Number : Season 20, serial 7 of 7.

Which One : 20th anniversary special.

Cast : Doctor : William Hartnell (archive) Richard Hurndall, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker (archive) and Peter Davison.
Sarah Jane Smith : Elizabeth Sladen
Anthony Ainley : The Master
Tegan : Janet Fielding
Turlough : Mark Strickson
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Susan : Carol Ann Ford
Zoe : Wendy Padbury
Jamie : Frazer Hines
Liz Shaw : Caroline John
Mike Yates : Richard Franklin
Romana : Lalla Ward (archive)
Borusa : Philip Latham
Flavia : Dinah Sheridan
Rassilon : Richard Mathews

Written By : Terrence Dicks, Terry Nation and Douglas Adams.

Produced By : JNT

First UK Broadcast : 25 November 1983

Length : 1 hour 20 minute feature-length special.

Plot : The Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are taking some much needed rest, when the Doctor senses a disturbance in the time-continuum. Someone is stealing previous Doctor incarnations from time and planting them, within the deadly Games of Rassilon.

Whats good : A plausible enough setup, reunites a huge mish-mash of Doctor’s – present and past, companions and classic monsters. The Cybermen are put to good use, as the main antagonists. The Master puts in a good performance (finally).

Whats bad : It’s a shame that Tom Baker didn’t want to be in it.

Review With Spoilers : The Five Doctor’s is the seventh serial of season 20 and features a veritable back catalogue, of the first 20 years of the show.

If you compare The Five Doctor’s to any of the other Anniversary Specials, then The Five Doctor’s has to be the most ambitious, in term of its scope; for attempting to reunite so many previous Doctors, companions and monsters – all under one roof.

It does suffer a bit though, for the sheer amount of characters jostling for position and some are relegated to disappointing cameos. But at least they are represented, even if it is – just briefly.

Holding all of this together, is Peter Davison, whose underrated turn as the Fifth Doctor; is usually unfairly overlooked (from a history perspective). He manages to underpin all of the elements of the story and even manages to shine; alongside his acting heavyweight predecessors.

The Second and Third Doctors, slip back into their Doctor characters; like a comfortable pair of old brogues. And the newly cast 1st Doctor manages to ‘Hartnell’ it up enough – to complement.

The 4th Doctor appears – briefly but only from previously unbroadcast footage, from the unfinished Shada. Fourth’s absence is explained, as the timescoop device having failing and stranding the Fourth Doctor – in a loop.

Out of the companions, Tegan and Sarah-Jane get the biggest shake here. The rest of them get no more than a look in, including; The Brigadier, Susan, and Turlough.

There’s a clever use of the setting of Rassilon’s Tower to include clever cameos for Jamie, Zoe, Liz Shaw and Mike Yates; who appear – as apparitions of the mind.

“Like Alice – I try to believe two imporssible things, before breakfast!” Fifth Doctor

Ainley’s (usually overused) Master character, actually shines here, as the despicable turncoat who helps (and hinders) the Doctor’s and the Cybermen.

The monsters get a fair crack of the whip here, too. The Cybermen, are the main villains of this piece but a Dalek, Yeti and a Rastan Warrior Robot – also feature. Including the latters, impressive one-man demolition of an unlucky Cyberpatrol.

Five Doctor’s is the best of the anniversary specials. Simply because, it boldly revels in attempting to shoehorn in – as much Who history and cover all bases.

In that regard, Five Doctor’s is bursting at the seams but still somehow manages to pull it all together and easily ranks, among the best serials of Who; ever.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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