top of page


25 November 1983

Viewing Figure: 7.7M


Someone is snatching, The Doctor's past incarnations, companions and foes out of time and dumping them in the Death Zone 



Peter Davison (The Doctor), Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Patrick Troughton (The Doctor), Richard Hurndall (The Doctor)

Tom Baker (The Doctor), William Hartnell (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough)

Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier), Lalla Ward (Romana)

Anthony Ainley (The Master), Philip Latham (Lord President Borusa), Dinah Sheridan (Chancellor Flavia), Paul Jerricho (The Castellan)

David Banks (Cyber Leader), Mark Hardy (Cyber Lieutenant), Richard Matthews (Rassilon), Frazer Hines (Jamie)

Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates), David Savile (Crichton), John Leeson (Voice of K-9)

John Scott Martin (Dalek), Stuart Blake (Commander), Stephen Meredith (Technician), Ray Float (Sergeant), John Tallents (Guard)

William Kenton (Cyber Scout), Keith Hodiak (Raston Robot), Lee Woods (Yeti)

Uncredited Cast

Norman Bradley, Lloyd Williams, William Kenton (Guards), Stuart Fell, Lee Woods, Richard Naylor, Mark Whincup, Gilbert Gillan

Emyr Morris Jones, Graham Cole, Alan Riches, Ian Marshall-Fisher, Mark Bessenger, Lee Woods (Cybermen)

Johnnie Mack, Frederick Wolfe, Charles Milward (Time Lords [Immortal])


Terence Dicks (Writer), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Peter Howell (Incidental Music), Dick Mills (Special Sounds)

Jeremy Silberston (Production Manager), June Collins (Production Associate), Jean Davis (Production Assistant)

Pauline Seager (Assistant Floor Manager), John Baker (Film Cameraman), John Gatland (Film Sound), MAC Adams (Film Editor)

Shirley Coward (Vision Mixer), John Brace, Mike Kelt (Visual Effects Designers), Dave Chapman (Video Effects)

Alec Wheal (Senior Cameraman), Derek Thompson (Techincal Manager), Jean Peyre (Design Effects), Ian Hewett (Graphic Designer)

Hugh Parson (Videotape Editor), Robert Fleming (Properties Buyer), Don Babbage (Studio Lighting), Martin Ridout (Studio Sound)

Colin Lavers (Costume Designer), Jill Hagger (Make-Up Artist), Eric Saward (Script Editor), Malcolm Thornton (Designer)

John Nathan-Turner (Designer), Peter Moffatt (Director)

Uncredited Crew

Archie Dawson (Film Lighting Supervisor)


Filming Locations

  • Plas Brondanw,Llanfrothen, Gwynedd

  • Carreg y Foel Gron, nr Ffestiniog, Gwynedd

  • Manod Quarries, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd

  • Cwm Bychan, Llanbedr, Gwynedd

  • Tilehouse Lane, Denham Green, Bucks

  • Halings House, Denham Green, Bucks

  • 2/15 West Common Road, Uxbridge, Middx

  • Ealing Film Studios

  • Television Centre: Studio 6


  • Lord President Borusa [possibly dies when he was trapped in a sarcophagus]

  • Jerricho [shot and killed by the Commander]

  • Cyber Leader [shot by The Master with a Cyber-gun]

  • Cyber Lieutenant [killed when explosives go off]

  • Dalek [killed when extermination rays hit it]

  • Cyber Scout [killed when explosives go off]

  • Cybermen [massacred by the Raston Warrior Robot]

  • Yeti [possibly killed due to a rock fall in a cave]

Production Days

  • 14 Days between Saturday 5 March - Thursday 31 May 1983

Production Errors

  1. Whilst being attacked by The Cybermen, the jeans of the actors playing the Cybermen are clearly visible

  2. Whilst The Doctor and Susan are chased by a Dalek, the top of the Dalek casing slightly comes loose,

  3. A boom microphone enters the frame at one point when The Second Doctor and Brigadier walk through the cave. 

  4. When The Master enters the Death Zone he is wearing a black cloak despite the fact he was not wearing one when he stepped into the transmat teleporter

  5. After the Raston Warrior defeats all of the Cybermen, there are several small fires burning on the ground. However when the Raston jumps up in the air and vanishes, all of the fires have vanished,

  6. When The Third Doctor and Sarah slide to the top of the Dark Tower, it becomes plainly obvious that the rope couldn't have reached a high point to a lower one or two positions in a straight line. It becomes clear that the Dark Tower is positioned higher than from where they started from

  7. Sarah Jane Smith seems to make a big deal after falling down a small slope. There is also no need for The Third Doctor to throw her a rope, and using Bessie to help her

  8. The Second Doctor concludes that 'Jamie' and 'Zoe' must be illusions because they recognise both The Second Doctor and the Brigadier. However when they were returned to their own times, the Time Lords erased their memories apart from their first adventure with The Doctor. 

  9. If Borusa wants The Doctor to open the Dark Tower, why does he put a squad of Cybermen, a Raston Warrior Robot, a Yeti, and even a Dalek in his way? 

  10. If the Time Lords can give The Master a new regeneration cycle, then why is Borusa worried about his morality? 

Working Titles

  • The Six Doctors


While it is a remarkable improvement compared to other anniversary specials, the story tries to accommodate too many elements. The story provides one of the best soundtracks of the Davison era jumping from chilling and uneasy atmosphere to a spooky chorus like tracks to a quick action paced chase tempo in a short piece of time. Impressive shots and new ideas such as the Death Zone of Gallifrey show a darker side to the Time Lord society. The main ingredients for any an anniversary special is bringing back as many fan favourite characters as possible. Many of the Doctor’s companions are used quite well par a few exceptions who for some reason are used less vigorously than others. The Cybermen are a good choice to come back for the anniversary whilst the Dalek is rushed in and out of the plot far too quickly, the Yeti is disappointing whilst the Raston Robot makes for a good, new villain. In light of William Hartnell’s death, William Hurndell portrays the First Doctor with the same level of flair and charisma as Hartnell. He can be jolly and friendly but strict and stern at the same time capturing the incarnation perfectly. Location work shines and while its just another quarry the bleak landscapes captures the devastating history the Death Zone has experienced, and the wintery landscapes also adds to the mysterious and nerve-racking atmosphere. Some of the sets especially the Tomb of Rassilon are perfect for a movie length episode. There is some laborious viewing at times since the plot tries to include too much to please people. The death of the Cybermen at the hands of the Raston Warriors can be unrealistic and the direction at times makes it look like we’re watching the rehearsal tapes. The Master really has no business being in the plot having just appeared in the previous serial. Whilst admirable in some place The Five Doctors is not a masterpiece by any means, hey none of the classic anniversary special are but it does provide on a number of levels which is sure to please even the most stubborn of Doctor Who fans. ****​

bottom of page