To celebrate the 2-disc DVD release of Mindgame Saga we look back at five of the best stories from the Third Doctor's era.
In Mindgame, a classic “prison cell” drama from the late '90s, three diverse life forms are mysteriously transported to a cell somewhere in time & space and forced to fight; a human played by Sophie Aldred ('Ace' in Doctor Who), a Sontaran and a Draconian. Mindgame is the first and only time Sontarans (first featured in the Jon Pertwee Doctor era story The Time Warrior) and Draconians (also first seen in a Pertwee era Frontier in Space) meet.
Jon Pertwee’s time as the Third Doctor is still rightfully one of the most popular eras of the original Doctor Who series. The Third Doctor is a more grounded and physical incarnation who engages in far less space travel due to his exile to earth, but his stories are no less memorable. So to celebrate the re-release of Mindgame Saga, we look back at some of the best of the Pertwee era.
Inferno marked the final regular cast appearance of popular companion Liz Shaw and is a story often regarded as the best of Jon Pertwee’s stint as the Doctor. The Doctor is sent to a hostile parallel universe after a project to drill into the centre of the earth releases a dangerous gas. A highlight of inferno is the featuring of alternate, villainous versions of the Doctor’s friends, this idea was widely praised as an interesting and different way of exploring the main characters.
Terror of the Autons (1971)
Terror of the Autons is notorious for being frightening to children, even cited as an example of a programme too scary for small children in a House of Lords debate. The story sees the Doctor and his new companion Jo Grant attempt to stop archenemy the Master and his plan for the conquest of earth. Serving as an introduction to the character the Master and the actor who played him (Roger Delgado), Terror of the Autons is commonly regarded as the best portrayal of the Doctor’s archenemy.
The Three Doctors (1972)
Marking the tenth anniversary of the programme and featuring the first three versions of the Doctor, The Three Doctors follows the struggle of the Third who resorts to summoning his previous incarnations when the home world of the Time Lords is under siege and threatened by the presence of a black hole. It is fondly remembered due to the humourous encounters between the Second and Third Doctors, who bicker constantly to hilarious effect. It also saw the Doctor’s exile on earth come to an end, which left him free to travel through space and time once more.
The Green Death (1973)
The Green Death is perhaps most remembered for its touching farewell to companion Jo Grant, who makes her final appearance in this story. The departure of Grant also marks the first time audiences see the Doctor truly upset, with the emotional ending seeing the Doctor driving off into the sunset alone. The story is about the Doctor’s investigation of a chemical company after a mysterious death in an abandoned coal mine. It was praised for its poignancy and the scary presence of giant, mutant maggots, and is also remembered for one of Doctor Who’s more silly moments, when the audience see Pertwee in drag as a cleaning lady.
The Time Warrior (1973)
Fondly remembered as being more comedic than usual, The Time Warrior is an extremely entertaining story which began Jon Pertwee’s final season as the Doctor. In The Time Warrior, the Doctor investigates the disappearance of several scientists and discovers that they have been abducted back in time. The character Linx is praised as a well written part, yet the episode is perhaps known more for the introduction of the warrior race, the Sontarans. Ruthless and with no fear of death, the Sontarans are a firm favourite amongst Doctor Who fans.