Season 10 of Doctor Who starts off with a bang in this highly enjoyable four-part story written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin that ran from 30 December, 1972 to 20 January, 1973. What better way to celebrate the tenth season of the series than with a commemorative story that would feature all three incarnations of the Doctor to date?
A strange assault is taking place on Gallifrey, as well as one being focussed on the Doctor’s (Pertwee) location on Earth. There are cosmic rays emanating from a black hole that seem to be draining energy from Gallifrey, and may threaten the universe.
As The Doctor and Jo (Katy Manning) try to ascertain what is going on, and confront a strange energy being (that is made from some rather shoddy video effects) he realizes he and all of UNIT may be in need of help, especially when gelatinous, walking hortas show up around the base.
With the TARDIS still Earth-locked and immobilized The Doctor has no choice but to send for help, and he calls his fellow Time Lords. As they are under their own attack, they decide to manipulate The Doctor’s own timeline, and pluck his two earlier regenerations out of time to help him.
Delightfully, The Doctor (Patrick Troughton) immediately disapproves of the changed TARDIS, setting up a recurring joe that still pays off. Pairing Pertwee and Troughton together is pure gold, and watching them play off of one another is simply priceless, though The Doctor (William Hartnell) dislikes both of them, referring to them as the clown and the dandy.
It’s also delightful when the Brigadier (Nicholas Courntey) comes across them both!
Eventually, The Doctors (while Two looks for his recorder), Jo and most of UNIT end up on the other side of the black hole, being zapped into it by the villain of the piece, a long thought lost Time Lord, Omega (Stephen Thorne).
He created the black hole as a way to create energy to allow the Time Lords to travel through the Time Vortex, and it seems they promptly forgot about him, and gave him up for dead. Now he wants his vengeance on all the Time Lords, and if he takes the universe with it, so be it.
He attempts to convince The Doctors to stay in his stead, so that he may return to the universe, but his will is the only thing that is still alive, that and the suit he wears. He would cease to exist in the material universe again. Angry and frustrated, vengeance and destruction seem nigh until the Doctors put their heads together, come up with a plan, and even find The Doctor’s recorder.
Saving the day, everyone is returned to their timelines, and in thanks the Time Lords release The Doctor’s exile, he’s free to travel the universe again!
This was a great story, funny, nicely paced, embracing its history, and forging ahead. Can’t wait to see what happens next week when The Doctor goes to the Carnival of Monsters!