THE KRAGLON INHERITANCE & THE ANDROGUM INHERITANCE
EITHER 'THE TWO
DOCTORS' DVD (BBCDVD1213) RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER 2003;
OR 'BRED FOR WAR' DVD BOX SET (BBCDVD2617) RELEASED IN MAY 2008.
WHILST INVESTIGATING unauthorised experiments into time travel aboard Space Station Camera, the second Doctor and Jamie come under attack from the war-like Sontarans...
Elsewhere, the sixth Doctor and Peri also decide to pay a visit to Camera. They find the station abandoned, but discover Jamie, half-crazed, hiding in the ducting. And he tells them that the SECOND Doctor has been murdered...
The Two Doctors
16TH FEBRUARY 1985 - 2ND MARCH 1985
(3 45-MINUTE EPISODES)
More so than any other televised multi-Doctor adventure, The Two Doctors really feels like two worlds colliding. Patrick Troughton and Colin Baker’s Doctors are not only equal and opposite in respect of their personas, but also their native eras. The incumbent Doctor is colourful, brash and melodramatic; the returning Time Lord belongs to distant monochrome fantasia, his unassuming ‘comic hobo’ veneer belying the shadows deep within. The sixth Doctor has a rambunctious young female constantly at his heels; the second’s Doctor’s skirt is a hairy highlander. Robert Holmes’ script seizes upon these differences, eking every ounce of drama and every ounce of humour out of each possible Doctor / companion pairing. It’s riveting to see Old Sixy partnered by a fiery Scot, and the now grey Two patronising a stunning young Yankee - particularly as Patrick Troughton, Colin Baker, Frazer Hines and Nicola Bryant and are each at the top their games. Three episodes just doesn’t feel like enough.
What sets The Two Doctors even farther apart from its 1973 and 1983 counterparts is its lack of contrivance. For the first time on telly, two of the Doctors’ incarnations simply bump into each other, their time tracks crossing in a manner that might well be frowned upon by the High Council of Time Lords, but seems inevitable given the Doctors’ long and iterant lives – not to mention their noses for trouble. Of course, The Two Doctors is still far from straightforward in this regard – this DVD’s production subtitles give the distinct impression that Holmes deliberately eschewed the series’ history in order to portray the Time Lords as being even more duplicitous than we’d already seen them, and in so doing opened up a continuity quagmire that Terrance Dicks would later have to write a whole novel to close. This doesn’t take anything away from The Two Doctors’ serious and sensibly-structured plot, however, which is by far the most successful of all the series’ multi-Doctor capers.
Indeed, if you were to remove the second Doctor and Jamie from the equation, then there would be little - beyond Holmes’ inimitable flair and refinement - to set The Two Doctors apart from its Season 22 peers. Rather than ham-fistedly bludgeon old Doctors and companions into a narrative, The Two Doctors feels original and organic. Troughton doesn’t just come back to do what he did every week for three years in the late 1960s; he comes back to play his character cursed by an Androgum inheritance that’s turning him into an ethically-indifferent glutton. Hines isn’t just wheeled out to roll off a few “Look at the size o’ that thing, Doctor”s (though he does squeeze a sly one in as the opening sequence’s monochrome blossoms into colour) and chase a few señoritas; he’s cut off from his Doctor and rescued by a new one.
More importantly though, all three episodes are punctuated with blazing flashes of the former script editor’s finesse – the senseless fate of affable café owner Oscar is as touching as it is theatrical, and the sixth Doctor’s lyrical musings on the end of the universe (“Never more a butterfly…” ), especially when contrasted with his actions in the final episode, demonstrate what an intriguing, complicated and profoundly alien character the Doctor actually is.
“Goodnight, sweet price...”
The main criticism generally levelled at this story, and indeed at Colin Baker’s first season as the Doctor, is that it’s too violent – arguably gratuitously so. I couldn’t disagree more with such sentiments. Whilst there is a lot of death here, it’s meaningful. It has proper context. Holmes generally penned his finest work when he was allowed to push the envelope in this manner, as evidenced by seminal serials such as The Deadly Assassin and The Caves of Androzani, which were abounding with appealing adult sensibilities. Whilst The Two Doctors may not be quite on a level pegging with those two top tier tales, it shares their world-weary outlook; their hard-nosed sense of corruption and apathy. This three-parter’s baddies don’t exude cartoon evil, but jaded pragmatism – Dastari is a foolish scientist, the Sontarans disgruntled mercenaries. Even the loathsome Shockeye is as much a victim as he is a villain, a pawn in a game that’s beyond his food-blinkered understanding. What’s frightening about The Two Doctors is that these same qualities are reflected in the story’s heroes, who comprise a murderous pacifist and a roaming meddler who’s apparently been tamed in exchange for his “little privileges” (I do feel compelled to point out, though, that the “murder” I refer to only stands out here because the “victim” is basically just a human being with red eyebrows and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies stuck on his face. Gassing Earth Reptiles or driving gold into the heart of a Cyberman is exactly the same in principle, but the “soft” fifth Doctor never seems to get pulled up for that).
Above: Disc 2's flood of special features
The DVD’s first disc presents all three episodes duly remastered, with the option of listening to a charming commentary featuring Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Frazer Hines, former Blake’s 7 star Jacqueline Pearce (who’s superb as Chessene in The Two Doctors) and the serial’s director Peter Moffatt. The disc also includes an isolated soundtrack which, given the juxtaposition of traditional Spanish music and futuristic Sontaran battle anthems is interesting, if nothing else; as well as an amusing little extra, A Fix with Sontarans, which is essentially a whimsical mini-episode starring Colin Baker, Janet Fielding and a young Doctor Who fan by the name of Gareth Jenkins, lifted from a contemporaneous episode of Jim’ll Fix It.
The second disc contains the highly-regarded Bob Holmes documentary, Behind the Sofa - a programme crafted to the Restoration Team’s usual lofty standards and boasting contributions from 1970s stalwarts Chris Boucher, Terrance Dicks, Philip Hinchcliffe, Barry Letts and Eric Saward. The forty-five minute feature takes a look at each of the stories that Holmes wrote (or re-wrote, as was often the case) for the series, from his debut script The Krotons all the way up to his unfinished script for the final episode of The Trial of a Time Lord. Curiously - and thankfully - no mention is made of The Power of Kroll.
The disc is then filled up with three other lengthy featurettes, Beneath the Lights, Beneath the Sun and Adventures in Time and Spain, each of which chart the production of The Two Doctors. The first is the best of the bunch, containing hitherto-unseen outtakes and other footage from the studio recordings. The second is similar, though it instead focuses on the location shoot in Spain and the quality is quite not as good. The latter featurette sees production manager Gary Downie share his memories of recording the show. Also included is a photo gallery containing some previously unseen snaps and a rare radio documentary concerning the making of the story, Wavelength, which features some interview segments with the late Pat Troughton.
Above: Hands up who loves DVD photo galleries...
And so if you can put up with some head-scratching continuity, The Two Doctors double DVD is a real treat. The centrepiece serial is by turns dark and picturesque, fusing scorching Spanish sun with blinding performances and crippling unease. Even if you’re not as big a fan of the Colin Baker era as I am, the DVD is worth purchasing for the excellent Robert Holmes documentary alone, which focuses primarily on Doctor Who’s almost universally popular Hinchcliffe / Holmes ‘gothic horror’ period.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Design
and Patents Act 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
Terrance Dicks’ 2005 novel World Game crystallised the already-popular theory that following his trial at the end of The War Games, the second Doctor’s sentence was suspended while he carried out a number of top secret missions for Gallifrey’s Celestial Intervention Agency. Following World Game, the Doctor was reunited with Jamie – whose memories had been duly restored – who would aid him in his missions, including the one depicted in The Two Doctors.
At some point afterwards, the Time Lords’ sentence was carried out: the Doctor was forcibly regenerated and then exiled to 20th century Earth, and Jamie was returned to his native time and place, his memories of his TARDIS travels erased. It has never been stated whether or not the Doctor remembered his post-War Games employment beyond his enforced regeneration, though this seems unlikely given the sixth Doctor’s ignorance of events demonstrated in The Two Doctors and the agency’s need for the utmost discretion.
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