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Recap / Doctor Who S22 E4 "The Two Doctors"

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"Jamie said you were wearing some sort of ridiculous rainbow coat. What does happen to my fashion sense in the future?"

"I'm not interested in the beliefs of primitives, only in what they taste like."

Production code: 6W

The one where the Sixth Doctor MURDERS someone in Spain.

Here we are, the final multi-Doctor adventure of the old TV series. (Well... sort of.) There wasn't really a reason for this one to happen, but Patrick Troughton had had so much fun on "The Five Doctors" that he was eager to return to the series. It provided producer John Nathan-Turner a fantastic excuse to work outside Great Britain for the third time in his reign (and the fourth time in the franchise's history). It was originally slated to be in New Orleans, but even the most optimistic people realized that this was completely insane, so it was quickly changed to Seville, Spain.

Written by Robert Holmes. This three-episode serial first aired from February 16 to March 2, 1985. Incidentally, the 45-minute length of each episode meant that the story's total runtime was comparable to the six-part serials that Nathan-Turner had done away with when he became producer in 1980; accordingly, international airings reedited the story into six 25-minute parts.

Our story starts off with the Second Doctor and Jamie being sent around time and space, on a mission from the Time Lords, with whom they never actively cooperated in any of the Second Doctor's previous serials, not to mention that Jamie actually knows about the Time Lords; they also look far older than they did in "The War Games"; they even mention Victoria as if she has recently been traveling with them, with the Doctor mentioning that she is studying graphology and Jaime asking if they will be able to get back to her after this mission. None of this is never explained or mentioned in any way (although the "Season 6B" theory is a popular way of explaining it, and made it into some later BBC-sanctioned content such as Terrance Dicks' novels. Then again, other BBC-sanctioned content has also explained this whilst managing to keep continuity with the Second Doctor's original serials).

This time, they head off to a space station where a doctor named Dastari is making some incredible leaps forward in time travel science that the Time Lords are objecting to in some fashion. Dastari objects to the Time Lords being their Jerkass selves and gets into an argument with the Doctor, who isn't exactly thrilled to be there either. But since the Time Lords can always claim that they had nothing to do with him, they're using him as the perfect scapegoat while threatening Dastari. Dastari also reveals that his lady-friend Chessene is actually an artificially evolved Androgum, an idea that horrifies the Doctor. Meanwhile, Sontarans invade the space station — and the Doctor orders Jamie to run away as they point their guns at the Doctor...

Cut over to the Sixth Doctor, who is having a nice fishing holiday with Peri. The Doctor suggests heading off to the Eye of Orion... and then collapses in pain and agony. Cut to Jamie back on the station seeing the Second Doctor dying miserably. The Sixth Doctor reawakens, having just seen a mental image of his second self being put to death. Realizing this can't be possible as he's still alive in the future, he decides to go figure out what the hell just happened anyway — deciding to consult Dastari on what is going on.

The Doctor and Peri bumble around the space station until they finally stumble onto an incoherent Jamie. He reveals that the Second Doctor was just killed. The Sixth Doctor figures this has to be a lie, as time hasn't wiped him out yet, and fiddles around the station until he figures out that it was all just an illusion. This means, Sixth figures, that his Second self is being held captive somewhere. He puts himself into a trance to try and find him mentally. Waking up some time later, the Doctor comes to the realization that Two is being held in Seville, Spain, by the Sontarans, as is Dastari.

However, Dastari is in fact a willing accomplice of the villains, as most of the planning is being done by his lady-friend Chessene and an "Androgum" called Shockeye... a stereotypical alien-Scotsman who really likes to eat meat. (This makes more sense when you know that the author intended the story to be a pro-vegetarianism allegory.)

The Sixth Doctor lands the TARDIS outside Seville. They're approached by a vacationing couple: Oscar Botcherby and Anita. Oscar is managing a restaurant in the city, but is currently catching moths. As it turns out, Oscar also happened to see what he thought was a plane crash earlier on a mansion — but it just so happened to be the Sontarans' spaceship landing to meet up with Chessene. Seeing the TARDIS, he mistakes the heroes for British policemen. Sixth is then escorted to said mansion, which he scouts out for a little while, having told everyone else to wait just out of sight.

Dastari and the Second Doctor have a nice little talk, where it turns out Dastari now wants to give the Doctor's Time Lord DNA to Chessene as well to make her even more awesome... completely ignoring the fact that the base of Chessene's enhanced DNA, Shockeye, is a ginger backstabbing alien bastard with a lust for power and hunger for flesh.

Jamie and Sixth go down to the basement of the building and find a mini-TARDIS under construction. The Doctor talks technobabble to Jamie about how they won't be able to complete it, and Jamie just looks at the Doctor like he's got a Sontaran behind him. Which he does. Meanwhile, Peri decides to wander into the mansion on her own, posing as a lost American student... which doesn't work either, as Shockeye decides she'll make a lovely lunch.

Jamie and the Sixth Doctor escape the Sontaran without much trouble, but one part of the technobabble that the Sontarans/Dastari need to complete the mini-TARDIS is given to them. They also find the Second Doctor tied up in a wheelchair, finally awake again. However, before they can escape with the Sixth's younger self, Shockeye comes back into the mansion, Peri over his shoulder.

The subplot with the mini-TARDIS and the Sontarans is eventually resolved. Chessene also decides to try and kill off the Sontarans before they can take the mini-TARDIS for themselves, intending to give it to her own Androgum people. Peri is rescued without much difficulty while Shockeye is busy elsewhere.

Dastari, for his part, has converted the Second Doctor into a half-Androgum with ginger eyebrows, to make him a consort for Chessene. Shockeye is miffed at this, as Dastari used his blood to do so, until the Second Doctor decides that he wants to go eat a lot of food and knows where to go. Shockeye, being an Androgum, goes happily along with the Doctor. The two of them indulge in their Horror Hunger in matching top hats and have a massive feast at the restaurant run by Oscar. When Oscar rather politely presents the bill, he's killed by Shockeye. The Sixth Doctor, Jamie and Peri arrive just in time to see Oscar die, Anita cry, and the Second Doctor revert to normal... because apparently an hour has passed and his body rejected the conversion or something. They are then all immediately captured by Chessene.

The two Doctors and Peri are locked in the cellar while Jamie, meanwhile, is being "tenderized" by Shockeye for the next meal. The Sixth Doctor gets free and has a brief scuffle with Shockeye who pursues him. Chessene decides to elaborately lick some blood from Six' new stab wound from her fingers. Stumbling across Oscar's moth-catching equipment, Sixth uses the cyanide-soaked cotton balls stored in a jar to kill Shockeye and then delivers a Bond One-Liner: "Shockeye got his just... desserts". Chessene begins to revert back to her Androgum heritage, which disgusts Dastari, who decides to free the Second Doctor and Peri. Chessene shoots Dastari and flees in the mini-TARDIS, which then explodes and kills her before it really goes anywhere because of the sabotage that the Sixth Doctor did to it not long ago.

The entire plot resolved, the Sixth Doctor and Second Doctor exchange banter before Second summons up his own TARDIS using a Stattenheim remote control. Six expresses a little jealousy over the remote as Two and Jamie leave off on more adventures we'll never see, presumably losing the remote again along the way. Six and Peri leave the mansion, and both decide to vow to become vegetarians thanks to their horrid experiences with the Androgums.

As an interesting note, the Doctor will remain a vegetarian until the Ninth Doctor orders a steak in "Boom Town" (he also almost eats a roast in "The Empty Child"). Russell T Davies deliberately wrote his Ninth Doctor as a meat-eater again, to signify Character Development and the Doctor's change in attitude compared to the John Nathan-Turner days.


  • An Aesop: The story is an allegory about meat-eating, hunting, and butchering, ending with the Doctor announcing to Peri that, "from now on it's a healthy vegetarian diet for both of us!" Robert Holmes was a vegetarian.
  • Aliens Speaking English: A particularly glaring example. When Chessene and company confront the blind Doña Arana, the Doña assumes that they are English. That's right, these aliens not only speak English, but do so with perfect British accents.
  • Author Appeal: Robert Holmes was a vegetarian. This story has a long-running subplot involving a villain who eats meat and portrays Humans as cattle. Very unsubtle from a man who was usually good at that.
  • Author Tract: Robert Holmes goes on a screed against meat-eating.
  • Batman Gambit: Averted. Two uses the same ploys Four did against Styre in an effort to escape. Though clearly angered, Stike doesn't fall for it.
  • Big Bad: Chessene.
  • Big Eater: Both Shockeye and Two after he's been turned into a member of Shockeye's species eat for over 81,000 (Pesetas, presumably, which BTW is €486 nowadays) and 20 persons' worth of food, and over a dozen bottles of red wine.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This is one of the most violent stories in the series' history, featuring multiple stabbings and knife wounds, blood spillage (human, Time Lord and Sontaran), the attempted cooking and eating of humans and the killing of Shockeye by the Doctor by cyanide poisoning. This is reflected in the serial's mortality rate: Anita is the sole non-Doctor/non-companion character to survive its conclusion.
  • Bluff the Imposter: The Doctor gives some key exposition to his companion and is overheard by one of the villains, but he later reveals that he knew the villain was listening and sabotaged his exposition accordingly.
  • Bond One-Liner: From the Sixth Doctor to Shockeye, "Just desserts." Because he's a big eater.
  • Bury Your Disabled: Shockeye murders a blind woman who is the occupant of the hacienda they need.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Second Doctor and Jamie return.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Second Doctor and Jamie's exchange at the very beginning ("Look at the size of that thing"; "Yes, Jamie, it's a big one") is identical to a conversation of theirs in "The Faceless Ones".
    • Peri mentions the Doctor needing celery after him feeling faint. He retorts with needing jelly babies, ending up with needing a recorder.
  • Character Aged with the Actor: Fanoninvoked also applies this to Patrick Troughton's aged appearance, postulating the existence of a much greater gap between the last appearance of the Second Doctor and the first appearance of the Third than suggested on screen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Oscar's cyanide.
  • The Chew Toy: During the course of Episode 3, Stike gets stabbed in the leg, severely burned by acid, partially disintegrated by the faulty mini-TARDIS, and finally blown up when his ship self-destructs.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: The Sixth Doctor has just found the Second and gotten him away from his kidnappers:
    Doctor 6: I've come a long way for you.
    Doctor 2: Naturally. Don't expect any thanks.
  • Computer Voice
  • Continuity Snarl: The Second Doctor mentions the Time Lords to Jamie, despite the fact that "The War Games", the Second Doctor's finale, was the first time they showed up in the series. This, along with the Doctor having known of Jamie's and Zoe's Laser-Guided Amnesia in "The Five Doctors" despite it being logically impossible for him to have known about it, was largely responsible for helping getting the "Season 6B" fan theory underway.
  • Crazy Consumption: Shockeye, being an Androgum, is always like this, and probably doesn't count. But the Second Doctor (upon being turned into an Androgum), and Chessene's breakdown at the end of the story fit the bill more closely.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Peter Moffatt and costume designer Jan Wright can be spotted sitting outside the Restaurant in Seville.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect: When the Second Doctor is turned into an Androgum, the Sixth Doctor remains outwardly normal but gradually starts to get Androgum cravings.
  • Dies Wide Open: Oscar gets stabbed by Shockeye over the restaurant bill.
  • Distress Ball: Lampshaded:
    Second Doctor: Now Jamie, stay with me, don't wander off.
    Jamie: Do I ever?
    Second Doctor: It has been known.
  • Double Entendre: Jamie and the Second Doctor spot a spaceship via the scanner screen.
    Jamie: Look at the size of that thing, Doctor!
    The Doctor: Yes, Jamie, that is a big one. note 
  • Evil Chef: Shockeye is obsessed with finding out what things taste like, up to and including human beings, and "tenderises" one of the Doctor's companions - ignoring all the screaming as being completely irrelevant.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Oscar is graphically stabbed to death. Stike is horrifically disfigured with acid and then blown up; his realistic severed leg is then waved around in full view of the camera.
  • Food Porn: More like Food Gorn, being as it is about a race of aliens that are slaves to the pleasure of eating to pretty extreme levels, and an allegory for how eating meat is wrong. The Second Doctor gives a long and graphic speech about eating meat which was clearly intended to Squickinvoked viewers out, but it's not uncommon for fans to find it makes them hungry.
  • Gonk: The Androgums, as we see of Shockeye, and later Chessene. Plus, the Second Doctor himself when he's transformed into one.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Dastari makes one when he observes Chessene succumbing to her Androgum instincts despite multiple augmentations, and realizes his scientific pursuits were for naught. Unfortunately, Chessene immediately guns him down for betraying her, making it a case of Redemption Equals Death.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: The Doctor and Peri at the beginning of the adventure. Poor Peri is bored to tears.
  • Horror Hunger: Two is afflicted by it, and as he changes, Six also gets a bit of it (to the point of briefly trying to eat a cat).
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Shockeye is interested in tasting Human flesh, as if we were a rare delicacy.
  • I Hate Past Me: Six starts to dislike Two.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Shockeye again. He tries to carve Peri like a roast, and attempts to tenderise Jamie.
  • Informed Ability: Six explains to Jamie that Shockeye is strong enough to "break both of us in half with one hand", but he still manages to overpower and kill him later on.
  • Interpol Special Agent: That Oscar thinks the Doctor—that's the garishly clad Sixth Doctor, accompanied by Jamie in full piper's kit and Peri exposing most of her cleavage—is this trope in (thanks to him emerging from a Police Box, despite the scene taking place in Spain) is intended to be a sign of his romantic but gullible temperament.
    Anita: But Oscar, it does not say "Policía".
    Oscar: Interpol, my dear. They are everywhere.
    • Oscar later gets a line about how they are "Obviously from the plain clothes branch," which gets a reaction take from the Doctor at his own outfit.
  • Just for Fun: Unlike the previous multi-Doctor specials, there was no sort of milestone or importance to doing a story with Patrick Troughton here. The crew was just simply interested in working with him again, and he took delight in making another appearance.
  • Mars Needs Time Lords: The Androgums and the Sontarans team up to acquire time travel by kidnapping a Time Lord.
  • Mental Time Travel: Two and Six meet each other like this.
  • My Future Self and Me: Provides the page quote.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: "Warts" in the Androgum makeup were made from Rice Krispies.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Naturally, Six and Two spent most of their time bickering.
  • Planet of Hats/Villainous Glutton
  • Put Off Their Food: The events of the story make the Doctor and Peri turn vegetarian. This holds until Christopher Eccleston's tenure. note 
  • Rasputinian Death: Stike.
  • Retcon: This was an attempt by Robert Holmes to retcon the early eras of the show. Robert Holmes had a pet theory that the Doctor had always been working for, and in contact with, the Time Lords, despite the fact it is completely impossible to reconcile this with the events of "The War Games". Holmes figured that it was impossible for the Time Lords to just lose track of a TARDIS, so in reality the Doctor had been working for them from the very beginning! This also explains why the First and Second Doctors were never able to control the destination of the TARDIS. Holmes said that after the events of "The War Games" the Doctor's superiors let the Doctor take the fall for his interference, even though he had been acting on their orders. "Season 6B"—a fan theory which claims that the Doctor wasn't regenerated at the end of The War Games, but was sent by the Time Lords on various missions around the cosmos—is actually less insane than what Robert Holmes was planning, and is used to explain the discrepancies that arise from this serial.
  • Retraux: The first few seconds are in black and white.
  • Scenery Porn: Written just to be done outside the country. It doesn't even try to hide it, unlike Arc of Infinity from a few years prior. The original plan was to shoot in New Orleans, which the story originally did link into quite strongly. However, it was changed to Seville at the last moment, and the writer didn't really have the time to research Seville and rewrite the story to fit the new location.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The idea of the Sontarans stealing the Doctor's regenerations was taken from Robert Holmes' unused version of "The Five Doctors", only there it was the Cybermen.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Oscar's last words are "To sleep, perchance to dream."
  • Significant Anagram: "Androgum" is an anagram of "Gourmand".
  • Stable Time Loop: Strangely enough, subverted in this story. The Sixth Doctor tells Peri that it's possible for his second incarnation in the past to be killed, and that he would only continue existing as an anamoly before time catches up with him. Events in the past are shown to have an effect on the future in this story, such as when the Second Doctor is transformed into a half-Androgum. His body eventually rejects the transfused genes, but Six still briefly feels the changes on himself before it happens.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: The Second Doctor. Also Jamie, briefly, although it's more of a butcher's block.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: The Sixth Doctor comments on the Second Doctor in this convoluted way.
    Sixth Doctor: Your Doctor is an antediluvian fogey! Allowing himself to be captured by the Sontarans. If anything happens to me as a result of it, I shall never forgive himself.
    Peri: Oh, I do wish you'd stop switching personal pronouns!
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: None of the restaurant patrons react to the maitre’d being stabbed. Justified, as all of them are extras, who weren’t allowed to react by contract.
  • Very Special Episode: Eating meat is bad.
  • Villainous Glutton: Shockeye.
  • Waistcoat of Style: The Sixth Doctor wears one in Spain.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Both of the Doctors seem somewhat indifferent to Oscar's death. While they aren't exactly called out over it, Peri's more emotional response does suggest this sentiment.
  • Writer on Board:
    • Robert Holmes, a vegetarian, compares meat-eating to cannibalism and has the Doctor explicitly convert to vegetarianism at one point.
    • The story's violence is commonly interpreted as Holmes' vicious parody of the current version of the show, which had replaced a sense of adventure or horror with backwards-looking storytelling and violence. He even subverts the Aliens Are Bastards trope by making the "headline monsters", the Sontarans, a footnote and making the Human Aliens the real monsters - after all, how is killing Shockeye with cyanide really any different to blowing up Daleks? And is the Doctor's prejudice against Androgums really any different to how he treats other villainous aliens?
  • Written-In Absence: Victoria's absence is given a quick handwave. In the real world there just wasn't the budget to have an additional companion for the Second Doctor, plus Victoria's actress, Deborah Watling, had since retired from the industry anyway. The Doctor Who Expanded Universe later established that this takes place in Season 6B, long after Victoria had left the Doctor, and that the Doctor just quickly made up an explanation so that Jamie wouldn't wonder where she was. Although, some sources also placed Victoria as returning to the TARDIS at this point for some travels.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The (Sixth) Doctor believes this, and thus starts taking unnecessary risks and generally moping about, after hearing about the (Second) Doctor's purported demise.