Doctor Who: The War Games (Story #50)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 5/10

Decent, important story

Long story


Let’s blend in Doctor!

The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Wendy (Zoe Heriot), and Jamie (Frazer Hines) have landed in a war zone in 1917…but all is not as it seems.  The trio quickly discovers that there are multiple war zones and that the war zones span time and space.  The Doctor realizes that he is facing one of his own kind called the War Chief (Edward Brayshaw) under the control of the War Lord (Philip Madoc).  As the Doctor tries to free the people trapped by in the war games, he learns that he might have to face the consequences of his actions and a final showdown with his people…the Time Lords!

I have one fighting in the War Room!

I have one rule…no fighting in the War Room!

Doctor Who: The War Games aired as the season finale of the sixth season of the long running BBC series.  The story aired in ten parts from April 19, 1969 to June 21, 1969.  The serial featured the departure of the Doctor’s companions Jamie and Wendy and the final regular appearance of Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor.  Doctor Who:  The War Games is also the final Doctor Who serial to be shot in black-and-white.  Following the lost Doctor Who:  The Space Pirates, the story has collected as part of The Patrick Troughton Years as Story #50 but is currently out-of-print on DVD.

Doctor Who:  The War Games is a big one…for multiple reasons.  Not only is it extremely long, but Doctor Who:  The War Games features a lot of Doctor Who firsts…and lasts.  If you are a fan of Doctor Who it is a must.


We are the Time Lords who say ni!

The story for Doctor Who:  The War Games is actually kind of modern in that it is reminiscent of something like The Hunger Games or Battle Royale.  The time shifting, zone based war that has crossovers in time feels almost like The Truman Show.  The serial is really long, but this episode isn’t really about the actual serial but what happens as a result.

The episode says goodbye to the Second Doctor by finally giving you more answers about his past.  Though the term “regeneration” hasn’t been coined, Patrick Troughton ends his run as the Doctor.  It is too bad since modern viewers barely know him due to his missing years.  The Doctor reveals his people are called the Time Lords and that he broke their law by becoming proactive…this is why he’s been on the run and why he has the TARDIS.


Bye Doc…we barely know you! (at least today)

The serial also sets up future multiple seasons of Doctor Who and changes the direction of Doctor Who for years.  The Time Lords see it fit to punish the Doctor and banish him to Earth.  This leads to the leaving of Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Wendy (Zoe Heriot) who are returned to their original times…Frazer Hines and Zoe Heriot both appeared in Doctor Who:  The Five Doctors (in cameos as illusions), but Frazer Hines returned for a bigger role as the Second Doctor’s companion in Doctor Who:  The Two Doctors.  The episode also results in the arrival of U.N.I.T. and years of essentially Earth-bound and Time Lord controlled adventures.

Doctor Who:  The War Games is a fun and worthy venture despite its long runtime.  It is one of the most important episodes of the series and features a number of first.  I like Patrick Troughton and wish that we could see more of his adventures resurface since he seems a very worthy Doctor.  The Second Doctor however steps out here leaving Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor…and he too is a favorite of mine.  Doctor Who:  The War Games is followed by Doctor Who:  Spearhead from Space.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Space Pirates (Story #49)—MISSING

Doctor Who:  The Seeds of Death (Story #48)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Spearhead from Space (Story #51)

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.

Leave A Response