romana (played by Lalla Ward) since the 1981 Fourth Doctor story "Warriors' Gate".

 The first appearance of Bessie - the Third Doctor’s car - since the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "Robot".

 The first, and only, appearance of the Raston Warrior Robot.

 The first Doctor Who story to include non-UK financial support.

 The first, and only, use of clips from the un-transmitted Season Seventeen story "Shada"

 The first view of Rassilon.

 The first time it is suggested that a new cycle of regenerations can be bestowed on a Time Lord.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The last story of Season Twenty.

 The last appearance of the First Doctor (played by William Hartnell)

 The last appearance of the First Doctor (played by Richard Hurndall)

 The last appearance of the Third Doctor (played by Jon Pertwee)

 The last appearance of the Fourth Doctor (played by Tom Baker)

 The last appearance of companion Susan (played by Carole Ann Ford)

 The last appearance of companion Zoe Heriot (played by Wendy Padbury)

 The last appearance of companion Liz Shaw (played by Caroline John)

 The last appearance of companion Captain Mike Yates (played by Richard Franklin)

 The last appearance of companion Romana (played by Lalla Ward)


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Turlough and Tegan Assist The Doctor
Turlough and Tegan Assist The Doctor

While on holiday visiting the Eye of Orion with his two companions, Tegan Jovanka and Vislor Turlough, the Fifth Doctor begins to experience flashes of pain, feeling as though bits of his existence are being removed from time.

In a garden somewhere on Earth, the First Doctor attempts to flee from a peculiar energy form which scoops him up and takes him away. Elsewhere, at a UNIT headquarters building, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (aka The Brigadier) is visiting the Commanding Officer of UNIT, Charles Crichton, when the Second Doctor pays a social call. However, as they reminisce over old times the Second Doctor and The Brigadier encounter the same energy form which whisks them away. The same effect also kidnaps the Third Doctor, driving alone on a British country road in his yellow roadster, Bessie, and Sarah Jane Smith, who has just left her flat to catch a bus – despite K9 warning her of impending danger.

Meanwhile somewhere, in a dark chamber, an unidentified man places figurines of each of those who have been kidnapped onto a playing field. He then attempts to remove the Fourth Doctor and Romana as they are punting on a river, but a temporal eddy prevents this from happening, and the two become stuck in time.

Inside The TARDIS
Inside The TARDIS

In the Gallifreyan capitol, the High Council of Time Lords, headed by Lord President Borusa and consisting of Chancellor Flavia and the Castellan, learn of the reactivation of the Death Zone, the abduction of The Doctor’s former selves from the time line, and the drain of power from the Eye of Harmony. They reluctantly agree to call The Master to assist them.

The Master, who is intrigued by their invitation, is startled to find that The Doctor’s past selves are being taken out of time... and only he is ruthless and cunning enough to enter the Death Zone - Gallifrey’s darkest secret - to rescue them. In return, the High Council promises The Master a new cycle of regenerations should he cooperate. Curious by this proposal, he accepts, and so is transmatted into the Death Zone.

The First Doctor and Susan
The First Doctor and Susan

After reaching the safety of the TARDIS the Fifth Doctor sets the coordinates before he collapses to the floor, leaving a horrified Tegan and Turlough to worry about what is happening to The Doctor. Meanwhile, wandering alone in a twisting maze, the First Doctor encounters his granddaughter, Susan... and a Dalek! They narrowly escape, after being pursued by the Dalek, and discover that they are on Gallifrey. The Fifth Doctor’s TARDIS then arrives in the Death Zone which is discovered by the First Doctor and Susan. Inside the First Doctor and Susan meet the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. Together they attempt to determine why they have been brought here.

The Third Doctor finds Sarah Jane Smith just as they are attacked by strange bolts of lightening, and soon encounter The Master, whom they do not believe is working for the Time Lords and so is attempting to help them. This is despite The Master producing a copy of the Seal of the High Council, that was given to him to prove to The Doctors that he is working for them. The Third Doctor believing it to be either stolen or a fake.

The Master then encounters the Fifth Doctor who, accompanied by Tegan and Susan is exploring the Death Zone. But when they are attacked by Cybermen, The Master is temporarily knocked out, by a shot from a Cyberman, and loses the transmat device that he was also given to escape the Death Zone. Foiled by both his attempt at honesty, The Master instead decides to ally himself with the Cybermen.

The Second Doctor and The Brigadier
The Second Doctor and The Brigadier

The Fifth Doctor, on discovering the transmat device before the Cybermen capture him, uses it to return to the Capital, where he is informed of the situation by the Council. The Doctor, suspecting foul play, discovers that the transmat device included a homing beacon that would lure the Cybermen to it, and the Castellan is arrested on charges of being a traitor. Evidence, in the form of the Black Scrolls of Rassilon, purportedly containing forbidden Time Lord knowledge, is then discovered in the Castellan’s chambers. Borusa burns the scrolls and orders the Castellan to be mind probed for interrogation, but the Castellan escapes and is shot down by a Citadel guard. Borusa considers the matter closed, but The Doctor confides in Flavia his doubts. When the two try to find Borusa in the Council room, they find him missing.

Back in the Death Zone the Second Doctor and The Brigadier attempt to enter the Dark Tower, that is at the centre of the Death Zone, through an underground passage. The second Doctor explains to The Brigadier that long ago, the Time Lords transported off-worlders to the Death Zone using a Time Scoop, where they made their captors engage in blood sports. Upon their enlightenment, the Time Lords stopped this horrific practice and forbade use of the Time Scoop. Now, the only point of interest in the Death Zone should be the Tomb of Rassilon, the first and greatest of the Time Lords who gave them the secret of time travel... but someone is using the Time Scoop again, exemplified when the Second Doctor and The Brigadier are attacked by a Yeti.

The Third Doctor and Sarah also attempt to enter the Dark Tower, though they must pass a deadly Raston Warrior Robot, which they are able to do when the Cybermen become a new targets for the Raston Warrior Robot, before using its gear to enter the tower from the top, using cabling to transport themselves across a chasm.

Susan Meets the Fifth Doctor
Susan Meets the Fifth Doctor

With the Fifth Doctor having disappeared and Susan straining her ankle the First Doctor and Tegan attempt to enter the Dark Tower through the front entrance, followed closely by The Master and the Cybermen. Inside they have to attempt to solve several logic puzzles including an electrified floor which destroys the Cybermen when The Master tricks them.

Meanwhile, another contingent of Cybermen is attempting to destroy the TARDIS. Turlough and Susan, who are stuck inside the TARDIS due to it being drained of energy, watch helpless as the Cybermen set up a fusion bomb outside.

After encountering phantoms of former companions, that try to warn them off, the First, Second and Third Doctors, The Brigadier, Sarah and Tegan are all reunited in the Tomb of Rassilon inside the Dark Tower, where The Master pulls a weapon on them. The Brigadier however, knocks out The Master before he is able to cause any harm. They then set to work on deciphering an obelisk upon which is written some strange symbols in Old Gallifreyan.

The Master
The Master

In the Capitol, the Fifth Doctor, having been refused to return to the Death Zone, is hunting around the President’s office when he stumbles upon a secret chamber, unlocked by a musical tune noted in a painting of Rassilon. Inside the chamber, The Doctor is horrified to discover his old friend Borusa is behind everything. Borusa, fearing the end of his regenerative cycle, has stumbled upon the secret of Rassilon’s immortality, and has used the Time Scoop to bring The Doctor’s former selves together, to enter the Dark Tower and solve Rassilon’s final mystery. Using the Crown and Sash of Rassilon, Borusa commands the Fifth Doctor to do his bidding. After the past Doctors lower the forcefield surrounding the Dark Tower, both the TARDIS, carrying Turlough and Susan, as well as Borusa and the Fifth Doctor all arrive, where Borusa reveals his plans to everyone.

Suddenly, a voice from the darkness beckons. Rassilon, the greatest Time Lord of all, is alive in his own tomb, an ethereal presence in the shadows. President Borusa demands immortality. Rassilon asks The Doctors if Borusa is worthy of this gift, and all say no - all except for the First Doctor, who inexplicably agrees that Borusa is indeed worthy. Borusa receives his gift - immortality is granted as he is encased in stone in the sides of Rassilon’s tomb, there to spend forever in isolation and despair.

Rassilon then asks The Doctors if they wish immortality too, and naturally, they turn down the offer. The Master vanishes, as Rassilon notes that his crimes will find their punishment elsewhere; Rassilon also frees the Fourth Doctor and Romana from their time loop, before vanishing into the ether. The First Doctor is very pleased with himself; he suddenly realised the true meaning of the Old Gallifreyan phrase on the obelisk, ‘To lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose’. He takes Susan into the TARDIS, as does the Second Doctor with The Brigadier and the Third Doctor with Sarah - before it splits into four forms, the first three vanishing into their own times and journeys.

Chancellor Flavia then arrives with a contingent of Gallifreyan guards to find just the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. Flavia notes that The Doctor has evaded his responsibilities for far too long, and with Borusa now being noted as ‘unavailable’, The Doctor must take his place as Lord President of Gallifrey (which had been bestowed onto him in "The Deadly Assassin"). The Fifth Doctor, unhappy with the task, tells Flavia to return to the Capitol and that she has full deputy powers until his return. The Doctor then takes Tegan and Turlough and flees to the TARDIS. Inside Tegan cannot believe that The Doctor prefers to go on the run in a rackety old TARDIS. The Doctor, however, smiles and observes that after all, that’s how it all started.

 
Sarah Jane Smith and The Third Doctor
Sarah Jane Smith and The Third Doctor
The Raston Warrior Robot
The Raston Warrior Robot
The Cybermen
The Cybermen
Jamie and Zoe?
Jamie and Zoe?
 
President Borusa with the Fifth Doctor
President Borusa with the Fifth Doctor
Rassilon
Rassilon
Four Doctors Working Together
Four Doctors Working Together
K9 and Sarah Jane Smith
K9 and Sarah Jane Smith




Quote of the Story


 'One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.'

The First Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
VHS
The Five DoctorsSeptember 1985BBCV 2020Andrew SkilleterEdited Version Released on VHS and Betamax
Audio
LP
Doctor Who: The Music II1985REC 552Music score
Audio
Tape
Doctor Who: The Music II1985Music score
Video
VHS
The Five DoctorsJuly 1990BBCV 4387Alister PearsonRe-released in unedited format on VHS only
Audio
CD
Doctor Who - The Five Doctors - Classic Music From The BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume 21992FLMCD 710Alister PearsonMusic score
Audio
CD
30 Years at the Radiophonic Workshop1993BBC CD 871Photo-montageSound effects
Video
Laser Disc
The Five DoctorsAugust 1994Andrew SkilleterReleased in the US only
Audio
CD
The Worlds of Doctor Who1994FLMCD 715Photo-montageMusic score
Video
VHS
The Five DoctorsNovember 1995BBCV 5734Colin HowardReleased as part of a boxed set with the "The King's Demons" and a postcard book
Video
DVD
The Five DoctorsNovember 1999BBCDVD 1006Colin Howard"The Special Edition" version
Video
DVD
The Five DoctorsMarch 2008BBCDVD 2450Re-released as a "The Five Doctors 25th Anniversary Edition" This release contains both the original broadcast version and "The Special Edition"
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks
Audio
CD
The Five DoctorsSeptember 2018Photo-montage
Audio
LP
The Five DoctorsOctober 2018Photo-montage


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
The Five DoctorsNovember 1983Target No. 81Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterFirst edition flash. ISBN: 0-426-19510-8
Novel
Novel
The Five Doctors1983Target No. 81Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterSecond edition flash. ISBN: 0-426-19510-8
Novel
Novel
The Five Doctors1984Target No. 81Terrance DicksBook: Andrew Skilleter
Box: Photo
Re-released as part of The Sixth Doctor Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-19609-0
Novel
Novel
The Five DoctorsFebruary 1991Target No. 81Terrance DicksAlister PearsonVirgin new cover reprint.
ISBN: 0-426-19510-8
CD
CD
The Five DoctorsNovember 2017Target No. 81Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterAudio version of the Target Novel read by Jon Culshaw.
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 69 (Released: January 1997)
Doctor Who Monthly - PreviewIssue 80 (Released: September 1983)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 85 (Released: February 1984)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 96 (Released: January 1985)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 313 (Released: February 2002)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 382 (Released: May 2007)
Doctor Who Magazine - Countdown to 50Issue 450 (Released: September 2012)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 467 (Released: November 2013)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 4 (Released: February 2009)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

Peter Davison
The Fifth Doctor

Richard Hurndall
The First Doctor

Patrick Troughton
The Second Doctor

Jon Pertwee
The Third Doctor

Tom Baker
The Fourth Doctor

Carole Ann Ford
Susan
Nicholas Courtney
The Brigadier
Elisabeth Sladen
Sarah Jane Smith
   
Lalla Ward
Romana 2
Janet Fielding
Tegan Jovanka
Mark Strickson
Turlough
   
John Leeson (voice only)
K9 Mk III





On Release

Original VHS Video Cover
Original VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Audio LP - Doctor Who: The Music II
Audio LP - Doctor Who: The Music II

BBC
AUDIO
Audio Tape - Doctor Who: The Music II
Audio Tape - Doctor Who: The Music II

BBC
AUDIO
Re-released VHS Video Cover
Re-released VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   
Doctor Who - The Five Doctors CD Cover
Doctor Who - The Five Doctors CD Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO
Sound Effects CD Cover
Sound Effects CD Cover

BBC
AUDIO
Laser Disc Cover
Laser Disc Cover

Encore Entertainment
VIDEO
Worlds of Doctor Who CD Cover
Worlds of Doctor Who CD Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO
   
Special Edition VHS Video Cover
Special Edition VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
25th Anniversary Edition DVD Cover
25th Anniversary Edition DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   
Original Television Soundtrack CD Cover
Original Television Soundtrack CD Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO
Original Television Soundtrack LP Cover
Original Television Soundtrack LP Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
Target Book Cover (Second Edition Flash)
Target Book Cover (Second Edition Flash)

Target
NOVEL
The Sixth Doctor Who Gift Set
The Sixth Doctor Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
Reprinted Virgin Book Cover
Reprinted Virgin Book Cover

Virgin
NOVEL
   
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD



Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 69
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 69

CMS
Doctor Who Monthly - Preview: Issue 80
Doctor Who Monthly - Preview: Issue 80

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 85
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 85

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 96
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 96

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 313
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 313

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 382
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 382

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Countdown to 50: Issue 450
Doctor Who Magazine - Countdown to 50: Issue 450

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 467
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 467

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 4
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 4

GE Fabbri
   

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