The War Games : Episode Ten
First Broadcast June 21st, 1969 @ 5.15pm (5m viewers)
‘The War Games’ is a true epic in Doctor Who’s history. A script hastily written and spread over ten weeks it provided a fitting farewell to the second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton, it featured a huge cast of characters, a variety of time zones and finally would reveal major details about the Doctor’s past and the terrifying race which he ran away from. Although it is ten episodes in length the pacing of ‘The War Games’ is excellent, it does not drag in the slightest with fresh information, twists and turns which thrill and engage the viewer. This final instalment concludes the tale in a spectacular but also devastating manner for the Doctor and his companions.
Episode Ten opens with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe trying to escape from the Time Lords, having requested their assistance to repair the mess created by the War Lord and his accomplices. Over the first six years of the programme the Doctor’s origins had remained a mystery but this first appearance of his own race is a huge development. The Time Lords of ‘The War Games’ are a race of seemingly infinite power, God-like beings who dispense justice by eradicating the War Lord from existence as punishment for his crimes and all achieved in a chillingly calm and measured style. Sadly their attention soon turns to the Doctor as he too must stand trial for his interference in the affairs of other races and planets.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
Patrick Troughton is simply sublime during the trial of the Second Doctor. Passionate and unwavering, the Doctor truly believes that what he has done has been justified. Using a thought channel he demonstrates the evils from the corners of the universe that must be fought, allowing for small cameos from a Quark, Yeti, Ice Warrior, Cyberman and a Dalek. Irrespective of this his two young friends are returned to their own time and place, torn apart from the Doctor.
Memorable Moment 2 (Spoiler Warning)
‘The War Games’ was the final story for all three regular characters and therefore featured a sad goodbye for the Doctor and his companions. This farewell would however be sadder than usual as Jamie and Zoe would return to a moment in time just before they went away with the Doctor with no memory of the further adventures they experienced. It is heartbreaking to watch these three regulars say goodbye to each other and Troughton’s acceptance of the inevitable is truly despairing, summed up by the little wave of a broken man. Worst of all Jamie is returned to Scotland with no memory of ever meeting Zoe or even Victoria, both of whom he’d shared a deep friendship with. This idea would later be replicated in the departure of Donna Noble in ‘Journey’s End’, an equally devastating emotional blow to the viewers at home, as Zoe shrugs of her now missing memories.
Finally, the Doctor too must face the music and his interference is punished by being exiled to Earth and a new regeneration forced upon him. Troughton bows out gurning and drifting into emptiness but his contribution to Doctor Who should never be forgotten. Taking over from original Doctor William Hartnell he kept the show going at a time when it would have been easy for the BBC to cease production and move onto something else. Instead the programme would go through a golden age of new monsters and aliens, with the introduction of the Yeti and the Ice Warriors to name but two, and as a result the show is still thriving today and more popular than ever.
Doctor Who – Patrick Troughton
Jamie – Frazer Hines
Zoe – Wendy Padbury
Tanya – Clare Jenkins
First Time Lord – Bernard Horsfall
Second Time Lord – Trevor Martin
Third Time Lord – Clyde Pollitt
Director – David Maloney
Producer – Derrick Sherwin
Writer – Terrance Dicks
Writer – Malcolm Hulke
Also First Aired On This Day…
- Turn Left
- Doctor Who Confidential : Here Come the Girls