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"So you're my replacements? A dandy and a clown!"
The Doctor
The Three Doctors
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 10
Story Number: 65
Doctor: Third Doctor
Second Doctor
First Doctor
Companions: Jo Grant
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Sergeant Benton
Enemy: Omega
Gell guard
Writer: Bob Baker and Dave Martin
Director: Lennie Mayne
Broadcast: 30th December 1972 -
20th January 1973
Format: 4 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Time Monster
Following Story: Carnival of Monsters

The Three Doctors was the groundbreaking first story of the anniversary Season 10 of Doctor Who. The serial marked several milestones: it was the first multi-Doctor story (establishing the concept of the Doctor being able to meet his past incarnations); it marked the return of William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton to the role of the Doctor (for Hartnell, the last time); it established the idea of the Doctor being recruited by the Time Lords to undertake assignments; and it ended the years-long story arc of the Doctor being exiled to Earth, which had began in Season 7 in 1970.



The Time Lords find themselves besieged by a mysterious enemy inhabiting the anti-matter universe on the other side of the black hole from which they draw their power. They enlist the Doctor in his first three incarnations to battle this foe, who turns out to be a legend from the Time Lords's remote past.


Episode One

A superluminal signal is sent to Earth, carrying with it an unusual energy blob that seems intent on capturing the Doctor. In the meantime, the homeworld of the Time Lords is under siege, with all the power sustaining it being drained through a black hole. Trapped and desperate, the Time Lords do the unthinkable and break the First Law of Time, allowing the Doctor to aid himself by summoning his two previous incarnations from the past. The Doctor's second incarnation joins the Third Doctor in investigating the origins of the creature and the black hole, while UNIT headquarters faces an attack by Anti-matter monsters. The Third Doctor switches off the TARDIS force field and goes outside. Jo follows him and both are engulfed in a blinding flash from the plasma creature in the U.N.I.T laboratory...

Episode Two

The First Doctor deduces the black hole is a bridge between universes, and the other two Doctors allow the TARDIS to be swallowed up by the energy creature. which transports them, Doctor Tyler, Jo Grant, Sergeant Benton and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart into an antimatter universe created by the legendary Time Lord Omega, a solar engineer who created the supernova that powers Time Lord civilisation, but was considered killed in the explosion. In actuality, he had been transported to the antimatter universe, where his will and thought turned the formless matter into physicality. Trapped, due to the fact that his will is the only thing maintaining reality, he vowed revenge on the Time Lords who left him stranded. The Second Doctor switches off the TARDIS force field and the whole of UNIT HQ is transported through the black hole...

Episode Three

It is clear that the exile has made Omega quite insane. Along with his revenge, he has summoned the Doctors here to take over the mental maintenance of the antimatter universe so he can escape. However, the Doctors discover that years of exposure to the corrosive effects of the black hole's singularity have destroyed Omega's physical body - he is trapped forever. Driven over the edge by this discovery, Omega now demands that the Doctors share his exile. The Second and Third Doctors find the point of singularity within the black hole: the source of Omega's power. Omega catches them there and exacts retribution: the third Doctor is consigned to a black void where he is forced to fight a troll-like creature - the dark side of Omega's mind - that eventually gets him in a stranglehold....

Episode Four

The Doctors escape briefly, and offer Omega a proposition. They will give him his freedom if they send the others back to the positive matter universe. Omega agrees, and when that is done, the Doctors offer Omega a force field generator containing the Second Doctor's recorder, which had fallen in it prior to the transport through the black hole. Omega knocks the generator over in a rage and the unconverted positive matter recorder falls out of the force field. When the recorder comes into contact with the antimatter universe, it annihilates everything in a flash, returning the Doctors in the TARDIS to the positive matter universe. The Third Doctor explains that death was the only freedom anyone could offer Omega. With the power now restored to the Time Lords, they are able to send the First and Second Doctors back to their respective time periods. As a reward, the Time Lords give the Third Doctor a new dematerialisation circuit for the TARDIS and restore his knowledge of how to travel through space and time.




  • The First Doctor gets trapped in a time eddy. He caustically refers to his future selves as (respectively) "a dandy and a clown".
  • The Second Doctor does not like the way his future self has "re-decorated" 'his' TARDIS much later the Fifth Doctor would make a similar criticism when meeting the Tenth (Time Crash). He recognised Benton from their adventure with the Cybermen. He likes to play and treasures his recorder. He thinks little of television.
  • The Brigadier at first thinks that one of the Doctor's experiments has changed him back to an early version of himself. He seems more outraged than wonder struck at the interior of the TARDIS, given the Doctor's lavishing of valuable UNIT resources on it. He believes the Doctor has built the TARDIS interior using UNIT resources. He either disbelieves or does not understand that part of UNIT HQ (specifically the Doctor's laboratory) has gotten transported into the anti-matter universe and states in confidence that he thinks they're in Cromer.

Cultural references

Foods and Beverages

  • Jelly Babies make their debut on Doctor Who when the Second Doctor offers one to the Brigadier. Several years later, jelly babies became the confection of choice of the Fourth Doctor and continued to be referenced from time to time on the series for many years thereafter.

Astronomical objects

Theories and Concepts

  • Omega's universe is a universe of anti-matter
  • The First Law of Time expressly forbids any Time Lord to cross his own time stream and meet his former (or, for that matter, future) selves.

Races and species

Time Lords

  • The Doctor's three selves have the power to have a "telepathic conference" amongst themselves, exchanging information at a rapid speed.
  • The Doctor admired Omega in his youth.

Story Notes

  • William Hartnell's last appearance as the Doctor before his death in 1975. Hartnell was too ill to play a more active role in the story. Instead his scenes were filmed in Ealing Television Film Studios while he read his lines from cue cards. The script was rewritten with the explanation that the First Doctor was stuck in a time eddy due to the power drain caused by Omega.
  • The first appearance of Omega. Originally Omega's name was supposed to be Ohm, the word resulting from turning "who" upside-down if it were in capital letters. Ohm was later used as the name of an ancient Gallifreyan god in PDA: The Infinity Doctors.
  • Original plans were for Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot to appear in the story. However, Frazer Hines was unable to take time out from Emmerdale Farm for filming, and the idea of additional companions received objections from Jon Pertwee, who felt too many characters would detract from the story.
  • The end of the Doctor's exile on Earth. This also marks the beginning of the gradual phasing out of UNIT on the series, as the Doctor spends more and more time away from 20th century Earth.
  • Jelly babies make their Doctor Who debut when the Second Doctor offers one. A few years later, the sweet would be brought back as the Fourth Doctor's favourite sweet, with cameos in later years.


  • Episode 1 - 9.6 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 10.8 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 8.8 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 11.9 million viewers


  • William Hartnell's scenes were filmed in the garage of his home against a black backdrop. (His scenes were actually filmed at Ealing Television Film Studios.)
  • The scene in which the Second Doctor was shown in black and white originated from the (now lost) 1960s serial, The Macra Terror. It was actually a pre-filmed shot.

Filming Locations

  • Summerfield Bungalow in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire served as the Ollis's cottage. The bird sanctuary was actually Springwell Reservoir, also in Rickmansworth.
  • Exterior scenes set in Omega's universe were filmed at Springwell Quarry.
  • Halings House in Denham Green, Buckinghamshire, served as the exterior of UNIT HQ.
  • The fight between the Third Doctor and Omega's dark side, as well as the First Doctor's scenes, were filmed at Ealing Television Film Studios.
  • Model shots were filmed at the BBC Television Centre Puppet Theatre, with all other scenes filmed at BBC Television Centre Studio 1.

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • How come the Brigadier mentions to the Second Doctor about both the Autons and the Nestene Consciousness when the Second doesn't remember these events? The Brigadier doesn't know that - he's trying to get his head round the sudden reappearance of the old Doctor, and is confused about the face changing.
  • In episode 4, the two Doctors take less time to get to UNIT than the others did in Bessie.
  • If the organism was to find the Doctor, why send the monsters as well? In case he put up a struggle or some how he could defeat the organism.
  • The explanation of why Ollis is taken doesn't really hold up, and it is painfully obvious that they just needed a good way to start the story. The explanation was not really an explanation, that was merely the Doctor hypothesising.
  • In the end the Third Doctor says he will need to build new forcefield circuit before he can travel again, so how does he materialise in Carnival of Monsters? The forcefield circuit is probably less complex than the materialisation circuit. There is clearly at least a small amount of time that passes and the Doctor obviously rebuilt the forcefield circuit in that time.
  • There are shots that make it quite obvious that there is not interior to the TARDIS prop. It has been like that for the past 40 odd years, until the New Series revival in 2005"
  • The split screen effect used to allow Patrick Troughton's arm to reach for the recorder before he fully appears is rather obvious; additionally, just before his arm appears, a boom mike drifts into the shot directly above John Levene.
  • The Brigadier says UNIT HQ is "a Top Secret establishment". It's therefore a surprise to see a large sign outside informing the world not only of its function, but also the name of the commanding officer. "Top Secret" usually refers to the work going on inside the faclity, not to the location of the facility itself. Anyone going near the location of Area 51, for instance, will be greeted with signs declaring the area a security location and off-limits. There is no way to deny the existence of the Area 51 facility, just what they actually do there.
  • The footsteps of those returning to Earth via the singularity can be heard as they walk down the steps after they've disappeared.
  • Jo's knickers can be seen in episode one.
  • How does the First Doctor know that the blob is a bridge? He worked it out for the other incarnations
  • The view from the TARDIS scanner is from the far side of the lab and includes the TARDIS itself
  • When UNIT HQ vanishes, there is grass where the building used to be.
  • There are many times when behind the scenes actions are seen
  • When the gel creature is chasing Tyler, it bumps into a wall right before the cut to the next scene.
  • When the Doctor and Jo find Bessie, her tyres are covered with white dust, showing she was driven into the quarry, not transported.
  • The Chancellor tells the First Doctor that "all three are needed to defeat Omega". But how does he know who the enemy is?
  • Although it is later revealed that Omega has no physical shape, the actor's mouth can be seen on several occasions, notably when he is working out who the Second Doctor is.
  • 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. They were taken back to where they were supposed to be, not from where they were taken
  • 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.


  • The Second Doctor addresses Benton as Corporal, the rank he held in DW: The Invasion. He also refers to UNIT's battle with the Cybermen in that story. The Brigadier also mentions that adventure, as well as his first meeting with the Doctor during the Yeti attack in DW: The Web of Fear. Mention is also made of the two occasions the Doctor "changed his appearance," - the process was not yet called regeneration.


For the First Doctor:

For the Second Doctor:

For the Third Doctor:

DVD, Video and Other Releases

DVD Releases

Released as Doctor Who: The Three Doctors.


NTSC - Warner Video E1925



Video Release

Released as Doctor Who: The Three Doctors.


  • First Release:
PAL - BBC Video BBCV4650
NTSC - CBS/FOX Video 3405
NTSC - Warner Video E1100
  • Second Release: Exclusive to W.H. Smith as part of The Time Lord Collection.
PAL - BBC Video BBCV7364


Main article: The Three Doctors (novelisation)

See Also

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Three Doctors
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Three Doctors
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Three Doctors
  • The Doctor Who Restoration Team's The Three Doctors page
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Three Doctors
Season 10
The Three Doctors  • Carnival of Monsters  • Frontier in Space  • Planet of the Daleks  • The Green Death
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at The Three 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 Three Doctors" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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