'Time Crash' followed in the footsteps of a short scene between Tennant and Billie Piper in the 2005 fundraising event. But this wasn't a first for the much-loved sci-fi drama. Cult Spy traces the roots of the show's history with BBC charity events…
The show's first proper Children In Need tie-in followed in the tracks of 'The Three Doctors' a decade earlier by bringing together past and present incumbents of the Tardis. Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Doctor Who, the Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti and Master were all fought by various incarnations of the Time Lord on his home planet of Gallifrey in this ninety minute special. Sadly, Fourth Doctor Tom Baker was only represented via outtakes from the untransmitted story Shada (and his Madame Tussauds waxwork in photo shoots!), while Richard Hurndall replaced the deceased William Hartnell as the First Doctor.
An enjoyable romp overall, 'The Five Doctors' was heavy on nostalgia and light on coherent plot. It also contained the most contrived example of a companion hurting her ankle, when The Doc's granddaughter Susan bit the dust while trudging along. The undoubted highlight, apart from helping to raise cash, was the grand unveiling of the legendary Raston Warrior Robot, which massacred a troop of puking Cybermen with ease.
Not even the charitable aspect dissuaded legions of fans from deriding this two-part Doctor Who-EastEnders crossover. The Third to Seventh Doctors all appeared alongside various companions from the show's history - with well known Albert Square residents cropping up at random. Kate O'Mara reprised her role as the evil Rani from the classic series, triying to trap the Doctor's incarnations in London's East End and accosting them outside the Queen Vic. As you do.
People were advised to use 3-D glasses to follow the action, although wearing a double-eyepatch would have been a wiser option. As part of his House Party Noel Edmonds encouraged viewers to phone in and choose the resolution of the cliffhanger for the first part. Perhaps more cash would have been raised by embarrassed Whovians by asking them to pledge money NOT to show the second half…
Debates still rage on about whether the exchange between the Fifth Doctor and Pat Butcher is canonical.
Boasting a truly stellar cast, this Comic Relief four-part special saw Rowan Atkinson take over the Time Lord with Julia Sawahla as his buxom companion. The Master was played by Jonathan Pryce, with the Daleks being wheeled out to demonstrate their unique villainy. Written by new series scribe Steven Moffat, this well-received story was faithful to the atmosphere of the classic series and a warm parody rather than derogatory piss-take. In many ways it worked better as a drama than various episodes from the late 1980s.
Highlights include The Master becoming rather attached to his new Dalek bumps, and the range of famous faces who took turns to play The Doctor as he underwent several regenerations. Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Joanna Lumley all inhabited the Time Lord for a few moments, with the latter being particularly impressed by the possibilities of the Sonic Screwdriver's 'vibrate' function.