6K. The Five Doctors

Season Twenty - 1983

Script Editor: Eric Saward
Produced by: John Nathan-Turner
Writer: Terrance Dicks
Director: Peter Moffat
Designer: Malcolm Thornton
Incidental Music: Peter Howell

I've reversed the polarity of the neutron flow, so the TARDIS should be free of the force field now.


The first four Doctors, and some companions, have been taken out of time. Things do not go well for the fourth Doctor and he is trapped, along with Romana, in the vortex. With his first four regenerations taken out of time the fifth Doctor is forced to search for them.

The Time Lords attempt to find out why the Death Zone has become active again. Several Time Lords are sent to investigate, but none return. In desperation the Time Lords call upon the Master to help as he is ruthless enough to survive.

Naturally none of the Doctor's believe that the Master is in the Death Zone at the Time Lords' request. To Master later allies himself with the Cybermen in an attempt to save his own life. He later leads them into a trap.

The fifth Doctor suspects that someone has recently used the time scoop, and his evidence is the presence of Daleks and Cybermen who were never permitted to participate, even during the most barbaric times of the Gallifreyans' past.

The Doctor uncovers the traitor - Lord President Borusa - who is after the eternal life that Rassilon possesses. Rassilon realised that immortality is a curse, not a blessing. Borusa received his immortality, but at a price: He remains trapped below Rassilon's tomb. With Rassilon's help the Doctors are freed and returned to their own time streams.

Regular Cast

  • Tegan Jovanka: Janet Fielding
  • Vislor Turlough: Mark Strickson

Guest Cast

  • The Doctor: William Hartnell (clip only), Richard Hurndall, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker (clips only)
  • Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Nicholas Courtney
  • The Master: Anthony Ainley
  • Sarah Jane Smith: Elisabeth Sladen
  • Susan Foreman: Carole Ann Ford
  • Romana: Lalla Ward (clips only)
  • Zoe Heriot: Wendy Padbury
  • Jamie McCrimmon: Frazer Hines
  • Captain Mike Yates: Richard Franklin
  • Liz Shaw: Caroline John
  • Voice of K-9: John Leeson
  • Cyberleader: David Banks
  • Cyberlieutenant: Mark Hardy
  • Cyberscout: William Kenton
  • Lord President Borusa: Philip Latham
  • Chancellor Flavia: Dinah Sheridan
  • The Castellan: Paul Jerricho
  • Colonel Charles Critchon: David Saville
  • UNIT Sergeant: Ray Float
  • Rassilon: Richard Matthews
  • Dalek Operator: John Scott Martin
  • Dalek Voice: Roy Skelton
  • Commander: Stuart Blake
  • Technician: Stephen Meredith
  • Guard: John Tallents
  • Raston Warrior Robot: Keith Modak
  • Cybermen: Gilbert Gillian, Myrddin Jones, Emyr Morris Jones, Richard Naylor, Mark Whncup, Lee Woods
  • Yeti: Lee Woods
  • Extras: Mark Bassinger, Norman Bradley, Graham Cole, Johnnie Mack, Ian Marshall-Fisher, Charles Milward, Alan Riches, Lloyd Williams, Frederick Wolfe
  • Stuntman: Stuart Fell

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 602. The Five Doctors Friday, November 25, 1983 7:20 PM - 8:50 PM 7.7M 75%

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Ealing Film Studios
  • Television Centre Studio 6

Outside Locations

  • Carreg Y Foel, nr. Ffestiniog
  • Cwm Bychan, nr. Llanbedr, Gwynedd
  • Mannod Quarry, Cwt Y Bugail, Ffestiniog
  • Plasbrondaw, Llanfrothen, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd
  • Tilehouse Lane, Upper Denham, Bucks
  • West Common Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex


Near the beginning Tegan comments on the Eye of Orion feeling just like Earth after a thunderstorm. The Doctor explains that this is because the atmosphere contains an unusually high number of positive ions, only it's negative ions which are present in large numbers after a thunderstorm.

After the obelisk whisks the third Doctor and Bessie away you can see Bessie there for about a half-second, before it fades away.

When Rassilon is giving Borusa immortality Borusa has his hand dramatically poised - and when he lowers it, it bangs into Rassilon's coffin.

At the end, when the Doctors are all returned from whence they came they seem to forgot about poor old Bessie.


This 90 minute anniversary special was shown as part of the BBC Children in Need telethon. The story opens with a pre-titles clip of William Hartnell from Episode Six of The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

This is the only story to be shown in the USA before the UK, where it was shown on 23rd November 1983, the actual anniversary, although it did have some scenes cut.

The end titles use a special mix of the theme tune, blending from the original to the Howell version.

Tom Baker and Lalla Ward only appear via footage from Shada .