Doctor Who – The Three Doctors, starring Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney
In The Three Doctors, The Time Lords are in crisis. A powerful force is draining their energy into a mysterious Black Hole … And they’re forced to recruit the Doctor to save them. But one Doctor isn’t enough for this mission. All three of the Doctor’s incarnations, aided by Jo Grant and UNIT, must face the wrath of Omega. He’s an ancient Time Lord trapped in a universe of anti-matter, with one thing on his mind: Escape. Which soon turns to revenge …
I have to say, I feel sorry for Omega, the antagonist of The Three Doctors. He’s one of the founders of Time Lord society. But he’s been accidentally exiled for thousands of years. Without his efforts, time travel for the Time Lords would have been impossible. But, he’s been driven nearly mad by his insanely long time alone.
It’s not that I want him to win, mind you. He’s dangerous, and is willing to cause massive chaos and damage to escape. But I have empathy for him. Also, his mask and outfit is quite impressive, given the BBC’s low budget:
The same can’t be said for his antimatter minions — they simply look silly. But again, there was little to no budget. One other disappointing thing was William Hartnell’s limited participation in the story. I know that he was having severe health issues. But, it’s too bad that he wasn’t able to participate more fully.
The interaction‘ between Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor and Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor is delightful to watch. Especially when the second Doctor seems to be silly … But he’s actually quite canny, such as when he’s testing Omega’s temper. As the second Doctor explains to the first, it’s Omega’s only weakness …
The Doctor and UNIT are called upon to investigate strange events surrounding Dr. Tyler’s research into cosmic rays. UNIT HQ comes under attack by an alien force, and the Doctor has no other option but to call on the Time Lords for help. The Time Lords, too, are under attack – from a mysterious power emanating from a black hole in space. With power reserves falling, the only way they can help the Doctor is to break the First Law of Time and allow him to help himself. The First and Second Doctors are lifted out of their time streams and sent to Earth to help the Third. Between the three of them, they must find a solution to the threat that not only endangers UNIT and Earth, but also the future of the Time Lords themselves.
Editorial review of The Three Doctors courtesy of Amazon.com
Made to mark the series’ tenth anniversary, Doctor Who: The Three Doctors finds Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor teaming up with the Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell incarnations to battle a universe-threatening foe. Omega (played by an excellent Stephen Thorne) is the Timelord who gave his race the power necessary for time travel. Long presumed dead, he is actually trapped in an antimatter universe inside a black hole, and is scheming an epic revenge.
Set in UNIT HQ, Omega’s domain, and a chalk pit, Bob Baker and David Martin’s yarn is both nonsensical and more wildly ambitious than the BBC effects unit could possibly visualize, so much so that the best moments come with the metaphysically chilling scene when Omega is unmasked, and in the bickering rivalry between Pertwee and Troughton.
Sadly, Hartnell was seriously ill with arteriosclerosis, so his brief scenes were all taped in a day and played on a monitor in the TARDIS, the reason given that the First Doctor is trapped in a “time eddy.” If hardly a classic, this is still a meatier tale than “The Two Doctors” (1985), which starred Troughton and Colin Baker, and features ever-dependable support from Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier. –Gary S. Dalkin