Doctor Who © BBC

The Third Doctor


The Eight Doctors
"Without the TARDIS I feel rather lost, a stranger in a foreign land, a shipwrecked mariner"

The Third Doctor: The Man Who Fell to Earth

The Third DoctorWhen Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart first sees The Third Doctor, he's surprised that an apparent stranger recognizes him, but when the man tracks the TARDIS to UNIT headquarters and is willing to help with their latest problem, he soon loses his doubts about The Doctor's identity. While their relationship is often strained, they eventually develop a mutual respect and friendship. The Third Doctor can be rather exasperating at times. He is often rude, arrogant, and condescending. To some degree this comes from the usual personality changes caused by a regeneration, but it also stems in part from his resentment of his exile to Earth. He mellows somewhat as time passes, and when his exile is lifted he is still willing to work with UNIT, and to some extent comes to regard Earth as his home. This Doctor is usually found working in his laboratory, attempting to repair the TARDIS or coming up with an improbable gadget to defeat the latest threat to Earth. While he has little patience with some of the narrow-minded bureaucrats he meets, he does believe that there are capable people in positions of authority, and he moves easily in their circles. He is never shy about giving his opinions. He believes that the people of Earth, even those who are not human, should settle their differences and work together for a better future, and he is particularly passionate about ecological issues. While he never really becomes close with Elizabeth Shaw, the woman he replaces as UNIT's scientific advisor, he respects her intelligence and willingness to learn. When Liz leaves he is initially reluctant to accept new assistant Jo Grant, but she soon wins him over, and he is greatly affected by her eventual departure. The Third Doctor is more likely than any other to engage in violence. He is a master of the arcane martial art Venusian Aikido, and is an excellent swordsman. He delights in name-dropping, and is fond of technobabble, often claiming to "reverse polarities" and the like rather than wasting time with more accurate explanations. He loves fast vehicles and flashy clothes, and it sometimes seems as if he's undergoing the Time Lord equivalent of mid-life crisis. The Third Doctor faces many new adversaries, including the Silurians and Sea Devils, but his greatest challenge is his former classmate, the man now known as The Master. The two old friends enjoy their battles and it's plain that they still have respect and admiration for each other. When The Master is captured, after a long series of encounters, The Doctor pleads for leniency on his behalf, a decision that he will later have ample cause to regret, as The Master proves to be his most resilient foe, returning time and again to plague The Doctor in all of his incarnations. In his final adventure, The Third Doctor confronts a menace which is the direct result of his own greed for knowledge, and realizes that he must destroy himself in order to take the next step on his path to enlightenment.

Who IS The Third Doctor?

The Third DoctorThe Third Doctor is tall, with a mane of silver hair framing an expressive face which is dominated by "a mighty nose" (The Time Warrior). In contrast to his previous selves, his clothing is elegant, although dated, and usually consists of a velvet jacket, a frilly shirt with a bow tie, sharply creased pants, and immaculately-kept shoes or boots. He generally adds a cape or cloak to this attire. Since he's unable to use the TARDIS during the early part of this incarnation he must rely on other means of transport. His favorite vehicle is a heavily-modified yellow Edwardian roadster which he names Bessie (Doctor Who and The Silurians), and he also builds a futuristic car (Invasion of the Dinosaurs) to which he later adds the ability of flight, much to the alarm of companion Sarah Jane Smith (Planet of the Spiders). While he often builds gadgets specifically for use against his current foe, he usually relies on the sonic screwdriver, which he uses for exploding mines (The Sea Devils), detecting antimatter (The Three Doctors), and, with the addition of a spinning mirror, hypnotism (The Curse of Peladon). He finds this tool so useful that he carries a spare (Frontier in Space). He also carries sample jars (Colony in Space), a selection of items used to perform conjuring tricks (The Three Doctors and others), a radio direction finder, a penlight, and a hidden file in his boot (Frontier in Space). As usual he rarely carries money, though as a member of UNIT he obviously has a credit account to draw on, since he belongs to at least one exclusive men's club (Terror of the Autons). The Third Doctor is a man who fell to Earth and adapted well, becoming a more heroic figure because of the experience.

Past: The Second Doctor 4 Who's Doctor Who? Future: The Third Doctor 2