The Gunfighters was the eighth serial of season 3 of Doctor Who. It was Doctor Who's first attempt at a western, and, indeed, the first story in any medium principally set in the United States — though the First Doctor had briefly visited New York City in The Chase and Hollywood in The Daleks' Master Plan.
The story gave director Rex Tucker his first, and only, on-screen credit, despite his heavy involvement in the formative weeks of Doctor Who's pre-production in 1963, before Verity Lambert was hired. It was also the first televised story to have a song written especially for it. The next story to have an original song didn't come until The King's Demons almost twenty years later. Conversely, its final episode, "The O. K. Corral", was the last individually-titled episode, discounting charity events, until Rose. Both conditions — titled episodes and original songs — became more commonplace in the BBC Wales era.
The Gunfighters was notable for its casting, both proposed and actual. The role of Johnny Ringo was offered to veteran actor Patrick Troughton, soon to be cast as the Second Doctor, but he was too busy. Other notable actors such as Donald Sutherland, John Carson and Carol Cleveland were also considered for guest roles. (TCH 7)
Anthony Jacobs, who played Doc Holliday, was the father of Matthew Jacobs and brought his son onto the set. The younger Jacobs later wrote the 1996 telemovie, somewhat muddying the common fan argument that the Paul McGann movie was the "American" version of Doctor Who.
Despite its many notable factors, the serial was one of the worst-received in the series' history. Its poor ratings and low audience appreciation figures strengthened Innes Lloyd's argument that historical stories should be axed, though two more were produced before the format was dropped.
When the First Doctor, Steven and Dodo arrive in the town of Tombstone in 1881, the Doctor's only aim is to find a dentist. Adamant that they should only stay a night in Tombstone, the Doctor finds their stay prolonged when he inadvertently becomes involved with a group of gunmen out to kill Doc Holliday.
A Holiday for the Doctor (1)
Three strangers, Ike, Phineas, and Billy Clanton, arrive in Tombstone with one thing on their mind: revenge for their brother's murder at the hands of Doc Holliday. Little do they know they are not the only strangers in town.
The Doctor and his companions materialise in a nearby lot. The Doctor emerges from the TARDIS with a toothache. Steven and Dodo are overjoyed to discover they are in the "wild west", but the Doctor is unsure if this is the place to fix his teeth. Steven and Dodo go back into the TARDIS to change.
Meanwhile, the Clantons meet Seth Harper in the Last Chance Saloon. They talk about their vendetta against Doc Holliday and are overheard by the barman, Charlie, and the singer of the saloon, Kate Fisher.
When Steven and Dodo emerge they are dressed as fancy dress cowboys. Steven tries his best impression of a cowboy, boasting about being "the fastest gun in the west". This is overheard by the local marshal, Wyatt Earp, who takes his shtick as serious and takes him into custody to protect him against Doc Holliday, who will not take kindly to such boasting.
Kate Fisher, who is Holliday's lover, goes to warn Doc, who has just set up as a dentist. Doc refuses to leave, despite Kate's insistence. They are visited by the town's sheriff, Bat Masterson, who warns Doc against causing any trouble. As Masterson leaves Doc's surgery, he encounters Earp with the Doctor and his companions. By this time the Doctor has worked up a story: he is Doctor Caligari, a travelling player, with his piano player, Dodo DuPont, and singer, Steven Regret. The Doctor enquires if there is a nearby dentist for his toothache. He is directed to Holliday. When the Doctor sees the primitive conditions he tries to back out, but Dodo convinces him. They agree to meet at the saloon. The Doctor enters and interrupts Holliday and Kate mid-clinch. He tries to use this as an excuse to leave but is sat down by Holliday, pleased to have his first customer. The Doctor asks for some sort of anaesthetic. He is offered alcohol or "a rap on the cranium" with Holliday's gun. He rejects both.
In the Last Chance Saloon, the cowboys are getting restless and begin to shoot bottles from behind the bar. This is interrupted by Steven and Dodo, who come in to reserve some rooms. They sign themselves in as a singer and a piano player — something that interests Charlie on account of his last piano player being shot. As Stephen and Dodo go up to their rooms, the Clantons and Seth overhear them mentioning "the Doctor", whom they take to be Holliday, and assume Steven is working in cahoots with Holliday. Seth is charged to go and seek out Holliday whilst Billy is told to convince Steven and Dodo to come and join them in the saloon.
Back at the dentist, the Doctor has had his tooth pulled, and whilst Holliday is in the back room, encounters Seth. Seth greets him with "Doc?" to which the Doctor responds, "I am, yes." Seth then asks "Holliday?" The Doctor, imagining himself to be on a sort of a holiday, misunderstands and responds with the affirmative. Thinking he has found his man, Seth orders the Doctor to be in the saloon in five minutes. This has all been overheard by Holliday, who seizes the opportunity to get out of his situation. He equips the Doctor with his own gun and sends the Doctor on his way.
Seth returns to the bar, and the Clantons force Steven and Dodo to perform a song. Dodo plays the piano while Steven sings "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon". The Clantons and Seth ready themselves to shoot Holliday as he comes through the door. Outside, the Doctor approaches the Last Chance Saloon.
Don't Shoot the Pianist (2)
Back at the dentist surgery, Doc Holliday gloats that he is setting the Doctor up for a fall. He wonders why Kate isn't answering him and discovers that she has left heading towards the Last Chance Saloon.
Steven and Dodo are still singing and playing the piano when Kate returns and orders Dodo off her piano. She distracts the cowboys by singing to them while Steven plays. Dodo leaves to her room in a mood because of the attention Kate is giving Steven. The Doctor enters and, through a number of misunderstandings, is believed to be Holliday. The Doctor realises their mistake, seemingly remembering the name of the Clantons, and tries to explain. Holliday enters the saloon through a back door and stands on the stair case, listening to the proceedings. The Doctor fails to convince them. Whilst the Doctor brandishes his gun, Holliday fires in such a way to knock Harper's gun from his hand. Kate takes control and orders the four men up against the piano whilst the Doctor holds his gun still. Hearing the shot, Dodo comes down to investigate but meets Holliday, who escorts her back to her room. Wyatt Earp and Masterson enter and try to find out what has happened. They arrest the Doctor and lead him from the saloon, allowing the cowboys to continue thinking the Doctor is Holliday. With the Doctor gone, the cowboys turn on Steven.
Kate joins Dodo and Holliday in her room where they plan on waiting until the trouble has died down, despite Dodo's distress at the arrest of the Doctor.
The Doctor has been locked in a gaol, with Earp suggesting that it is safer with his status as a wanted man. Masterson agrees with the ploy; having the Doctor in prison means that the Clantons and Harper will think Holliday is locked up. Earp goes out to find the real Holliday.
In the saloon, Steven tries to convince the others of the Doctor's innocence, saying that if he had the Doctor here he could prove it. The cowboys take this to mean that he is proposing a prison break and agree to back him up.
Upstairs, Doc is thirsty, and Kate reminds him he left a bottle in his dentistry. He says that he'll sneak back.
On arriving at the dentistry, Earp is there and orders him to leave town before the morning. Earp will tell the Clantons the truth tomorrow morning. He explains that Pa Clanton and his sons are rustlers and that he is biding his time before he and his boys run them out of his town.
In the saloon, the Clantons and Harper tell Steven to pass a gun through the gaol-house window to the Doctor with which he can force his way out. They'll wait outside to "welcome him back to society". Steven agrees. Phineas follows him, just in case he makes a run for it with "Holliday".
Dodo asks Kate if she really intends to marry Holliday, an outlaw. Kate replies that she has met many outlaws and that Holliday is the best of the lot, "a real gentleman". Holliday arrives and tells Kate that they have to leave. Earp is gunning for him and he doesn't want to kill a friend.
Steven gives the Doctor the gun through a window, telling him that the Clantons still think he's Holliday. Once he has gone, the Doctor hands the gun to Earp, asking him to meet Steven outside in his stead and to tell him he wants to remain in gaol as it's the safest place for him.
In the saloon, the Clantons incite the locals to violence, telling them to break "Holliday" out of gaol and hang him from the nearest tree. Phineas brings Steven in, whom he found running away from the saloon, and they tie him up, saying that if the Doctor refuses to leave gaol they will hang Steven instead.
Kate has got her stuff together ready for departure when they see the mob pass with Steven from an upstairs window. Doc makes his way downstairs, and Kate calls after him. Hearing the name "Doc", Harper, who has been left behind, enquires if he is Holliday. He says yes and draws his gun faster than Harper, shooting his opponent. Doc tells Kate to ready three horses, planning to take Dodo with them when they leave. Dodo is unsure, but finally complies and they leave the saloon.
Earp and Masterson let the Doctor out of gaol to see the mob gather outside. The Clantons announce that they want "Holliday" within two minutes, or Steven will be hanged.
Johnny Ringo (3)
The Doctor tries to leave, but Earp and Masterson hold him back. Earp says he has a plan and disappears around the back. Billy Clanton fronts up to Masterson as the sheriff pulls a shotgun. Just as they're attaching the noose, Earp attacks, knocking Phineas out. He frees Steven. Realising they're caught in the crossfire of Earp and Masterson, the mob disperses. The bartender, Charlie, arrives and tells the Clantons that Harper is dead, shot by Holliday in the saloon. The Clantons confront Earp, who admits he knew the Doctor wasn't Holliday. Earp threatens them until they leave. Charlie, Earp, Masterson and Steven carry the unconscious Phineas into the gaol. The Doctor says goodbye to Earp and Masterson and says he and Steven intend to leave in the morning.
In the saloon, Pa Clanton tells his sons that he wants to hire Johnny Ringo to help them fight Earp. His sons protest, but he does not think they are capable. They leave. Steven and the Doctor return to the saloon, and Charlie tells them that Dodo left with Holliday. The Doctor claims that Holliday is his friend, recalling how he removed his tooth. They then retire to their rooms, intent on seeking Holliday out in the morning.
Doc, Kate and Dodo find a place to sleep, but Kate wants to continue as they are still near Tombstone. Doc says he doesn't want to be too far away as when the Clantons and the Earps meet he wants to be nearby to help his friend. Dodo is pleased with this as she states that she needs to return to the Doctor as soon as she can too. As Doc leaves to get food, they hear gunfire and he returns. He ran into an old friend who has now "lost his appetite".
Meanwhile, Ringo enters the saloon and talks to Charlie. The barman tells him that the Clantons want help dealing with Earp but Ringo already has a target, Doc Holliday. Charlie tells him that they're also after Doc but Ringo wants to kill him on his own. Charlie promises that he won't tell anyone. Ringo agrees and shoots him dead.
In the morning, Dodo asks Doc if he is going to return her to the Doctor today. He says no. Angered, Dodo takes his gun and threatens him. Doc agrees to take her home and asks Kate to stay. Realising Doc had a gun and was about to shoot her, Dodo faints.
Steven and the Doctor come down into the bar in the morning and find the dead Charlie with Johnny Ringo sitting calmly at the table. The Doctor asks Ringo to wait in the bar for Earp to investigate, but Ringo claims that only Holliday would shoot an unarmed barman. Steven tells Ringo they also seek Holliday. Ringo suspects they want him dead too, and the Doctor denies any intention to kill him. Ringo invites Steven to ride with him after Doc and he agrees.
At the gaol, Wyatt's youngest brother Warren has come with bad news: his other two brothers are too busy to come and help Wyatt. Wyatt says that this is no good and says that Warren is too young to fight. The Doctor visits the gaol and tells Earp that Steven has gone after Holliday with Ringo. He points out that photos of Ringo are all over the gaol on wanted posters. Wyatt is concerned that Ringo may side with the Clantons and goes out to search for him with Masterston. He leaves Warren in charge.
Ringo and Steven split up and search for Holliday at the saloon where he stayed. Ringo finds Kate, a former girlfriend of his. She lies, telling him Holliday was headed for New Mexico with Dodo, with whom he has run off. Ringo tells Kate that he's taking her back to Tombstone as revenge for him spurning her. She refuses, but he threatens her at gunpoint.
In the gaol, Phineas taunts the young Warren Earp. Ike and Billy Clanton enter and threaten him into opening the cell. Warren tries to grab his gun. Billy shoots him. They free Phineas and leave.
The O. K. Corral (4)
In the saloon, Masterson, Earp and the Doctor cover Charlie's body. Masterson works out that Ringo killed him, but Earp reckons that the Doctor may have had a hand in it. Rather than being accusatory for this act, he recollects how useful and powerful was[statement unclear] when the Doctor disarmed the Clantons the first time he met him. Earp deputises the Doctor, giving him a badge and a gun. Again the Doctor shows distaste at being given a firearm. Virgil Earp enters unexpectedly and offers his support in the fight against the Clantons. Masterson and the Earps leave. The Doctor remains in the saloon.
The Clantons return to Pa and find Ringo there with Kate and Steven. They boastfully tell Pa about killing Warren, and he tells them that it really is war now.
However, Warren is alive...barely. His brothers tend to him in the gaol. He tells them it was a Clanton who shot him, then he dies. Wyatt is furious and tells Virgil to inform the Clantons that they'll meet at dawn, at the O.K. Corral. Masterson tries to convince him that this isn't the way of the lawman. Earp renounces the law.
Steven plans to escape to warn the inhabitants of Tombstone about the Clantons, but Kate warns him against the futility of this. The Clantons hear Virgil approach, and Ringo recognises him as the marshal of Dodge City. Virgil gives them his message and asks Steven whose side he is on. Steven tells him he supports the Earps but cannot leave as Pa threatens him. Ringo, who hid upstairs during the talk, returns and lays out a plan to use the Clantons as bait and ambush the Earps from behind while the Clantons go in from the front.
Back at the gaol, the Doctor tries to reason with Earp, but his protestations fall on deaf ears. Virgil returns and tells Earp that Kate and Ringo's horse were there. He also informs the Doctor that Steven is there. The Earps figure Ringo is siding with the Clantons. The Doctor tells them they cannot take on both the Clantons and Ringo, but as he does so, Doc enters and announces that they won't have to. When asked by Wyatt why he has returned, he says a girl forced him to at gunpoint. A celebratory Dodo walks into the gaol and embraces the Doctor. Virgil refuses to fight alongside Holliday due to the fact he is an outlaw, but when Doc is told that Kate is with them, he insists. With Doc back, the Doctor hands over his gun and badge, happy to be rid of them. Doc suggests that if Ringo is involved there will be a tactic. He plans to hang back to observe anything Ringo may be trying to pull.
Later that night, Dodo and the Doctor are in the saloon when Masterson enters and asks the Doctor to talk the Clantons out of the fight. He is persuaded that it is the only way of avoiding bloodshed and to allow justice to take its course. The Doctor is given his badge back by Masterson and sets off.
Despite the Doctor's best effort, he arrives at the Clanton ranch after the departure of Ringo and the Clantons. Steven tells the Doctor of Ringo's plan to circle around, and the Doctor tells Pa that they predicted Ringo would side with the Clantons and that Holliday has joined the Earps. Pa is furious to discover that he has been lied to by Kate.
The Clantons and Ringo arrive at the OK Corral whilst the Earps leave to face them. Masterson tries to persuade Earp one last time.
The Earps and Clantons meet and the latter open fire, hoping that they can stop the Earps. Once in range, the Earps also fire. Away from the main fight, Ringo comes across Holliday approaching the fight and is about to shoot Doc when Dodo runs over and alerts him. Ringo takes Dodo hostage while Doc takes cover. He forces Holliday to drop his weapon. Doc throws his weapon down. As Ringo goes to retrieve it, Dodo pushes him down. Doc pulls another gun and shoots him. Holliday tells the dying Ringo he thought he would do better. "I will, next time," Ringo says, then dies. Holliday regroups with Wyatt, telling him Ringo's dead. Billy makes a move to kill Doc, but he misses and Doc kills him instead. Virgil hits Phineas, who dies shortly after. Ike, the only man left to oppose the Earps and Doc, tries to run. Doc corners him and Ike fires his gun, only to find that it's empty. Doc and the Earps kill Ike.
Sometime later, the Doctor and Doc are walking together with Dodo, Steven and Kate. He questions Holliday's reason for leaving. Kate and Doc unveil a wanted poster Masterson has released with Holliday's face upon it. Holliday claims that Wyatt is no longer a lawman, having been involved in the fighting. He gives the poster to the Doctor and then leaves with Kate. The Doctor insists they leave in the TARDIS — much to the disappointment of Dodo.
The TARDIS is now in a different setting, and its crew are dressed differently, discussing where they have arrived. The Doctor tells his companions that he knows exactly where they are: the far future, in a time of peace and prosperity. As they leave the TARDIS, the scanner shows a savage figure appearing on the crest of a hill.
- Dr. Who - William Hartnell
- Steven Taylor - Peter Purves
- Dodo Chaplet - Jackie Lane
- Ike Clanton - William Hurndell
- Phineas Clanton - Maurice Good
- Billy Clanton - David Cole
- Kate Fisher - Sheena Marshe
- Seth Harper - Shane Rimmer
- Charlie - David Graham
- Wyatt Earp - John Alderson
- Doc Holliday - Anthony Jacobs
- Bat Masterson - Richard Beale
- Pa Clanton - Reed De Rouen
- Johnny Ringo - Laurence Payne
- Warren Earp - Martyn Huntley
- Virgil Earp - Victor Carin
- Singer - Lynda Baron
- Cowboys - John Doye, Roy Curtis, John Caesar, Bill Smith
- Pianists - Tom McCall, Winifred Taylor
- Bar Girls - Vilma Stuttle, Maureen Lane, Maureen Nelson
- Townsfolk in Lynch Mob - Reg Cranfield, Leslie Shannon, Mark Allington, Jonas Kurchi, Kevin Leslie, John De Marco, Derek Chafer
- Mexican Cowboy - Antony Billing
- Chinese Storekeepers - Jackie Ho, Edward Cheekan
- Settler's Wife - Marguerite Young
- Settler's Daughters - Jane Tucker, Edwina Salmon
- Savage - John Raven (all DWM 220)
- Ballad Music - Tristram Cary
- Costumes - Daphne Dare
- Designer - Barry Newbury
- Film Cameraman - Ken Westbury
- Film Editor - Les Newman
- Lyrics - Donald Cotton, Rex Tucker
- Make-Up - Sonia Markham
- Producer - Innes Lloyd
- Script Editor - Gerry Davis
- Studio Lighting - George Summers
- Studio Sound - Colin Dixon
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Assistant Floor Manager - Tom O'Sullivan
- Production Assistant - Tristan de Vere Cole
- Production Assistant - Angela Gordon
- Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Floor Assistant - Julian Aston (INFO: The Gunfighters)
- Producer's Assistant - Rosemary Parsons (INFO: The Gunfighters)
- Armourer - Jack Lennox (INFO: The Gunfighters)
- Technical Manager - Johnny Farr (INFO: The Gunfighters)
- Vision Mixers - Clive Halls, Joan Duncan (INFO: The Gunfighters)
- Camera Crew - Crew 14 (INFO: The Gunfighters)
- Both Dodo and Steven can play the piano.
- The Doctor wonders why Steven has chosen to dress up like Tom Mix.
- Johnny Ringo tells Charlie that he's trailed Doc Holliday from Fort Griffin to Tombstone.
- This story had the working titles The Wild West, The Gun-Fighters and The Gunslingers.
- This story directly follows The Celestial Toymaker.
- Thunderbirds voice artists David "Brains" Graham and Shane "Scott Tracy" Rimmer appear as Charlie the barman and Seth Harper respectively. Graham had also provided Dalek voices for a number of earlier Doctor Who stories and would be later cast as Kerensky in City of Death.
- The caption at the end of "The O.K. Corral" reads "Next Episode: DR. WHO AND THE SAVAGES". This was the last story to have individual episode titles until the six-part story Invasion of the Dinosaurs in 1974 when the first episode would be given the on-screen title Invasion.
- The serial features an original song, "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon", the last time that an original song would be commissioned for the series until the rap song featured in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (discounting "The King's Song" in The King's Demons). The "Ballad" is performed off-screen by Lynda Baron.
- Along with Lynda Baron, the "Ballad" was also performed by Peter Purves in "A Holiday for the Doctor" while Jackie Lane mimed playing the piano.
- The first episode is titled "A Holiday for the Doctor", the first and only episode of the original series to incorporate the "correct" name of the Doctor (as opposed to an episode of The Chase called "The Death of Doctor Who" and 1970 serial Doctor Who and the Silurians, both of which used the technically incorrect "Doctor Who"). The next televised episode to include the name "the Doctor" in its title was the 2005 episode The Doctor Dances, a practice later followed by several others.
- This was the first full and only serial of the original series to take place completely within the United States. It was thirty years until another US-set story was filmed, namely the 1996 TV movie. The next regular episode to be set within the US did not air until Dalek in 2005.
- This story contains an example of the play on the series' title — when introducing himself and his companions to Bat Masterson, the Doctor creates aliases for the group, and says of himself, "And lastly, sir, your humble servant, Doctor, er, Caligari." Masterson, confused, asks, "Doctor who?" to which the Doctor responds, "Yes, quite right."
- The storyline of the serial makes several notable departures from the historical fact. In reality, Wyatt Earp was not the ranking Marshal of Tombstone. Virgil was, and he deputised Wyatt as an emergency, less than an hour before the battle. Kate Holliday probably spoke with a Hungarian accent, not the exaggerated American accent depicted in the show. Bat Masterson, Johnny Ringo, Warren Earp and Phineas Clanton were not present in Tombstone in October 1881. Consequently, neither Ringo nor Phineas Clanton participated in the Gunfight at the O. K. Corral and were therefore not casualties of it as portrayed here. Warren Earp did not die until July 1900, almost 19 years after the events of this story take place. Phineas' brother Ike Clanton survived the gunfight whereas their father Pa Clanton had died in August 1881, about 10 weeks before the battle. Conversely, no reference is made to four of the gunfight's actual participants: Morgan Earp (brother of Warren, Wyatt, and Virgil) and the Clanton brothers' fellow outlaw cowboys Billy Claiborne and Tom and Frank McLaury. Furthermore, Doc Holliday was only 30 years old in 1881 in real life whereas Anthony Jacobs was 48 in 1966. Wyatt was the only member of the Earp combat team who was not wounded.
- The real Big Nose Kate died at the age of 90, in 1940. William Hartnell was 32 years old then. This is one of the rare instances in which a historical character was within the lifetime of a Doctor Who performer.
- This story, which includes multiple deaths by shooting and an attempted hanging shown on screen, is one of the most violent Doctor Who TV stories.
- The Savage, who appears on the TARDIS scanner screen at the end of "The OK Corral", was played by John Raven (DWM 221), who remained uncredited both on-screen and in Radio Times.
- Rex Tucker requested that his director's credit be removed from the closing roller caption of "The O.K. Corral", following a disagreement with Innes Lloyd over the editing of the episode. However, Tucker was still billed as director in the Radio Times programme listing.
- Jane Tucker, of Rod, Jane, and Freddy/Rainbow fame, appears briefly in the Lynch Mob scene. Tucker was the daughter of director Rex Tucker. (DWM 221)
- Various actors were considered for guest roles:
- Donald Sutherland was the original choice to play Wyatt Earp. (TCH 7)
- It was hoped that Patrick Troughton would play Johnny Ringo, but he had other commitments; John Carson, William Dexter, Philip Madoc and John Slater were also considered for Ringo. (TCH 7)
- John Bryans was considered to play both Pa Clanton and Bat Masterson. (TCH 7)
- Alan Tilvern was a possible choice for Seth Harper or Ike Clanton. (TCH 7)
- David Burke, Marne Maitland, Derek Newark and Ewen Solon were all considered to play Ike Clanton or Virgil Earp. (TCH 7)
- Jeanne Moody, Patricia English, Carol Cleveland, Jill Melford, Delena Kidd, Anita West and Delphi Lawrence were all considered for Kate. (TCH 7)
- When the Clantons force Steven and Dodo to perform "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon", originally, Dodo was to sing while Steven played the piano. Jackie Lane proved to be a mediocre vocalist and so Peter Purves reluctantly agreed to swap roles so that he sang the Ballad while Lane pretended to play the piano.
- Peter Purves hated working on this serial, calling it a "crummy script". He and William Hartnell didn't get on with director Rex Tucker, who felt that the series was beneath him — Tucker had in fact originally been pencilled in to produce and direct the pilot episode before those roles were taken by Verity Lambert and Waris Hussein respectively, but felt that it had become a juvenile sci-fi series in the years since.
- Despite the fact the character of Johnny Ringo only turns up in the third and fourth episodes, "Johnny Ringo" and "The O.K. Corral", the role was regarded as the main guest star role for this serial.
- Rex Tucker wanted to cast American and/or Canadian actors as much as possible to lend some authenticity to the proceedings, but this proved difficult.
- Rex Tucker hoped that Jane Tucker would sing "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon", but her voice lacked the necessary gravitas. Sheena Marshe was also deemed unsuitable.
- For historical research, Donald Cotton contacted a friend, cabaret performer Tony Snell, who was working in the United States at the time and was able to visit Tombstone. In composing his scripts, however, Cotton hewed closer to the legendary version of the Gunfight.
- "A Holiday For The Doctor" - 6.5 million viewers
- "Don't Shoot The Pianist" - 6.6 million viewers
- "Johnny Ringo" - 6.2 million viewers
- "The O.K. Corral" - 5.7 million viewers
- The Gunfighters was the least-watched Doctor Who story ever, and/or got the lowest-ever Audience Appreciation score. (There were a number of stories with lower viewing figures, including The Savages, The War Machines and The Smugglers, plus every story after the 1986 hiatus. Its Audience Appreciation score technically is the lowest in the show's history, but the scoring system changed several times throughout the show's run, and thus the score cannot really be compared to a story from the 70s or 80s)
- A similar rumour holds that The Gunfighters is consistently the lowest-ranked story among fans. (While it may have at one point held this dishonour, the last few polls conducted by Doctor Who Magazine place the story twenty points or more above the bottom)
- Sheena Marshe, who played Kate Fisher, was director Rex Tucker's daughter. (She was unrelated to him; his daughter Jane Tucker, later to find fame as one-third of the Rod, Jane and Freddy group of children's entertainers, did, however, appear as a walk-on in the story.)
- Ealing Television Film Studios, Ealing Green, Ealing
- BBC Television Centre (TC4), Shepherd's Bush, London
- In the first shot of the O.K. Corral sign, the K already has bullet holes in it. The holes shouldn't have appeared until Billy shoots the sign in the next scene.
- As Kate moves towards Ringo after she recognises him, something falls off-screen with a clatter. Sheena Marshe (Kate) glances quickly in that direction before continuing with the scene.
- Anthony Jacobs (Doc Holliday) fluffs a line after Dodo holds a gun on him, Jacobs saying, "For the first time in my life, I have just been taken - beaten...to the draw."
- Shane Rimmer (Seth Harper) fluffs a line in "A Holiday for the Doctor", saying, " You don't know where Holliday....y-you never met Holliday either?"
- Peter Purves slips on the step upon entering the saloon for the first time and stumbles forward while looking behind him.
- When Doc Holliday hears Harper talking to the Doctor in his surgery, he moves behind a door to eavesdrop. However, he hits the door, producing a loud thud, and has to grab it to stop it from closing.
- The bar at the saloon wobbles badly as Harper crashes into it after having been shot by Holliday.
- Steven and Dodo's accents change frequently without anybody seeming to notice.
- When explaining to Wyatt that Steven has gone with Johnny Ringo to find Dodo, he[who?] refers to Steven as "she".
- As he's leaving with the Doctor following that exchange, Wyatt fumbles his line to Warren saying, "Well, Warren, my lad, guess you're gonna left- have to leave you in charge, after all, huh?"
- The Doctor returned to the Wild West several times. (AUDIO: A Town Called Fortune, PROSE: Peacemaker, TV: A Town Called Mercy)
- After being conditioned by the artificial intelligence WOTAN on 20 July 1966, Dodo suffered a nervous breakdown. She left the TARDIS soon after. Her claims to have met Wild West gunfighters and other similarly outlandish stories resulted in her being sent to a psychiatric institution. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
- The Torchwood Institute tracked the Doctor to Tombstone after the gunfight. (COMIC: The Time Machination)
- Despite claiming to never touch alcohol, the Doctor previously accepted an offer of mead in Northumbria in 1066, describing it as "delightful". (TV: The Time Meddler)
Home video and audio releases
Special features included:
- Audio commentary by actors Peter Purves (Steven), Shane Rimmer (Seth Harper), David Graham (Charlie), and Richard Beale (Bat Masterson), production assistant Tristan de Vere Cole, and moderator Toby Hadoke
- The End of the Line? - A new documentary about the turbulent third year of Doctor Who
- Tomorrow's Times - The First Doctor - Contemporary press coverage
- Photo gallery
- PDF materials: Radio Times listings
- Production Notes Subtitle Option
This story is available:
This story was released as Doctor Who: The Gunfighters.
- Released as part of The First Doctor Collection in the UK (BBCV 7268)
- Released as part of The End of the Universe Collection in the US as well as being released separately.
- Editing for VHS release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
- There is a small error in the restoration, as the OK Corral gunfight was VidFIREd despite it being shot on film.
- This story was released on CD by BBC Audio in February 2007 with linking narration and a bonus interview with Peter Purves. The release also included several extra chapters with all the different lyrics to The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon.
- This story was re-released in September 2013 as part of the box set The TV Episodes - Collection Six.
- The Gunfighters at the BBC's official site
- The Gunfighters at RadioTimes
- The Gunfighters at BroaDWcast
- The Gunfighters at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)