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Jun 28, 2009

The War Games

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050 – The War Games
Doctor Who serial

The Doctor and his friends are caught in the middle of World War I... or are they?
Doctor Patrick Troughton (Second Doctor)
Companions Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon)

Wendy Padbury (Zoe Heriot)
Guest stars
Writer Malcolm Hulke
Terrance Dicks
Director David Maloney
Script editor Terrance Dicks (uncredited)
Producer Derrick Sherwin
Executive producer(s) None
Production code ZZ
Series Season 6
Length 10 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast April 19June 21, 1969
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Space Pirates Spearhead from Space

The War Games is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which originally aired in ten weekly parts from April 19 to June 21, 1969. It was the last regular appearance of Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, and of Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines as companions Zoe Heriot and Jamie McCrimmon. It is the 50th story of the series, and the last Doctor Who serial to be recorded in black and white.



[edit] Plot

[edit] Synopsis

On an alien planet the Doctor uncovers a diabolic plot to conquer the universe, with brainwashed soldiers abducted from Earth forced to fight in simulated environments, reflecting the periods in history from whence they were taken. The alien's aim is to produce a super army from the survivors, to this end they have been aided by a renegade from the Doctor's own race the 'Time Lords'.

Joining forces with rebel soldiers, who have broken their conditioning, the Doctor and his companions foil the plan and stop the fighting. But the Doctor admits he needs the help of the Time Lords to return the soldiers to their own times, but in asking risks capture for his own past crimes including the theft of the TARDIS. After sending the message he and his companions attempt to evade capture, but are caught.

Having returned the soldiers to Earth, the Time Lords erase Zoe and Jamie's memories of travelling with the Doctor, and return them to the point in time just before they entered the TARDIS. They then place the Doctor on trial for stealing the TARDIS and breaking the rule of non-interference. The Doctor presents a spirited defence citing his many battles against the evils of the universe. Accepting this defence the Time Lords announce his punishment is exile to Earth. In addition the operation of the TARDIS is wiped from his memory and his next regeneration is imposed.

[edit] Continuity

  • Patrick Troughton later reprised the role of the Second Doctor in The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors. In the second of these, he expresses knowledge of events of the final episode of this serial, on the face of it a chronological impossibility, and in the last he is on an assignment for the Time Lords, which is incompatible with the events seen here. These facts gave rise to the Season 6B theory, enabled by the aforementioned lack of on-screen depiction of the regeneration.
  • The Doctor again faces trial in The Trial of a Time Lord, the beginning of which refers to this previous trial.
  • The time machines designed by the War Chief and used by the War Lords are called SIDRATs, an inversion of the name TARDIS. Though this name is used only once, and then merely in passing, on-screen during the serial (and pronounced "side-rat")[1], the expanded acronym is revealed to stand for "Space and Inter-Dimensional Robot All-purpose Transporter" in the 1979 novelisation by Malcolm Hulke. It is repeated in the Virgin New Adventures novel Timewyrm: Exodus by Terrance Dicks, which forms a sequel to The War Games.
  • The Second Doctor's appearance in Terrance Dicks' BBC Books Eighth Doctor Adventures novel, The Eight Doctors, occurs during this story.

[edit] Firsts

  • For the first time, this serial names the Doctor's race as the "Time Lords". Although his home planet (Gallifrey) is seen, it would not be referenced by name until The Time Warrior (1973). His reasons for leaving Gallifrey, and the fact that he stole the TARDIS, are also revealed.
  • Aside from the Doctor and Susan, the War Chief is the second person of the Doctor's race (after the Meddling Monk) to appear in the television series.
  • Again the concept of regeneration is presented but not named in this serial, following The Tenth Planet/The Power of the Daleks. The process was eventually named in Planet of the Spiders, then retrospectively attributed to the earlier two changes of actors — first by series fans, then later by the early-'80s production team in The Five Doctors. Until that point, there was some fan controversy over whether the Second Doctor had actually regenerated or merely had his appearance changed.
  • While Troughton's Doctor is sentenced to a forced regeneration at the end of this serial, we do not actually see him regenerate into the Third Doctor (who first appears — briefly wearing the Troughton costume — in the next serial, Spearhead from Space). The only other Doctor not to receive an on-screen regeneration is the Eighth Doctor, who has already regenerated into the Ninth Doctor at the start of the 2005 series.
  • In the first Episode, the Second Doctor kisses Zoe. [1] This display of platonic affection is the first time that the Doctor kisses one of his companions, though as the series went on it would be far from the last.

[edit] Lasts

  • In the final episode, the Time Lords wipe Zoe's mind and return her to the Wheel, where she encounters Tanya Lernov, a character from The Wheel in Space. A set from The Wheel in Space was rebuilt and actress Clare Jenkins (Tanya) rehired for this one scene.[2] The Big Finish Productions audio drama Fear of the Daleks shows an older Zoe having detailed dreams of her adventures with the Doctor, suspecting that something is blocking her memory, and seeing a psychiatric counsellor in an effort to understand the "dreams".
  • This marks the last appearance of the TARDIS Control Room until The Claws of Axos in 1971, though the removed TARDIS console would be seen in the Doctor's UNIT headquarters laboratory in The Ambassadors of Death, and in a hut on the grounds of the titular project in Inferno.
  • Episode 10 is the last episode of the original series to be produced in black and white.

[edit] Production

Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Episode 1" 19 April 1969 25:00 5.5 16mm t/r
"Episode 2" 26 April 1969 25:00 6.3 16mm t/r
"Episode 3" 3 May 1969 24:30 5.1 16mm t/r
"Episode 4" 10 May 1969 23:40 5.7 16mm t/r
"Episode 5" 17 May 1969 24:30 5.1 16mm t/r
"Episode 6" 24 May 1969 22:53 4.2 16mm t/r
"Episode 7" 31 May 1969 22:28 4.9 16mm t/r
"Episode 8" 7 June 1969 24:37 3.5 16mm t/r
"Episode 9" 14 June 1969 24:34 4.1 16mm t/r
"Episode 10" 21 June 1969 24:23 5.0 16mm t/r
Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and the War Games
Series Target novelisations
Release number 70
Writer Malcolm Hulke
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist John Geary
ISBN 0-426-20082-9
Release date 25 September 1979
Preceded by Doctor Who and the Image of the Fendahl
Followed by Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks

[edit] Commercial releases

This serial was released in the UK February 1990 in a two-tape set in episodic form. It was re-released in remastered format in September 2002. Since this VHS re-release, better quality film prints of the story have been located at the BFI, and were used for the DVD release.[6] The DVD will be released on July 6th 2009 and is a 3 disc set,[7] with a commentry provided by Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Philip Madoc, Graham Weston, Jane Sherwin, Terrance Dicks and Derrick Sherwin.

[edit] In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Malcolm Hulke, was published by Target Books in September 1979, entitled Doctor Who and The War Games. Despite the length of the serial, Hulke was allotted only 143 pages in which to adapt the 10-episode script, the third longest Doctor Who serial. By comparison, the later novelisation of the second longest serial, the 12-episode The Daleks' Master Plan, was published in two volumes, each of which were much longer than Hulke's book, while four books were used to novelise the longest serial, the 14-episode The Trial of a Time Lord.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Cornell, Paul, Martin Day, & Keith Topping, Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide, Virgin Books, 1995, p. 104
  2. ^ Wood, Tat; and Lawrence Miles (2006). About Time 2: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who: 1966–1969, Seasons 4 to 6. Des Moines, Iowa: Mad Norwegian Press. ISBN 0-9759446-1-4. 
  3. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "{{subst:PAGENAME}}". Outpost Gallifrey. Retrieved on 2008-08-31. 
  4. ^ "{{subst:PAGENAME}}". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved on 2008-08-31. 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2005-05-12). "{{subst:PAGENAME}}". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved on 2008-08-31. 
  6. ^
  7. ^

[edit] External links

[edit] Reviews

[edit] Target novelisation