Our favourite things about The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot

Feature Andrew Blair 27 Nov 2013 - 07:00

Here are our favourite moments from Peter Davison and co.'s tremendous gift to Who fans, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot...

Contains Spoilers for The Day of the Doctor.

While we didn't see the Fifth, Sixth or Seventh Doctors in the flesh during The Day of the Doctor there's a possibility that they might still have featured somewhere. It's possible that, on set, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy refused to let Zygons be Zygons.  

As with much of the anniversary programming, once you're done with being merely incredibly entertained by the Pythonesque brilliance and sequences involving K9 and Lisa Bowerman haunting Steven Moffat's dreams, you can then embark on a game of 'Spot the Reference'. Written, directed, and initiated by Peter Davison (confirming himself as the bigger nerd in the room), The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot is like a Easter Egg within an Easter Egg, so crammed full of in-jokes that a diagram of them all would resemble a cross-sectional diagram of a lung. This are not just about Doctor Who, but we also have Olivia Colman referencing her own ubiquity, Colin Baker's Wycombe Wanderers jacket, Rhys Thomas riffing on his own Gary Bellamy character, Peter Jackson's ever ad hoc approach to film-making, and appearances from Sarah Churm (who played Peter Davison's daughter in At Home With the Braithwaites), various Big Finish alumni, and members of the Doctor Who production team.

While the BBC negotiate a six-episode sitcom deal with Davison (potentially the driest comedy ever), hopefully this extra will find its way onto DVD with a Spaced-style subtitle reference track. Meanwhile, here's a list of our favourite bits:


1. Janet Fielding personifies Peter Davison's self-doubt

Well, if it had to be anyone, it had to be everyone's favourite plane-obsessed gobby Australian, didn't it? Interestingly – from the position of an amateur psychologist and Tegan/Five shippers – Fielding's voice cross-fades with that of Davison's wife, asking him to walk the dog. What are you trying to say, Peter Davison?


2. Georgia Moffett's Subtle Celery

It's not immediately obvious until you hear the crunch, but Georgia Moffat is eating that ice-cream using a stick of celery as a spoon.


3. “I am what I am”

This John Barrowman sung-anthem kept cropping up throughout (initially mentioned by Rhys 'Fifth Doctor Outfit for his Birthday' Thomas, aka Donald Cox the Sweaty Fox), prior to the big reveal of Barrowman's secret life. Nice, subtle gag there, and also good to get Barrowman involved somewhere.


4. Niky Wardley's Unimpressed Face

Big Finish's Tamsin Drew wins the 'Most Disparaging Supporting Character' award without saying a word.

5. Steven Moffat as the Cold, Gimlet-Eyed Bond Villain

“And have Tumblr destroyed.”


6. The ever-versatile Shada clip

Followed by John-Culshaw-as-Tom-Baker signing off his answerphone message with 'Goodbye my dears', because frankly there haven't been enough Dimensions in Time references in the anniversary.


7. This image without context

Seriously, you can pause The Five(ish) Doctors at almost any point and the ensuing screengrab is comedy gold.


8. “You're wasting your time, I've locked all the doors.”

The Baker family react with horror to the news that Vengeance on Varos has got an expanded DVD re-release.


9. “Sylvester...who?”

(Sir) Ian McKellen (most famous for voicing the Great Intelligence in The Snowmen and Zebedee in the 2005 Tom Baker-starring Magic Roundabout film) is very frank in his consideration of McCoy's sudden absence from The Hobbit.


10. “I'd like to go home now.”

I don't know if you've ever seen the episode of Still Game Sylvester McCoy features in, but he really is very good at playing the Hans Moleman card.


11. Eighties vs Noughties

The music gag. The lighting gag. The use of the word 'toerag' as an insult. 'Must dash'. 'Illegal aliens I shouldn't wonder.'


12. The Cult of Skaro

On top of getting Nick Briggs, Frank Skinner and David Troughton to play the Dalek operators (with real Dalek operators Barnaby Edwards and Nicholas Pegg appearing in the back of another shot), the fact that the three Dalek operators appear to have some sort of familial masonic cult thing going on is a nice, if worrying, touch.


13. Russell The Davies



14. This:


15. “Why are we doing all of this?”

Because of all the anniversary bonuses, this really was one that smacks of serendipity (yet another word that Doctor Who taught me the meaning of). Steve Moffat is already quoted as saying he was delighted when Davison told him the idea, because it solved his problem of how to involve these three Doctors in the event. The Five(ish) Doctors emerged like the surprise Christmas present that wasn't under the tree, arrives late in the day when you weren't expecting it, and turns out to be one of the most memorable gifts you receive.

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The subtleties and references were absolute genius. You know what... you can see a sit-com pitch here can't you... sort of like an Ex-Doctor Who Extras.

yes, kudos and thanks to all concerned - including the BBC; this was no cheap home video production, and the tight linkage to the 50th anniversary special, especially in the later part of the Five(ish) show, demonstrates that it was in every sense a team effort.

But I hope Mr Blair was joking about the six-ep sitcom! Anything like that would detract from the uniqueness of this wondrous gift. :)

The most awesome thing in all this awesome-ness is Peter Jackson running frantically around the Hobbit set "seeking Sylvester". Absolutely brilliant- that man is a legend... Also Gandalf in Doctor Who, the Fusion of the Wet Dreams ./

So many memorable bits to choose from. My personal favourite on this list was Niky Wardley's face. My favourite bit missing from the list was when David Tennant ended the call to his wife wondering what he forgot to ask her and we then see Georgia in labour!

Not being overly familiar with Classic Who, this still had a large amount of laughs for me. When I hit the red button (why is there never a red button?) I expected this to be a five minute skit as I didn't think they could squeeze much material out of this thin conceit. As it was, it tied together extremely well, was perfectly judged and kept me laughing throughout with its numerous surprises. Much praise for Davison.

Hats off to everyone taking part. This was brilliant.

This was even better than 'The Day of the Doctor'.

Are the BBC really making a new sitcom with Peter Davison?

Not knowing much about Who, what is the gag with the Bavarian lady? Or is it literally just because they could?

I consider myself knowing Who, and I'm still lost on number 7...

Yeah, that was like the one bit that went over my head too. Who is she?

So Paul McGann's filming commitments, it was The Night of the Doctor?

My favourite bit was David Tennant forgetting his wife's in labour. I love the self-mockery. And especially Paul McGann's name in the title credits even though he's barely in it. That just seems hilarious to me. "Whatever you're doing, I'm in."

And can I just say that the pun at the top of the article "Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy refused to let Zygons be Zygons" is absolutely BRILLIANT in so many ways! hahaha

Davison has said that McGann's stage commitments in Dublin kept him from being in more of the film.

There was a scene, lost in the edit, where she sees him and they greet each other effusively, when she leaves, he turns away and mutters 'no idea'.

I would genuinely love to see these three take the lead in a sitcom together. Not a DW related sitcom, just something where their natural chemistry would be allowed to shine through.

If the BBC aren't interested, perhaps someone at Sky was watching?

They fitted a lot of people into 30 minutes, I did keep waiting for an Andrew Scott cameo though.
My favourite bit was the idea of Frank Skinner inside a dalek, how terrifying would that west midlands accent be saying exterminate?

I laughed like a drain when the security guard was sat back listening to John Barrowman - the whole Barrowman car journey was brilliant actually. Wonderful stuff!

A sort of 'Last of the Summer Wine' (sorry, gentlemen!) meets 'Extras'?
With these actors, I'd actually want to watch that :)

I loved it when they mocked Davison about Tennant being his secret source. It was sweet, I think it strengthened the feeling of affection, family and group of everyone who has ever been in Doctor Who.

I absolutely love this episode. This is definitely part of the whole anniversary celebrations, as it beautifully links up the classic Doctors with the Nu-Who Doctors, and everyone else who had been involved with the series.

I loved that they also had RTD back, as he so deserve our thanks. Without him, I wouldn't have known about Doctor Who, and we won't be celebrating the 50th in such a spectacular way.

Also, I am convinced that it WAS our three Doctors under those shrouds. And there is no way you can convince me otherwise. So there!

One of the most amusing bits for me was spotting l the times they filmed in my building (BBC Media Centre). I should really pay more attention to the people who wander about at work.

I bumped into McGann (literally on the street) when he was in Dublin. My claim to fame - I have touched Doctor Who

Barrowman's secret life made me laugh out loud. Especially when he left his family by the roadside, shopping in hand.

I do hope this appears on a DVD release! It really was one of the funniest things I've seen in ages! Well done to Mr Davison!

I worked it out via the cast-in-order-of-appearance credits roll. She's Jemma Churchill. She has some (audio) Whovian previous. Check her out via that GooTardiWikigle thingey. :)

"Quelle Damage Davros!"
Loved that bit among many others.

But is it canon? ;-)

Following on from my earlier comment about it not being a cheap home video, I learn from a report on another site that its beginnings were exactly that! (Or fan video, to be precise). But according to that report, when Davison sounded out Moffat about how he felt about the idea and whether he would like to appear in it, Moffat gave Davison a budget and a crew to do it in style for the Beeb. With Davison having written and directed it and with daughter Georgia having produced it, it's clear that it was the Davison tribe that did all or most of the legwork on this (and rounding up such a big cast must have been a mission in itself), but I think I can find it in my heart to direct some of the thanks to S. Moffat Esq.

What is it about Andrew Scott? I liked him in Sherlock but every single NuWho feature seems to reference him and I can't for the life of me see why?!?!??

My favorite gag was the music changing from outside the studio to inside the studio. Old Who outside, new Who inside. Brilliant!

Right?!? Where's the online petition for that?

Why isn't Davison writing more comedy for the BBC?

"This contact of yours wouldn't happen to have a Scottish accent and be married to your daughter?"
"Oh, you see, I can't reveal that."

But I'm assuming the joke is that he was filming The Night of the Doctor at the time they were protesting.

Simply brilliant.
Laughed so hard I cried.
If the Night of the Doctor was the starters, an Adventure in space and time was the first course, and the Day of the Doctor was the main course then The Five(ish) Doctors is a gorgeous dessert!

Thank you BBC and Mr Moffet and everyone involved for all that you have given us these last few days.
A celebration worthy of all that is Dr Who, you have done yourselves proud!

I probably laughed loudest at Matthew Waterhouse's "No! Now I'll never know if I was right!" line

It started with one person who kept referring to him constantly, then other people as you can see have started copying it.

I love that Colin and Sylv were jealous of Paul McGann. I took it as a joke that McGann is a bit of a respected thespian so gets plenty of work. The way they just smile meekly at him and sit far away suggest that they (i.e. this mock version of themselves) don't consider him one of them, Or did I read it wrong?

I happen to think he'd make a great Doctor.

I've seen his name mentioned in several Doctor Who features on this website too. Just take a part in Doctor Who and make us all happy will you?

Did your wife enjoy her conference?

Essentially a love letter to the fans.

The special was far better than I'd thought, and Davison, Baker, and McCoy clearly have screen chemistry together....

Time for an 80s marathon, methinks...

Great gag, but I preferred the old music ("The Leisure Hive" I think was the score used... definitely from season 18...)

In a sequence of TDOTD when 11 and Clara were looking at the painting "No More" there is a montage of faces involving Matt Smith and John Hurt. In one instance we see Matt's eyes transform to someone else's not Hurt's. I cannot help thinking that they might be Davison's. Did anyone else notice?

Just a harmless running gag based on one Denizen of Geek's undying admiration of the actor. Seems to me that the site authors have an almost-similar thing going with Jason Statham in the movie articles... :)

I've dipped in and out of the Whoniverse since the Pertwee/Baker era but have never been hooked (whooked?). This genius comedy (and the 50th Special) may have changed all that.

I didn't get all of the jokes, but was enchanted nonetheless. Fave bit? Barrowman walking past the Davison/TVC picket line saying "You know they film it in Cardiff?"


I went to a play (Funeral Games) in which Mr McCoy was appearing. I accosted him at the bar afterwards, and got him to sign something for me. He said "must dash, I have a bus to catch" and went off, leaving behind me, Adam Ant and McCoy's half-finished drink. I finished it for him. I'm not proud.

This was genius, so grateful that the whole family got together to give us this. Peter Davison's dream post-credits was my favourite moment, but there were so many other priceless bits.

I've finally got round to watching this (yeah, no commitment, I know) and without reading any comments yet - I don't want to be unduly influenced! - just wonder why this didn't get a "proper" transmission rather merely being on the red button? It was pure gold! Infinitely better than the excrable "Ultimate Guide" and "After Party" which I found insulting to my intelligence. And, just to date me correctly, I "became aware" when Jon Pertwee was The Doctor.... although about the only thing my then five year-old brain remembers is big diamond things in Planet of the Spiders.......

Who's Andrew Scott?

Also loved Paul McGann's cameo, he wanted to be in it more, but really had work to do.

Kinda, he does a ton of conventions with them so they are all very close friends, but the in-joke is that they regard Paul is the "good looking" Doctor, the tall dashing Hollywood one out that unlike them has had a career. He isn't a super famous actor but he has done a lot of film and tv, and at the time of this being filmed he was actually working. It's a tradition that goes back to Pat and Jon Pertwee, they began this tradition that all Doctors should kinda be jealous of each-other and bicker, so Sylvester and Paul often affectionately stab at each-other. Sylvester will tell fans that Paul is really short and fat, and moan that he stole his set and screwdriver, and it does not help that every-time Paul, Sylvester and Sophie (Ace) is on stage, Paul and Ace will innocently flirt behind Sylvester's back, because... why wouldn't you flirt a bit with Paul.

Pure magic! I was utterly spellbound by the perfect brilliance of this little gem. Had my crying with laughter. Everyone here has trumped me on the best bits (what's not
a best bit?!) but have to say, sooo thrilled to see Sean Pertwee and David Troughton! I always thought it would make the 50th so special if they were included ... Wonderful, wonderful stuff. Thank you Peter Davison!

I had a closer look at that scene I referred to a few days ago. Matt's face was transforming into John Hurt's. What appeared to be Peter Davison was actually a composite of 11 and the War Doctor.

"What appeared to be Peter Davison was actually a composite of 11 and War Doctor" Must...resist...urge...to...make...fan...theory......

....and that resistance makes you the better for it.

I think I've got something in my eye...

Not to mention Peter, Colin, and Sylvester getting stuck in the Dalek props. Think that may have been a reference to 'The Escape' as well.

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