Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (Story #129)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

All your favorite Doctors and companions, the Raston Warrior Robot

No Tom Baker


You kind of look like someone I know…

Someone is manipulating time.  Pulling the past incarnations of the Doctor (Peter Davison) out of time along with some of his deadliest enemies, the enemy has put the Doctors and his companions in Galifrey’s Death Zone.  When the Time Lords recruit the Master (Anthony Ainley) to aid the Doctors, the Master and the Doctor must help his former selves (Richard Hurndall, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, and Tom Baker) and his friends (Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Carole Ann Ford, Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen, Lalla Ward) escape the Death Zone and find the real enemy before it is too late.


Hey guys…let’s make a deal!

Doctor Who:  The Five Doctors was a special airing at the end of the twentieth season of the long running Doctor Who.  The special actually aired in the United States first on November 23, 1983 then aired in the UK on November 25, 1983.  Following Doctor Who:  The King’s Demons, the special has been collected as part of The Peter Davison Years as Story #130 (or Story #129 if you don’t count the unaired Doctor Who:  Shada).

Doctor Who events like Doctor Who:  The Five Doctors are big deals.  It gives the show the opportunity to bring back fan favorites and see characters that you thought were gone forever…Doctor Who:  The Five Doctors is probably the most exciting of these crossover events as a result.


Where’s that other guy?

The show has (almost) everyone you’d want.  Characters like the Doctor’s long forgotten (and confusingly sometimes unmentioned) granddaughter Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford) get a chance to come back along with old companions like Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen), the Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), and cameos by Liz Shaw (Caroline John) and Mike Yates (Richard Franklin), Jamie (Frazer Hines), and Zoe (Wendy Padbury).


Doctor…I really would feel more comfortable with the other Doctor…

Unfortunately, there is a big part of the special missing.  Despite being called “The Five Doctors”, it is really only “The Four Doctors”.  The Fourth Doctor Tom Baker refused to return to shoot the special and as a result his character is “lost in the time vortex” with Romano.  Baker has since regretted it, but it also prevented tons of great moments and a shifting of the storylines since some companions were meant to be with other Doctors (Sarah Jane the 4th Doctor, the Brigadier the 3rd Doctor etc).

Due to the death of William Hartnell, the First Doctor is replaced with Richard Hurndall.  This doesn’t bother me as much as Baker’s missing role.  Hartnell was pretty frail during Doctor Who:  The Three Doctors, and I’m glad that they had a “First Doctor” since it meant the return of Susan with some great moments.


Die! Die! Die!

The show also employes some great Doctor Who enemies.  The Cybermen and of course the Daleks all play a role in the special.  Even the Yeti gets into the mix.  My personal favorite is the all new Raston Warrior Robot.  It is a guy in a leotard who jumps around and disappears, reappears, and shoots spears…I would kill for that guy to come back in the current Doctor Who series in some form.

Doctor Who:  The Five Doctors is rather sad in a way.  It marked the “official” end of Jon Pertwee who does appear in some charity specials afterwards, but doesn’t return on camera to the Doctor again in an official special but did continue to make appearances for TV fundraiser events.  Pertwee is actually one of my favorite Doctors and it is sad to reach the end of his tale.  Doctor Who:  The Five Doctors is followed by Doctor Who:   Warriors of the Deep.

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Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The King’s Demons (Story #128)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Warriors of the Deep (Story #130)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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