The Three Doctors

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Story Code: RRR / Season 10 UK Airdate: 30 Dec 1972 to 20 Jan 1973 Doctor: Jon Pertwee
First airings by location UK Repeats / Foreign Cable and Satellite Previous Story / Next Story

This story aired in the following known countries. They are listed in chronological order according to known airdate. If no month is noted, the actual airdate is not confirmed, and is a close approximate. (Refer also to Selling Doctor Who for expanded airdates.)

New Orleans, Jan. 3, 1988
Australia Nov 73 b/w WH,PT
Singapore Mar 74 b/w WH,PT
Hong Kong Jul 74 b/w WH,PT
United Arab Emirates 74 or 75 PAL
New Zealand Oct 75 PAL WH,PT
Canada Sep 76 NTSC WH
Brunei Nov 76 PAL
United States May 77 NTSC JP
Gibraltar Jun 77 b/w WH,PT
United Arab Emirates (repeat) 77? PAL
Swaziland May 78 PAL
Malta May 79 PAL WH
Sierra Leone 79 or 82? PAL WH
Sri Lanka May 81 PAL
  • It's interesting to note the number of countries that screened this story but which never got the Hartnell and/or Troughton stories; the narrative of The Three Doctors relies heavily on the lore and mythology of the series, and on viewers being familiar with who the "other Doctors" were. (Which of the other Doctors viewers would have seen is noted.)
  • United Arab Emirates appears to have been the first to air this story in PAL colour. (They returned some of their tapes of this story in 1991.)
  • The story may have been dubbed into Arabic.
  • The serial aired in Boston only; the rest of the United States did not get it until the 1983 re-issue. This appears to have been a special one-off deal struck between WGBX and the BBC that was in addition to the standard Time-Life deal that was available elsewhere. (The BBC took the opportunity to also sell the serial to Canadian stations TVO and CKVU at the same time, presumably to cover the costs of having NTSC conversions made.)
  • Although WGBX may well have bought seasons 10 and 11 before the two Canadian stations, they clearly had to wait until after all the other Jon Pertwee serials had aired in sequential order first before commencing with The Three Doctors some seven months after the serial had aired in Canada...
  • Saudi Arabia had acquired the serial in b/w along with the rest of season 10 in late 1977, but for reasons unknown the sale was subsequently cancelled, and the serial did not air. Two months later, the United Arab Emirates purchased a 'repeat' screening of the serial in PAL, however it is unlikely there is any direct co-relation between this sale and the Saudi cancellation.
  • The story aired in PAL colour for the first time in Australia in a May 78 repeat.


  • The serial was issued in mid-1983, as part of a package of 14 full colour Jon Pertwee stories sold to the United States.
  • Several US stations considered this episode to be a special, not billing it as Doctor Who (see clipping above).

US TV Guide descriptions

More Information
Title: The Three Doctors

  • Episode 1: A bolt of space lightning streaks toward Earth from outer space.
  • Episode 2: Dr. Who and Jo pass through the black hole into a dimension of antimatter.
  • Episode 3: The Doctor's "other self" joins him in the world of antimatter.
  • Episode 4: All three Doctors risk cosmic annihilation to defeat Omega.
  • Compilation: A bolt of space lightning from the cosmos begins a chain of events that turns Dr. Who into "The Three Doctors"