Doctor Who (1963)

Season 10 Episode 4

The Three Doctors, Episode Four

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Jan 20, 1973 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
32 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Omega reveals his intention for the Doctors to take his place in eternal exile. But even he may no longer be able to escape…

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  • Starts well and goes downhill from there.

    (This is a review of all four parts of the Three Doctors serial, not just part four).

    This episode of Doctor Who is a significant one in that it was the first time we saw more than one of the Doctor's incarnations on screen at the same time. We would later see multiple Doctor interaction in the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors and the mid 80s story The Two Doctors, as well as the non-canon Children in Need special Dimensions in Time.

    And for the first two episodes at least, it's a joy to watch! From the moment the brilliant Patrick Troughton enters you know you're in your element as a Doctor Who fan. Troughton embodies the spirit of Who more than any of the other nine actors who've played the Doctor because it was him who gave the Doctor his oft imitated eccentricity and crotchety lovability.

    The chemistry between him and Jon Pertwee is brilliant, with the writing cleverly highlighting both the Doctor's enormous ego and initial reluctance to accept help from others, even if that person is a past version of himself. The only shame regarding the presence of past Doctors is the limited screen time of the First Doctor, which was due to the frailty of the ill William Hartnell.

    So where does it all go wrong? Around Episode 3, to be precise. The problem with this storyline is that it has one of the most laughably bad, over the top villains in Doctor Who history. The actor who plays Omega chews up so much scenery it's a surprise the TARDIS set and exterior survived intact.

    This wouldn't be so much of a problem if Omega wasn't so key to the last two episodes of the story, but sadly, he is. If you really want to have fun with a multi-Doctor adventure, watch The Five Doctors. In many ways the Five Doctors is cheesier, but it has a consistent quality whereas this four parter starts well and then gets very disappointing.moreless
  • A fanboy's fantasy comes true, great fun but a standard adventure.

    The first of three times during the show's run that the Doctor meet his previous selves. Each were fun but all are far from classics. This was the first one so I'd call it the best of them. Basically brought back just Patrick Troughton with Willaim Hartnell unfortunately too ill to fully participate. So the 3 Doctors should be the 2 Doctors (while the 5 should be the 4 or the 3...well never mind that). The tension between Pertwee and Troughton is well done with the brief scenes of all three together being a series highlight ("a dandy and a clown" LOL). Good thing the Brig and Benton knew the Second Doctor, made for some continuity references that the show didn't do back then. Now, the plot was just OK. The jello monsters are laughable with their movements and blurping noises. Where was Captian Yates? Omega made for a good villain but he does just come off as another madman. He is called the greatest hero of the Time Lords and yet Rassillon steals that away in a few years time. Episode 2 has Dr. Tyler running up and down corridors and returning to the Doctor and Jo saying "a waste of time, wasn't it?" Yes, the show literally acknowledges that they are padding out the episode!! And yet another quarry world, you'd think all powerful Omega could do better than that. Still, there was some good stuff although a bit too easy to have everything and everyone zap back home once Omega is destroyed (they got reconverted to matter from anti-matter too?). One big problem I had here was the Brigadier acting so dumb. He's been hard headed before and the Doctor drives him crazy but he believes the Doctor when he tells him something. For the Brig not to believe there are 2 Doctors around at once or that they have been transported to another universe is too much. Made for comic relief but out of character for him. This irritated me.moreless
Laurie Webb

Laurie Webb

Mr. Ollis

Guest Star

Patricia Prior

Patricia Prior

Mrs. Ollis

Guest Star

Patrick Troughton

Patrick Troughton

Dr. Who

Recurring Role

William Hartnell

William Hartnell

Dr. Who

Recurring Role

Nicholas Courtney

Nicholas Courtney

Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Omega screams that his will is to destroy, his mask briefly flaps upward, revealing the actor's face.

    • Everyone is supposed to be returned to where they were when they were taken. But the third Doctor was outside the TARDIS when he was taken and is returned inside it, while the Brigadier and Sgt Benton were inside the TARDIS when they were taken and are returned outside of it.

    • Revealing Mistake: When the companions return to Earth through the pillar of smoke, their footsteps can still be heard after they supposedly disappear.

    • Revealing Mistakes: When the Doctors flee Omega's lair, they open the door, which is smooth on its outer surface. But outside shots reveal the door to be textured.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Brigadier: Sergeant Benton!
      Benton: Sir?
      Brigadier: You and I had better make a full inventory of the HQ, make sure everything's back in place. All got to be accounted for, you know?
      Benton: Sir?
      Brigadier: Yes?
      Benton: Well, excuse me sir, but if anything is missing, where do we say it's gone?
      Briadier: Come along, Benton.

    • Second Doctor: Goodbye. It's been so nice to meet me.
      Third Doctor: Yes, I see what you mean. And I hope I don't meet me again.
      Second Doctor: Ah!
      (The Second Doctor disappears.)
      Dr. Tyler: Now I've seen it all!
      Jo: Pity. He was so sweet.
      Third Doctor: Yes, wasn't I?
      Brigadier: Yes. Well, as far as I'm concerned Doctor, one of you is enough. More than enough.

    • Third Doctor [ of the second Doctor ]: Please ignore him, just ignore him. He's incorrigibly frivolous.

    • The Brigadier [ on the Doctors ]: Wonderful chap. Both of him.

    • The Brigadier [ regarding the first Doctor ]: That old chap…
      Jo: Afraid so.
      The Brigadier: Three of them. I didn't know when I was well off.

    • Second Doctor: If only I could find my recorder, I could play you a little something to pass the time.
      Brigadier: We should be thankful for small mercies.

  • NOTES (1)

    • As a reward for his efforts, the Time Lords restore the Doctor's repressed memories on how to operate the TARDIS, and return its dematerialisation circuit, paving the way for the series to return to a more open format in the years to come.