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Doctor Theatre

As the 1980s drew to a close, television Doctor Who neared the end of its original run. In theatres around the UK, however, an exuberant stage show offered the series a new lease of life…
Jon Pertwee at the stage door of the Wimbledon Theatre on 25 March 1989.
Photo © Marcus Hearn;
The flyer for Pertwee’s run at Wimbledon;
A ticket from the opening night.

”No second thoughts; I was very happy to do it. I FELT a bit loved because they’d asked for me.” COLIN BAKER

On Monday 3 April 1989, location recording got underway on The Curse of Fenric, marking the start of what would become the last series of Doctor Who’s original run. However, these final adventures for the Seventh Doctor and Ace weren’t the only Doctor Who stories to be produced that year.

A week or so earlier, on the evening of Thursday 23 March, the TARDIS materialised on stage at the Wimbledon Theatre in south-west London – and Jon Pertwee stepped out as the Third Doctor for the opening night of Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure. Thirty years after curtain-up on that opening night – which kicked off a sixmonth tour – The Ultimate Adventure remains a fondly remembered night at the theatre for those who saw it. It was a chance to see Pertwee don his trademark velvet jacket for one last mission, and an opportunity for another television Doctor to return to the role in happier circumstances.

“John-Nathan Turner [then-producer of Doctor Who] told me about this Doctor Who stage show,” recalls Colin Baker, who played the Sixth Doctor on television from 1984-86. “The producer was Mark Furness, for whom I’d worked, and it was written for Jon Pertwee by Terrance Dicks. Jon didn’t want to do six months, so they decided he’d do three months. They asked me to do the second three months, which I was quite happy about. It wasn’t that I took over at short notice; it was always part of the plan.” Did Colin have any reservations about returning as the Doctor? “No second thoughts; I was very happy to do it. I felt a bit loved because they’d asked for me.”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE 537 REVEALS THE REMAKE OF MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN! This issue also includes: • What does it takes to become a Stenza warrior? Actor Samuel Oatley explains. • An interview with the man behind the new version of Mission to the Unknown. • Colin Baker and the cast of The Ultimate Adventure look back on the Doctor Who stage play. • Backstage with Colin Baker at Leeds' Grand Theatre in 1989. • War World – an in-depth look at the script originally intended for the 1989 stage production. • Cyber Leader David Banks dips into the TARDIS tin. • Tributes to the king of Doctor Who extras Pat Gorman and visual effects designer Richard Gregory. • Former script editor Andrew Cartmel remembers Happiness Patrol writer Graeme Curry. • A preview of this year’s Record Store Day releases. • Part Three of Herald of Madness, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends. • How to dress like the First Doctor – along with his friends and foes. • Does the 1996 TV movie impress the Time Team? • The Blogs of Doom, audio reviews, previews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!