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Who's Who's Who

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20th anniversary special
19 November 1983

Radio Times anniversary specials
10th (1973) | 20th (1983) | 30th (1993) | 40th (2003) | 50th (2013)


Who's Who?

Doctor Who's twentieth anniversary is celebrated by 'The Five Doctors' who again face their enemy The Master in a special feature-length story on BBC1. Inside: companions in space ... a Who Who's Who

Doctor Who, Friday 7.20 BBC1

The world's longest-running science-fiction show celebrates its 20th anniversary this week with a special feature-length story called 'The Five Doctors'. Back from the past will be all five Doctors and many of the companions, enemies and monsters he has encountered during his travels. Here, for those unfamiliar with the show's early history, Ian Levine provides a ... Who's Who's Who

TWENTY YEARS ago this week, the longest-running science-fiction show in the world began its incredible existence. On 23 November 1963 the imaginations of young and old alike were captured by Doctor Who's unique first episode, 'An Unearthly Child', during which two schoolteachers became curious as to why a pupil of theirs seemed to know more science and history than she should and followed her home one night to a spooky, mysterious London junkyard at 76 Totters Lane. Obstructed by an argumentative old man, they eventually pushed their way into an old police telephone box and found themselves abducted into the space-time vortex, unable for the next two years to return back to the London of their time. The old man was, of course, the enigmatic Doctor, and the schoolgirl was his granddaughter, who travelled with him on a journey that could encompass anywhere or any time throughout infinity or creation.

Now, 20 years later, the programme is more popular than ever, with a huge following all over the world which is now exceeding that of the cult US TV show Star Trek. This week the BBC is celebrating this amazing British institution with a special 90-minute feature-length story called 'The Five Doctors'. During its run Doctor Who has built up an amazing legend of characters and villains, and a wide variety will be cropping up during this week's extravaganza. To the programme's thousands of aficionados, all the guest characters in ' The Five Doctors' will be well known. For the uninitiated, however, we're going to explain here what part in the history of Doctor Who they have played.

Susan Foreman was the first Doctor's granddaughter. The Doctor, tired of the discipline and order of his home world, Gallifrey, stole a Tardis and fled, taking Susan along with him. The Tardis he stole was faulty and erratic and the Doctor and Susan never knew where they would land next. The series began with the Doctor and Susan on 20th-century Earth, but we learned they had landed on many, many planets between leaving Gallifrey and landing. Susan joined a school, and after two of her schoolteachers had forced their way into the Tardis, a series of harrowing escapades ensued, against Daleks, Voords, Sensorites and assorted other foes, before Susan finally fell in love with David Campbell, one of the freedom fighters who were trying to rid the Earth from the rule of the Daleks in AD 2164. Much as she loved David, Susan could not bring herself to leave her grandfather. In a moment of pathos, the Doctor made the decision for her, and locked her out of the Tardis. This week actress Carole Ann Ford returns to the series as Susan and is reunited with the Doctor for the first time since 1964.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has helped four of the five Doctors. He first met the second Doctor when he was a Colonel in the Army and helped fight the Yeti during those mysterious months when a deadly mist filled Central London. He then became a Brigadier and formed UNIT, an international organisation dedicated to ridding the world of extraterrestrial threats, and met the second Doctor once again when the Cybermen invaded London, rising up from the sewers. The third Doctor became UNIT's scientific adviser, and became very close to the Brigadier. The fourth Doctor began his life with the Brigadier but slowly moved away from UNIT. The fifth Doctor met the Brigadier years after he had retired from UNIT and two versions of the old soldier, one from 1977 and one from 1983, met — with almost cataclysmic results. Interestingly enough, Nicholas Courtney, who plays the Brigadier, also worked' with the first Doctor, but in a quite different role, that of space security agent Bret Vyon. He is the only actor to have played alongside all five doctors.

Jamie McCrimmon was the companion who appeared longest in the series. The second Doctor met him at the battle of Culloden in 1746 when the Jacobites were fighting the Redcoats, and Jamie stayed with the Doctor until the Time Lords finally caught up with him and put him on trial for interfering in the affairs of the Universe. With his memory wiped so he could remember only his first adventure with the Doctor, Jamie was sent back to his own time.

Zoe Herriot was a brilliant astrophysicist who joined the second Doctor and Jamie after the Space Wheel on which she was based was attacked by Cybermen and Cybermats. Like Jamie, Zoe was also returned to her own time by the Time Lords with only the memory of her first adventure with the Doctor.

Sarah Jane Smith met the third Doctor when she stowed away on board the Tardis after masquerading as her own aunt, Lavinia Smith, the famous virologist. She was present when the Doctor regenerated into his fourth incarnation, and only left him because events did not allow her to be taken to Gallifrey for the Presidential Resignation day. The Doctor never forgot Sarah Jane however, and sent her a K-9 Mark III as a present. Actress Elisabeth Sladen became Sarah Jane Smith once again in the Doctor Who spin-off programme K-9 and Company in 1981.

Liz Shaw joined the third Doctor as his assistant during the first year of his exile on Earth. Overshadowed by his brilliant scientific mind, she returned to Cambridge after a year to conduct her own researches.

Captain Mike Yates was second in command at UNIT during the era of the third Doctor. After getting involved with a group of crackpots who were trying to roll time back to an earlier Golden Age, destroying humanity in the process, he was discharged. Mike made the ultimate mistake of pulling a gun on the Brigadier, Sergeant Benton and the Doctor. He later made amends by alerting UNIT to some evil men in a monastery who were using Tibetan powers to draw the giant spiders of Metebelis III to Earth.

Romana, played by Lalla Ward, travelled with the fourth Doctor. She was in fact Romana Mark II, having regenerated from her first incarnation during the opening scene of 'Destiny of the Daleks'. Romana is an affectionate abbreviation for 'Romanadvoratrelundar'. She was an acolyte of the Time Lords who was sent to help the Doctor during the quest for the Key to Time by the White Guardian, who appeared to her disguised as the President of the Time Lords. Romana remained in E-Space (the negative universe) with K-9 Mark II to help the Tharils, a race of lion people, right the injustice of their universe.

K-9 is a mobile computer shaped like a dog, and there

have been three versions. The first was built by Professor Marius while he was stationed on the Bi-Al foundation, located in the asteroid belt, in AD 5000. He bequeathed it to the fourth Doctor and Leela. When Leela remained on Gallifrey to marry Andred, captain of the Chancellery guards, the Doctor built K-9 Mark II, which stayed with him until it was damaged beyond repair and could only function in E-Space, where it remained with Romana. K-9 Mark III is the version we encounter in 'The Five Doctors'. This one was a present to Sarah Jane Smith from the Doctor. K-9 helped Sarah Jane defeat a coven of witches in the Cotswolds and now resides with her at her home in South Croydon.

Tegan Jovanka is one of the two current companions travelling with the fifth Doctor. She joined the fourth Doctor when she wandered into a police telephone box on the Barnet bypass in North London, and was present when the Doctor's arch enemy, The Master, caused him to fall off the top of a radio telescope and regenerate into his fifth incarnation. This bossy Australian has captured the hearts of fans everywhere.

Turlough is the other current companion, a man of mystery. We don't know exactly who he is or where he comes from. He was used by the evil Black Guardian as a pawn to kill the Doctor, but eventually made the right choice between good and evil.

The High Council of the Time Lords, one of the most important collections of beings in the Universe, consists of five people: the Castellan, the Chancellor, the Cardinal, a Councillor and, most importantly, the President of all the Time Lords. The current President is Borusa and 'The Five Doctors' is the fourth story to feature this fascinating character. We first met him in 'The Deadly Assassin' when he was leader of the Cardinals, the judiciary section of Gallifrey. Borusa had been the Doctor's teacher at the Time Lord academy. When he and the Doctor next met, in 'The Invasion of Time', Cardinal Borusa had become Chancellor Borusa, and was Acting President until the Doctor himself returned to Gallifrey to claim the presidency in a bid to outwit the Vardan and Sontaran invasions of his home planet. In 'Arc of Infinity' Borusa had already become the President and was forced into condemning the Doctor to death to prevent Omega using him to cross over into the world of real matter. Borusa is still the President and one of the most important beings in Time Lord history.

The Doctors: William Hartnell, the first actor to play the Doctor, sadly died in 1975. His portrayal was of an eccentric, absent-minded old man with a heart of gold, but crotchety and irascible on the surface. Hartnell's part in the story of 'The Five Doctors' will be played by Richard Hurndall, who has brilliantly interpreted the part. Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor, is back with a vengeance this week, comical on the surface but with an infinite wisdom beneath his clown exterior. Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor, relies again on his gadgets and his Edwardian roadster, Bessie. Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, is as eccentric as ever with his bulging eyes, wide grin and long scarf. Peter Davison, the fifth Doctor, appears with his current companions.

Regular viewers of the series will remember that at the end of the last story, 'The King's Demons', the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough were heading for the Eye of Orion for a well-deserved rest. It is here, in this exotic location, that 'The Five Doctors' begins. Whether they get their holiday remains to be seen, as the greatest Doctor Who adventure of all time unfolds.

The RADIO TIMES Doctor Who Special, celebrating 20 years of Doctor Who, is available from booksellers, price £1.50

Caption: The Doctors (clockwise): Peter Davison, Tom Baker, Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell and Jon Pertwee

Caption: Richard Hurndall as the first Doctor with Carole Ann Ford

Caption: Nicholas Courtney with second Doctor Patrick Troughton

Caption: Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and companion Elisabeth Sladen

Caption: Peter Davison with Mark Strickson and Janet Fielding

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  • APA 6th ed.: Levine, Ian (1983-11-19). Who's Who's Who. Radio Times p. 84.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Levine, Ian. "Who's Who's Who." Radio Times [add city] 1983-11-19, 84. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Levine, Ian. "Who's Who's Who." Radio Times, edition, sec., 1983-11-19
  • Turabian: Levine, Ian. "Who's Who's Who." Radio Times, 1983-11-19, section, 84 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who's Who's Who | url= | work=Radio Times | pages=84 | date=1983-11-19 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=10 December 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Who's Who's Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=10 December 2023}}</ref>