Wednesday 19 October 2011

331 The Three Doctors Episode Two

EPISODE: The Three Doctors Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 06 January 1973
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Lennie Mayne
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Three Doctors
Episode Format: 625 video

With the Third Doctor gone the creature quietens down allowing Benton & the Second Doctor to leave the Tardis. The Brigadier arrives believing that one of the Doctor's experiments has gone wrong and he's reverted to his earlier appearance. The Time Lords' power is being drained further by a black hole leading to the universe of anti-matter. The Third Doctor & Jo wake in a barren wasteland. While they explore they are followed by one of the creatures that attacked UNIT HQ. The Second Doctor works out that the creature at UNIT HQ is made of anti matter and tries to contain it. The Third Doctor & Jo find a number of items that had vanished from their world including Bessie. The Second Doctor finishes building a containment device but is called away leaving Benton in charge of the equipment. However the creature reacts when he throws his chewing gum wrapper at it growing stronger as Benton increases the containment field forcing the Second Doctor, Benton and, at long last, The Brigadier into the Tardis. Jo & the Third Doctor find Doctor Tyler in the wasteland. They explain to him that they are at the other end of the lightstreak on his photographic plates on a stable world of anti matter within the black hole. The Doctor speculates they have been kidnapped but by who? Their kidnapper is observing them and sends the Gellguard creatures to fetch them. The Doctor works out what he's done and tries to find his recorder to help him think. The Third Doctor, Jo & Doctor Tyler are brought to a palace in the wasteland. Doctor Tyler attempts to escape but is swiftly recaptured. The Second Doctor puts the Brigadier in touch with Corporal Palmer who reports UNIT HQ is surrounded. The First Doctor appears on the monitor and advises the Second to turn the Tardis forcefield off. Tyler wonders how they survive, as positive matter, in the anti-matter world without causing a massive explosion. The Third Doctor tells them that they have been converted to anti-matter. The Second Doctor obeys the First, deactivating the Tardis forcefield. The Gellguards surrounding UNIT HQ vanish, and then so does the building which we see being dragged through the black hole.

Oh that was fab. Completely driven for me by Second Doctor's reunion & interaction with the Brigadier as the Brigadier refuses to believe the Doctor's story, and won't even listen to Benton, coming up with his own version of events. I'd say he's sticking his head in the sand but we really want to be saving the euphemism for what he does in the next episode! The Second Doctor continues the series occasional digs at the medium it's part of with the superb
Keep it confused, feed it with useless information..... I wonder if I have a television set handy?
Then as an added bonus he gets the Brigadier's radio working by whacking it on the Tardis console years before a "delicate technical adjustment" became common practice in the computer support profession! Anyone in any doubt that Doctor Tyler's escape attempt is padding out a slightly under running episode is put right by his "that was a bit of a waste of time wasn't it?" comment on his recapture.

Jon Pertwee's third & fourth season, Doctor Who's ninth & tenth, appear on screen in this order, which is the order I've been watching them:

Season 9

Day Of The Daleks
The Curse Of Peladon
The Sea Devils
The Mutants
The Time Monster

Season 10

The Three Doctors
Carnival Of Monsters
Frontier In Space
Planet Of The Daleks
The Green Death

However this story was produced out of sequence to allow for the availability of Patrick Troughton, as ever much in demand. The following story, The Carnival of Monsters, was filmed first at the end of the series ninth season followed by the story after that, The Frontier in Space, before The Three Doctors was produced. This isn't the first time a story has been filmed out of sequence, in fact it had happened the previous year for the Sea Devils. The production order for these two season is thus:

Recording Block Nine

KKK: Day Of The Daleks
LLL: The Sea Devils
MMM: The Curse Of Peladon
NNN: The Mutants
OOO: The Time Monster
PPP: Carnival Of Monsters

Recording Block Ten

QQQ: Frontier In Space
RRR: The Three Doctors
SSS: Planet Of The Daleks
TTT: The Green Death
UUU: The Time Warrior

The final story of this block, filmed in May 1973, was held over for the Eleventh season, mainly filmed from September 1972 onwards and broadcast from mid December 1973 onwards.

Note the three letter codes. Each production, even the earliest without overall story titles has a code. Unearthly Child is A, The Daleks is B etc through to story Z The Gunfighters. We then start again with AA for the Savages, BB for the War Machines through to ZZ for, coincidentally, Troughton's last story the War Games. Pertwee's first story Spearhead from space is AAA and off we go again.

The intention was that the Second Doctor would be accompanied by Jamie but actor Frazer Hines was committed to work on Emerdale Farm where he played Joe Sugden. It would seem his role is largely filled by what Sergeant Benton does in this story which might be worth remembering when you watch the next episode. Corporal Palmer, who appears in the first two episodes, probably fulfils the function Benton would have had. Meanwhile Richard Franklin, as Captain Yates, is absent from an Earth bound UNIT story for the first time since his debut. At the time he was involved in a theatre production, which was known about quite some distance in advance. However it's worth imagining what a nice touch it would be if he was in charge of the troops left defending UNIT HQ at the end of this second episode!

The DVD of this story has an authoring error at the end of this episode which repeats a shot towards the end causing audio & video to become out of sync - it's the UNIT soldier staring at the departed UNIT HQ meaning the title crash in slightly too early. Some fans have been up in arms over this for years but it's only now with very precise instructions that I've been able to spot it..... and I don't think it matters one bit. There's far worse DVD faults out there but fixing this has contributed too this story being included in the Revisitations volume 3 DVD set with Tomb of the Cybermen and Robots of Death.

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