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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Doctor Who The Five Doctors (BBC Video/25th Anniversary Edition DVD)

Doctor Who The Five Doctors (BBC Video/25th Anniversary Edition)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-      Extras: A+     Movie: A+

This two-disc set features the 1983 and 1995 versions of the 20th Anniversary Doctor Who special, The Five Doctors, a ninety minute show that originally aired in 1983. There are only minor differences between the two versions, and the most important elements, the story and the performances, shine brightly in both. This incredible story brings together the five versions of Doctor Who, played by Richard Hurndall (replacing the late William Hartnell, the original first Doctor), Patrick Troughton (the second), Jon Pertwee (the third), Tom Baker (the fourth), and Peter Davison (the fifth, and at that time current Doctor). Although Tom Baker's fourth Doctor plays only a small part in the action, creating a story befitting the presence of five incarnations of the Doctor must have been a formidable task, but writer Terrance Dicks was up to it. Plucked from various points in the time-stream, the five Doctors find themselves and some of their deadliest foes transported to a mysterious citadel on their home planet of Gallifrey.

Through the various twists and turns of this rip-roaring adventure we get to see some of the best of what made each version of the Doctor great in his own way. Hartnell's grumpiness and wisdom, Troughton's frenetic pacing, Pertwee's dandy charisma, Baker's loopy demeanor, and Davison's cool blend of the first three Doctors all mesh to form a cohesive, yet somehow still wonderfully chaotic, picture of the first twenty years of the Doctor. The Doctors are joined by many of their companions past and present, including some quick cameos toward the end from even more companions who hadn't been seen to that point in the story.

The picture and sound on both versions is superior too much of what we've seen so far from BBC's release of the classic episodes. The 1995 version of the feature on disc two offers some re-worked special effects for the capture scenes and a new, inhuman voice for the spirit of Rassilon, the ancient Time Lord whose tomb the five Doctors must penetrate to learn its secrets. Ample bonus material exists on both discs, including some wonderful cuts of Davison and his fellow "Doctors" appearing on various British television shows to promote what was then the 20th anniversary of the show. In addition to other material disc two also features The Ties That Bind Us, a neat little informational peace examining some of the continuity hooks that link The Five Doctors to the rest of the episodes in the Doctor Who's previous twenty years.

The Five Doctors opens with perhaps one of the most memorable quotes in the history of the show, William Hartnell's wonderful valediction to his granddaughter. His promise to return one day was made prophecy by the incredible script behind The Five Doctors, and the combined performances in this set make it a fitting celebration of a television phenomenon that continues to this day.



- Scott R. Pyle


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