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The 3rd Doctor: Five Favourites

K-Ci Williams reverses the polarity and picks out five favourites from Jon Pertwee’s era.

pertwee-capaldi-costume

July! It’s already time for another birthday. Just a month and a bit out from the premiere of the latest Doctor Who series, the Doctor that seems to have inspired Peter Capaldi’s costume has his birthday on this day. Sadly, the great Jon Pertwee is not with us anymore, but lives on in the hearts of millions as the Third Doctor. Pertwee’s era of the show entailed a Doctor sent to Earth following his exile – including the introduction of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce.

Spearhead from Space

autons-spearhead-from-spaceThe first story featuring the Third Doctor and the first story to be produced in colour! What a momentous occasion for the show – considering it was still a long way off fifty years. Spearhead is an episode that I enjoyed for what my friends have criticised as ‘different.’ The mere introduction of our beloved Jon Pertwee was enough to steer me over the top; isn’t he just fantastic. Now, in terms of a typical Doctor Who monster – I rather enjoyed the Nestene Consciousness in 2005′s Rose, and was also rather happy to find it was the centrepiece villain of Spearhead.

With an interesting establishment of the plot through the opening scenes, things kicked off into more intriguing territory, particularly with my favourite and most fascinating moments – when a man with a new face claims to be the Doctor, whom Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart met some time ago. From the first scene in which she shared with the Brigadier, Liz Shaw was an instant success in my eyes, and I attribute much of my love for the Third Doctor’s era to her presence in the series. The non-physical intelligence villain of the Nestene was developed well, and the sequence of attacking the Auton plastic factory was interesting also. There is a very prolific shot from the serial; a menacing image of Autons in a street, made all the more terrifying in the show. Now these are only a few thoughts for Five Favourites – there is much more to write! What a great introduction for Jon Pertwee and his Doctor.

Carnival of Monsters

Carnival-of-Monsters-dvdWow, just absolutely fantastic. Such a well crafted plot isn’t it! It allows for build up of suspense and kept me guessing which is what was the driving force for my favouritism of the serial. Accidentally materialising on board a sinister ship that disappeared (already becoming interesting right!), The Doctor and Jo Grant become entangled in a circuit of repetition as people on the boat arrest them repeatedly – similar to if Captain Avery of The Curse of the Black Spot had repeatedly forgotten that 11 and the Ponds were on board and he decided to arrest them for being stowaways.

As always, it’s an adventurous performance from Pertwee as the Doctor-companion pair are attacked by large swamp-living creatures in a compression field of minimised environments and creatures. This is a serial which serves as a model for a very different, peculiar but utterly engaging and entertaining episode of Doctor Who. Particularly intriguing is Vorg – who’s story is full of politics. When the members of his tribunal are restless of his leadership, they plot to make him look bad to force his resignation as president. It’s politically suggestive still today, with some parts of the world today in political upheaval. And now, the word carnival: monsters, including Cybermen and Drashigs. Just an epic Third Doctor story!

The Green Death

doctor-who-green-deathUsually the first I hear or see of a classic serial is the DVD cover and possibly small clips; in which the most memorable part is a shot of greenly-lit worms (well what I thought were worms). It’s gruesome, but it also persuaded me to try my hand at the serial. This is yet another serial of the Third Doctor which speaks volumes about our society today – and despite the intriguing plot and engrossing maggots and everything great about this episode (which I’ll address first) I need to tell you about how this serial relates to us today (which I shall do last).

Now, you see, this story is magnificent – a Doctor that would rather go on a trip than help first, a resourceful Jo Grant and spectacular performances from these two actors: Pertwee and Manning. Those maggots are utterly disgusting (do you know what the production team made them out of in some cases?)! It was nice to see the UNIT crew again, one of the other contributors to my love for Pertwee’s era. But also, this story is relative to us here today. Jo and the environmentalist, surname Jones – speculate that a new oil plant claiming to have increased petrol and diesel production but minimal waste from the same amount of crude oil is incorrect. The process is chemically polluting the world around the Doctor – our precious Earth. And it’s essential that we realise that at some point, our oil converters will become desperate and the processes they use will become even less safe and more wasteful for our environment, spitting out pollutants. This serial makes the list not only for its amazing exposition but the eye opening ideas that spring to mind.

The Time Warrior

The-Time-Warrior-sladen-sarah-jane-aIt’s no ordinary show is it, Doctor Who? Then again, neither is this list – you’ll notice that it is full of ‘firsts’ for me. In The Time Warrior, we are introduced to my most cherished companion in the fifty year history of Who – Sarah Jane Smith. From the side of Sarah Jane – she was an ambitious young journalist, disguised as her aunt. When scientists disappear from a laboratory, the Doctor and the UNIT team begin to investigate – bringing Sarah Jane into contact with the Doctor, as her ambition is at the core of her character from her establishment, (although her character is more filled with love and compassion further on) she stumbles onto the TARDIS with the Doctor.

Yet another great monster or villain, however you prefer to call them. This time, a potato dwarf: Linx the Sontaran, played so well with a raspy voice and grotesque fascination – the Sontaran race became an intriguing hit. I absolutely love this serial because it’s close to home. Sarah Jane is my favourite companion from the fifty year history of Who, and Elisabeth Sladen (who’s middle name I did not know was Clara) portrays her just flawlessly and with so much grace. Up next to Jon Pertwee the pair are just a delight.

Inferno

doctor-who-infernoA perceptively well written piece of television, including attempts to stop drilling into the Earth – another oil-related message for today – stop deep sea oil fracturing (or what we call fracking). I am speechless with this story as it changes location to a different universe. The atmosphere is very fearsome and eerie as characters yell to get dialogue across over drilling noise. A fascist world is built into this universe they occupy, but is it really far from our own? I guess the allusion of it being a parallel universe is that it is not that far from how we live.

Similar to Pete’s World of the modern era, the parallel universe in Inferno features different counterparts of characters we’ve come to know. A Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart as a menacing bully in an eyepatch, it’s Courtney showing his strengths. An evil Liz Shaw is portrayed just magnificently by Caroline John – as a section leader clad in a skirt and boots. With the Doctor not able to save the Earth from the savage greed of some people – we as an audience realise that he has lost, game over. He can’t save everyone, can he? And it haunts us as an audience: Jon Pertwee steals the scenes here. And I can’t forgot that. Nor will I ever.

So there you have it! My five favourites for Jon Pertwee. May I ask, what are yours? Instead of evaluating my five and stating whether you agree or not, share with us your five favourites! It’s all good fun, and all for the great purpose of remembering the great Jon Pertwee – who we lost before I was even born, but will live on forever in our hearts, as the Third Doctor. And despite not having any relevance to this article except for the fact I’ve not mentioned it yet: reverse the polarity!

Step back in time...

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94 comments
The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

One other thing I really liked about the Pertwee years was the Earth setting. Ok, so it wasn't the entire space and time but UNIT had become a sort of adoptive family to the Doctor, I loved his relationship to the Brigadier but also the other regular characters like Benton and Captain Yates.

Plus Bessie and ooh...I loved the hovercraft, it was so cool, with Pertwee as the proper action man.

I miss the whole UNIT crew, but now with Kate in charge there is hope we'll recreate a bit of the spirit of the old times.

The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

I really liked Terror of the Autons - I've seen it in spring and I had a buch of daffodils on my desk which looked just like the ones in the story. Killing people with daffodils. Only in Doctor Who

But it's not just that, it's Katy Manning first episode and I really liked her she looked so young, and the Doctor's initial reaction is priceless. And Roger Delagado is still the best Master in my opinion.

MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

Colony In Space is another story that everyone seems to hate, and I can't understand why. Yeah, it's slowly paced, but it's pretty good overall.

(Or maybe I'm just biased because Malcolm Hulke is my favorite classic series writer)

MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

I love Pertwee's era. Not only because Pertwee is my favorite doctor, but because of the consistently brilliant stories, especially in Season 7, which is HANDS DOWN the best season of Doctor Who ever. There's only about 4 Pertwee stories I dislike, and even then they are not terrible, just mediocre. Happy birthday and RIP to such a brilliant actor and a brilliant doctor.

Antee991166
Antee991166

I'm actually very close to finishing Pertwee's era at this very moment. Currently watching "Invasion of the Dinosaurs". So far my reaction is mostly positive, the plot and characters feel very original and interesting. Of course it is slightly let down by the rubbish dinosaurs, but apart from that pretty good.

MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

Invasion Of The Dinosaurs is a good one as well. Such a shame is gets so much flak from fans just because of the design of the dinosaurs.

AztecsDaleksAndCavemen
AztecsDaleksAndCavemen

I love all of those. I also like Frontier in Space. I may also be mad here but I do like The Ambassadors of Death a lot.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

Excellent choices! Pertwee is my favourite Doctor, so it would be too difficult for me to narrow it down to just five stories. :)

MrRazza, General Rogue Timelord Identifier
MrRazza, General Rogue Timelord Identifier

Of course (ah, sorry for yet another comment to the moderator!) I couldn't go without mentioning the Three Doctors. The interplay between the incarnations is fantastic, as is the baffled Brigadier and the pacing throughout. 

The villain in it was also excellent, though for some reason I can't quite recall who it was... 

Arkleseizure
Arkleseizure

Great stuff: Inferno is certainly my favorite third Doctor story - I could say so much about it, but I love how the bad guy gets an even-worse counterpart - and I adore the Green Death as well. Not so much for the maggots, cool as they are, as for BOSS. Making the main villain a computer isn't a hugely innovative idea (even in Doctor Who we'd already had WOTAN), but making that computer an artificial ego: now, that's clever!

I can only think of one thing missing from this list: the Master! Which is why I'd add the Sea Devils as story number six. That bit with the Clangers is possibly my favourite single scene in classic Who. "It seems to be an intriguing extraterrestrial life form"...

MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

It is a travesty, neigh, a crime that Doctor Who And The Silurians isn't on this list. Still a great list, though. My list would be:

5. The Curse Of Peladon

4. Day Of The Daleks

3. The Sea Devils

2. Inferno

1. The Silurians

SonicTheHedgehogRules
SonicTheHedgehogRules

Planet of the Daleks was my first Pertwee story, and I absolutely love it. It's definitely my favourite story from his era, and I can't get enough of it. The Daleks definitely work very well, and it's nice to see Thals in glorious colour!. The Time Warrior and Planet of the Spiders are another 2 stories that I regard quite highly. 

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

Liz was good, but to me it was Jo who really clicked with Pertwee's Doctor, you can feel the chemistry between them. SJS to me only came into her own with Tom Baker's Doctor.

MrRazza, General Rogue Timelord Identifier
MrRazza, General Rogue Timelord Identifier

I might add as a footnote, as it isn't a serial but in fact a book, Last of the Gadarene, in which Mark Gatiss captures the characters of the Doctor, Jo, et al perfectly. An enjoyable, gripping, dark story that really is a very worthwhile read


Whogasms
Whogasms

The Three Doctor's was very good.

KristiStoneman
KristiStoneman

My favorite Third Doctor serials are "Spearhead from Space", "The Three Doctors", "The Green Death", "Invasion of the Dinosaurs", and "Planet of the Spiders".

Antee991166
Antee991166

Personally my favourites are:

The Silurians-A fantastically original story with grey characters and a great twist at the end.

The Daemons-A surprisingly enjoyable exploration of the Gothic and once again a very original story

The Curse of Peladon-A brilliant political parody and a fantastic mystery, one of my favourite stories of all time.

The Three Doctors-An incredibly enjoyable anniversary and the introduction of the great villain Omega.

And finally Planet of the Daleks-Nothing amazing, it just feels like a solid Dalek story, and I feel this is the type of story we need now!

NewWho2012
NewWho2012

For some reason I've always taken a liking to the Pertwee era, yet Tom Baker, Peter Davidson and Colin Baker's eras have little interest to me. I may watch them, but not with as much enthusiasm as Pertwee. I think being used to the Earth centered stories they produced with him reminded me of the RTD era that I had grown up with so I could relate to it. From the stories I have seen 'Spearhead From Space', 'Terror of the Autons', 'The Time Warrior' and 'Planet of the Daleks' I quite enjoy the setting and atmosphere and makes them interesting to watch, considering I haven't watched that much of Classic Who.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

Great to be able to comment on this excellent article, it would have been sad for the author to have no reviews! 

Of the Pertwee episodes I've seen, Green Death is my favourite, for having a great and astonishingly relevant story now, decent special effects for the time (the real maggots are genuinely creepy looking, the fake ones pretty realistic) and a great final story for Jo, where her character really develops, and you see the strength of the feelings between her and the Doctor.



TheDreamer
TheDreamer

I love the 3rd Doctor's calm confidence. I love Bessie. I love Jo. I like Sarah Jane and Liz. I love most of his outfits, though not at all sold on the red lined cape, lol - my fave is the green one, but the red/orange jacket he wore in the 3 Doctors suited him too.

But I started watching his run from the beginning, and had to take a break because I grew tired of everything being UNIT, episode after episode... Then a few months later, I decided to try going sorta backwards, from 6 to 7, then back to 5, then 4 and have been including some more of 3's episodes in the middle, as episodes have been suggested to me, and I have really enjoyed them. So I have seen about half his run... but so far, these are my five favourites. 


1- Inferno 

2- The Three Doctors

3- Death to the Daleks

4- The Time Warrior

5- Frontier in Space












MrRazza, General Rogue Timelord Identifier
MrRazza, General Rogue Timelord Identifier

On a slightly off topic note I just want to thank and praise DWTV again for the quick response and reaction to the unpleasantness with the scripts leak. The compromise reached for the comments section seems ideal in the circumstances and I'm sure all of us here greatly appreciate it and the work it will require. 

My undying respect to the moderator(s) who must have to be diligently monitoring the page at the moment, and who will have to for the articles in the next few months.

Iris Wildthyme
Iris Wildthyme

Ah, yes. RIP Jon Pertwee. Of his (televised) stories, I'd go with Spearhead from Space, Inferno, The Curse of Peladon, Carnival of Monsters,  and Frontier in Space. If anyone's looking for Third Doctor expanded universe stories, I'd recommend: The Blue Tooth, Old Soldiers, The Prisoner of Peladon, Find and Replace, The Last Post, Ghost in the Machine, The Scorchies, and The Mega on audio. Book-wise, I'd go with Catastrophea, Verdigris, Rags, and Interference.

Vercingetorix
Vercingetorix

Like a lot of people said it, it is very hard to find a favorite episode from the 3rd's era. They all are absolutely fantastic ! And this article comes well, because I've just finished Planet of The Spiders and with it the Pertwee's era some minutes ago. There's just some I couldn't watch, because they were not available in a french subtitled version (because yes, I'm french). Every episode I watched was absolutely amazing. There isn't one I didn't like !

TARDlSkey
TARDlSkey

I can't really pick a favourite from Pertwee's era. I haven't seen them all yet, but from what I have seen, it's hard to favour one over the other as they're all so enjoyable IMO. Pertwee brings terrific life to the Doctor and the dynamic he has with his costars is terrific and just makes the scenes feel all the more natural.

The Finn
The Finn

My favorite, out of the ones I've seen, is The Time Warrior.

det_bullock
det_bullock

Ohh, boy, it's impossible to tell which one is best, his era was strangely constant in regard to episode quality, perhaps "The Silurians", IMHO one of the darkest episodes in all of Doctor Who.


TardisBoy
TardisBoy

The best Third Doctor serial IMO, from what I've seen so far is 'Frontier in Space'. The chemistry between the Doctor and Jo is brilliant, the acting is great, the story is fast paced and thrilling. The action moments are seriously good, and the cliffhangers are great! It's just a fantastic serial throughout!

MrRazza, General Rogue Timelord Identifier
MrRazza, General Rogue Timelord Identifier

Frankly I'm yet to see a single Pertwee episode I didn't enjoy (and I've not even seen Inferno! - It's next on my list though!). His era is fantastic in so many respects, the enemies, the companions, the plots... but most importantly, it's the man himself!

Antee991166
Antee991166

@MeglosProductions  I love Malcolm Hulke! His political stories were relevant back then, and still are now. However, Colony in Space is my least favourite story of his, but I wouldn't says its terrible, just okay.

Antee991166
Antee991166

@AztecsDaleksAndCavemen  I actually quite like the Ambassadors of Death. Its only problem is its length, far too much of plot is padding. If had been 4 parts then I think it would have been one of the best stories of Pertwee.

Antee991166
Antee991166

I have to admit, I've never understood the love for Inferno. The episodes in the alternative universe are great, but the rest of the story felt dull to me. Also, what the hell was that ooze and the Primords it created about?

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

@MrRazza, the Trainee Omega Identifier  Yes, thank you DWTV! And I'm certainly glad we can talk to each other again. I read the article about the leaks and kinda felt sad that I might get cut off from everyone here for the next 47 days lol. You guys are my little whovian family, lol. :D 




Huknar
Huknar

@TardisBoy Very much enjoyed that serial. Was also very impressed with the masks in the story! The closest they'd been yet to the revived series and it's quality of prosthetics.

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

*Prepares self for barrage of abuse* I'm not a big fan of Pertwee's era from what I've seen so far. Pertwee and the companions are fabulous, just the stories can sometimes be a bit mixed!



The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

I'm the opposite. I didn't think Spearhead was that scary but Terror had a few bits that got to me. The doll  immediatly springs to mind...

MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

@Antee991166 @MeglosProductions  I just found it a very refreshing change from the Earthbound format. That's one of my main reasons for liking it. I do think it's a solid enough story as well. But yeah, it's probably his weakest story, even if it's not saying much.

The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

Generally speaking I feel 4 parters are the best format for the classic series. 

The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

Inferno was a great story but you musn't dwell on it. For example the nuclear reactor blows less than 500 metres away and the Earth was covered in lava but that building where the Doctor and Liz were is still standing. Come on...

NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

@Huknar @TardisBoy I half agree with you, lol. 

The Draconians were excellent for the 1970's but the Ogrons, erm, were actually a bit rubbish :D

Huknar
Huknar

@TardisBoy I'm inclined to agree here. Where I loved almost all of Hartnell's stories, I have to will myself through a handful of Pertwee's. I also feel like the show changed too significantly here. It got far less serious and a bit more silly(Despite Pertwee being a very, very serious Doctor, who I very much love.) but that is probably down to the move to colour where we get to see every flaw in every prop quite clearly. It tends to get a bit pantomime-y. 

It's a shame we had to lose Liz so early on, I really liked her character. I've warmed to Joe significantly not, but she does tend to grate at times with the odd poorly delivered line.

Antee991166
Antee991166

@The Outer Space K9  Most of the time yes. However, I do feel there are quite a few stories that deserve 6 parts. Stories like The Invasion, The Silurians and the Talons of Weng Chiang justify their extra length perfectly.

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

Yes I loved Liz too! Such a shame the actress was let go, she could have been the Martha Jones of her time.


TardisBoy
TardisBoy

I think Tom Baker's and McCoy's eras are more suited for my tastes tbh. I still LOVE Pertwee's Doctor though, he's amazing, witty, very sarcastic and just brilliant XD


Huknar
Huknar

@TardisBoy At least we had Mr Delgado to fill in what she left behind. I absolutely love the Master during Pertwee's run. It makes me think just how similar a Charles Dance one could be!