The Gunfighters – 1966 – S3 – E8/10

image Number : Season 3, episode 7 of 9.

Which One : Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Steven : Peter Purves
Dodo Chaplet : Jackie Lane
Marshal Wyatt Earp : John Alderson
Warren Earp : Martyn Huntley
Virgil Earp : Victor Carin
Bat Masterson : Richard Beale
Doc Holliday : Anthony Jacobs
Pa Clanton : Reed De Rouen
Ike Clanton : William Hurndell
Phineas Clanton : Maurice Good
Billy Clanton : David Cole
Kate : Sheena Marshe
Johnny Ringo : Laurence Payne
Seth Harper : Shane Rimmer
Charlie : David Graham

Written By : Donald Cotton

Produced By : Innes Lloyd

First UK Broadcast : 30 April – 21 May 1966.

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Parts :
1) “Holiday For The Doctor”
2) “Don’t Shoot The Pianist”
3) “Johnny Ringo”
4) “The O.K. Corral”

Plot : The Doctor, Steven and Dodo visit Tombstone, Arizona – in the Old West; so that the Doctor can visit a dentist. Here, the trio get caught up in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral – between the Earp’s and the Clantons.

Whats good : Who does a period-Western. It’s light-hearted. Hartnell plays it fun. Anthony Jacobs as Doc Holiday. The Narration ballad.

Whats bad : Some of the accents are horrendous.

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Review With Spoilers : The Gunfighters is the 7th episode of season 3 and features a trip for the Doctor, Steven and Dodo – to the American, Old West.

The Tardis lands in Tombstone, Arizona – in 1881. Just prior to the shootout at the O.K. Corral – between the Earps and the Clantons. The Doctor is also looking for a dentist, due to tooth-ache and is mistaken for Doc Holiday – himself, by the Clantons.

The Gunfighters could have been horrendous – and on paper, probably shouldn’t have worked. However, it did work really well and this is mainly due to it’s satire on the Western period.

There is plenty of “fish-out-of-water” humour from the Doctor, Steven and Dodo – whilst trying to negotiate this lawless time period. Doc Holiday lends the Doctor his sidearm, under the pretence of protection. However, it is infact a devious plan to put the Doctor in harms way – by mistaken identity.

Steven and Dodo assume the pretence of being travelling singers, to explain away their eccentric dress-sense and are then forced to sing in The Last Chance Saloon – at gunpoint.

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“Oh, quite, quite so. Allow me, sir, to introduce Miss Dodo Dupont, wizard of the ivory keys, and er Steven Regret, tenor. And lastly sir, your humble servant Doctor Caligari!” The Doctor
“Doctor Who…?” Bat Masterson
“Yes! Quite right!” The Doctor

Set design is quite good for a Who aswell. With the studio built Western sets clearly showing that a bit of money was spent on the featured locations.

The supporting actors – for the most part, tackle their roles with gusto. Although some of the accents are pretty bad and the [clearly] British actors keep letting their “Western Drawl” accents slip.

The Earp’s are played with just the right amount of cold animostiy and steely eyed gusto – expected. But it is Anthony Jacobs as Doc Holiday, who really shines – as the ambiguously moraled would-be dentist and gunslinger.

For the first and only time in Who, each episode opens and ends with a sung Western ballad; which acts as narration. It helps give proceedings – a more authentic Western feel.

The Gunfighters is a surprisingly entertaining Who, helped by a commited production effort, light-hearted turn from Hartnell and humourous script – that doesn’t try to take itself – too seriously.

🔵🔵🔵🔘⚪ (3.5/5)

Old Doctor Who