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Recap / Doctor Who 1985 JFIGS "A Fix With Sontarans"

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"Finally, someone else with fine dress sense! Our coats: are they not awesome?"
Dear Jim,
I like Dr. Who very much because I have got Colin Baker's Doctor Who suit made by my Nan and a tent TARDIS. Please could I see Colin Baker and go inside the TARDIS.
Yours sincerely Gareth Jenkins (Age 8)

The banned one.

For the uninitiated, there was a show in Britain where children essentially wrote in to popular BBC presenter Jimmy Savile (inventor of the throwback station and, after his death, revealed to be one of the most prolific known sexual predators in human history) to have their wishes fulfilled, no matter what they were. A set of children were chosen each week to somehow have this come true, and the result was known as Jim'll Fix It. One such child sent in the above letter.

Ladies and gentlemen, "A Fix with Sontarans".

The story begins with the Sixth Doctor bumbling around the TARDIS, desperately fiddling with the center console while he mumbles things. With a flash, former companion Tegan Jovanka (having left the Doctor earlier) is somehow now on the TARDIS. Throwing aside most problems with the Doctor having regenerated again (handy, as Tegan saw this happen before), the Doctor quickly announces that Sontarans have invaded his TARDIS somehow and are going to blow it up. With a bomb. (This special was broadcast during The Two Doctors' transmission period, which explains why the Sontarans also appear here.) And that he needs help, but didn't mean for her to show up. While arguing with Tegan some more, the Doctor accidentally smacks the same controls again and summons the mighty, the powerful...


...approximately 8-year-old Gareth Jenkins, dressed in a smaller version of the 6th Doctor's outfit. Gareth quickly agrees to help set a trap for the Sontarans, and Tegan is asked to help out by... getting Gareth a box to stand on. Nice one, Doctor. The Doctor and Gareth then press a lot of buttons, mostly consisting of the Doctor saying lines and Gareth repeating them exactly back as he does the action. Within seconds, the Sontarans storm the control room of the TARDIS... and are shocked to hear that this child is the Gareth Jenkins.

Yes, apparently, Gareth Jenkins will foil a Sontaran plot to take over the Earth in the distant future of 2001, and they decide to kill him now to change that. Makes sense, at least. Of course they don't, as Gareth springs the trap— a steam jet that makes the Sontarans puke green blood and melt horrifically. Yay.


Host Jimmy Savile then shows up and gives Gareth an award while smashing the fourth wall into bits.

The mini-episode was formerly included as a special feature on the DVD release of "The Two Doctors". However, at some point circa 2014, it was quietly removed from subsequent Region 2 copies in response to the issues with Savile being brought to light. Also in the recent reprints of Region 1 copies in 2019.

This mini-episode provides examples of:

  • '80s Hair: Forget about the Sontarans; the most terrifying thing (well... second most terrifying thing) in this episode is Janet Fielding's hair. It may be the Eightiest haircut in all of Doctor Who, and that's saying something.
  • Absentee Actor: Nicola Bryant (Peri) wasn't available for this one, so they got Janet Fielding to reprise her role as Tegan instead.
  • Ascended Fanboy: The whole point of this thing. Much like Jake Lloyd, Gareth would go on to become the object of scorn for hundreds of fanboys everywhere, making this one of the more infamous episodes of Doctor Who ever recorded (even before the Savile scandal broke).
  • BFG: The meson gun.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Later writers of Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels for the franchise try to pass this off as a nightmare suffered by the Doctor. Which again becomes extremely creepy in hindsight.
  • Faux Horrific: Saward's original intent in having the Doctor and Tegan be utterly horrified and disgusted when Jimmy Savile shows up.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Jimmy Savile does this to Janet Fielding. Thanks to the revelations about Savile's sex crimes, the gesture seems a lot more creepy now. Colin even noticeably winces when this happens.
  • I'm Melting!: The fate of the Sontarans.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: The Sontarans' motive for trying to kill Jenkins.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Those are Sontarans.
  • Something Completely Different
  • Shout-Out: The Sontaran leader is Group Marshal Nathan. His subordinate, who is not named on-camera, was referred to as "Turner" in the script.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Sixth Doctor drops all pretense of civility whenever he turns around to face Tegan. One wonders why she didn't snap back as much as with Five... Although, upon her arrival in the TARDIS, Tegan chews him out royally, and Six actually seems frightened of a companion for once.


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