The Five Doctors
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER:
Friday 25 November 1983
WRITER: Terrance Dicks
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
: 7.7 million viewers
DVD: Doctor Who - The Five Doctors (25th Anniversary Edition)
In 1973 Doctor Who celebrated it's 10th anniversary with a special story reuniting each of the first three Doctors. In 1983 producer John Nathan-Turner sought to emulate that with a story with all FIVE Doctors in. His first choice of director was Waris Hussein, who directed An Unearthly Child, but he declined and the job was passed to Peter Moffatt who'd successfully helmed State of Decay, The Visitation & Mawdryn Undead over the last few years. Meanwhile script editor Eric Saward was keen to get Robert Holmes involved with the program again having become a fan of the former script editor's writing while watching old stories. Holmes started work on a story, provisionally entitled "The Six Doctors", but gave up due to the changing requirements from the production office due to various actors availability. His predecessor as script editor Terrance Dicks, who'd been in charge at the time of the Three Doctors took over script duty.
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"One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."
The most obvious problem the production had was that the First Doctor, William Hartnell, had died in 1975. So to have the actual First Doctor involved in the story a clip from the Doctor's farewell to his Grand Daughter Susan, from The Dalek Invasion of Earth part 6: Flashpoint was played as a pre title sequence for the episode.
As to the first Doctor appearing in the program itself....
The Doctor show off the new Tardis console prop to Tegan.
The old Tardis console had been complained about during the making of Season 20 and John Nathan Turner had decided it was time for a new one.
When the Five Doctors special edition was released, scenes of the empty interior of the Dark Tower were inserted between the titles and this scene. Although they set the scene a little you wonder what they're doing there as you don't get to see inside the Tower for nearly another hour!
The Tardis has landed in the Eye of Orion where the crew are relaxing. Turlough is outside sketching
These are Mark Strickson's only location scenes as Turlough. Strickson then departed on holiday abroad only for it to be discovered that the film was damaged and he had to be recalled.
The location used for these scenes is Plas Brondanw, the family home of Clough Williams-Ellis, the man who created Portmerion, the location for The Prisoner and the 1976 Doctor Who story The Masque of Mandragora. The original filming session took place on 5th March 1983 with the remount a week later on the 11th
In a darkened control room a hidden figure brings equipment in to focus on the First Doctor in a rose garden. The First Doctor is pursued pursued by a tumbling black obelisk which consumes him. The figure places a miniature figurine of the Doctor on a playing board with a tower at it's centre.
The rose garden scenes, apeing similar ones in The Three Doctors were also filmed at Plas Brondanw on the same days as the Eye of Orion scenes.
Playing the First Doctor is Richard Hurndall, who was then most recognisable for a role in the fourth season Blake's 7 episode Assassin.
Another alteration for the special edition was replacing the obelisk with a spinning clear cone. To this day I'm not sure why as the original effect is decent enough.
As the First Doctor is taken, the Fifth feels a tug inside him. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is attending a UNIT reunion and talking with his replacement Colonel Crichton. The Second Doctor, who read a report of the Brigadier's visit in tomorrow's Times, arrives. He and the Brigadier step outside for a chat but are also chased and abducted by the tumbling black obelisk. The Fifth Doctor feels another tug inside him and then collapses.
What an awful use of the Doctor/Who? joke!
Nicholas Courtney - Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - had appeared in the program recently and was keen to return. Second Doctor Patrick Troughton however needed some convincing....
Playing Colonel Crichton is David Savile who was Lieutenant Carstairs in Patrick Troughton's final regular story, The War Games. His office intercom sounds awfully like the start up tone on a BBC Micro. What's UNIT, a top secret organisation, doing allowing reports of their reunion to be printed in the paper. The UNIT HQ scenes are filmed on 17th March at Denham Manor, which served as UNIT HQ in the Three Doctors in 1973.
The original intention was to pair The Second Doctor with Jamie, played by Frazer Hines. However Hines' regular job appearing in Emmerdale Farm limited his availability to one day's filming.
As far as can be seen the original past Doctor/Companion pairings were:
First Doctor with Susan
Second Doctor with Jamie
Third Doctor with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Fourth Doctor with Sarah Jane Smith
Watch and see how many of these actually work out in the program!
The Third Doctor drives Bessie down a road at speed when he is pursued and the captured by the obelisk.
Jon Pertwee was the first of the earlier Doctors to commit to taking part. The pursuit scenes in Bessie were filmed at Tilehouse Lane in Buckinghamshire, a short distance from Denham Manor shot on the same day. Both locations are very close to White Plains, the first ever Doctor Who location used in Reign of Terror.
The Fifth Doctor has Tegan & Turlough carry him into the Tardis as the Third Doctor is added to the First, Second & Brigadier on the gaming board.
On Earth K-9 warns Sarah-Jane against leaving the house, but she leaves him behind.
Elisabeth Sladen returns as Sarah Jane Smith, once again (briefly) paired with K-9 voiced by John Leeson. Looking at the locations used later, the K-9 prop would have been completely impractical.
Sarah Jane's house was filmed at West Common Road in Uxbridge also on 17th March 1983. The pond at the front of shot is now overgrown.
In Cambridge the Fourth Doctor & Romana indulge in a spot of punting when they are seized by the Obelisk.
After initially agreeing to the project the still recently departed Fourth Doctor Tom Baker backed out at a late stage. I'm told a lot of his role was re-assigned to the First Doctor. So to have the Fourth Doctor present footage was lifted from the unbroadcast story Shada featuring Baker and his at the time of Shada's filming future but by then ex-wife Lalla Ward as Romana punting on the stretch of the River Cam known as "the backs". This sequence was filmed 15th October 1979 and would have been used in the first episode of Shada.
The equipment malfunctions, trapping the Fourth Doctor & Romana meaning they cannot be used in the game. The Doctor collapses in the Tardis. Sarah Jane waits for the bus but is grabbed by the Obelisk as she stands at the bus stop
The bus stop scene was recorded at North Common Road, Uxbridge round the corner from the location for her home on the same day, 17th March 1983. I always thought the stop here looked just like the Richmond bound 371 (then 71) stop on Sandy Lane in Ham, close to where I went to school!
Surely it would have made more sense to be grabbed before the equipment went wrong abducting the Doctor & Romana and had have their abduction as the last use shown with no further abductions possible?
The picture of Doctor & Romana on the scanners in this story is also taken from Shada, when they're in Professor Chronotis' rooms
The Doctor starts to physically fade away and reappear as the Tardis materialises in a desolate landscape and the figure places their figurines on the board. Turlough discovers the Tardis has been paralysed.
The High Council of the Time Lords, led by a regenerated President Borusa summon the Master to help them find the Doctor
Anthony Ainley and Paul Jerricho return as The Master & The Castellan, with Borusa now being played by Philip Latham. The other member of the council, Chancellor Flavia, is played by Dinah Sheridan, who has a huge acting CV. She has two famous offspring, former conservative MP Jeremy Hanley and former Magpie presenter Jenny Hanley.
Nice to see the council have finally got a table to sit round. The previous set up in Arc of Infinity with them sitting on one side of the room not even looking directly at the president was very odd.
Where have Cardinal Zorac & Chancellor Thalira from Arc of Infinity gone? There again nobody seems to stay in high powered time lord jobs that long. This is the first and only time we see a President and Castellan twice! Come to think of it where's Commander Maxill? We don't get to see a head guard twice either!
The First Doctor finds himself in a maze of oddly angled mirrored corridors and is reunited with his Grand Daughter Susan. They find themselves pursued by a Dalek.
We last saw Susan, played once again by Carole Ann Ford in the Dalek Invasion of Earth. She's the only one of the main players not to get an abduction scene, indeed we don't see her piece on the board till after this scene. Terrence Dicks adds a scene with her being kidnapped from a rebuilt London to his novel of this story.
I've ridden in the Dalek used in this scene when it was brought to the Latchmere School Fete in 1983 or 1984. There's pictures here. I know it's the same one because this is the only Dalek with red dome lights.
The High Council explain that the Death Zone on Gallifrey has become reactivated and is draining energy from the Eye of Harmony. Two of the council went into the Death Zone but didn't return
Ah. RIP Cardinal Zorac & Chancellor Thalira then
They looked for the Doctor but failed to find him save for his the Fourth who is trapped. The Fifth Doctor says he's being sucked into the time vortex by his trapped earlier self. The First Doctor lures the Dalek into a dead end where it fires at them but the ricochet destroys the Dalek and blasts a hole through the wall allowing the Doctor & Susan to see the Dark Tower telling them that they are on Gallifrey in the Death Zone
An alternate humorous voice over to this scene, done by Dalek voice artist Roy Skelton exists. As you might suspect John Scott Martin is actually inside the Dalek.
This is the first look at the new exterminated Dalek effect we'll see again in Resurrection of the Daleks that clearly shows an organic being within.
The Second Doctor & Brigadier find themselves on a rocky ruined landscape. The Second Doctor sees a figure in the mist, but as the Brigadier stops for a rest he's grabbed by a silver arm through the ruined wall which the Second Doctor forces to let go.
You may recognise the monsters in the mist. Needless to say THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS!
Patrick Troughton was fortunate enough to have his thick fur coat on during these scenes, and kept a hip flask within in to help him & Nicholas Courtney get through the scenes shot at Cwt y Bugail Quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd. Most of the rocky locations in the story were filmed here: the crew were present for five days: 9th-11th,13th & 14th March 1983.
I've seen it claimed that you can see the jeans of the extra supplying the arm through the gap in the wall.
Sarah-Jane Smith fall down a slope and is rescued by the Third Doctor in Bessie
Originally Sarah Jane would have encountered the Third Doctor on a deserted shopping street with Autons coming to life round them.
Although The Five Doctors was first shown as a 90 minute special it's repeat came as a 4 part story shown from 14th to 17th August 1984. Part 1 ends here, with Sarah falling down the cliff with Part 2 resuming a few moments previously as the Brigadier & Second Doctor escape their assailant.
All of the four part versions episode endings & beginnings can be found in the Trails & Continuity section of the Special Features on the Transmission Version disc of Doctor Who - The Five Doctors (25th Anniversary Edition) DVD.
The First Doctor & Susan find the Tardis with the Fifth Doctor, Tegan & Turlough within.
The Tardis exterior scenes are located at Carreg Y Foel Gron, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd
The First Doctor's arrival stabilises the Fifth. The High Council Transmat the Master to the Death Zone bearing a recall device & the seal of the high council. The Second Doctor catches sight of the Dark Tower confirming his suspicion that he and the Brigadier are on Gallifrey in the Death Zone, telling him how his ancestors used to have other beings play games in it. He tells the Brigadier that they're going to the Tower which is the tomb of Rassilon. The Master finds the carbonised remains of one of his predecessors from the High Council, and is himself nearly struck by an energy bolt from the sky.
Where did the Master get his cloak from? He wasn't wearing it when he was transmatted from the Capitol.
The First & Fifth Doctors argue what to do. The Third Doctor explains to Sarah Jane how Rassilon stopped the games in the Death Zone as they travel towards the tower in Bessie. They are stopped by the Master, but the Doctor doesn't believe his story and confiscates the seal of the High Council before they scared off by the energy bolts which they think are part of a trap set by the Master
The Bessie road scenes are filmed at Cwm Bychan in Snowdonia.
The First & Fifth Doctors come up with a plan by which the Fifth Doctor will journey to the main door of The Dark Tower to shut off whatever is holding them there. Bessie is hit by an energy bolt and immobilised forcing the Third Doctor & Sarah to proceed on foot. Gallifreyan technicians fail to retrieve the Fourth Doctor from the Vortex. The Second Doctor wonders if Rassilon himself had brought them to The Death Zone, relating to the Brigadier that there are Legends that Rassilon was locked in the tower in eternal sleep because of his cruelty and that they might be playing the game of Rassilon. Tegan & Susan accompany the Fifth Doctor while the First waits with Turlough in the Tardis to bring it to the Tower when then force shield is deactivated. The Third Doctor & Sarah are found and followed by a party of Cybermen
Hurrah, it's the Cybermen. Welcome back to Cyberleader David Banks and Cyber-Lieutenant Mark Hardy, both recently of Earthshock as are many of the Cyber extras including Graham Cole. Given their mobility and recent success in Earthshock they had to be first choice monster for the location scenes. The Third Doctor never faced the Cybermen in the series (They have a cameo in Carnival of Monsters) so this puts right a major omission from his Monster fighting CV. A minor redesign to the Cybermen suits sees the jaws painted silver now.
The Tardis scanner picks up two more Doctors in the Death Zone and the First Doctor wonders what happened to the others. The Second Doctor recalls an old nursery rhyme about the Dark Tower:
"For you who Rassilon's Tower doth go
Must choose Above, Between, Bellow"
He chooses bellow as he and the Brigadier enter a cave system.
The caves are Cwt y Bugail Quarry again. I'm pretty sure I went down those caves on a school trip in 1984: the guide boasted they'd been used in Doctor Who
The Fifth Doctor, Susan & Tegan encounter the Master but while they are confer they are spotted by a Cyberman scout who reports to his colleagues who then ambush the Time Lords and companions.
This is the second Cyberleader we've seen, there's one with the party pursuing the Third Doctor
The Master is knocked so the Doctor steals his recall device and transmats away to the Capitol. Susan sprains her ankle and Tegan helps her back to the Tardis
Susan sprained her ankle in her last appearance in Dalek Invasion of Earth too!
The Master volunteers his services to the Cybermen. Tegan returns Susan to the Tardis and leaves with the First Doctor to deactivate the force shield. The Fifth Doctor believes a piece of Time Lord equipment called a Time Scoop was used to bring them all to the Death Zone. He reveals that there is a homing beacon in the Master's recall mechanism that allowed the Cybermen to find them so quickly. Suspicion falls on the Castellan who supplied the recall device and his office & quarters are searched. The Master convinces the Cybermen to come with him to the tower to take their power. In the Tardis Turlough & Susan hear banging and opening the scanner they see the Cybermen setting a device up outside.
Here part 2 of the repeat version ends. Part 3 starts with the conversation between the Master & Cybermen
The Second Doctor & Brigadier hear something in the Tunnel. Climbing a hill the Third Doctor & Sarah encounter a silver Raston Warrior robot, which the Third Doctor describes as the perfect killing machine
I'm led to believe the Raston Robot is a repainted Cyberman Android from Earthshock. I'm not sure of the inclusion of a new foe here, again maybe using an Auton as a guard might have been a better idea? And the Raston Robot vanishing is silly, accompanied by a noise not dissimilar to the transporting sound effect from Rentaghost!
A box containing the Black Scrolls of Rassilon is found in the Castellan's room, but self destructs when opened. He is taken away from interrogation and President Borusa authorises the use of the Mind Probe
All together now:
"NO, NOT THE MIND PROBE !"
Paul Jerricho's delivery of that line has gone down in Doctor Who legend!
The Guard Commander who takes the Castellan away is Stuart Blake who was Zoldaz in State of Decay and will be back in the very next story as the Silurian Scibius.
There is a scuffle in the corridor and the Castellan is killed, but the Fifth Doctor is suspicious. He wishes to return to the Death Zone but Borusa prevents him. The Second Doctor & Brigadier encounter a Yeti in the caves which accidentally buries itself in a cave in
The only colour appearance of the Yeti is over in seconds! It's an old Yeti costume but you never see it's face so you can't tell which version of the costume it is. It was found rolled up in storage with one of the feet missing!
They find their way to a door to the tomb at the back of the cave. The Cybermen arrive at the rock face where the Third Doctor & Sarah are hiding. The Raston Robot attacks the Cybermen, but while it is distracted the Doctor & Sarah pass by, stealing some of it supplies of rope.
Producer John Nathan-Turner directed the second unit filmind the Cyber massacre during which Cyberleader David Banks regurgitates milk through his faceplate.
The Fifth Doctor confides his worries that the Castellan is innocent to Chancellor Flavia. The Third Doctor constructs a rope slide for him & Sarah to gain access to the door at the top of the tower. Turlough & Susan work out the Cybermen are constructing a bomb. The First Doctor & Tegan enter the tower finding a giant chess board on the floor. The First Doctor urges cauntion and after testing it with coins demonstrates it's a death trap.
Yup, it's the Death to the Daleks booby traps in the corridor making yet another, and thankfully final, appearance!
The Master appears and indicates to them that they may wish to hide. Cybermen enter the room and are led across the grid which destroys them with energy bolts.
In the special edition the energy bolts are replaces with electrical strikes/lightening bolts.
Two huge massacres of Cybermen in a few minutes!
The Master slays the severely damaged Cyberleader with it's own dropped weapon and then departs leaving the First Doctor & Tegan with a clue that the grid can be crossed using the digits of Pi
Right: Pi = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510 (to 50 decimal places)
So the squares you need to tread in are:
row 3 column 1
row 4 column 1
row 5 column 2 (OK, ignore the 9, it's an 8x8 grid)
row 6 column 5 (that's a big jump!)
row 3 column 5 (now you're just going backwards!)
row 8 column 7 .....
no I'm sorry, this is just silly.
IT DOESN'T WORK!
It doesn't fit with Row 5 making the board deadly (3 maybe) and it certainly doesn't fit with the moves the actors make!
What's worse is there seems to be plenty of room to cross the grid off to the side closest the screen!
The Doctor & Tegan successfully cross the grid. The Fifth Doctor discovers the President is missing from the council chamber and begins a search of the room for a secret passage. In the Dark Tower, Sarah feels afraid and stops to rest. The Third Doctor encounters Mike Yates & Liz Shaw who claim they were abducted too. The Doctor exposes them as phantoms created by the tower.
Reprising their roles as Liz Shaw & Mike Yates are Caroline John & Richard Franklin. The two characters never actually met in the series proper!
Tegan too feels fearful, but the first Doctor dissmisses it as an illusion and says that there is nothing there to harm them, not noticing the Master creeping around behind them.
Here's where part 3 of the repeat version ends. Part 4 begins from the shot of the tower before this scene.
The Second Doctor & Brigadier encounter Jamie & Zoe who say they are sealed in by a forcefield and urge them to turn back. The Second Doctor recalls their memory was wiped by the Time Lords so how can they be there and walks towards them causing them to vanish.
Right...... Our problems with this scene are as follows:
1) Jamie & Zoe could have been Time Scooped from before their memories were wiped by the Time Lords. I suppose the Doctor might recognise that they're older versions of his friends.
2) How does the Doctor *know* their memories were wiped? The only way he can is if this Second Doctor is from after his final story The War Games. See The War Games Episode 10 and Season 6b Theory.
Returning as Jamie McCrimmon & Zoe Heriot are Frazer Hines & Wendy Padbury. This scene was filmed on the one day that Hines could get off from Emmerdale Farm. Meanwhile Wendy Padbury was pregnant at the time of this story and the bubble wrap over her dress is there to help disguise her shape.
The First Doctor & Tegan are the only one of the three sets of visitors not to encounter phantoms but I suppose they did face the death trap earlier....
The Doctor discovers Rassilon's harp in the council chamber and deduces it's a key somehow to a hidden chamber. The First Doctor & Tegan arrive in Rassilon's tomb quickly followed by the Third & Sarah then shortly after the Second and the Brigadier who both Tegan & Sarah recognise. The Doctors get to work decoding an inscription promising that whoever takes the ring from Rassilon's hand will recieve immortality. The Master arrives and holds the Doctors at gunpoint but the Brigadier knocks him out.
Suitable revenge for the number of escapes the Master made from the Brigadier years ago!
The Cybermen prepare to detonate ther bomb.
That's the third Cyberleader we've seen! Different voice this time
The Doctor finds the tune for the harp in a painting, and playing it opens a secret passageway to the game control room where the black clad game controller is revealed to be Lord President Borusa, wearing Rassilon's coronet.
Blimey, that's a HUGE shock the first time you watch it. Borusa has been the Doctor's teacher and then his friend through theree Gallifrey set stories. And now he's the villain of the piece?
He wants to rule Gallifrey forever and intends to use Rassilon's power to gain immortality. The Third Doctor find the force field generator and reverses the polarity of the Neutron Flow freeing the Tardis.
This is only the second time that the Third Doctor says his supposed "catchphrase" in full. The other occasion was The Sea Devils Episode 6. It should be noted that many other things get their polarity reveresed and the Doctor performs sundry other procedure to the Neutron Flow!
The Tardis dematerialises as the Cyber bomb goes off. Borusa tells the Fifth Doctor he needed him to disarm the traps in the Death Zone. He uses the power of the coronet to bring the fifth Doctor under his control. The Tardis arrives at the Dark Tower.
Why does the Brigadier not say anything to his missing former student who disapeared at the end of Mawdryn Umndead.
The Second Doctor calls the capitol and speaks to the Fifth Doctor who tells them that Borusa is coming to take charge. The Third & First Doctors are suspicious of this turn of events. Borusa and the Fifth Doctor arrive with Borusa ordering the companions to be silent. The first three Doctors break Borusa's hold on the fifth Doctor telepathically.
There's a similar sequence in the Three Doctors where the Doctors confer telepathically.
Rassilon's image appears on the wall above his body and speaks to those assembled there.
This is the first time we see Rassilon on TV though he had previously appeared in the Matrix in the comics. We know the Matrix has the memories of dead Time Lords in it so it's not inconceivable Rassilon could be in there and using that to cause the projection.
Borusa claims immortality and the Second, Third & Fifth Doctors protest. The First however tells Rassilon Borusa deserves the immortality. He takes the ring off Rassilon's corpse's finger as Rassilon tells them that others have come to claim immortality through the ages. The carvings of Time Lords round Rassilon's tomb come to life and their eyes dart round the room. The ring vanishes, reappearing on the body on the tomb. Borusa vanishes and an empty space on the side side of the tomb is filled with a new Time Lord carving whose eyes dart round the room before becoming stone again.
Now that scared me as a kid, the statues coming to life and then becoming stone again plus thr thought that each one is a Time Lord trapped forever. I wonder oif this sequence influenced Steven Moffat when he created the Weeping Angels for the new series of Doctor Who?
Borusa offers the Doctors immortality but they decline instead asking to be returned to their proper places and for the Fourth to be freed.
The sequence of the Fourth Doctor escaping from under the fence was shot at Blackmoor Head Yard in Cambridge on 19th October 1979 and would have been used at the start of part 3 of that story.
The Master is sent away by Rassilon, vanishing, and the earlier Doctors leave with their companions in the Tardis, which splits 3 versions off from itself.
Has Rassilon somehow summoned the Tardis from tree earlier points in time and have them temporarily occupy the same space?
Chancellor Flavia arrives by Transmat and, given Borusa's disappearance, tells the Doctor he must take on the role of president. The Doctor sends her back to the capitol telling her he will follow in his Tardis and she has full Presidential powers till his return. The Doctor tells Tegan & Turlough that she will be the longest acting president in Time Lord history as Tegan asks him if he intends to go on the run in a rackety old Tardis. "Why not?" he replies "after all that's how it all started!"
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That's a lovely throwback to the very start of the series at the end as the Doctor chooses not to return followed by a fabulous musical nod as well as the title sequence starts by playing an arrangement of the original version of the theme music before seguing into the current version as the middle eight starts. I could listen to this arrangement all night, I love it.
And I love the Five Doctors too. It's just one big celebratory party with loads of old familiar faces showing up. Some action, a couple of scary moments popped in, a Dalek, Cybermen and a bit of Time Lord back story. It's just the right sort of thing for an anniversary occasion such as this.
To celebrate we got a Radio Times cover, a 20th anniversary Radio Times special which you can see on the Enlightenment disc in The Black Guardian Trilogy boxset. Trailers and promotional appearances were all over the BBC in the run up, many of which can be found The Five Doctors 25th Anniversary Edition. The original intention was to show it on the date of the 20th anniversary, Wednesday 23rd November, but the BBC wanted this to form the centerpiece of their Children in Need fundraising night and showed it on Friday 25th November 1983 at 7:20 pm. However it had already been shown outside of the UK in Chicago where it was transmitted on the 23rd November to tie in with a Doctor Who convention there.
But even in the UK you could have had a sneak preview of the story: the novel, by Terrance Dicks was due out when the story was shown but some escaped into the wild up to two weeks early much to the dismay of the BBC!
The Five Doctors was first released on video in 1985, but has missing 2 minutes of footage. An unedited version was released in July 1990 alongside Brain of Morbius, which had also been edited for it's early release. In 1994 the unedited version was released on Laserdisc. In 1995 a special edition version of The Five Doctors was created (You can read the Restoration Team article about it here) and released in a VHS boxset with the preceding story The King's Demons.
The Five Doctors was on of the first DVDs released by the BBC in 1999 (Restoration Team Article) and was numbered 1006. According to this article the other early releases were he Black Adder, Noddy in Toyland, The Planets, Persuasion, and Volume I of The Best of Monty Python's Flying Circus. I've got Blackadder (1001) and The Planets (1003) on my shelves and did have the Monty Python release until the complete series sets came out. What? You don't have The Planets? Buy It Now! This initial release was lacking many of the special features found on the later discs. I bought a copy of this DVD the same day as I bought my first DVD player (A Wharfdale 750 from Tescos) in 2000.
When the Five Doctors was released in the USA (Region 1) the following year it had gained an audio commentary by Fifth Doctor Peter Davison and writer Terrance Dicks, much to the disgust of UK fans, many of whom imported the Region 1 version.
The missing commentary in the UK, the lack of the broadcast version and the wider variety of Special Features on other Doctor Who DVDs made the Five Doctors an ideal story to revisit and a 25th anniversary edition DVD was released in 2008. The commentary was now included on the Special Edition while the standard edition boasted a commentary featuring Carole Ann Ford, Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen & Mark Strickson. However the broadcast version also includes a second commentary concealed as an Easter Egg featuring Tenth Doctor David Tennant, new series producer Phil Collinson and new series Script Editor/Writer Helen Raynor. To find this commentary go to Audio Options in the Special Features menu, go down to Companions Commentary and click right on your remote, producing a green Doctor Who logo, which you click on. Alternately press the audio button on your remote a few times till you find it (it's audio track 3 according to my player)!