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The Five Doctors
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Special - Season 20
Story Number: 130
Doctor: Fifth Doctor
First Doctor (guest)
Second Doctor (guest)
Third Doctor (guest)
Fourth Doctor (guest)
Companions: Tegan
Susan Foreman (guest)
The Brigadier (guest)
Sarah Jane Smith (guest)
Romana II (cameo)
Enemy: Borusa
The Master
Raston Warrior Robot
Dalek (cameo)
Robot Yeti (cameo)
Writer: Terrance Dicks
Director: Peter Moffatt
Broadcast: 25th November 1983
Format: 1 90-minute episode
Previous Story: The King's Demons
Following Story: Warriors of the Deep
"A man is a sum of his memories — a Time Lord even more so."
―The Fifth Doctor

The Five Doctors was a special ninety-minute story which celebrated the 20th anniversary of Doctor Who. The story united the then-current Fifth Doctor with his predecessors in an adventure which also featured several of his past and current companions and enemies.

In addition to its inclusion of a number of characters not normally seen together, it was significant for a number of behind-the-scenes novelties. It was the first — and, as of 2010, only — episode of Doctor Who to premiere in the United States, aside from the American co-produced TV movie. It was also the first Doctor Who narrative broadcast as a part of the UK's Children in Need charity telethon. For the first - and only, as of 2010 - time, a previous incarnation of the Doctor is brought into an episode by having a different actor play him on screen (Richard Hurndall took over the role of the First Doctor, as William Hartnell had sadly already passed away.)

Although it was broadcast only a month prior to the start of Season 21, it is generally considered the seventh and final story of Season 20, which had otherwise concluded the previous March.



Someone is plucking all the incarnations of the Doctor out of time, and placing them in the Death Zone on Gallifrey where they will meet old friends and enemies and play out the deadly Game of Rassilon, for the ultimate prize. But to lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose...


The Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are taking a break on the Eye of Orion, one of the most tranquil spots in the universe, when the Fifth Doctor suddenly collapses. Tegan and Turlough bring the Fifth Doctor back into the TARDIS, where they discover to their distress that he is literally fading away. The Fifth Doctor manages to set the TARDIS controls for a destination and the ship dematerializes.

In a hidden chamber, a dark figure is manipulating the controls of a Time Scoop and kidnapping the Doctor's previous incarnations out of his time stream along with some of his former companions. The First Doctor is taken while he is walking in a rose garden, the Second Doctor and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart from a UNIT reunion and the Third Doctor while he is out driving his roadster, Bessie. Also taken out of time are Sarah Jane Smith and the Doctor's granddaughter Susan Foreman. The Fourth Doctor and Romana are taken while punting along the River Cam, but whoever is doing this is frustrated as the two are trapped in the time vortex by a time eddy and unable to rematerialize. All of them, save the Fourth Doctor and Romana, are deposited on a desolate, rocky landscape — the Death Zone on Gallifrey.

Meanwhile, in the Capitol on Gallifrey, the Inner Council of Time Lords, headed by Lord President Borusa and consisting of Chancellor Flavia and the Castellan, watches in concern. The Eye of Harmony is being drained by whomever is taking the Doctor out of time, endangering all of Gallifrey. Despite Borusa's misgivings, the High Council has unanimously voted to call in the Master to assist by going into the Death Zone to help the Doctors. Offered a pardon and a new cycle of regenerations, the Master accepts, and is given a copy of the Seal of the High Council by the Castellan to prove his bona fides, and a matter transmitter (transmat) recall device. He is then teleported via transmat to the Death Zone.

In the Zone, the Doctors face various dangers. The First Doctor and Susan are pursued by a Dalek through a hall of mirrors, finally escaping when they push the Dalek into a dead end, where the discharge of its energy weapon ricochets back and destroys itself. The Second Doctor and the Brigadier escape from a squad of Cybermen, and the Third Doctor rescues Sarah from her fall down an embankment. Sarah is mildly confused, as she had seen the Third Doctor regenerate into the Fourth ("Planet of the Spiders"), but is glad to see the Doctor she once knew. The Second and Third Doctors explain to their companions that in Gallifrey's past, known as the Dark Time, the Time Lords misused their powers. A device called the Time Scoop was used to pluck beings out of their times and place them in the Death Zone, where they would fight each other in a sort of gladiatorial game. The Doctors' goal now is to reach the Dark Tower, where the Time Lord founder Rassilon is entombed, although there is some doubt as to whether Rassilon is actually dead.

The Master meets and tries unsuccessfully to convince the Third Doctor that he is there to help, and is forced to flee when thunderbolts fall from the sky. The Third Doctor only sees this as confirmation that this is all a plot of the Master's. The First Doctor and Susan find the TARDIS and the presence of the First Doctor seems to stabilize the Fifth for the moment. Together, they scan the tower and find three entrances — one at the apex of the tower, the main gate at the base, and one underground, but a force field prevents the TARDIS's entry. The Fifth Doctor takes Tegan and Susan to go to the main gate, but encounters the Master, who has no better luck convincing the Fifth Doctor than he did the Third. At that moment, the two are surrounded by Cybermen, and when they try to run away, the Master is knocked out by a cybergun blast. The Fifth Doctor finds the Master's recall device on his unconscious body, and transmats himself to the Capitol. The Master, confronted by the Cybermen, offers himself as a guide to the Tower.

In the Capitol, the Doctor is informed of the situation by the High Council. The Doctor realizes not only that he has done the Master an injustice, but also that they were found too easily by the Cybermen. He opens the recall device and finds a homing beacon inside. The Castellan, who gave the Master the device, is arrested and his quarters ordered to be searched. There is found a box containing the Black Scrolls of Rassilon, forbidden knowledge from the Dark Time. The scrolls spontaneously combust before anyone can examine them, and Borusa orders the Castellan taken to the mind probe for interrogation. However, as the Castellan is escorted outside, there is a shot. The Doctor rushes out to find the Castellan dead, and the Captain of the guard reporting that he was shot while trying to escape. The Doctor voices his concerns to Chancellor Flavia — the Castellan was stubborn, but not a traitor. There is more to this than meets the eye.

The Second Doctor and the Brigadier are exploring a series of caves when they encounter a Yeti, left over from the games. Taking refuge in an alcove, the Doctor tries to chase the Yeti off with a firework, but only succeeds in maddening it, causing it to collapse the entrance to the alcove. However, the Doctor detects a breeze blowing further back, and discovers the underground entrance to the Tower.

On the surface, the Third Doctor and Sarah come across a Raston Warrior Robot, according to the Doctor the most perfect killing machine ever devised. Able to move with blinding speed and fire bolts of metal at its targets, it detects its victims by motion. The Doctor and Sarah are unable to move without attracting the robot's attention, but luck is on their side when a squad of Cybermen come over the ridge and are rapidly eliminated by the robot. Taking advantage of the distraction, the Doctor and Sarah run past the robot's position, taking some rope and spare bolts from the robot's cave. Reaching a cliff face just above the Tower, the Doctor uses the rope and bolts to form a grappling hook, and both he and Sarah abseil across to the top of the Tower.

Tegan and Susan have told the First Doctor what happened to the Fifth Doctor. The First Doctor decides to head for the main gate himself, with Tegan insisting on accompanying him. Opening the main gate through the means of a keypad hidden under a bell, they find a chessboard floor pattern blocking their way. The First Doctor determines that the chessboard is a trap — electrical bolts will destroy anyone attempting to cross unless they find the safe path. The Master appears at this point, warning them the Cybermen are close behind. While the Doctor and Tegan hide, the Master lures the Cybermen onto the chessboard and they are all killed. The Master blithely steps across the board, moving into the Tower after telling the Doctor that "it's as easy as pie." The Doctor realizes that the Master means the Greek letter pi, and that the safe path is calculated by means of the mathematical constant. Armed with this knowledge, the Doctor and Tegan make their way across the trap. In the Zone, the TARDIS is being surrounded by Cybermen, who start to assemble a bomb to blow it up. Inside, Turlough and Susan watch helplessly, not knowing what to do.

The Second and Third Doctors encounter more obstacles while moving separately through the Tower, with the mind of Rassilon exuding a feeling of intensifying fear. They also encounter what appear to be their previous companions, the Third meeting Captain Mike Yates and Liz Shaw, and the Second meeting Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot. The Doctors soon realize they are just phantoms designed to impede their progress through the Tower, and the spectres vanish with a scream. Finally, all three Doctors reach the tomb, where Rassilon's sepulchre is. While the Brigadier, Sarah and Tegan get re-acquainted, the three Doctors try to translate an inscription written in Old High Gallifreyan on a pedestal near a control panel.

The Fifth Doctor finds that Borusa has vanished from the Council chamber, but the guards insist the President could not have gotten by them at the only entrance. The transmat is out of power, so the Doctor deduces there must be a secret door. He finds it hidden behind a painting of Rassilon playing the harp. The key to opening the door is a series of notes played on the actual harp standing in front of the painting, notes indicated by the sheet music in the painting itself. The Doctor enters the secret chamber, and finds the dark figure that had taken his other selves out of time: Borusa. The Lord President is not satisfied with ruling Gallifrey for his lifetimes — he wants to be President Eternal. Borusa has determined that Rassilon discovered the secret of immortality, and he means to claim it, sending the Doctors into the Zone to clear the way for him. Using the Coronet of Rassilon, Borusa overwhelms the Fifth Doctor's will, forcing the latter to obey his commands.

In the tomb, the Doctors have deciphered the inscription. Rassilon did discover immortality, and was willing to share it with whoever overcame the obstacles to the tomb and took the ring from his body. However, a line troubles the First Doctor: "To lose is to win and he who wins shall lose." The Master steps out of the shadows, wanting to claim immortality himself, but is attacked from behind by the Brigadier and tied up by Sarah and Tegan. The Third Doctor fixes the control panel by reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, allowing the TARDIS to transport itself to the tomb just seconds before the Cybermen's bomb detonates.

The Second Doctor contacts the Capitol, and the Fifth Doctor answers, still under Borusa's control. The Fifth Doctor tells his other selves to await his and Borusa's arrival. Transmatting over to the tomb, Borusa paralyzes the Doctors' companions with a command and tries to control the minds of the Doctors as well, but fails as all four Doctors combine their wills against him. However, a booming voice echoes through the chamber, the voice of Rassilon, demanding to know who disturbs him. Borusa steps forward to claim immortality and while the other Doctors protest, the First Doctor holds the others back and says to the projection of Rassilon that Borusa deserves the prize. Borusa takes the ring from the body and puts it on, but finds himself paralyzed, then transformed into one of several stone faces carved into the side of the casket. Rassilon then sends the Master back to his own time, and frees the Fourth Doctor from the time vortex before returning to eternal rest. The First Doctor smugly tells the Fifth that he finally understood the proverb. The prize was another trap — a means for Rassilon to discover who wanted immortality and get them out of the way.

The Doctors and their companions say their good-byes to each other and re-enter the TARDIS save for the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. As the three watch, the others are transported back to their proper timezones. Chancellor Flavia arrives with guards and tells the Doctor that with Borusa's disappearance, the Council has appointed the Doctor as President. The Doctor orders Flavia back to the Capitol, saying that he will follow in his TARDIS and that she has full powers until his return. Once in the ship, however, he reveals to Tegan and Turlough he has no intention of returning. Tegan asks if the Doctor really intends to go on the run from his own people in a rackety old TARDIS. The Doctor replies, smiling, "Why not? After all, that's how it all started."






Real Earth people

  • Whilst punting down the river the Doctor rambles to Romana mentioning;

Story Notes

  • This story commemorated the twentieth anniversary of Doctor Who.
  • Robert Holmes was initially commissioned to write the special, which initially had the working title The Six Doctors because it originally included a robot impostor of one of the Doctors. Holmes, however, was unable to come up with a workable script, so Terrance Dicks was commissioned to write the piece.
  • The Five Doctors was co-produced with the Australian Broadcasting Commission who put in AUD $60,000.
  • The companion-hallucination cameos were last-minute additions to the script, and Dicks had already completed his first draft of the script when Tom Baker pulled out of the project.
  • William Hartnell was deceased by this time, and Tom Baker declined to return to his role as the Fourth Doctor. An early idea to incorporate footage of Hartnell and Baker into the story's action in a way similar to the contemporary film Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid was abandoned in favor of hiring actor Richard Hurndall to give his own impression of the First Doctor, while clips of Baker and Lalla Ward from the unfinished and (at the time) never-before-seen story "Shada" were used to show only the Fourth Doctor's abduction and return, without any interaction between himself and the other Doctors. For a publicity cast photo, a figure from Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum of Baker as the Doctor was used.
  • This story was broadcast via satellite on 23 November, 1983 to North American viewers, before its transmission in the UK. However, UK viewers did get to see some extra scenes and dialogue.
  • Terrance Dicks is said to have been displeased with Eric Saward's changes to his original story. He especially felt the Cybermen, for whom Saward had a particular fondness, were overused in the finished story.
  • The story was revamped for a mid-1990s video release with scenes and dialogue added or deleted, and some of the visual effects and the voice of Rassilon redone. The resulting version continues to receive mixed reactions from fans.
  • This is only the second time in the series' history that there was a pre-credits sequence. Castrovalva (1982) was the first such story. Subsequently, Time and the Rani (1987) and Remembrance of the Daleks (1988) also featured pre-credits teasers. The pre-credits sequence became a regular occurrence starting with the 2005 series episode The End of the World.
  • This serial explicitly indicated in dialogue that the Davison incarnation of the Doctor was in fact the fifth, officially discounting fan speculation dating back to The Brain of Morbius that the First Doctor wasn't actually the first. Ironically, Terrance Dicks wrote both stories.
  • Just as the Doctor is (almost) never referred to as "Doctor Who", so too are the terms First Doctor, Second Doctor, etc. never actually uttered on screen. This episode comes closest to breaking that precedent when the First Doctor asks the Fifth, "Regeneration?" and the Fifth replies "Fourth".
  • The Quarks were set to return to Doctor Who for The Five Doctors but were removed from the script at an early stage and replaced by the Raston Warrior Robot. The Quarks appear on the cover of the Five Doctor's VHS as this was not changed to match the TV swap.
  • This story marks the end of a long series of linked storylines that began with The Leisure Hive. Each story had been linked in some way, either as direct continuations, or in more subtle ways such as dialogue references to previous events. In this case, The Five Doctors is linked to The King's Demons and earlier stories by the fact it resolves the subplot of the Doctor finally arriving at the Eye of Orion.
  • Commander Maxil, last seen in Arc of Infinity, was at one point to have appeared. The character was dropped from the final script, most likely due to actor Colin Baker's imminent appointment as the Sixth Doctor.
  • Two versions of the ending sequences were made. One had a scene in which the Doctor and Romana were seen to run inside a building and instead of the Timescoop taking the Doctors back, there were TARDIS holograms and the accompanying sound to take them back, however this has been omitted from the final version. The original broadcast version did show exactly that.
  • Unless one considers the Brigadier to be a companion, this story has the distinction of marking the first time companions from different eras had met and interacted. This would occur only once more in the original series, in The Two Doctors when Peri and Jamie meet, and has occurred several times in the 2005-present revival.
  • Dicks' original script featured Autons with the Third Doctor saving Sarah Jane from them in Bessie. This was cut as there was not enough time to film it, and was replaced with Sarah falling down a hill. Eric Saward was known to say afterwards simply 'It was a lot simpler.'
  • The Brigadier's line "Wonderful Chap, all of them" Is a slightly edited version of a line he said in The Three Doctors, "Wonderful Chap, Both of him"


  • 7.7 million viewers


  • The Five Doctors was to feature Omega.
  • Richard Hurndall died before the episode aired. He died the following April.

Filming Locations

  • Plas Brondanw, Llanfrothen, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd (Eye of Orion)
  • Manod Quarry (now known as Cwt y Bugail Quarry (McAlpine)), Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd
  • Tilehouse Lane, Denham Green, Buckinghamshire (Third Doctor chase scene in Bessie)
  • West Common Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex (Sarah Jane Smith's house)
  • Carreg Y Foel Gron, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd (Location where Susan and the First Doctor see the TARDIS)
  • Cwm Bychan, Llanbedr, Gwynedd (Road in the Death Zone where the Third Doctor and Sarah drive)
  • Denham Manor, Halings Lane, Denham Green (UNIT HQ)
  • North Common Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex (Location where Sarah waits for the bus and is taken by the Time Scoop)
  • Ealing Television Film Studios, Ealing Green, Ealing
  • BBC Television Centre (TC6), Shepherd's Bush, London

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • When the Cyberman attacks the Brigadier, the Cyberman's (actor) jeans are visible.
  • When the checkerboard floor becomes electrified and the Cybermen are zapped, one particularly dim Cyberman who had not stepped on yet continues obliviously on to the platform to meet his fate.
  • After being frozen by Borusa, the Brigadier clearly moves his head to watch Borusa go. The Brigadier has had training to resist such mental attacks see NA: No Future.
  • The Cybermen following the Master into the Tomb must be blind not to see the Doctor. They do see him (one or two even watch as he and Tegan run off), they just aren't concerned with him at this point.
  • The Master's first crossing of the chessboard is in a perfectly straight line, with a brief pause in the centre. Where is his application of Pi supposed to come in? It's possible the sequence only runs in one dimension. (Pi can certainly be used to calculate a straight line, and since we don't know what calculation the Master and the Doctor used it for, we can't really dispute the result.)
  • If the Time Lords can offer the Master a new life, then why is Borusa so worried about his own mortality? Just because they can offer a Time Lord a new cycle of regenerations doesn't mean it's not exceptional to do so. There's no reason for the High Council to grant Borusa more regenerations. Besides, Borusa is not after more regenerations, which after all, can go wrong, and do not protect one from devastating injury, but true immortality.
  • The rope that the Third Doctor slides towards to tower on clearly goes up at the end.
  • The Master meets the Fifth Doctor on his way to the Tomb, then offers to lead the Cybermen to the Tomb. He is then beaten to the Tower by the First Doctor, who only started his journey when Susan and Tegan arrive back. They were delayed chasing the Third Doctor. The Master is stalling for time, trying to come up with a plan to get the upper hand over his captors.
  • Like in Earthshock a Cyberman uses the phrase 'Excellent' when they are said to have no emotions. Maybe the Cyberleader has a limited sense of emotion. Or the phrase might simply be a stock phrase the Cyberman has been programmed to say, but is otherwise as meaningless as "Have a nice day". The word "excellent" doesn't necessarily convey emotion, simply that something that occurred is in line with their purposes.
  • How could the Brigadier say "Nice to see you again!" to the Master after the latter has just regenerated and so the Brigadier wouldn't recognise him at all? (He figures it out like the Third Doctor did. The two incarnations of the Master don't really look that different. Also there is nothing to indicate the Brigadier hadn't met the Master in his current form at some earlier time. Additionally, unlike the Doctor, who changes outfits with each regeneration, the Master is still wearing a basic black outfit (granted Delgado's Master didn't have the fancy design around the collar that Ainley's Master does).)
  • No reference is made to the Doctor's newest companion, Kamelion, who only joined in the preceding serial; even the android's former owner, the Master, makes no reference to him. MA: The Crystal Bucephalus accounts for why he does not feature. As for the Master it is not clear where in the Master's personal timeline he is taken from, nor would the Master be particularly interested in Kamelion given the circumstances.
  • How can the Second Doctor know that the Time Lords sent Jamie and Zoe back to their own times and wiped their memories of him when he regenerated at the end of the War Games? It is clearly Jamie's recognition of the Brigadier that tips the Doctor off, since Zoe does not mention the Brigadier by name during the scene. See Season 6B, a theory created by fans and later supported by Terrance Dicks in his Past Doctor Adventures novel Players, that suggests the regeneration did not occur immediately after the end of The War Games and that the Doctor went on to have several adventures working for the Celestial Intervention Agency before finally regenerating. This theory is also intended to cover discrepancies surrounding The Two Doctors.' (Even without Season 6B, it's clear from prior dialogue that the Second Doctor remembers the events of The Three Doctors, leaving open the possibility that the fate of Zoe and Jamie was communicated to him by his future self.)
  • How does the Doctor know the Time Scoop didn't kidnap Jamie and Zoe from a time when they were still travelling with the Doctor? Because he can see they have aged since then.
  • Susan recognises the Cybermen when she sees them outside the TARDIS, yet she stopped travelling with the Doctor long before his first encounter with them. She sees them in this adventure when she is with Tegan who names them so she knows what they are called from there. She may also have become aware of the Cybermen while living on Earth in the 22nd century, from historical records of events such as the Battle of Canary Wharf and other Cybermen incursions on Earth that may have become public knowledge by then.
  • The First Doctor and Susan stop to rest in the Death Zone. Susan then points out the TARDIS with surprise and delight, though it is in an open space not ten metres before them Perception filter at work? They were tired from walking and just hadn't noticed it there.
  • If Borusa can use the time scoop to bring the Doctors into the Death Zone, could he not use it to take the Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti and Raston Robot out? He most likely took out most of the obstacles but no one can make it perfect. Plus there is no reason to think just because he can put them in, he can take them out. After all, a parachute only works one way. It is also possible, as implied by his becoming the baddie, that his most recent regeneration has left him mentally unbalanced, and so he is perversely amused at the idea of leaving enemies in the zone for the Doctor to face. As he remarks after being unmasked, slightly derangedly, 'It's a game... within a game'.
  • If the transmat can take Borusa, the Fifth Doctor, Chancellor Flavia and her guards directly to the Tomb of Rassilon, why the elaborate plan to use the Doctors to find it?! The transmat could only take people to the tower after the force field was lowered.
  • Despite the few, somewhat tame obstacles the Doctors encounter, they make their progress to the Tower with relative ease. Borusa most likely took most of them out. Plus many could have died off.
  • The destruction of the Dalek, which was supposed 'to play the Game too well' not so much demonstrates the cunning of the Doctor as the stupidity of the Dalek. That's a personal opinion on your part. Daleks usually are quite adept at killing, where the Doctor's not involved.
  • What is the structure the First Doctor and Susan encounter the Dalek in? Aside from the Tower, no other structures are seen throughout the whole of the death zone. That doesn't mean there aren't any. It could be the remains of a downed Dalek scout ship, dumped in the zone by Borusa.
  • When each of the Doctors are taken out of the Doctor's timestream, only the Fifth Doctor is affected. Why aren't the Second, Third and Fourth getting the same reaction when the First Doctor is taken out and so forth? They probably had the same reaction but it was not shown on screen or perhaps the previous Doctors were taken out of time at the same instance. Or perhaps only the Fifth Doctor felt the effects as he was at the time the "current" Doctor. Further, it's doubtful the other Doctors felt the effects as, like the Fifth, the other Doctors were among witnesses who would have asked the Doctor if he was alright when he yelled in agony (the Second Doctor was standing in front of the UNIT receptionist and the Fourth, putting aside the fact that he was in an insert from Shada was punting with Romana) or, in the case of the Third Doctor he was driving, and had he been affected, when we first saw him he wouldn't have been so pleasantly enjoying a drive in Bessie (in fact he'd be lucky if it didn't make him crash.)
  • Why doesn't the Fifth Doctor remember the events already (likewise the Third, Second, etc.). This is an issue faced by every multi-Doctor story and requires suspension of disbelief from the audience. It can be rationalized that the memories of the interaction were suppressed by the Time Lords, which is supported by dialogue in School Reunion suggesting Sarah Jane and the Tenth Doctor *may* have no memory of meeting during The Five Doctors, or Sarah Jane, did not know if the Fifth Doctor was an earlier incarnation and hers, the Fourth Doctor, was the most recent, or they may just chosen to have not mentioned it A further rationalization is that the lack of memory is yet another effect of the 'time differential' that aged the Fifth Doctor when he met the Tenth Doctor. The Doctor's memories of previous encounters with his past selves may be distorted or incomplete due to the time differential shorting out. He may recall some details, but he does not have a complete memory of the event. Also note that in Fires of Pompei the Doctor tells Donna that there are some moments that are in flux, this is also mentioned in The Waters of Mars, the moments when the Doctors are taken out of time are these types of moments.
  • When on the chess board, the Cyberman aims at the Master, when he falls over - The Master is nowhere to be seen! He moved.
  • The TARDIS is virtually indestructible. Why are Turlough and Susan so concerned about the ring of bombs the Cybermen have placed around the ship? The key word here is 'virtually'. They may recognize the type of bombs being used as a kind that could harm the TARDIS. They both have personalities prone to worrying as well. In addition, the TARDIS defenses may have been shut down when it was immobilized in the zone. As shown in DW Journey's End, the TARDIS is extremely vulnerable without its defenses.
  • Who is controlling the Yeti and why? Either it is working on some kind of default setting to destroy all humans it sees, or the Great Intelligence (being spread out over the astral plane) has been drawn to this lone, active one of its servants and is taking this chance it has to avenge itself on the Doctor and the Brigadier.
  • During Borusa'a initial unmasking and subsequent conversation with the Fifth Doctor, he holds the model of the Master from the board and says 'I gave you an enemy to face', as if taking credit for the Master's presence in the zone. However, he stated earlier in the story that the other members of the High Council insisting on involving the Master did 'not please' him. The Doctor doesn't know that, and it allows Borusa to save face. Also, Borusa may have known the High Council's decision and even manipulated that decision. He then would have feigned disapproval in order to disguise his plan.
  • Susan's reunion with her grandfather doesn't seem to be as emotional as one would expect given the Doctor's reaction to her departure in The Dalek Invasion of Earth.
  • Why doesn't Sarah Jane just find her own way up the slope she fell down? The slope isn't deep, you could walk up it. She was in fog and disorientated after being taken to the Death Zone.
  • The statements that the ring grants you immortality contradicts the statement in The War Games, when the Second Doctor said that "we can live forever barring accidents". He may not have been referring to the ring at the time; or may not have known of the ring, he may have only known of Rasilon
  • When the Second Doctor is in the caves with the Brigadier at one point you can see a boom mic at the top of the screen.



  • It is implied that the Doctor and Susan have not met for a while, plus Susan is considerably more mature than she was when last seen, thus it must be after The Dalek Invasion of Earth. (However, some feel the fact they do not have an emotional reunion implies they may have met again in the interim. Others say that the reunion seemed emotional enough given the circumstances, so no prior reunion is implied.)
  • The story hints several times that this is after the events of The Three Doctors for The first three doctors. The Second Doctor mentions Omega while reminiscing with the Brigadier, and also makes a comment about his replacement being "unpromising" when he is in UNIT headquarters. The Third Doctor refers to "that fellow in the check trousers and black frock-coat" when he meets the illusions of Mike Yates and Liz Shaw. The First Doctor refers to the Second as "the little fellow".
  • The Brigadier refers to the Yeti (The Web of Fear) and the Cybermen (The Invasion). He also recognises the Fifth Doctor and Tegan suggesting it is after Mawdryn Undead.
  • For the Third Doctor, it takes place some time between The Time Warrior and Planet of the Spiders as he recognises Sarah Jane (who was his last companion before his regeneration).
  • Sarah is at home with K-9, so it must be after the K-9 and Company spinoff, but it is unknown what year it is for Sarah Jane, it is unknown whether Brendan is staying with her or if Lavinia is deceased yet
  • The Third Doctor reacts to Sarah's mimed description of the Fourth Doctor by saying, "Teeth and curls?" and telling her the change has not happened yet for him. Although the Third Doctor may just be interpreting her gestures, his accuracy has led some fans to believe that it implies a previous unseen encounter with the Fourth Doctor. In the short story The Touch of the Nurazh from the anthology Short Trips: Monsters, an injury makes the Third Doctor begin to regenerate into the Fourth but the process is reversed. This is witnessed by Jo Grant, and the theory is that she subsequently describes the Fourth Doctor's appearance to the Third. (According to both Elisabeth Sladen and Terrance Dicks the "all teeth and curls" line was supposed to be Sarah's, but Jon Pertwee appropriated it for himself.)
  • The time-placement for the Fourth Doctor depends upon which version of The Five Doctors is viewed, and whether Shada, despite being unbroadcast and incomplete, is considered canonical (which in turn relates to whether the webcast version is considered canonical). In any event, Romana is in her second incarnation, placing this between Destiny of the Daleks and Full Circle (when the TARDIS enters E-Space and events unfold that lead to her leaving the Doctor). Shada was placed between The Horns of Nimon and The Leisure Hive. According to the 1983 version of The Five Doctors, it is strongly implied that due to both Romana and the Fourth Doctor being Timescooped, the events of Shada were disrupted, leading the Eighth Doctor later being drawn into that adventure again (with Romana in tow). The 1995 Special Edition, however, only has the Doctor Timescooped, and after the defeat of Borusa, Rassilon returns the Doctor to just before the Timescoop took him away, which would allow the events of Shada to unfold.


For the First Doctor:

For the Second Doctor:

For the Third Doctor:

For the Fourth Doctor:

  • This story occurs during DW: Shada

For the Fifth Doctor:

DVD, Video and Other Releases

VHS releases

The Five Doctors had three separate VHS releases:

It was released on video by BBC Enterprises in 1985.

It was released by BBC Worldwide in 1990.

It was released on video by BBC Worldwide in 1995 as part of a boxed set.

This was the Extended/Special Edition version of the story.

Laserdisc releases

  • The original (broadcast) version of the story was released on Laserdisc in 1994.

DVD release

  • In 1999 The Five Doctors was released on DVD by BBC Worldwide, this was the same Extended / Special Edition as the 1995 VHS release, with no additional features. Released in Australia 2000. Only the North America release had commentary and the Who's Who features.
  • In 2008 The Five Doctors was re-released celebrating the story's 25th anniversary, in this case it was a dual DVD release showcasing the original version of the story and the Extended / Special Edition.
  • This was also released as an extra with Issue 4 of the Doctor Who DVD Files.

First release

Second release

DVD extras (2008 version):

  • Commentary track on 1983 version by Carole Ann Ford, Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen, Mark Strickson.
  • Commentary track on 1995 version by Peter Davison and Terrance Dicks
  • Hidden "Easter egg" commentary on 1983 version by David Tennant, Phil Collinson and Helen Raynor (recorded in 2006 during filming of Gridlock)
  • Celebration, a 52-minute documentary hosted by Colin Baker looking back at the 1983 anniversary year.
  • The Ties that Bind Us, a 26-minute documentary narrated by Paul McGann looking at the links between The Five Doctors and both past and future Doctor Who storylines (right up to Last of the Time Lords)
  • Five Doctors, One Studio - raw video footage of the only studio recording session in which Davison, Pertwee, Troughton and Hurndall were all together.
  • Outtakes and bloopers.
  • (Not So) Special Effects - raw footage of the filming of several special effects sequences.
  • Publicity clips from Saturday Superstore, Blue Peter, Nationwide and Breakfast Time.
  • Isolated music track for both versions.
  • Trails and continuities, including the cliffhangers created for the four-episode version.
  • Photo gallery.
  • Production notes subtitles option on both versions.
  • DVD ROM feature: Radio Times listings.
  • Easter egg: a clip of the Timescoop "black triangle" eating the BBC Logo, taken from the 1995 video release of the Special Edition.

Audio Release

A soundtrack album of the music from this serial was released by Silva Screen Records as The Five Doctors: Classic Music from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop Vol. 2 (FILMCD 710).


Main article: The Five Doctors (novelisation)

A novelisation by Terrance Dicks was published in conjunction with the broadcast. This was the first and only time that the release of a novelisation more or less coincided with the broadcast of an episode.

See also

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Five Doctors
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Five Doctors
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Five Doctors
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Five Doctors
Season 20
Arc of Infinity  • Snakedance  • Mawdryn Undead  • Terminus  • Enlightenment  • The King's Demons  
20th Anniversary Special: The Five Doctors
Dalek television stories
Major appearances: The Daleks  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth  • The Chase  • Mission to the Unknown  • The Daleks' Master Plan  • The Power of the Daleks  • The Evil of the Daleks  • Day of the Daleks  • Planet of the Daleks  • Death to the Daleks  • Genesis of the Daleks  • Destiny of the Daleks  • Resurrection of the Daleks  • Revelation of the Daleks  • Remembrance of the Daleks  • Dalek • Bad Wolf/ The Parting of the Ways  • Army of Ghosts/Doomsday  • Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks  • The Stolen Earth / Journey's End
Minor appearances: The Space Museum  • The Wheel in Space  • The War Games  • The Mind of Evil  • Frontier in Space  • Logopolis  • The Five Doctors  • The TV Movie  • Human Nature  • The Waters of Mars
Non-canonical: The Curse of Fatal Death
 • Complete List of Appearances •
The Master - TV Stories
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons  • The Sea Devils  • The Time Monster  • Frontier in Space  • The Deadly Assassin  • The Keeper of Traken  • Logopolis  • Castrovalva  • Time-Flight  • The King's Demons  • The Five Doctors  • Planet of Fire  • The Mark of the Rani  • The Ultimate Foe  • Survival  • Doctor Who: The TV Movie  •
Utopia/ The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time LordsThe End of Time
Cyberman Television Stories
Original Cybermen: The Tenth Planet  • The Moonbase  • The Tomb of the Cybermen  • The Wheel in Space  • The Invasion  • Revenge of the Cybermen  • Earthshock  • The Five Doctors  • Attack of the Cybermen  • Silver Nemesis
Alternate Universe Cybermen: Rise of the Cybermen/ The Age of Steel  • Army of Ghosts/ Doomsday  • The Next Doctor
Torchwood: Cyberwoman
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at The_Five_Doctors. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

This article uses material from the "The Five Doctors" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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