The Doctor (Doctor Who)(03)
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When the Second Doctor was exiled to Earth by the Time Lords in punishment for his actions prior to "The War Games", he argued that it "might be awkward" for him to be exiled to Earth since he was known there. The TIme Lords thus forced him to regenerate as a part of their sentence.
But when the newly-regenerated Third Doctor showed up on Earth, his first task was to convince The Brigadier and UNIT that he was in fact the same man who had helped them with the Yeti incident and the Cybermen invasion. In the end, the regeneration proved a good deal more awkward than if he had just maintained the appearance of the Second Doctor.
From this shaky start, however, the Third Doctor embarked on a new life as UNIT's scientific advisor. Forever puttering around in the UNIT lab — mostly in an effort to repair the TARDIS that the TIme Lords had intentionally broken — the Third Doctor's televised life was mostly about countering alien invasions of Earth.
Eventually, though, the Time Lords did restore the Doctor's memory of how to repair the TARDIS, and he spent the later part of his tenure taking baby steps away from UNIT.
Serious, flamboyant and by turns rude and smoothly sociable, the Third Doctor was, in the words of the First Doctor, a "dandy". But he was also extremely protective of his closest friends. He was also frequently locked in combat with his fellow rogue Time Lord, the Master.
The comic Third Doctor repairs the TARDIS
One of the central narrative threads of the Third Doctor's era is his quest to repair the TARDIS and resume his life of travel. The comic Third Doctor is a somewhat mixed bag in this regard. There are times, especially in the TV Comic and Dr. Who Annual runs where the comics come very close to evoking the general tone of the era as seen on television. However, a key difference between the comic Doctor and the televised one is the speed with which his TARDIS got repaired. Jon Pertwee had to wait until 1973's "The Three Doctors" before he had free use of the TARDIS again; the comic Third Doctor repaired the TARDIS in just his third story in Countdown. With 1971's "The Vogan Slaves", the Doctor had seemingly repaired his ship. Or had he?
See, the Countdown writers played a bit with the notion of "repair". He got the TARDIS to work again, but not to work as well as it had. He was still popping up on contemporary Earth with great regularity, even after "The Vogan Slaves". So one way of rectifying the two-year offset between the relative technical prowess of the comic and televised Third Doctors is just to say that we got to see some of the Third Doctor's abortive TARDIS flights while he was "getting closer" to fixing it. Another possibility is just to say, quite simply, that "The Vogan Slaves" happens after "The Three Doctors". Or one could rather arbitrarily say — as many reference guides do — that "The Glen of Sleeping", being the closest time travel story to the original date of broadcast of "The Three Doctors", is the start of the comic Third Doctor's unfettered use of the TARDIS.
About the only thing that is clear about the comic Third Doctor with respect to this matter is that he was not shown to have gotten the ability to repair the TARDIS from the Time Lords. He appeared to have figured it out on his own.
The Third Doctor's ride in comics was a somewhat bumpier one than any other incarnation. That is to say, fans of the comic Third Doctor had to seek him out in several different publications. Whereas the First and Second enjoyed their principal runs in TV Comic alone, the Third Doctor started in TV Comic, then moved to Countdown. Countdown itself then went through several name changes until settling on TV Action. Once that publication ended, the Third Doctor found himself in the pages of TV Comic for the final strips of his tenure.
Since then, he has occasionally returned as a "past Doctor" in the pages of Doctor Who Magazine.
The Third Doctor's "title jumps" owe much to the tonal shift of the program itself under his tenure. The Third Doctor's televised era was decidedly more adult, with an emphasis on gadgets, military scenarios, and traditional action. It was thus a more natural fit in comics like TV Action, which tended to use live-action properties like The Avengers, more than TV Comic's steady diet of cartoon characters.
He was, simply, the "right kind" of Doctor for the "James Bond" era, and his "no-nonsense" approach fit more comfortably in magazines skewed towards a slightly older audience than that which typically bought TV Comic.
A companion-less Doctor or not?
The comic Third Doctor was very much of a lone traveller. While he did have a run of adventures with Liz Shaw, the Brigadier, and comics-only members of U.N.I.T., many of his stories used no permanent companions at all. This is especially at odds with the televised Third Doctor, who, perhaps more than any other Doctor, had an established "family" of co-stars.
Interestingly, though, his comic runs while the "current" televised Doctor featured the most number of televised companions until the Tenth Doctor. Prior the arrival of Tom Baker, he shared at least one comic adventure with Liz, the Brigadier, and Sarah Jane. Jo Grant can be added to this list, if one includes his run in the pages of The Dr. Who Annual.
This seeming dichotomy is intimately connected with his notorious title-hopping. The basic rule of thumb is that most (but not all) TV Comic strips featured a televised companion, while the Countdown/TV Action strips preferred to show him traveling alone and/or dealing directly with the Ministry of Defence, rather than UNIT. A logical deduction for the behind-the-scenes cause of this split in the Third Doctor's era is that the publishers of Countdown didn't want to pay for the licensing fees associated with using the likeness of the actors who played the companions onscreen. Countdown/TV Action Annual (1972)
First Appearance: TV Comic (1951) #944
The Doctor (Doctor Who)(01)
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Countdown/TV Action (1971)
1972 Doctor Who (1984)
- 'Countdown For TV Action'1974
- 'TV Action'
Doctor Who (2012)
#15 Doctor Who Classic Comics (1992)
- 'Dead Man's Hand, Part 3 of 4'
Doctor Who Classics (2007)
Doctor Who Graphic Novel (2004)
Doctor Who Magazine (1979)
Doctor Who Magazine Special (1980)
Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition (2002)
#2 Doctor Who Yearbook (1992)
- 'The Complete Third Doctor'#15
- 'In Their Own Words, Volume Two: 1970-76'#19
- 'The Tenth Doctor Collected Comics'
Doctor Who: It's Bigger on the Inside! (1988)
Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time (2013)
#3 Doctor Who: The Forgotten (2008)
- '3rd Doctor, 1970-1974'#12
- 'Doctor Who, 1963-2010'
#2 MAD (1959)
- 'Part 2: Renewal'#6
- 'Part Six: Reunion'
The Comic Relief Comic (1991)
The Doctor Who Fun Book (1987)
The Dr Who Annual (1965)
TV Comic (1951)
TV Comic Annual (1951)
TV Comic Doctor Who Special (1973)
TV Comic Holiday Special (1963)
Time Lords and Gallifreyans
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