Number : Season 3, serial 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 episodes.
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 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.
Review With Spoilers : The Gunfighters is the seventh serial 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, by the Clantons.
The Gunfighters could have been horrendous – and probably shouldn’t have worked. However, it does work really well – and this is mainly due to it’s satire on the classic Western movie.
There is plenty of “fish-out-of-water” humour, from the Doctor, Steven and Dodo – whilst trying to negotiate the 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 bar – at gunpoint.
“Oh, quite, quite so. Allow me, sir, to introduce Miss Dodo Dupont, wizard of the ivory keys, and err… 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 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 slightly more authentic Western feel.
It’s odd to see the Doctor waving a gun around aswell. Being that he generally finds violence to be detestable. Although it is fair to say, this probably wasn’t an estsblished facet of the Doctor’s character yet. Judging by the Doctor’s actions, in helping the Greeks sack Troy – in The Myth Makers.
The Gunfighters is a surprisingly entertaining Who, helped by a commited production effort and light-hearted turn from Hartnell and humourous script; that doesn’t try to take itself – too seriously.
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