Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Three Doctors

Have you ever met yourself? I have. It’s a very frustrating experience to be honest. At least in this story the three Doctors didn’t start singing and dancing – that’s what happened when I bumped into to other selves the last time.
Publicity shot of the Three Doctors.
Please see ‘The Quest for the Golden Slippers’ for more information.

‘The Three Doctors’ was penned by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, and in some ways is the least bizarre of their first three tales. An honour to receive the chance to write the first ever multi-Doctor story I expect, they acquitted themselves very well. But as a viewer, it’s just a joy to see, above everything else, Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton on screen together. They look like they actually get along very well, but I believe initially they didn’t. However their dialogue, their exchanges were just a joy to behold, and Baker and Martin wrote very well from Troughton.
Poor William Hartnell, in poor health at the time, gets sadly very little to do except appear on the TARDIS scanner and issue instructions. Would have loved even one scene with him and the other two in the final episode. It’s a pity that wasn’t possible and for much of the story it is sadly just the two Doctors.

Perhaps though the actor that steals the show in this one is Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier in the way he deals with Patrick Troughton, not to mention the situation. Finally the Brig and Benton (John Levene) get inside the TARDIS to see what it’s all about. Nicholas Courtney spends most of the four episodes disbelieving everything the Doctors say to him, blowing his top and being extremely army-like (as in more than usual!). As with Jon Pertwee his best stuff is playing straight man to Patrick Troughton.
We have the return of the Time Lord home planet, still unnamed (Spoiler alert: It’s Gallifrey. I should know, I was born there!). It’s very big and very blue, and we have a bunch of Time Lords without names who we don’t know much about running the show.
Then there is the villain of the piece, Omega, played by the boisterous Stephen Thorne. Thorne was equally as loud as Azal in ‘The Daemons’, still he didn’t hold back here either. In an interview on the DVD he said he would have played it much softer if he had the chance to do it again. He did, perhaps push it too far, although I didn’t mind the performance to be fair. It certainly is a very impressive voice! The mask and look was rather good too.
The story is not as clever as the previous two by this industrious writing pair. ‘The Mutants’ especially makes the audience think and analyse, and ‘The Claws of Axos’ is full of ideas an imagery, however, ‘The Three Doctors’ is an anniversary tale, and as such is somewhat functionary to allow the Doctors to come together. The ideas of anti-matter and going through a black hole are nevertheless interesting and may well have perked some kids’ interest in science and astronomy.

Back in a quarry, it would have been nice for a different sort of world, as much as did suit the world of Omega for the story. Quarries, by now, have become almost the default exterior location for filming Doctor Who. The sets were colourful, the use of bubbles nice on the walls, although the ‘blob’ or ‘bubble’ creatures were a little too comical for my liking.
The Brig and the second Doctor have some great moments.
Even counting the negatives, Patrick Troughton on screen, in colour bickering with Jon Pertwee erases most ills of this story in my opinion, and makes it an enormously fun!


No comments:

Post a Comment