The Doctor (Pertwee) is exiled to Earth, with a new face, and for the first time, on-screen, in colour! It’s a four episode story that ran from 3 January to 24 January, 1970 and was written by Robert Holmes. This story is a lot of fun, and sees the Doctor’s first encounter with the Nestene consciousness and the resulting Autons.
Written with a lot of humour, and playing a little more lightly than previous stories, Pertwee is right at home as the Doctor from the off, newly exiled to Earth, with a key that won’t open the TARDIS at the moment, and working with UNIT, specifically Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) and new companion, Liz Shaw (Caroline John), she’s a scientist, clever, and we’ll see if she can hold her own against the Doctor, and whatever enemies arrive.
The first story, flies by, pacing, look, and portrayals are great from the off, and it already feels like a different show. We learn that the Doctor has two hearts, thinks his new regeneration will grow on him, and steals the clothes that will make his trademark outfit from a rather pretentious fellow. He also spends a good portion of the story laid up in a hospital bed, in a coma, recovering from his regeneration.
The Doctor has almost no real interaction with the Autons or the Nestene consciousness itself until almost the final episode, as he and Liz work in a UNIT lab, trying to develop a way of stopping the invasion. I did, however, quite like the way things happened when he did face off against them, and there are tentacles everywhere, and some wonderful mugging for the camera.
As the episode ends, the Doctor strikes a deal with Lethbridge-Stewart, and has a place now to work on the TARDIS, which thanks to the Time Lords who passed sentence on him, can no longer dematerialize. He also requests a car, like the one he appropriated and that Liz be assigned to work with him.
All in all, it sets up his Doctor, in a highly enjoyable way through a very fun story. The injection of colour to the series, gives it a whole new look, and imbues the series with a whole new life. I’m quite looking forward to seeing what the next few seasons in Pertwee’s company is going to be like.
I love knowing he’s confined to Earth, at least for the foreseeable future, and I love that he’ll be working closely with UNIT. Sure his costume may be a little flamboyant, but he seems to be having so much fun with it that it hardly matters.
All in all, I quite like how the third incarnation has come to life already, and can’t wait to see what happens with him, Liz and the Brigadier next.
Next time the Doctor finds himself encountering the Silurians for the first time!