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< The Mark of the Rani
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The Two Doctors

Rating Votes
10
6%
6
9
11%
10
8
30%
28
7
20%
19
6
18%
17
5
10%
9
4
5%
5
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
7.2
Votes
94
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
5
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/9/17 12:18 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Two Doctors is an unusual Multi-Doctor story. It wasn't to celebrate an anniversary, it doesn't feature a major catastrophe that brings the Doctors together and weirdly of all, it doesn't feature much Multi-Doctor action.

The latter is also its flaw. The lack of screen time with Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton onscreen together ultimately means Patrick Troughton's talents feel wasted. You've got two great actors: why not show them together more? They only interact together near the end of the story and the serial is comprised of three 45 minute episodes. 135 minutes and there's hardly any Patrick Troughton/Colin Baker interaction!

The Sontarans are ridiculously tall also. Somebody on the production team clearly missed the memo that they are supposed to be small. Sometimes this can be distracting to the story as you're wondering why, when the Sontarans are a clone race, two of them would be taller than others seen in the series.

The plot is interesting though. It sees the Sontarans try to take the symbiotic (that allows safe travel through time) from the 2nd Doctor, messing with his DNA and turning him into an Androgum. Meanwhile, Androgum Shockeye has a strange fetish for people and chases Peri (Nicola Bryant) around intending to cook her. Shockeye (John Stratton) is a great villain and one whom I wouldn't mind seeing return in the new series; he seems genuinely disturbing, especially the way he leers over Peri in one of the cliffhangers.

I also like the idea of the Time Lords sending the 2nd Doctor and Jamie on missions. This seems to tie in with the popular fan theory 'Season 6b'; the idea was that there was an off-screen season between Patrick Troughton's last and Jon Pertwee's first where the 2nd Doctor was sent on secret missions by the Time Lords before his regeneration and was reunited with Jamie. The biggest clue that The Two Doctors makes this canonical is that Patrick Troughton looks visibly older. It can't be time differential as it is noticeable when he and Jamie are in the TARDIS together - no 6th Doctor present there - and unless the Time Lords wipe the Doctor and Jamie's memories it cannot take place before The War Games as the Doctor didn't tell Jamie about the Time Lords before then.

If this seems heavy on continuity, you can blame my review not the serial. The Two Doctors is a good story but it is let down by a disappointing lack of Multi-Doctor action and a silly decision to make the Sontarans tall.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 11/29/16 9:58 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Utterly mental - carnivorous aliens; time-travel scientists; space stations; sontaran shenanigans; genetic splicing; Spanish shorts; two Doctors; two companions; blood, guts, gore and gaffes.

I can completely understand the marmite responses to the Two Doctors - I frankly can't think of anything like it across the Doctor Who canon I've read, listened and watched! There's an idea a minute, all woven together into a gripping story complete with triple crossings and twists and turns. Robert Holmes fires on all cylinders, quite literally.

As a result, the Two Doctors explodes with witty dialogue and characterisation. Day of the Doctor - THIS is how it's done, with Baker and Troughton starkly distinguishable. But that's not all: Peri is given real dry humour and genuine responses and reactions beyond 'what's this Doctor?'. Whilst Botcherby treads into whimsy territory, Shockeye's dialogue is simply exquisite. Holmes' wildly different approach to the growing trend of Phantom of the Opera villains is welcome, unique and really memorable.

This of course is only enhanced by top-notch performances all around, with particular praise to be set aside for Pat, Jacqueline Pearce and Colin Baker. They take the material on page and throw in their all - Troughton's prisoner scenes especially, in my view, trumping City of Death's famous Louis Quinze scene!

Sontaran prosthetics aside, production values are stellar, with punchy direction and a flawless score. The location work in Spain is a welcome change, albeit not particularly necessary. The story, with minor changes, namely a British pub lunch rather than Spanish restaurant, could have been set anywhere else - Sontarans seem out of place in the desert sun, similair to Cybermen matching icy environs. This minor pedantry aside, the Spanish shooting is a welcome visual change, just a bit redundant in terms of plot.

Unfortunately, I can't give the Two Doctors a 10. Tom Baker always mentions his view that Doctor Who ought to be more violent, to the point of absurd farce where all terror is sucked out, leaving horror, but a fun-horror with the knowledge on the part of the audience that the Doctor will get out in the end.

As mentioned, Holmes fires on all cylinders and as such that means maximum laughs - but also maximum horror. As a fan, I prefer body horror in my Who. The Williams era is my least favourite, Holmes & Hinchcliffe my favourite. I have no issue with Varos, or Attack of the Cybermen... but Two Doctors makes a major pitfall in my view. The use of a spike, rather than sci-fi weapon, to dispatch Botcherby, before an extended death scene complete with shell-shocked companion and lover is just too jarring. It's comic, but also horribly bleak - the two don't gel and I was left tonally confused towards the very end of the piece. For the grand coming together of our two Doctors, it's a shame that the jovialitiy of the serial had dissipated. There's a similair situation shortly afterwards with the Doctor's fight with Shockeye. Again, I love the Doctor being shown to be fallible. Heaven Sent's brutal torture of the Doctor shot the thing into my top 10 - but again there's a tonal issue here. The Doctor gets into a literal knife fight, and not gaining the upper hand, is cut and limps off visibly wounded and leaving a trail of blood. Afterwards he kills Shockeye by cyanide to the face, with a brutal Bondesque gag to finish.

The Doctor can be subject to harsh brutality, and many fans praise the sober, high stakes it brings to the show.
The Doctor can kill those who simply cannot be stopped by any other means, and many fans praise the ethical dimension it brings to the show, or find the black comedy to their tastes if well executed.

However, when extreme knife violence, bleeding and murder with recognisable earth objects sits next to Patrick Troughton in comic eye-brows making verbose guffaws about enormous meals - there's the mother of all tonal inconsistencies.

Despite this rant being a biggie, the Two Doctors gains its 9/10 for being so willing to go to so bizarre depths and take such massive risks. These risks certainly make it one of my favourite serials, but simultaneously prevent it from creeping into the pantheon of my absolute favourites.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 5/25/15 2:05 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Two Doctors is arguably one of the best Season 22 has to offer. Not only is it written by Robert Holmes, one of Doctor Who's greatest writers, but it also sees the return of Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines as the Second Doctor and Jamie respectively. Troughton and Hines have not lost any of the chemistry they had when they started working together back in the 1960s. Colin Baker also gets to have great fun with Frazer Hines' Jamie and has great chemistry with Troughton's Doctor.

Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant also have great chemistry together while still finding time to bicker about fishing. The script is also quite funny with several Holmesian double acts including Oscar and Anita, Stike and Varl, Two and Jamie, Six and Peri, and Shockeye, Chessene ad Dastari.

The Androgums as a species are extremely fleshed out and have an interesting culture and Jacqueline Pearce is extremely menacing as Chessene. Dastari as the genius who fell is also great fun to watch in the subtle moments that flesh out a rather one note character. Even the direction by Peter Moffat is tolerable.

Sadly this story has a few problems that don't allow it to be a classic story. Holmes employs the 4 to 2 plot structure, where four parts of a six part story are one plot and there is a shift for the other two parts. Sadly that doesn't work as well with the 45 minute episodes and it feels kind of rushed in places. Also Oscar is killed off unnecessarily and although it is sad, it could have been cut out without losing anything. Part Three is really where the story falls from grace stopping it from being a classic
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
4
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/25/15 9:39 am
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Positives:

This story features a full fledged return for Jamie McCrimmon, who does gets some nice action scenes is a great highlight.

The story also bolsters of the existence of Season 6B where the Second Doctor traveled time and space with an older Jamie in between the events of War Games and his regeneration into the Third Doctor.

Both Doctors had their moments, even though those moments weren’t together. The Second Doctor was great on the space station in Episode 1. The Sixth Doctor also had a fine time on the space station in Part One and Two. Also part three has some very nice comedic moments and Patrick Troughton showed his acting versatility as the Androgum/Second Doctor.

The Androgums are not a bad concept for an alien species particularly for the purpose Robert Holmes created them for and could have worked well under the right circumstances.

Negatives:

There is a lot we could say but the biggest problem is tone and the inability to pick one. The middle of Episode 3 was a farce. The problem was it wasn’t a farce at the beginning nor one at the end. Had it been a darkly comic story throughout would make sense, but instead this started off as a standard time travel issue with the Doctor’s previous self and then slowly turned into a farce with Androgums consuming impossible amounts of food, and the death of a character played for comic effect.

The another tonal problem was over message, which is delivered with all the subtlety of a jackhammer: eating meal is evil and everyone should be a vegetarian. With the Androgums being the biggest straw men argument someone ever thought of. (You don’t want to be like a horrible man-eating space humanoid, do you? Then don not eat meat, you barbarian.) Writer Robert Holmes goes as far to have the Doctor announce he’s going on a vegetarian diet at the end of the story which would be akin to having the Fourth Doctor endorse anti-tax politicians after the Sunmakers.

While I get that they were trying not to redo the five Doctors, its bizarre how little screen time Baker and Troughton share and the best they can do for working together is to cooperate on knocking a table over. The rivalry between the Second and Third Doctors always made sense. Here, it really seems forced, as if it’s done for a substitute for actually developing a relationship.

The Sontaran design was horrible, with the biggest problem being they were too tall. With, Dastari his motivation for anything he does in the story is unclear including his decision at the end. There was also little point to filming in Spain because the vast majority of the footage is mostly on a space station set, indoors, or around one house.

Overall, this isn’t horrible, but it’s not good either and of the four multi-Doctor TV episodes, this one is probably the weakest. Still, there are some good moments and interesting ideas because even a weak Robert Holmes script is still a Robert Holmes script.