Thursday, October 3, 2013

Legacy Character Study: The 3rd Doctor

Welcome back, one and all! Today, we're looking a a more grounded Doctor.

Literally, as we'll see.
Character Conception
Patrick Troughton was ready to bow out after a couple of fun, but exhausting, years on the show, so the writers had to come up with a new take on the character. They cast talented actor Jon Pertwee, and reimagined the Doctor as a suave, Willy-Wonka-coat-wearing, James Bond-esque, martial artist who was stuck on Earth.

No, really. 
James Bond and The Avengers (the British team, not the Marvel team) were popular at the time, so why not capitalize on that? It makes perfect sense. Kind of.

Secret Origin
After being forcefully regenerated by the Time Lords, the Doctor was left on Earth, where he met up with the Brigadier again, and he reluctantly became the science advisor for the newly formed United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) until could make his TARDIS work again. (The Time Lords had removed his knowledge of how to work his machine.)

After defeating a renegade Time Lord, the Time Lord Council gave him back his memories, freeing him from his exile.

This Doctor, coming about when John Steed and Emma Peel were in their heyday, chose to exercise his talents in "Venutian Aikido."

Especially since he's pushing, what, 700?
He was also shown to be able to link with the mind of his past self to communicate faster than normal speech would allow. One of his cooler abilities, if you'll pardon the pun, was to go into a coma and hibernate in temperatures of near-absolute zero in order to survive. He could also survive in a vacuum. Awesome.

He drove a stylin' yellow car named Bessie, and a hovercraft (actually owned by Pertwee) that the fans have dubbed "the Whomobile."

The 3rd Doctor's run was where the Sonic Screwdriver, first used by the 2nd Doctor to actually drive screws, became an all-purpose do-stuff machine that could scan things, disrupt energy...

And still ostensibly drive screws.
CompanionsBrigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
The Doctor's closest pal, even if they get on each others nerves. A gruff, yet endearing officer and gentleman through and through. Was often more annoyed by alien menaces, rather than afraid. Formed UNIT as a response to the Great Intelligence attempting to invade London. Stayed behind on Earth after the Doctor fixed his TARDIS. Went in the TARDIS once, and was greatly annoyed at the fact that it was bigger on the inside.

Sgt. Benson
A simple UNIT soldier who the Doctor took a liking to. Ensemble darkhorse, and a surprisingly endearing, if minor, character. Nice guy.

Liz Shaw
The Doctor's predecessor at UNIT, relegated to his assistant. Smart and spunky, basically a female Doctor, and she left when she realized that she was just a second banana. Never traveled in the TARDIS.

Jo Grant
Liz's replacement as the Doctor's sidekick. Eager and bubbly, but dumb as a rock.By all accounts, the actress, Katy Manning, is just as kind and bubbly in real life, if much smarter than her character. Although posing nude with a Dalek when Doctor Who was still technically a kids' show might not have been a stroke of genius....

No, I'm not showing any more than this.
Meant to be the audience viewpoint character. Fell in love with a young, Nobel Prize-winning scientist, and left the Doctor for him. Unfortunately, the Doctor had fallen in love with her. (Yeah, New-Whovians. Rose wasn't the first.) The first Companion as we typically know them. Only one companion, female, white, needs stuff explained to her (for the benefit of the audience).

Sarah Jane Smith
The first companion to actually become more popular than the Doctor himself, Sarah Jane was smart, spunky, and all those other stock phrases. She basically snuck aboard the TARDIS while infiltrating a secret facility with shady goings on. She's not afraid of danger, and she always stands up for the truth. No wonder the Doctor kept her around forever, and no wonder they tried to give her a spin-off show twice, succeeding once.

Notable Enemies
Your plastic pal who's no fun to be with.
Nestenes, aliens that can project their mind into special plastic, created the Auton drones (named after Auto Plastics, the company they infiltrated) to help with their plan to take over the world for its resources. Once teamed up with...

The Master
The Doctor's power hungry former friend from Gallifrey.
He wants to rule the universe and defeat the Doctor, but not necessarily in that order. The Master is basically the Doctor with only a few motives tweaked. The Doctor's arch rival, a madman, a megalomaniacal fiend the likes of which the universe has never seen before.

Along with a guy called Rassilon, Omega helped create the Eye of Harmony, a black hole that powers all time travel.
Accidentally sucked into a dimension in the black hole, and tries to destroy the Time Lords in revenge. After the 3rd Doctor teams up with the 1st and 2nd Doctors to defeat Omega, the Time Lord Council gives the Doctor back his memory.

Same as ever, terrorizing humans in the future. Finally back after ending the First Dalek Civil War. (Behind the scenes, the Daleks are owned by their creator, Terry Nation, who wanted to experiment with their own marketability as a show. It fell through, so they came back.)

Aka the "Eocene," aka "Homo Reptilia."
All of those names make no sense for different reasons. A highly advanced race, wiped out by the meteor that hit the dinosaurs. Some escaped by hibernating beneath the Earth, and those that woke up want it back.

Notable TraitsAgain, if we subscribe to the regenerative-personality-modification theory, there's a method to the madness. 2 was a clownish space hobo. His love of anarchy led to him stealing the TARDIS originally as well as getting him into sticky situations. So 3 basically switched alignments to Lawful Good, instead.

This Doctor was noticeably more "upper class" when compared to his free spirited predecessors. I like to think that the Time Lords made him that way to try and reign in his free spirit. It didn't work, but they tried. He still butted heads with authority figures. This Doctor was perfectly willing to kill, as well, but only as an absolute last resort. Like those before him, his mind was as sharp as ever, and he would often perform science experiments. He loved gadgets, as well, thanks to the James Bond influence on the character. Unlike his predecessors, this Doctor was a Victorian gentleman, called a "dandy" by a temporally displaced 1st Doctor. I mean, the guy wore a jacket and cape. You can only get away with that if you're Dracula, Ibis the Invincible, or the Third Doctor.

After he regained use of his TARDIS, he had more control over it, because he understood it more, having taken it apart and put it back together. This Doctor also had a tattoo, making him unique from the other Doctors.

Not the Doctor that most fans want shirtless, but take what you can get.
Many fans, myself included (as well as some supplemental materials), justify the change by saying that the Time Lords put it on him as a mark of his crime. Speaking of crime, this was the first Doctor to steal his outfit from a hospital.

"Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow." 
(Though he didn't say it that much.)

  • Stopped the Autons from invading multiple times.  
  • Stopped humans from abusing time travel to colonize the past.  
  • Traveled to an alternate reality where everyone lived under the rule of a Big Brother-like figure, with omnipresent posters of his face. It wasn't an evil universe, per se, (though it did have shades of it) the people there just made different decisions than they did in the normal universe, like the coin-flip alternate reality from Futurama. The Doctor claimed he didn't exist there....  
  • Fought the Daleks in the future  
  • Fought invisible Daleks  
  • Kept Omega from wiping out the universe  
  • Attempted to foster peace between the Silurians and humans  
  • Foiled several of the Master's plots of conquest  
  • Sacrificed his life on the planet Metabelis 3 from radiation poisoning while defeating evil spider overlords.  
Last words: "Where there's life, there's..."

He was going to finish with the word "hope."

And so the Doctor regenerated into a new man. What of him? We'll see next time.

Alternate Versions
Remember when I said that the Doctor went to an alternate dimension with a Big Brother-type guy on posters everywhere? Well, the Doctor offhandedly mentions that he doesn't exist in the other universe. According to the Expanded Universe, he does. He was the guy on the poster.

Well, apparently, in the normal universe, the Time Lords gave him a choice of forms to regenerate into, including the one he saw on the poster. This just goes to show that with only a small tweak in ethics, the Doctor could become exactly like the Master, if not worse.

They're both inhumanly classy.
After all, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I wonder... did this alternate Doctor christen himself the Time Lord Victorious as well...? But enough about that. Next time...  would anybody like a Jelly Baby?

I'll just leave you with this, then.

1 comment:

  1. Huh so that's where those plastic things came from.
    Wow never thought I'd see a nude girl with a Dalek. ONWARD FANFICTION WRITERS!!!