Friday, May 18, 2012

Doctor Who-The Five Doctors
                  After Peter Davison's second series as the fifth doctor the program arrived at it's 20'th anniversary. To commemorate the BBC decided to create a non serialized 90 minute Doctor Who episode called The Five Doctors. It was to be a splashy even with four of the original doctors appearing together as well as companions Sarah Jane Smith and even Carole Anne Ford reprising her 1963-1964 role as Susan Foreman. There were two small snags from the get go however. William Hartnell,who portrayed the original doctor,died in 1975 so would have to be replaced. And Tom Baker did not wish to appear in the episode so this would have to be worked into the plot as well. The first doctor dilemma was solved by casting Richard Hurndall,who physically resembled Hartnell and using old footage from the unaired 'Shada' episode of Tom Baker and Lalah Ward as Romana. So this turned out to be an exciting event for everyone involved.


                      Story begins in the Eye Of Orion,a running destination of the doctor in the series when he begins experiencing mass memory loss where his past begins to "melt away like ice bergs" in his own words.  We soon see that the second,third and first doctors are being abducted with a time scoop to the death zone of Gallifrey to play "the game of Rassilon",the original time lord whose stories are much fabled. When all the doctors,save the fourth and their respective companions end up fighting off the Daleks,Cybermen and other adversaries set in their way it's learned that the president of the Time Lords is seeking the Rassilons ring of immortality. The story ends with him finding said ring and...discovering that in Rassilon's view immortality is literally a curse. Having met three of his other selves the fifth doctor bids them farewell after all is said and done and goes on about his mission.


                This story actually represents a very positive use of what they call "crowded TARDIS" syndrome. At different points Turlough,Susan Foreman,Sarah Jane and Tegan are all sharing the TARDIS. This culminates in a wonderful scene where Tegan scathes at the first doctor's request she "make herself useful" by getting everyone food and drinks. In the end Turlough helps out in this but it reflects the more modern sensibilities as well as the amount of time the show has been on. The story also showcases the possibility of corruption within the time lords. As one in particular seems to show some of the same megalomaniacal tendencies as many of the doctors adversaries. Some people complained later their were too many doctors,companions and adversaries to make this story coherent. But that was the point actually. This was intended as a rather epic story and worked perfectly in that regard. Not to mention that,for one last time we could see the playful sparing between Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton's doctor as well.
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