Doctor Who (1963)

Season 10 Episode 1

The Three Doctors, Episode One

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Dec 30, 1972 on BBC



  • Trivia

    • Despite having been working with Doctor since The Invasion, this is the first time we see Sergeant Benton inside the TARDIS.

    • When the Chancellor considers sending a third Doctor to sort out the other two, he requests an image of the "earliest" Doctor. This would seem to establish that the incarnation played by William Hartnell was, in fact, the first Doctor.

    • How does the First Doctor know that the blob is a bridge? Presumably he was briefed by the Time Lords, but even they don't know what's going on.

    • Revealing Mistakes: Several scenes take place in the Doctor's lab with a wall missing. In some shots, it is apparent that the wall is made of white polystyrene.

    • Revealing Mistakes: The faint reflection of the second Doctor can be seen in the time rotor before he appears.

    • Plot Hole: The Brigadier claims that UNIT is a "top-secret establishment". Yet it has a sign outside proclaiming its identity and the name of the commanding officer.

    • Continuity: Dr. Tyler vanishes the second he starts to open the orange box; in the next shot the box is conveniently open so that the blob can get out.

  • Quotes

    • Benton: I must say, it's getting so nothing to do with you surprises me anymore.
      The Third Doctor: Well, thank you for the compliment!

    • Second Doctor: Our fellow Time Lords out there are just as much under siege as we are. When they couldn't send anyone to help you, they did summon up enough temporal energy to lift me out of my bit of our time stream and pop me down here, into my own future, so to speak.
      Third Doctor: Why?
      Second Doctor: My dear fellow, you are being a bit dim, aren't you? Your effectiveness is now doubled.
      Third Doctor: Halved, more like.

    • First Doctor: Have you done anything?
      Second Doctor: Well, we've... err... assessed the situation.
      First Doctor: Just as I thought. Nothing.

    • Third Doctor: Well, Sergeant? Aren't you going to say that it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside? Everybody else does.
      Benton: It's pretty obvious, isn't it?

    • First Doctor: Oh. So you're my replacements... A dandy and a clown.

    • Second Doctor: Well, you've been fiddling with it, haven't you?
      Third Doctor: It was perfectly all right until you touched it!

    • Second Doctor: Ah, I can see you've been doing the TARDIS up a bit. Um. I don't like it!

  • Notes

    • Novelisation: Doctor Who and the Three Doctors by Terrance Dicks (ISBN 0 426 11578 3) first published by Tandem in 1975.

    • DVD: Doctor Who: The Three Doctors (BBCDVD 1144) released in November 2003. Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E1925) in March 2004.

      Video: Doctor Who: The Three Doctors (BBCV 4650) released in August 1991. Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E1100) in September 1992.

    • The TARDIS set was rebuilt for this episode as the one seen in The Time Monster had been damaged. Roger Liminton designed it to more closely resemble the console room seen in the early episodes of the series.

    • This serial originated as a story outline called Deathworld, in which the three Doctors are called on to assist the the Time Lords in a conflict with a Federation of Evil.

    • Clyde Pollit, who plays the Chancellor, was one of the Time Lords in The War Games, Episode 10 -- presumably the same character.

    • William Hartnell's final acting part. He was originally intended to play a full role in the story, but illness prevented this. Hartnell was only able to participate via taped sequences shown on the monitor, as filmed at the BBC's Ealing studios (and not in Hartnell's garage or garden shed as fan legend would have it).

  • Allusions

    • Third Doctor: I am he and he is me.
      Jo: And we are all together. Goo-goo-goo-joob?
      Doctors: Huh?
      Jo: It's a song by the Beatles.
      Second Doctor: Oh, how does it go?

      The song is "I Am the Walrus" from the Magical Mystery Tour (1967).