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Doctor's Dilemma

By Jon Preddle

Our questions this month are from Paul Scoones, who states that during the black & white years of Doctor Who each story was filmed in strict script order, and thus avoided the necessity to edit the tape, which in those days was done using scissors and sticky tape! He therefore wants to know when it was that out-of-order recording was introduced.

The answer is 1969. When Barry Letts took over as Producer, he was stuck with the old production method of recording in scene order. However, he instigated the two-episode-per-fortnight recording schedule to provide extra rehearsal time. The first time this was done was for Inferno. All the scenes located in one set for each pair of episodes were filmed first. The sets were disassembled, and the next were erected and recorded. All the scenes using that particular room were done regardless of the episode it relates to. This out of order process is still utilised today in both television and motion picture production.

Paul's next question relates to Time-Flight: "Why did the Master bother to disguise himself as Kalid if he couldn't know that the Doctor would show up?"

There are two possible answers. Firstly, in order to obtain full control of the power of the Sanctum and the plasmatons he had to cover his whole body with the plasmatonic matter to act as a power booster. Then, when the Sarcophagus was smashed by Nyssa and Tegan, the explosion caused the covering to melt, and thus the Master's true form was revealed. The other explanation is that the Master did disguise himself to fool the Doctor. The first time we see Kalid on-screen is when he is observing the Doctor and Tegan exploring the wilderness on the globe. It is therefore possible that once he had seen them leaving the Concorde, and knowing that the Doctor would eventually come to the Citadel, he changed his appearance to taunt the Doctor.

Paul's last question is a question I've also been asked by Matthew Morris and Chris Girdler: "Why doesn't the Doctor recognise Tegan, Turlough and Peri when he meets them in Logopolis, Mawdryn Undead and Planet Of Fire respectively when he has already met them before in a previous incarnation eg. The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors?"

The Multi-Doctor stories have caused a problem with continuity. To expand on Paul's list - the first Doctor has met his second, third and fifth selves, Tegan, Turlough and the Brigadier, as well as the Master (yet he doesn't know who he is). Likewise, the second Doctor has met his third, fifth and sixth selves, a retired Brigadier and his U.N.I.T. replacement, Sarah, Tegan, Turlough, and the Master. The third Doctor has met his fifth self, Tegan, an older Brigadier, Turlough, and a regenerated Master.
As seen in The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors, each Doctor (other than the fifth, with Tegan and Turlough) was taken from his own time stream, and subsequently returned. In doing so they suffered a form of amnesia that Time Lords experience when they shift across their own time stream.
However, in The Two Doctors, the meeting between the second and sixth Doctors was not due to time slipping. So, why doesn't the sixth Doctor remember this adventure with his own self? Well, simply enough, the second Doctor was injected by Dastari with siralanomode - a drug that induces amnesia. He also spends most of the story unconscious, and so wouldn't remember the adventure nor Peri!

A similar occurrence is in The Trial Of A Time Lord. Why doesn't the Doctor see himself, during the Vervoid adventure, saying 'I know all this'? Well, the Doctor has again been removed from his time stream and has experienced amnesia again. This is why there has been no mention of the Valeyard by the seventh Doctor (yet)! He recalls Glitz but only from the Ravalox adventure, Mel knows Glitz because being human she is immune to the amnesia syndrome.


This item appeared in TSV 12 (March 1989).

Index nodes: Doctor's Dilemma, Time-Flight, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors