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Serial: 6K  Episode No. 608.  Title: The Five Doctors

A mysterious Player kidnaps the Doctor and his previous incarnations and deposits them in the Death Zone on Gallifrey, with deadly traps and old enemies standing between them and the fortress Dark Tower at the center.  Can they survive to reach the Tomb of Rassilon itself and confront the Time Lord who brought them there?

This is the special 20th anniversary story.

starring Peter Davison, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, Richard Hurndall, Tom Baker, and William Hartnell as the Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan, Mark Strickson as Turlough, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman, Lalla Ward as Romana, and Anthony Ainley as the Master, with cameos by Richard Franklin as Captain Yates, Caroline John as Liz Shaw, Wendy Padbury as Zoe, Frazer Hines as Jamie, and John Leeson as the Voice of K9. Written by Terrance Dicks, Produced by John Nathan-Turner, and Directed by Peter Moffatt.

Originally transmitted on 23 November 1983 on PBS in the USA and 25 November 1983 on BBC1 in the UK.

Items listed in this brown color were present on the 2001 North American DVD release of The Five Doctors Special Edition.  (This way you’ll

            know what you’re missing if you have that release already.)


-         The original BBC transmission version of the 1983 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors. This is 90 minutes long. 

This version has NEVER BEEN RELEASED IN NORTH AMERICA ON EITHER VHS OR DVD before now.   In fact, most

PBS broadcasts of this story weren’t of this version either, as the originally networked tape of this story was trimmed by about a minute in

five different places, and many most stations only ever aired that version. 

-         Graphical menus, scene selection features, and subtitles for the hearing impaired.

-         Companions Commentary track by actors Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier),

and Carole Ann Ford (Susan). 

-         Isolated Music option.  Plays the program with only the clean incidental music playing.

-         Information Text option.  Displays pop-up production trivia subtitles throughout the story when selected.

-         “Celebration”  A new 52-minute documentary about both the making of this story and also about all the other activities that happened around

the 20th anniversary of the show, including the famous Longleat convention.  Narrated by Colin Baker.  Includes new interviews with actors

Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Nicholas Courtney

(the Brigadier), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), John Leeson (voice of K9), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates), and Caroline John (Liz Shaw),

writer Terrance Dicks, new series writers Paul Cornell and Gareth Roberts, production designer Mike Kelt, and prominent fans Andrew Beech

and Ian Levine, and DVD content producers Richard Molesworth and James Goss. 

-         Trails and Continuity.  A 19-minute featurette that first shows the original BBC introduction of the 90-minute version of the story, and then

shows how the episodes in the four-part edit of this story each were introduced, began, and concluded, complete with full credits. 

-         Photo Gallery.  An 8-minute featurette showing production photos from the story.

-         Radio Times Listings.  A pdf file of the original TV listings for this story, viewable by placing the DVD in the DVD-Rom drive of either a PC

or Macintosh computer.

-         An extraordinarily impressive Easter Egg.  Highlight the blank area below to see how to find it and what it is.

-         Go into the Special Features menu, then into the Audio Options menu.  Highlight the Companions Commentary selection, then press the right

Arrow.  A Doctor Who logo will appear.  Select this and the program will now play with a complete hidden commentary track.  This commentary

features three very prominent people who work on the new Doctor Who series:  David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor himself), Producer Phil

Collinson, and script editor and writer Helen Raynor.  They speak both from their perspective as young fans when this story first went out

and as the people who make the current series.


            On DISC TWO:

-         The Special Edition of this story.  It is 100 minutes long. 

-         Audio available in either Dolby 5.1 or Dolby Surround sound. 

-         Isolated Music option.  Plays the program with only the clean incidental music playing.

-         Production Commentary track by actor Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor) and writer Terrance Dicks.

-         “The Ties That Bind Us”  A 16-minute featurette narrated by Eighth Doctor actor Paul McGann that spotlights most of the points of continuity

that are raised in the story that may not be obvious to a new viewer.

-         “Five Doctors – One Studio  A 19-minute featurette that shows what was going on in the Tomb of Rassilon set between takes.

-         Outtakes.  7 minutes of more than twenty different actors’ bloopers.

-         “(Not So) Special Effects  A 9-minute featurette showing special effects bloopers.

-         Saturday Superstore.  An 11-minute segment from this 1983 BBC program where Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, and Mark Strickson took

phone calls from young viewers.

-         Blue Peter.  An 8-minute segment from a 1983 episode of Blue Peter that showed off the series’ monsters down the years, and featured a brief visit

from the Fifth and First Doctors.

-         Nationwide.  A 9-minute segment from a 1983 episode of this BBC panel discussion show featuring Peter Davison, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, and

the series founding producer Verity Lambert.

-         Breakfast Time.  A 3-minute interview segment from this 1983 program featuring Patrick Troughton and Peter Davison.

-         Information Text option.  Displays pop-up production trivia subtitles throughout the story when selected.  These notes are different from those on

Disc 1 in that they concentrate on the changes made from the transmission version to the special edition version.

-         Coming Soon.  A 1-minute trailer for the forthcoming DVD of The Invasion of Time.

-         1 Easter Egg.  Highlight the blank area below to see how to find it and what it is.

-         Go to the second page of the Special Features menu.  Highlight the Nationwide selection, then press the left arrow.  A Doctor Who logo will appear.

Select this and you will see the brief introduction graphic that accompanied the original 1995 VHS release of the special edition.

-         NOTES ON THE SPECIAL EDITION:  this was originally produced for a special VHS release in 1995, when it accompanied the Fifth Doctor 2-part

Story The King’s Demons.  The chief changes from the 1983 transmission version were the addition of nearly every shot and scene that had been deleted from

the original version, the boosting of the special effects with the CGI available in 1995 that wasn’t in 1983, and the re-mastering of the original sound elements

into a 4-channel Dolby Surround sound version. 

When in 1999, the BBC in the UK decided to begin releasing DVDs of their programs, The Five Doctors Special Edition was chosen to be their first-ever

Doctor Who DVD.   It received a few minor changes and one big one, the remastering of the soundtrack again, this time to a Dolby 5.1 mix.  One special

feature was included on that: the music tracks were playable from a jukebox-like menu (though with a glitch that played everything slightly too fast).  

When in 2001, BBC Worldwide Americas decided to also begin releasing Doctor Who DVDs, they chose The Five Doctors Special Edition as one of their

first titles.  It was basically the same as the UK 1999 release, but with two additions: a then-new commentary track by Peter Davison and Terrance Dicks

and a “Who’s Who” list of the biographies of the actors.   Also, the music option glitch was fixed.  That DVD is now being removed from the North American

market now that this “25th Anniversary Edition” is available.   The only things that were on the 2001 North American DVD that are not on this new set are

the Who’s Who biographies and the original TARDIS-console-like menu graphics.