The Third Doctor, Liz Shaw, and “Bessie”.
The Doctor has been exiled to Earth, forced to regenerate into his third incarnation-a middle aged man, but noticeably taller than his predecessor. His TARDIS has also been disabled, as has his knowledge of how to operate it properly (Not that he was that great at it before). Also, the show is in color now, and due to the Doctor’s exile, is now largely set on Earth, with the Doctor more reliant on gadgets such as the sonic screwdriver (a device which utilizes sonic waves to open locks, among other things) and the multi-purpose Edwardian roadster “Bessie”, and even the flying car dubbed “The Whomobile”. There’s some more influence of the 1960’s spy genre popularized by shows like the Avengers and movies like James Bond, as the Doctor becomes more involved in military intrigue.
Collapsing onto a field near a strange meteor shower, the Doctor is quickly recovered and taken to a local hospital. Investigating the meteors, UNIT also discovers the TARDIS and the mysterious man found near it, and alert the brigadier, who arrives to investigate with new scientific advisor Liz Shaw.
The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), Lethbridge Stuart (Nicholas Courtney) and Liz Shaw(Caroline John)
Initially, the brigadier doesn’t recognize the Doctor, as he’s only met the Patrick Troughton/Second Doctor version at this point and is unaware of regeneration, so he is initially skeptical. Before long, the Doctor-borrowing a fancy suit made of a frilled jacket with cape, as well as a nifty Edwardian roadster car (Which he eventually is forced to return, but he gets his own replacement, which he affectionately nicknames “Bessie”), arrives at UNIT HQ and convinces the Brig he’s (mostly) the same man. Together, along with Liz they foil a plot by the Nestenes-the aliens who arrived in the meteorites-to conquer Earth by using animated plastic shop dummies and replicas of high-ranking people (Autons). Later, the Doctor tries to broker a peace with the Silurians, a group of reptiles who lived on the Earth long ago, deals with a caper involving a mars mission, and finds himself stuck in an alternate universe during an attempt to drill into the Earth’s core, something which nearly destroys both worlds.
The Third Doctor is somewhat more no-nonsense and temperamental than his previous incarnation, although not nearly as crotchety as his first incarnation. He also displays a taste for finer things in life, such as Vintage cars, fancy clothes, and wine, and is often charming and respectful. He’s often frustrated with the attitude of UNIT in shooting first and asking questions later, but develops a rapport with the Brig and his team, including Sgt. Benton, and Captain Mike Yates.
Eventually Liz Shaw leaves and the Doctor gets a new, plucky if not quite bright assistant, Jo Grant. Jo’s arrival unfortunately coincides with the return of the Nestenes/Autons, and the reemergence of the Doctor’s “frenemy”, The Master, who has come to Earth to help them in their latest invasion. The Master at this point is portrayed as charming, but diabolical, and relies heavily on disguise and hypnotism to influence people. He doesn’t share the love for humanity the Doctor has developed, and of course wants to rule the universe (Hence the title).
New arrivals, the Master (Roger Delgado) and Jo Grant (Katy Manning)
Throughout the season, the Doctor and UNIT foil a number of the Master’s plots, including an attempt to utilize a mind control device, trouble with symbiotic space vampires the Axons, a probationary TARDIS adventure on a space colony, and finally, a showdown where the Master attempts to summon a demon-like alien. The Master is captured at the end.
As his adventures continue, the Doctor meets his old enemies the Daleks again, who have taken control of Earth again in the far future due to a strange paradox. He attends a diplomatic meeting on Peladon (In another ‘probationary” space adventure) and teams up with his old enemies the Ice Warriors to uncover a plot. In a navy-themed adventure, the Master escapes from prison and attempts to use the Silurian’s aquatic brothers “The Sea Devils” for his own plans. Finally, the Master also attempts to summon a Time-altering chronovore, the results of which destroy Atlantis.
The Three Doctors
The Doctor and co. next investigate strange goings-on with dissiapearences, where people are apparently being sucked into an “Anti-matter” universe through a black hole. The black hole also threathens the Doctor’s home planet, Gallifrey. Believing the Doctor is their only hope, they bring him some extra help-himself, in his first and second incarnations. The Second Doctor teams with the third, although the first Doctor is only able to advise due to being stuck in a “Time eddy” (In real life, because William Hartnell was very ill at the time). They discover the kidnapping is the work of Omega, one of the Time Lord pioneers who helped create Time travel in the first place, but ever since one of his experiments, he’s been trapped in the anti-matter universe, alone and going mad. The Doctors are eventually able to defeat Omega, and the original two Doctors return to their proper times.
For his help in solving the Omega crisis, the Time Lords forgive the Doctor and give him back his freedom and ability to work the TARDIS. After a wacky adventure where the two heroes are shrunk inside a “scope” in a “Carnival of Monsters”, the Doctor and Jo find themselves caught up in a vast epic conspiracy, where the Daleks have teamed up with the Master, and are attempting to incite a war between Earth and the Draconian warrior race using the Master’s hypnotism so the Daleks can take over what’s left.
Jo and the Master. Note the Dalek insignia on the Master’s uniform.
After solving the crisis by exposing the Master’s plot, the Doctor defeats the waiting Dalek army on Spiridon. Returning to Earth, he and UNIT get involved in a caper where a sentient super-computer running a company is dumping pollution into the local lands, not only upsetting the local environmentalist scientists, but also creating giant mutant maggots and flies. During the course of the adventure, Jo falls in love with one of the scientists, sparking some slight jealousy in the Doctor, who leaves Jo to be happy at the end of the adventure.
A slightly depressed Doctor solemnly enjoys champagne.
In his next adventure however, the Doctor finds a new friend, one who will be very important to him, and him to her. Her name is Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen).
Next: “A tear, Sarah Jane?”