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The Three Doctors was a novelisation based on the 1972 television serial The Three Doctors.

Publisher's summary[]

1975 Target Books edition[]

Jo glanced up at the Doctor. 'Things must be pretty serious then.' 'They are, Jo. Very serious indeed. The whole of the Universe is in danger!'

The most amazing WHO adventure, in which Doctors One, Two and Three cross time and space and come together to fight a ruthlessly dangerous enemy – OMEGA. Once a Time Lord, now exiled to a black hole in space, Omega is seeking a bitter and deadly revenge against the whole Universe...

DOCTOR WHO scripts — awarded the 1974 Writers' Guild Award for the best British children's original drama script.

1991 Target Books edition[]


Exiled from his own world, trapped for millennia in a universe of anti-matter, Omega has planned his revenge on his own race, the Time Lords, and on the entire universe...

In order to prevent an unthinkable catastrophe, the Time Lords break the First Law of Time and send the Doctor's previous selves to help...

Doctor Who - The Three Doctors was first broadcast in 1972 and featured William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee in the role of the Doctor. This adventure marked the end of the Doctor's Earthbound adventures and was written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin. This novelization was written by Terrance Dicks who was the Script editor of the series at the time that The Three Doctors was broadcast.

2012 BBC Books edition[]

The President of the Time Lords turned triumphantly to the Chancellor. "You see, my Lord? We cannot help the Doctor, but perhaps he can help himself!"

A mysterious black hole is draining away power from the Universe. Even the Time Lords are threatened. The Doctor is also in trouble. Creatures from the black hole besiege UNIT Headquarters. The only person who can help the Doctor is... himself.

The Time Lords bring together the first three incarnations of the Doctor to discover the truth about the black hole and stop the energy drain. The Doctors and their companions travel through the black hole itself, into a universe of anti-matter. Here they meet one of the very first Time Lords - Omega, who gave his race the power to travel through time.

Trapped for aeons in the black hole, he now plans to escape - whatever the cost.

This novel is based on a Doctor Who story originally broadcast from 30 December 1972 to 20 January 1973.

Featuring the first three Doctors as played by William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, together with Jo Grant and the UNIT organisation commanded by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

Deviations from televised story[]

  • Jo is given greater respect from the First Doctor than in the television story.
  • The Second Doctor speaks to the man from the ministry in person rather than on videophone.
  • An original sequence features the Brigadier, Jo and Benton fruitlessly trying to fortify UNIT.
  • The last name of Arthur Ollis is changed to Arthur Hollis.
  • There is a Young Time Lord in the novel who was not present in the TV story.
  • The Gel guards are named as Blob men.
  • The Blob men, as Terrance Dicks described them, appear to have arms and legs and a sort of head. This is different from the TV story, as in the TV story, they are blobs of jelly with a claw.
  • The blob men are more advanced in the novel. An example is when Benton blows one apart, the legs keep running before finally, the legs fall down.
  • Mrs. Ollis (Hollis in this novel) has the first name of Mary.
  • The force field generator is described as a plastic casket.
  • Rather than Omega knocking the force field generator from the Second Doctor's hand, he takes the device and his touching of the recorder is what destroys his realm, with the two Doctors running to the TARDIS to escape.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • Title page includes: “THE CHANGING FACE OF DOCTOR WHO: The cover illustration portrays the first, second and third Doctors”
  • This was the first novelisation to be published without using the form "Doctor Who and ..."
  • A few years after this book was published, Target Books began numbering its Doctor Who novelisations. Rather than number the stories in order of broadcast, or original publication, Target initially numbered the books alphabetically. Coincidentally, however, The Three Doctors, numbered as No. 64 in the Target series, was also the sixty-fourth story to be broadcast (if one does not consider the single-episode TV: Mission to the Unknown as a standalone story).
  • This novelisation was later released as part of The UNIT Collection.
  • There is a reference in Chapter 7 to the Master being the only other Time Lord the Doctor has faced as an enemy before Omega. However, on television, he had previously faced the Monk, (TV: The Time Meddler) and the War Chief. (TV: The War Games) This appears to imply that the "three" Time Lords are in fact one. This is not made clear either way in any televised story, but was the opinion of many writers, particularly of the Target novelisations, in this era. However, ever since the dawn of the so-called "Wilderness Years", expanded media has moved away from this notion, aside from the occasional allusion, with Mortimus becoming an arch-enemy of the Doctor’s in his own right.

Cover Art[]

The cover for the final issue of the second year of Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor

The cover to The Three Doctors is partially traced off of the cover of an issue of Marvel's Fantastic Four comic. Despite this, the art is arguably more iconic in Who circles than in those of Marvel, and several other franchise stories have plaid homage to it:

Additional cover images[]

British publication history[]

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


60p (UK)
1976 reissue with new cover by Jeff Cummins
1991 Virgin Publishing with a new cover by Alister Pearson priced £2.50 (UK)

Editions published outside Britain[]

  • Published in Poland by Empire Books in 1994 as a paperback edition, translated by Juliusz Garztecki and published as Doctor Who - Wladcy Czasu, it was one of three Polish novelisations.


An unabridged audiobook of the story was recorded by Gabriel Woolf for the RNIB in 1978, alongside The Loch Ness Monster and Carnival of Monsters. It was only available to the registered blind. More recently this story was released on 8 April 2010 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Katy Manning.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power.

The 2010 audiobook was reissued on 5 April 2018 as part of The UNIT Collection.

External links[]

to be added