THE FIVE DOCTORS
Come back with me to a time, long ago, 1983, when DW aired in the US BEFORE it aired in the UK. Then, I hadn't seen the First Doctor or the Second Doctor or the Third Doctor in anything. I read about them in magazines, in the novelizations, and in fan fiction and fan made publications. There was no internet, no youtube, no reconstructions that I could find anyway. The First, Second, and Third Doctors were fantasies to me, thoughts. I thought I'd never really get to see any of them, let alone the stories that were lost. Thus, seeing Hartnell in the opening was fantastic but to be honest, it was better having him in an adventure, the First Doctor if not Hartnell. David Tennant on the recent FIVE DOCTORS dvd special commentary (WHY put HIM on the commentary, he wasn't even in it) was most flippant about that, "It's some bloke in a wig," but to me, it WAS the First Doctor, the characters. I really got what JNT was trying to do with this story. It was a celebration, an action adventure "game" with all the players in places and settings, doing what they do, it was fun, and for me anyway it was DOCTOR WHO the way it used to be. Tom Baker not being in it was a disappointment but to be honest at that time, I had had enough of Tom Baker to last twenty years or so. It would have been nice to see his Doctor interacting with the others but to be honest again, how would his Doctor WORK with the others when his so obviously the most interesting, most funny, and most dramatic and emphatical?
SO you know, I went back to the broadcast version of this special, the way it was, warts and all. As far as I know there are many versions of this and special re-edited versions, extra special special effects put into it, etc. I wanted to see it the way it was when broadcast.
The DVDs, for those who do not know, are edited, touched up, with all mistakes that can be wiped off, wiped off. DALEK INVASION OF EARTH has been reported to have things taken out that were flubs, parts of the backstage seen, etc that was OFF THE DVD. To me this is awful and downright criminal but whatever.
This story, from start to finish, is just GREAT. I know it's just fun, fun, fun, and not very deep but back then...and even now it just entertains. ANd in a way it is s crossover of five diffrent shows: DOCTOR WHO with the First Doctor, DOCTOR WHO with the Second, etc. It was nice to see stuff from SHADA, stuff I'd not get to see until one of the Gallifrean Embassy Members (Brian Q if I recall correctly) got somehow on video tape. Seeing it here in pristine color is so nice. But to see the Doctors, that were just concepts to me, is the best. Patrick Troughton is here, marvelous, a little imp who says, "Thank you," to people that don't deserve it, just as he did in his time on the show. His other quotes, in fact his whole demeanor is just right, just fun, and just makes this so great. ANd he remeets the Brig...the Brig! WHile at UNIT and making fun of the new Brig and the new decorated UNIT office. NOt that any of the facts that UNIT always changed, that the Brig never traveled with this Doctor much, or any of the toher "facts" and continuity bothered me. Just where was the Third Doctor lifted from? The First? Who cared back then? It was all so wonderful that it's amazing it was done at all.
The Script must have been somewhat difficult to write but with imagination...and the show was having it in spades here, it was done and done well. It is also easy to see the great humor the show had with the first three Doctors...all of them are quite funny. Compared to Davison they are very very funny and the current show cannot be compared favorably to the others for they were such showman. Still, it has been said Davison, in his scenes with the others, holds his own and it remains to be seen if he really does...I would say yes he does. That still doesn't stop me from thinking that among the first three Doctors, Tom's Doctor, and Davison, Davison comes up the weakest. For me, at that time, he was my second favorite Doctor after Baker but now... I feel differently.
Seeing Susan again in a maze that she thought was Skaro, along with the First Doctor ("As soon as I found myself in this horrible place, I started looking for you...") made me think that this is what the show was like in her time...and in reality it wasn't too far off. The Dalek: I was just so happy to see a Dalek, I didn't mind that it was stupid, slow moving, shot indiscriminately, and couldn't find the DOc and Susan who were kneeling down, etc. I was just happy to see it attack and be destroyed as it must have been done that way in the past and here, with all these elements...just great...It was nice that Susan recognized Gallifrey. How as another matter...let's face it, she's his grand daughter like it or not...
The Cybermen scene with the Brig and the 2nd Doctor was strange. One just sits there. Another one grabs the Brig through a hole in a wall. WTF? I didn't care. It was just fun. This Doc and this Brig are just a hoot together and I am glad circumstances put them together. OTherwise we might have had Jamie and the DOC 2 together and the Brig with Doc3. Ditto Doc3 and Sarah Jane. If TOm has been in this, it would have been he and Sarah but I found that Sarah and this Doc--3--also work well together. Frankly, I thnk it more intresting to see pairs that have not been with each other often. It makes it more unusual.
Finally seeing this Eye Of Orion made things jell together. The scene set there is tranquil and peaceful. I'd like to go there. Tegan makes a few jokes about the Doc's new console but she laughing and in a good mood. Turlough even seems to be enjoying himself and painting. THe location is nice as well.
The whole Doctor fading away, his other selves gone, is nicely done but...sort of forgotten about later on. The same thing about Gallifrey's energy draining away.
Frankly it was NOT nice to see the Master again so soon after THE KING'S DEMONS mess but...here, he's sent to rescue the Doctor and some of his lines makes one thing that...well, he really likes the Doctor. In KING'S DEMONS he even called the Doctor, "You're getting old, Doctor..." Who is older, he or the Doctor? Are they REALLY contemporaries? Could the Doctor be his father rather than as others have speculated, the other way around?
Either way this story was a glimpse into the past of the show while still being refreshing from the stories around it.