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TME > Video > Commercial Releases

The Three Doctors

UNIT HQ comes under attack by an alien force, and the Doctor has no othr option but to call on his own people, the Time Lords, for help. Breaking the first Law of Time, the first two Doctors are lifted out of their own time-streams and sent to help the third. But in a universe of anti-matter, an all-powerful figure from Time Lord history is waiting, and even three Doctors may not be enough to stop him.
-- from the DVD release, 2003

The tenth anniversary story seemed an obvious choice for BBC Worldwide to celebrate the show's fortieth anniversary with a box-set including a Bessie toy. The release would come much closer to the anniversary too, than originally planned...

Episode timings on DVD: 24'35", 24'21", 24'26", 25'09"
Episode timings on PasB: 24'39", 24'18", 24'22", 25'07"


VHS releases

05/80/1991: UK - BBC Enterprises - BBCV4650 [deleted 14/8/1995]
??/??/1991: US - CBS/FOX - 3405 [renumbered E1100 in 2000 by Warner Home Video]
01/09/1992: Aus/NZ - PolyGram - BBC46502 [deleted 1/1996] [not pictured]

Cover art by Alistair Pearson, which also appeared as a poster in Doctor Who Magazine (see right).

Reissued as part of the WHSmith exclusive Timelord boxset - the second of two VHS sets that the chain would release, following the previous Christmas' Davros collection (containing all Davros stories) - this included The War Games, The Three Doctors and The Deadly Assassin. Knowing of the forthcoming DVD release of The Three Doctors, the Restoration Team suggested a Sontaran boxset (The Time Warrior, episodic for the first time, The Sontaran Experiment, with A Fix With Sontarans bolstering the runtime, and The Invasion of Time). Smiths were adamant they wanted these stories, however, and (as before) new covers were commissioned by Black Sheep in the current style, with a linking spine created to run across all three.

DVD releases

12/11/2003: Aus/NZ - Roadshow - B006929 (without Bessie) / B007299 (with Bessie)
24/11/2003: UK - BBC Worldwide - BBCDVD1144
02/03/2004: US - Warner Home Video - E1925
06/11/2006: UK - BBC Worldwide - B00015YDIW

Cover art by Clayton Hickman for UK/Aus - as standard for 2003 releases, the UK edition had a sticker added to the front, and the Australian version included a whole new logo, and was housed in a silver slipcase. Early DVD covers featured a different picture of Pertwee in the bottom corner (see right).

The story was originally planned for UK release in January 2003, but problems with the Bessie toy forced a delay until the day before the fortieth anniversary - somewhat more apt. The Australian version ended up being released two weeks before the UK release as a result of these delays.

The UK release was initially housed inside an outer box (left) to also contain the model car and an (unadvertised) postcard of Hickman's art. It would later be sold separately under the same code.

The Australian release similarly was housed inside an outer box (right) but the "disc only" edition would have a separate code.

After a ten month delay to the DVD release, further minor delays and headaches were caused when pre-orders far outstripped the number allocated, causing BBC Worldwide to have to limit the amount of the "with Bessie" edition to many wholesalers, most of whom sold to retailers already advertising the set. Some online retailers chose to list the "with Bessie" edition as discontinued before it was even released, others listed it alongside the "without Bessie" version, and the following grab from Blackstar demonstrates the confusion that ensued!

(note the contradictions as to whether the item is in stock or deleted, and whether or not it contains the car!)

Ironically, up to 10 weeks after release, many high street shops still had multiple copies of the "with Bessie" version sat on their shelves, although these eventually disappeared to be replaced with the "without Bessie" release.

For Christmas 2006, Amazon UK arranged for the six Pertwee DVDs available to date (Spearhead from Space, Inferno [2 discs], The Claws of Axos, The Three Doctors, Carnival of Monsters and The Green Death) to be packaged together as 'The Third Doctor Collection'. A similarly themed Cyberman set was also released on the same day. No extra features were added to either.

DVD Bonus features

40th Anniversary Celebration (2'59")
John Kelly's video as premiered on the Earthshock DVD

Pebble Mill at One (20'44")

Blue Peter (13'40")

BSB Highlights (10'15")
Panopticon '93 (29'47")
Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning and Nicholas Courtney onstage on September 4th 1993.

Pertwee arrives first to talk about The Paradise of Death, Barry Letts' writing, his career, being typecast in comic roles and eventually being cast at Doctor Who, his happiness working on the series, Return to Devil's End, The Daemons and Roger Delgado.

Manning joins him, and the conversation turns to initial reactions between her and Pertwee, her memories of The Daemons and the rest of the three years, Day of the Daleks and limited Dalek props, The Curse of Peladon, getting lost, returning to the roles and the way Courtney's mind worked (a certain eyepatch story gets dragged out).

Courtney finally arrives and conversation turns to Manning's Mayfair photoshoot and the Whomobile.

Interviewer: Steve Wickham
Cameras: Steve Broster, Robert Moubert
Sound Assistants: Neil Roberts, Andrew Nunney
Videotape Editor: Keith Brown
AV Supervisors: Paul Vanezis, Andre Willey
Production Associates: Ian Cook, Colin Griffiths, Martin Kennaugh, Paul Rhodes
Producer: Andrew Beech
(C) Dominitemporal Services Ltd MMIII.

Information Text
By Richard Molesworth
By Nicholas Courtney, Katy Manning and Barry Letts recorded September 2000 at Pebble Mill (before this story was on the schedule, but recorded in advance due to Katy's rare UK trip).
Photo Gallery (3'53")
41 b/w and colour photos, plus the Radio Times cover and illustrations.
BBC1 Trail (4'11")

Restoration Notes

The story was DVNRed for general noise reduction under the supervision of Jonathan Wood. The jumps when the Gellguards appear were also straightened out. Audio remastering was, as usual, performed by Mark Ayres.


03/07/1991 - Passed as 'U' by the BBFC for the UK.
07/07/1992 - Passed as 'G' by the OFLC for Aus/NZ.
29/07/2003 - Bonuses passed as 'U' by the BBFC for the UK.
09/09/2003 - DVD Passed as 'PG' [Low level course language] by the OFLC for Aus/NZ

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