...with a look at The Five Doctors, a Davison-era story from scripter Terrance Dicks, originally transmitted November 1983 (interestingly, it was actually broadcast in the U.S. a few days before appearing in the U.K.) As the title implies, this adventure wraps five incarnations of the Doctor (Peter Davison, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, and Tom Baker) into the same romp, with Richard Hurndall stepping in for the deceased William Hartnell.
Baker and Lalla Ward, who played companion Romana to Baker’s Fourth Doctor (the two were married in real life for a short time as well) declined to return for this story, which was developed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the show. Their appearance here...
....is actually cribbed from footage of an unbroadcast/never completed (Douglas Adams scripted) episode called Shada.
Dame Diana Rigg and her daughter Rachael Stirling will appear in the upcoming Season/Series of DOCTOR WHO.
Character details remain under wraps, but the episode penned by Mark Gatiss will see Dame Diana and Rachael recreate their off-screen relationship on-screen, as they play a mother and daughter with a dark secret.
...says THIS piece over at BBC. BBC indicates the duo's episode will be scripted by Mark Gatiss, who previously wrote DW Season/Series 5 and/or 6 episodes like Victory of the Daleks and Night Terrors, and is an Executive Producer/Writer alongside DW overboss Steven Moffat on the amazingly excellent SHERLOCK (on which he also appears as Sherlock's brother Mycroft).
Rigg is, perhaps, most famous for portraying the ass-kicking Emma Peel in the legendary AVENGERS television series...
Stirling's extensive acting career has recently escalated to include high-profile fare like SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN and the slightly-dull-but-generally-quite-good SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN.
No word on when DOCTOR WHO Season/Series 7 will debut, but indications...both official and otherwise...suggest it'll be rather soon. Asylum of the Daleks, the first episode of said new Season/Series, will premiere at BFI on August 14.
The Five Doctors
“It’s fading. It’s all fading. Great chunks of my past, detaching themselves like melting icebergs...” the Doctor, The Fiver Doctors Part One
A mysterious figure is collecting incarnations of the Doctor from across time, diminishing the current Doctor’s essence. The crisis sets into motion an adventure which returns past characters Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), K-9, Romana (Lalla Ward), Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford), Daleks, Cybermen, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), along with illusory versions of Mike Yates (Richard Franklin), Liz Shaw (Caroline John), Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines) and Zoe Heriot (Wendy Padbury).
Meanwhile, back on the Doctor’s homeworld of Gallifrey, trouble is afoot which threatens the whole of their civilization - said trouble appears related to whomever is bagging the various/previous Doctors. A chilly but desperate High Council compels the the Doctor’s arch enemy the Master (Anthony Ainley) to travel into the Death Zone on Gallifrey...the probable center of these crises...in a last ditch, and potentially insane, effort to save the day...
I really wish I could’ve been in the room the moment writer Terrance Dicks formalized plans to script The Five Doctors...when the realization of the unwieldy task at hand fully penetrated his consciousness for the first time.
The Tower of Sauron in Mordor...I mean, The Tomb of Rassilon on Gallifrey.
Perhaps he was as cool, confident, and matter of fact - as he invariably appears to be during the numerous interviews in which I’ve seen him over the years. But even if so, some itty, bitty part of him must’ve been quietly wondering: “What the hell have I gotten myself into?” The Five Doctors, is after all, a bizarre amalgam of DOCTOR WHO’s greatest hits, for want of a better description. It features a wide array of character past and present (Doctors, companions, aliens, villains, the works) all marching dutifully down memory lane in an adventure which, in many regards, evokes a number of WHO elements from the years preceding it while also feeling utterly reconciled with the Davison-era in which it was produced and presented. This is in no way an easy challenge to meet, but well-met it is. While the relative absence of Baker and Ward feel like an open wound which can never be fully ignored, The Five Doctors...on the whole...is a remarkably fully realized and self-contained little ditty that would put an affectionate smile on the face of even casual WHO fans.
In The Five Doctors, WHOverse characters are gathered as maquettes - a move inadvertently portending (or pointedly symbolizing?) the rise of DOCTOR WHO merchandising
Which is a testament to The Five Doctors’ overall effortlessness. And effortlessness, as we discussed in our City of Death piece last week, is a major ingredient in the magic and timelessness of a story. Yes, watching all of these characters and their baggage collide in a timespan of roughly 100 minutes is weird and anachronistic and funky - but there’s also something disarmingly natural about the process. There’s never a moment of competitive awkwardness many audience members felt during the meeting of Kirk and Picard in STAR TREK GENERATIONS, for example. Here, the presence of multiple Doctors in the same timeframe...including the integration of one played by an incoming actor...feels utterly natural. Dicks, and director Peter Moffatt, run a very tight show this time around. Relatively free of lag, The Five Doctors comes out of the gate with a commendable push forward - a shove which never subsides until the story’s closing moments. TFD seems determined to do what it wants to do, and say what it wants to say, breezily and efficiently - and does so with considerable alacrity.
In one of the story's more impressive moments of scale, the First Doctor (Richard Hurndall) enters the Tomb of Rassilon.
As alluded above, in TFD, WHOmakers were faced with the unenviable position of re-casting Hartnell’s iconic progenitor character - whose role was apparently embiggened once Baker bowed out. Salvation came in the guise of Richard Hurndall - who kinda/sorta looks like Hartnell ,and kinda/sorta sounds like him - if you squint a little and don’t listen too intently. There’s a natural, elusive, difficult-to-quantify gravitas some actors possess. An ability to project off of a stage - or through a screen - without necessarily trying to do so. Hartnell had it - Hundall does not, here at least. This said, he’s interesting enough and solid enough...managing to convey the essence of the First Doctor strongly, and without any of Hartnell’s characteristic line flubs. Hurndall is never a dead ringer for Hartnell, but nor does he necessarily try to be (or need to be). In The Five Doctors, he’s playing more of an archetype than anything else...holding his own quite nicely against numerous strong and well-established characters and personalities. He gets the job done under circumstances which were undoubtedly thankless and challenging at best - which is an admirable tip of the hat to any actor.
In on of TFD’s more memorable sequences involves the decimation of a Cyberman gang by a sinewy silver Raston Warrior Robot - a routing featuring ample impalings, a Cyberman barfing deathily, and even a sparking beheading for good measure.
While the narrative itself if breezy and relatively lagless, I’m not altogether convinced its primary machinations make a great deal of sense. The master plan (no pun intended, although The Master Plan might be a fun title for some future Master story - if the show hasn't used the phrase in this context yet) is hugely compelling. There’s something all-at-once fascinating, provocative, and selfish about members of the Doctor’s race seeking immortality - when their ability to regenerate already allows them to effectively outlive many lifeforms in the universe. Such hubris...and audacity...is almost sickening, and emerges as both a potent and vital illustration of the Gallifreyan corruptness from which the Doctor is constantly attempting to distance himself.
However, it’s difficult not to sense that..perhaps...the overall scheme afoot (which I’m too lazy to go into here, and don’t want to spoil unduly) feels a tad over-produced, clumsy, and filled with too many potential variables. For shenanigans hatched by allegedly brilliant personages, it feels a tad willy-nilly and inelegant. In the end, this criticism is both open to debate, and admittedly nitpicky, as the whole of The Five Doctors stands remarkably strong, despite such dodgy blemishes.
The Five Doctors is available HERE in the U.S. and HERE in the U.K. For a piece which, at its core, is a grandiose gimmick - it’s a fun romp with a lot of heart. Check it out.
1) a Docback should be about completely open and free discourse regarding all things WHO with, obviously, some variation on subject matter from time to time - the real world intervenes, discussions of other shows are inevitable, etc.)...
2) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity. Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Rory" is OK, for example. "** SPOILER ** Battle of Zarathustra" is fine as well. " **SPOILER** Why did everyone die?" Is NOT good.
And, above all...
3) converse, agree, disagree, and question as much as you want - but the freedom to do so is NOT a license to be rude, crass, disrespectful, or uncivilized in any way. Not remaining courteous and civil, as well as TROLLING or undertaking sensational efforts to ignite controversy, will result in banning. Lack of courtesy may receive one (1) warning before a ban is instigated. Obvious Trolling or Spamming will result in summary banning with no warning. One word posts intended to bump-up any Docback's figures on AICN's "Top Talkbacks" sidebar will be considered actionable Spam - they not only complicate efforts to access Docback from mobile devices, but impede readers' abilities to follow or engage in flowing conversation.
In short, it's easy. Be excellent to each other. Now party on...
...as Merrick rightly says, it's a real greatest hits package, even chucking a Yeti in for good measure! Oh, and if The Moff is reading (as I know he does), we NEED the Raston Warrior Robot in the new series ASAP...
Just teasing Merrick (see your typo in the first paragraph)
This story always had a special place for me. It was around the time I first started watching Doctor Who and it got me interested in see the previous incarnations. Luckily, my friends extra nerdy older brother had so many on VHS, I was able to just that.
Makes you wonder if The Moff will try to do something similar for the 50th???
is that Borusa was the Doctors mentor, and had appeared several times in the show before this. He was the one recurring (somewhat) friendly face on Gallifrey. In particular in the Invasion of Time, where it looks like the Doctor is working for the Bad Guys, it's Borusa who becomes the audiences proxy.
In his few appearances, he was played by a different actor each time if I remember rightly, and got progressively darker (one could argue) in each incarnation, until eventually arriving here where he's the villain of the piece.
I enjoy it for what it is -- an anniversary special meant to get the old actors back one more time. The story really isn't the point, and that is why it has many plot holes (not as bad as it could be, to be sure, but enough that if you stop to think, it doesn't work). What saves it is its ability to just give in and have fun.
Back then there was no repeats, and of course no dvd or downloads or home video releases or anything else of the sort, and Hell, the video boom hadn't even quite taken proper hold yet, so for most people with tv back in the day if you missed something, well, then as far as you were aware at the time that could very well be your only chance to see that show gone forever, because that's simply the way things were back then. Television was mostly shown once, then gone completely, and pretty much the only repeats we saw were from shows that were decades old (60's era american stuff mainly). Seems silly now, as we are all so spoiled for choice, and live in an age with a wealth of convenient viewing options, but those truly were the days of appointment viewing. Or, see it now or else.
But as bad as those downsides were, it kind of made event tv like this or the original V miniseries or Live Aid or whatever all the more special. It almost felt as though you were watching a part of history, were a small part of it just by being there and seeing it, the excitement of the build up, the worry about getting to a tv in time to make sure you didn't miss anything, the fear of the all too common power blackouts, or inconvenient phone calls or knocks on the door. You didn't want to miss a minute because that was a minute you couldn't get back. It created an atmosphere around the event that just doesn't exist any longer.
That kind of thing is gone from the world now...and there are times when I miss it. We now live in a world where we know too much ahead of time, even if we don't particularly want to, where missing something is no big deal, where there's a thousand other things vying for our attention...and overall it is a better world, certainly a more convenient one. But there are still times that I look back and think, those times were pretty great too sometimes, and that a taste of some of that old event tv magic would be a great thing to still have these days.
As for the 25th Anniversary special, I'll always remember watching it with my father, as he explained to me who the other two Doctors were, as I grew up on late era Pertwee, Tom Baker, and Peter Davisdon, and how Hurndall was playing the first Doctor, but the guy in the intro clip was the real first Doctor, but the actor had died. I also remember being quite taken by Patrick Troughton (again, I don't think I had ever seen the Three Doctors at that point, as I had only seen the latter part of Pertwee's run), and being disappointed that Tom Baker was hardly in it (of course I didn't know it was just stock footage taken from Shada at the time).
But still, as a kid it was a great bit of event tv, and even now it is a story that I very much enjoy, despite its shortfalls - Sarah Jane on the bank anyone?
Though my initial encounter with this episode was the Target novelization, which treated the issue with the fourth doctor a bit more than the aired episodes.
On the one hand, it is similar in many respects to a "clip show" style anniversary special, without (barring Tom Baker) resorting to clips.
I would love to see the new series repeat the multiple Doctor's colliding (beyond the Davidson/Tennant special bit) - just based on how Tennant played his resistance to the regeneration, it would be very interesting to see him interact with Smith, and I would love to see Eccleston (sp?) return as well, however briefly.
There is a lot to love about this story and it is actually a great sampler of the different eras of the show (from an era where you couldn't just run to youtube or even a video store to get old clips/episodes to see the show's history). This was my first introduction to all the pre-Tom Baker Doctors.
The opening Hartnell clip ("One day, I shall come back ...") had me completely hooked and welling up, even with not the slightest idea of the clip's original context. The sheer number of characters and cameos all thrown together is staggering and that it all actually snaps together as single story that actually feels worthy of the occassion is a very rare feat for an "event episode" to actually pull off.
My only quibble (and the reason that I think some were left feeling a little let-down) is that you only get two scenes of different Doctors actually interacting - a brief encounter between the first and fifth, then the grand finale at the end after they've all travelled their own private adventures. The interaction is so good when it happens, that it left me wishing there could have been more of it. Getting to see the 2nd and 3rd Doctors sniping each other and the first doctor being a little ruthless and condescending really shows off both the differences and the continuity between all the incarnations.
The escalation of adding the Master to the mix was very well handled - the unexpected entrance, the stunning offer the time lords make to him, the way you can see him trying to puzzle through what to do with unexpected situation he finds himself in. It cemented my love of chessboard-themed traps traps and the Brigadier's "Nice to see you again" line is hillarious.
A few years ago, I watched The Five Doctors back-to-back with Star Trek TNG's "All Good Things" and I recommend this as a really interesting contrast in different ways of looking back at the evolution of a show.
People say that multi-Doctor stories really aren't that great, but for some reason, I fucking love them. And it was awesome that this debuted on Chicago public television before it even did in the UK, because Doctor Who was taking off here (nothing like it is now, but it was at the height of it's US 20th century popularity because of all the Tom Baker reruns.)
It was cool how Borusa turned out to be the villain after being just about the only sympathetic Gallifreyan besides the Doc, Romana, and Andred (and Drax, I guess.) Also, his punishment by Rassilon was suitably horrific (if the riddle was a little stupidly easy to figure out, even for a kid in the single digits.)
Fun episode of Doctor Who's greatest hits, it's not one that I've gone back to watch regularly, but it always holds a special place in my heart.
You feel this story has plot holes? That's interesting because I never get that impression. If anything, it felt like everyone's motives and actions snapped together unusually well for a story with so many moving parts.
The only conceit that seemed to be required was that different incarnations of the Doctor would not have their past incarnations' memories of the events ... and I bought into that immediately with the iceburg speech early on.
I'm curious what bothered you.
I would have loved to see Shada in its entirety, I think that had that series been completed, Doctor Who would have been different than it turned out without it.
The partially filmed and unfinished Shada story was repurposed and retooled by Douglas Adams into the novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, for those who wish to read it.
Do we even have any idea what sorts of ideas are even on the drawing board? I know we fans tend to imagine some 5-Doctors-style reunion, but given the complexity of all the negotiations, personalities and ages involved, I could easily see that idea end up being a non-starter.
On the cover, Paul's 8th Doctor outfit has been upgraded to the new outfit that WETA helped design. Very cool, makes me wonder if McGann has been contacted about returning to the live action universe, and he just is keeping quiet about it.
Yeah, that is it right there. A couple of years back, McGann was doing a convention in New Zealand, and while there, WETA got with him about updating the 8th Doctor's outfit. WETA also designed a brand new Sonic Screwdriver for him as well. McGann has went on record at conventions saying that he disliked wearing a wig while playing the Doctor in the TV film, and WETA told McGann that the TV movie outfit wouln't be something that you would wear in a war. So, I am guessing that at some point during the Time War, the 8th Doctor cuts his hair, and updates to the new look.
Shada was finally novelized this year by Gareth Roberts (a new series writer). They finally appeared in US bookstores last month.
Haven't read my copy yet as it's still in the TBR pile, but Roberts wrote some wonderful Doctor Who novels back in the 90s. Should be good.
A couple of years ago when this story came out, I was wondering, "Why would WETA redesign the 8th Doctor's outfit?" The sonic screwdriver that WETA designed is amazing as well, it is the first one built with wooden grips. Makes me wonder if that sonic works on wood!?
Yes, the anniversary is next year, but... they're still filming year 49 for the next several months yet.
The actual anniversary is 23 November, 2013 (I assume they'd aim for the day as close as possible then....) , then... wouldn't they not start filming that until really late this year/spring next year?
Of course, pretty much all the old actors have said they don't want to come back, and several of them have died...
An 11 Doctor reunion would be unwieldy anyway, but... Tennant at least loved the role and would probably be willing to come back... and Tom has said he would in a limited capacity
(if nothing else to get people to stop asking why he didn't make it to the 20th anniversary... 30 years later.)
While I enjoy The Five Doctors, it really doesn't deliver on what to me is the most enjoyable element of a multi-Doctor story, and that is the interplay between incarnations.
I do enjoy the individual story threads, of coruse, because it's quite a treat seeing all those Doctor/companion reunions. Heck, I could watch an entire story that was just the Second Doctor and the Brigadier. In fact, I think I could watch an entire season of just those two.
Troughton's son (a vet of multiple Who adventures himself) as the 2nd doctor
Sean Pertwee stepping in for his Dad would work great for the 3rd doctor.
If Peter Davison doesn't want to come back, use the guy who plays Matthew on DOWNTON ABBEY
McGann is willing, and still young enough, I'm sure McCoy would be fine to
Its a shame about eccelston, he's still new enough that recasting would seem weird, but seems unlikely he would change his mind about not coming back
Tennant of course will do it.
Maybe Rhys Ifan as Tom Baker??
And then get any of the old guys who DO want to come back, but are now too old to just play different characters in it,
but put some more time and money into it then Dreamland and The Infinite Quest which were both headache inducing to watch, but then they just need the voices so could use most of the originals, plus even Eccelston might come back if all he had to do was show up at a recording studio
There really are a lot. Too many to do in a post, so you can see it here:
I've always thought that there must be a problem with temporal continuity when a Doctor meets himself, causing memory problems, explaining why he won't remember how things worked out when he meets himself (though there are indications he knows some aspects of it, as per commentary in other stories).
And probably the biggest problems involve the Second Doctor... so much so created the need for 6B.
Have the story all happen in black/white and have him wander through the lost stories, explaining something happened to his past that some of his key events have been destroyed and he has to fix things up again.
maybe do a whole season, with each episode having the 11th doctor going into a different era of the show (for each of the 11 doctors) in a 'key to time' type saga.
I still would be overjoyed with having all 11 doctors in one room though.
Read between the lines. He doesn't think he will be asked, and he doesn't think he can do it if he is meant to look like the 6th Doctor from his tenure.
However, there are all kinds of ways to deal with the actor looking different.
And Colin really doesn't have to come back as the Doctor. He could come back as his original Doctor Who role!
Somehow, the Time War runs amock (or something like it), and starts to go back into the Doctor's time-line. Various alternative versions of the Doctor meet up together, each version coming from one iteration of the Time War, where the Doctor in each did something drastic to end the Time War.
For example, have the 7th Doctor's version be the version which made a deal with Davros.
I'll give you that the second doctor's characterization requires a fair bit of rationalization - I'd forgotten about that because I didn't see The War Games until after the Five Doctors and so watched that story with the assuption already in my head that there must be a gap of unseen adventures in between losing his companions and regenerating.
The rest of the items on that list feel like needless nitpicking - I feel that there are easy rationalizations sitting there to be picked up, so there's no need to assume they are errors.
I've only seen bits and pieces of the 5 Docs. But I agree with you and dimensionsplural fully.. about the "badassity" of that bot. There's something off-putting about that thing's almost balletic poses. Very creepy. But the VERY brief Cybervomit just so takes the cake. I bet you almost anything that shot was originally much longer but was deemed too disturbing or gross to show on TV, so was shortened to almost not be shown at all.
Can you see the Raston Bot vs The Weeping Angels? Would take some real thinking, but what a great defense against them!
You look up and all that's left is an armless statue. Blink again.... no head. Blink once more... pile of rubble that appears very interested in menacing your ankles.
to have a dimension where all of the various time lord's iterations exist as real people, living normal lives on some planet somewhere. It would explain some not being alive.... it would explain the ageing , and it could make for a VERY interesting story. Especially if there were another 10th/Rose couple in this other place, making the total pairings (some more intimate than others) of 10/Rose a nice round 3. One of them could be stalked by someone evil and the Doctor is tasked with protecting them all because he's not sure which is the one who is targeted.
I know... cheap... a bit silly. But it would bring everyone together... as well as give Matt Smith another chance to play off Matt Smith(museum curator and amateur Milliner ), which is always a blast. There could even be an alternate Amy Pond (widowed, of course, only to find that Rory is actually still alive.. in the course of the adventure, which could make for a very funny moment). Just a thought. More of a RTD thought than a Moffat one... but there it is anyway.
They just are older than we last saw them because they didn't regenerate; heck, if Colin doesn't mind, they could have the 6th Doctor become some sort of glutton to deal with the ramifications of his actions in the Time War.
They could explain it similar to how they did with Peter Davison, or if its a 5 doctors type scenario of the doctors being plucked out of their various times, just have it that the 'time-plucker' thing is more like a fax machine so making copies of the doctors to send into Matt Smith's time frame (thus no memory or time paradox issues), but the further back it goes the less accurate the copies come out, hence some of them being older, fatter or different actors
They could borrow an idea from the old Virgin novels of the past Doctors living on in the Doctor's mind. It could be rationalized that his mental image of the older Doctors age as his physical body ages. There's also the possibility to work the Dream Lord into the story if you're setting some of it in the Doctor's mind.
I'm on vacation now so won't be posting as much as normal this week - I borrowed my brother's iPad to check the forums today. The vacation gave me time to read Gareth Robert's Shada novel though - wonderful stuff! I highly recommend it. There's also a Doctor Who nod in Simon Green's latest novel, Live and Let Drood.
By a lucky quirk of geography, I had two independent sources of Doctor Who when I was growing up -- TV-Ontario and PBS (WXXI-Rochester). TVO kept up with current episodes, and WXXI ran the entire series end-to-end.
When this story became available, TVO didn't have the budget for it, but WXXI blew the bankroll and picked it up for a special one-time airing (during Pledge Week, of course).
It was awesome, even with the pledge breaks. As others have said, a real DW event.
Can remember the aggravation of having to slog through 20-minute interruptions between episodes of stuff like "The Five Doctors" when they would initially air.
I recall at one point, we kids in the Philadelphia area were treated (via the wonders of cable TV) in the mid-80s to no less than THREE outlets playing classic Who: We had WHYY12, who'd play entire serials interrupted every Saturday afternoon around 3:00 (typically Tom Baker, but eventually roped in the Davison, then went back to Pertwee, THEN back to Hartnell / Troughton, up to Colin Baker, ending w/ McCoy), then there was WNJT23 from Jersey, who'd play entire serials each Saturday night @ 9:00; then we briefly had WLVT39 from Lehigh beaming in single (25 min) Classic Who episodes nightly in the 11:00 hour (can remember actually having battles w/ my dad over him shutting off the VCR b/c it would wake him when it would start to record at night!)
It's been a long time since I've seen it and I was a bit disappointed that Tom Baker effectively wasn't in it but still enjoyed it. I've always liked the Master as someone who was the equal of the Doctor. We need more Raston Warrior robots.
And that video of the kid talking to his future self was pretty cool.
It was on right after 'Todays Special', a vivid memory of my very early childhood.
After Todays' special, the 'scary music' would start, and that signified my bedtime.
This was my entire exposure to Dr. Who until 2007
WTTW in Chicago was the station that ran The Five Doctors on the actual 20th anniversary (two days before the UK ran it).
I watched it live, and taped it of course so I could re-watch it over and over. At the time we really hadn't seen much of the older Doctors, so it was great stuff.
Also glad someone else mentioned the shiny cover of the Target novelization; I actually had that before the show aired. (It was released a week or two early, for some odd reason.)
As for the 50th...I wouldn't take anything that any actor says right now seriously. The only ones we can be sure wouldn't appear are Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee. Presumably it will be quite some time before anyone is officially approached, and who knows what these guys will say with actual contracts sitting in front of them.
But that's assuming we're getting a multi-doc. I'm not convinced. They're great fanwank, but the general audience probably isn't as crazy about them, and vast gobs of viewers wouldn't know who most of these guys were. It's one thing to do a silly charity special like Time Crash; it's another to do actual episodes.
If we DO get a multi-doc, I expect it's just Tennant, because (aside from the fact that he's the most recognizable of the previous Doctors) the other problem is that the more Doctors you add, the more you've got to find screen time for. None of them would be interested in cameos.
At 5 ... Pertwee knowing the teeth and curls of his next incarnation.
At 4 ... Troughton talking about the terrible Zodin and getting the Brigadiers timeline all screwed up.
At 3 ... Sarah Jane falling down a slight hill, as if it was a cliff.
At 2 ... Davison looking at Susan in a very un-grandfatherly way, but other than that, having no real reunion between Susan and anyone.
At 1 ... The Easy As Pi chess board trap, had NO explanation, even in the novelisation. That's the laziest form of scripting.
#5: I assumed, during my original viewing, that he simply picked up on Sarah's hand gestures. This is reinforced by Pertwee's tone of voice, a mixture of incredulity and slight horror. :)
#4: Not sure I get this one. How does this screw up the Brig's timeline?
#3: Yeah, that was awful. Mind you, from everything I've read, they more or less knew it would be. They tried to shoot it from angles, etc., but the classic show never had time/money for reshoots or anything. Still...it was awful. Made even funnier by Pertwee using Bessie to haul her up.
#2: Yeah, agree, although my guess is that was a combination of lack of time and a general desire to not dive too deeply into the whole granddaughter thing. But yeah, you'd think the other Doctors would have said something to their grandchild.
#1: Absolutely. Horrible. Inexcusable. I expect better from Uncle Terrance, even if he wasn't the original writer (Robert Holmes was) and had less time to write the script. Which might -- MIGHT -- be understandable, except it doesn't explain the novelization at all.
Also, am I the only one who prefers the original version? The updated effects in the SE just look god-awful to me. They haven't aged well. Old CGI doesn't in general (and these updated effects were done in the late 90s, if I recall correctly; I remember one of the BBC Video guys talking about it on Usenet way back in the day); you can go watch early Babylon 5 to see this.
I also don't think the "extra" scenes add much, either.
Well, its been said in the show (more or less canonically) that they can't do that sort of thing - that the Doctors timeline has to remain more or less linear with respect to another person. River is the first example we've seen where that rule is not obeyed.
Otherwise, the Brig could (but didn't) have told the Doctor stuff about his future.
It's also why when 11 found out the Brig was dead, he couldn't just pop back into the Brigs past, and see him.
I suppose you can explain it away by Troughton's line about how he's not breaking the laws of Time exactly, but he is bending them a little.
It wasn't screwed up by Troughton in the Five Doctors, it had already been screwed up by Mawdryn Undead having him retire in 1977 when Sarah Jane had been from 1980 in Pyramids of Mars. No wonder Troughton wasn't getting the Brig's timeline right.
Right now the best explanation for the Unit dating problem is that the Time Lords introduced a quantum indeterminacy in UNIT's chronology in order to keep Torchwood from finding and dealing with the PertweeDo tor while he was stuck on Earth.
But we're already filming the episodes to be aired at the top of 2013.
Which means we're not *that* far away from writing the episodes for the tail end of 2013.
Which means they have had to have been broken down to be farmed out to various writers in Production meetings already.
Anyone who read The Writers Tale knows how far in advance this work gets done.
And Paul McGann has said that he still hasn't been asked about coming back.
So don't get your hopes up kids - the 50th anniversary could be Dimensions In Time part 2. After all, Moffat did write Curse of the Fatal Death, which featured the Doctor and the Master communicating by farting at each other...
It looks like the rumors about the return of Madame Vastra and Jenny are true. And, it looks like the joke Dan Starkey was making about having Strax or a clone brother show up again as a butler to them actually got Gatiss and/or Moffat going "that's actually pretty funny, let's do it". I haven't seen a picture yet that shows him with a little bowler perched on his head, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happened in the episode just to give Matt Smith hat envy.