On November 23, 2013 there will be the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who”. To celebrate this important moment let’s go over the Doctor’s history again. This article remembers the Third Doctor.
Played by Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor made his debut in the most profound change that took place in the classic “Doctor Who” series. After six seasons in black and white, the color production started. The era of the Second Doctor ended with the exile on the Earth imposed by the Time Lords and this helped to stay within budget.
The Third Doctor has a strong personality and little patience, especially with bureaucrats, politicians and the military. For this reason, when the Tardis is disabled by the Time Lords, he’s forced to work with UNIT, a military organization commanded by Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart but the relationship between the two of them is rather stormy.
Lethbridge-Stewart had already appeared in two Second Doctor’s adventures but later became a recurring character in the series, especially in the Third Doctor era. The two of them generally manage to reach an agreement because they have the common the purpose of rejecting the alien attack attempts that follow one another in that time and all in all recognize each other’s qualities but otherwise they’re very different.
Despite the many disagreements and frequent quarrels, the Third Doctor and Lethbridge-Stewart are often the protagonists of comedic moments. Over time, the two of them end up becoming friends and when at last the Time Lords end his exile, the Doctor keeps on assisting him and UNIT between his trips around the universe.
Separated from his previous companions the beginning of his exile, the Third Doctor is helped initially by Liz Shaw, a scientist later replaced by Jo Grant, a more conventional assistant, and finally by Sarah Jane Smith, a journalist considered by many fans the most beloved companion of the saga.
The Third Doctor era is characterized not only by the presence of old and new monsters but also by the arrival of the Master, a renegade Time Lord with whom he clashes a number of time. The two fight generally using their mental skills but sometimes also come to a physical fight.
If his predecessors were much more men of thought than action, the Third Doctor excels in both. When the situation calls for a scientific analysis, he uses his vast knowledge in all fields. When it’s necessary to resort to the action, he’s ready to drive in person the most peculiar vehicles, from the old modified car he calls “Bessie” to the hovercraft-like one informally called “Whomobile”.
Like its predecessors, the Third Doctor always tries to resolve differences in a peaceful manner but when he’s forced to deal face to face with someone who wants to resort to violence, he shows his knowledge of Venusian aikido, boxing and fencing. Occasionally, even singing a lullaby to an alien creature has its effectiveness.
Called a dandy for his way of dressing, the Third Doctor led “Doctor Who” in an time of new successes. At the end of his era, there’s the usual evolution with changes in the character but there’s no longer a revolution like after his previous regenerations. The show has now reached a certain maturity so in the passage to the next Doctor there’s a greater continuity.