Geek Dave pops out to the shed and discovers 10 things you might not know about The Three Doctors. Goo goo goo joob.
1. Contrary to popular belief The Three Doctors was not broadcast to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Doctor Who. It actually arrived 11 months prior to that date on December 30th 1972, kicking off what was the tenth season of the show.
2. The writing duo of Bob Baker and Dave Martin were tasked with putting together a multi-Doctor story. They submitted an idea they had called "Deathworld". In it,
the Time Lords are in conflict with a Federation of Evil led by a
personification of Death. To avert all-out war the Time Lords manage to
convince the Federation to allow them to send the three Doctors into
the Federation's Underworld domain. There the Doctors would've done battle
against various realisations of Death - including zombies, the Four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Hindu goddess Kali, and the cyclops
Polyphemus from Greek mythology. The victor in the contests would determine whether the Time Lords or the Federation of Evil would
prevail. Producer Barry Letts and Script Editor Terrance Dicks rejected this idea on the grounds that it would've been way too expensive to produce.
3. Their next effort had the working title of "The Black Hole", and wasn't far off the finished product. The main difference being that it featured all three Doctors equally.
4. William Hartnell eagerly agreed to take part in the special, and signed up with absolutely no hesitation. Upon hearing the news, Hartnell's wife informed Barry Letts and
Terrance Dicks that her husband's memory was unreliable and he was deteriorating quickly. She said that he really was not up to the demands of
filming a television show. As a result, Terrance Dicks adapted the story and greatly reduced Hartnell's role.
5. Determined to take part in the special, Hartnell ended up pre-recording all his scenes from the 'time eddy' in just one session. There's a fan myth that he filmed them in his garden shed as he was too ill to travel, but as nice as that is to imagine they were in fact recorded at BBC's Ealing Studios. Hartnell's completed scenes were then actually broadcast on the view screens for Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee to interact with. Meaning the only time the three ever worked together in person was for the publicity photo-shoot.
6. Terrance Dicks was keen to bring back some earlier companions. After Hartnell's role was reduced he worked on a possible cameo for Wendy Padbury as Zoe Herriot, which ultimately never came to pass. He also created a new larger role for Frazer Hines as Jamie
McCrimmon, and had the young Scot actually reappeared he would have had a romantic subplot with Jo Grant! Unfortunately Hines had prior commitments to Emmerdale Farm so regretfully had to decline a return to Doctor Who. His role was re-written and his lines given to John Levene as Sergeant Benton.
7. In Bob Baker and Dave Martin's original script Omega was named Ohm. This was because "OHM" read upside-down is "WHO", reflecting the writers' desire for him to be seen as the Doctor's opposite number.
8. Patrick Troughton's Doctor was famed for his mop-top haircut, which was very much part of the 1960s Beatles culture. Baker & Martin added a little Easter Egg in the script in reference to this. When the Second Doctor explains to Jo Grant who he is he uses the line "I am he and he is me", she interprets it as a misquote of a lyric from the Beatles song "I Am
the Walrus" and replies with another misquote, "And
we are all together, goo goo goo joob?"
9. The Three Doctors sets up a mildly antagonistic relationship between the various
incarnations of the Doctor, played for humorous effect of course. The Second and Third
Doctors bicker, they compete, and they try to put each other down. This story also sees the first time a Doctor complains about the decor. This time it's the Second talking about the Third's TARDIS. Even the First
Doctor dismisses the others by saying, "So you're my replacements - a
dandy and a clown!" This kind of relationship between the Doctor's
selves was seen again in subsequent multi-Doctor stories, and Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee
enjoyed the banter so much that they carried on the mock
competition whenever they appeared together at fan
10. Sadly, The Three Doctors was William Hartnell's last ever acting role before his death in 1975.
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This article was originally published December 30th 2014