Enemy of the World from Future Shop Canada
An Adventure in Space and Time from Future Shop Canada
Enemy of the World from Best Buy Canada
An Adventure in Space and Time from Best Buy Canada
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...
Day 340: The Three Doctors, Episode Four
I've always rather liked the idea that various incarnations of the Doctor just don't see eye-to-eye, and end up bickering a lot. I once saw it described as being on a date with your attractive new partner, when your younger self from ten years ago shows up and manages to completely embarrass you. I think that's the perfect description for the relationship between the Second and Third Doctors - one takes themselves far more seriously than the other does!
It's crystallised here when Omega considers them both before taking the Third Doctor to one side to ask if he's sure that both incarnations are of the same intelligence. It's a great line and it had me laughing out loud - I really am more unfamiliar with the latter half of this story than I am with the first half. It means that I get to be surprised by just how well these two Doctors interact with each other. Once all the arguments and one-upmanship has finished, they actually make a rather good team.
As anniversary stories go, The Three Doctors is a bit of an oddity. We tend to class it as the Tenth Anniversary celebration, and it kickstarts the tradition of Doctors meeting up every ten years (a tradition that has held throughout the programme's life, although for the 40th anniversary not all the actors were playing the Doctor all the time), but it's not really a celebration of ten years, is it? For a start, it was broadcast almost a year too early, just after the programme's ninth anniversary, and the only real link to the past is the appearance of the two older Doctors - one of whom is in a sadly reduced role.
But there's several other elements that feel like they're missing here, too. There's not Captain Yates for example. Maybe he's on leave? He did have a bomb hit him almost square-on in the last story… It just seems strange that in this story we think of as celebrating the show, we're missing one of the key figures from this point of the legacy.
It does however start to set us up with a number of things that will be important in the future. The Doctors telepathically communicating with each other becomes a staple of their multi-Doctor team ups. Omega will return to do battle with the TIme Lords on the next big anniversary for the show. And perhaps most important of all… UNIT HQ has finally started to settle down! The laboratory seen in this story is the one that I most readily associate with the Third Doctor. It's the same one (or, at the very least, the same style) as the one we see again in Planet of the Spiders and Robot (and a single episode of Blue Peter…), and I have to confess that I'm surprised by how late into the UNIT era it's arrived. I think I'd always sort of assumed that this was the design of the UNIT lab, and that it was more-or-less constant throughout the early 1970s. I'm wondering if we'll see it again before Planet of the Spiders, and I'm hoping so - I'd hate to think that a set I've always considered so iconic only made three appearances!
I'm also slightly surprised by the break-up of the UNIT era. I've always known that the end of this story sees the Third Doctor given his freedom and allowed to travel out among the stars again, but I thought that with maybe one exemption, he'd been very much stuck on Earth before now. Having UNIT only feature at the top and tail of Season Nine has made it already feel like the Doctor has a fair degree of freedom, so there's less of an impact carried by this moment that I'd expected. What is rather lovely is the way that he insists on sticking around for a bit before taking off. Jo's worried that it means we'll be seeing the last of him with his 'family', but the Doctor decides that there's things to do before he can go gallivanting off to the stars. There really is a rather nice through-line from Spearhead From Space to now which sees the Doctor adapting to - and coming to terms with - his exile, and I think Jo is a huge part of that process. I'm glad that I can finally see what all the fuss is about with this pair, they really are made for each other, aren't they?
Oh! Ah! What's that strange feeling? It's almost as though I'm being picked up by a time scoop! Oh dear! Those silly Time Lords must have got something wrong! I seem to be heading for… 1967? Well this is really going to mess up the dating of the diary. And you thought the UNIT dating was bad!