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5 December 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day 339: The Three Doctors, Episode Three

Dear diary,

I'm never entirely sure whether Omega's realm is awesome or awful. On the one hand, I rather like the design of the bubbles which are present from the Gel Guard creatures to the archways in the set (and even for what appears to be Omega's 'scanner screen', a fact that has passed me by before), on the other hand… it does look rather a lot like a cheap BBC studio set, doesn't it?

I think the issue is in the sheer emptiness of the set. Between the bubble archways, everything is just painted black - from the floor to the walls - and it makes the whole thing look a little bit rubbish. Judging from the fight scene at the end of the episode, I think the black spaces are supposed to represent a complete void - they're left empty because Omega simply hasn't willed anything into being there. Sadly, it just doesn't work for me in that way, and it is a bit of a let down.

The same can't be said for Omega himself, though. I've always thought that it was a brilliant design, and it's the mask that really does it for me. There's something about the image, and I used to love a big full-page photograph of it in an old Doctor Who reference book back when I was new to fandom. It's such a striking design, and doesn't look too out of keeping with the style of Time Lord design that we're used to from the more recent series. One of these days, I might have to have a go at adding a few Gallifreyan symbols to the design just to see how it looks.

Stephen Thorne is giving his all in the performance of the man, too. I've always thought of his performance as being a bit over the top (and there are one or two moments where it does veer in this direction. I'm thinking specifically of the moment he catches the Doctors in the singularity chamber and enters with a highly dramatic 'WHAT!?!?!?'), but on the whole he's very good here. There's a lovely line when the Doctor has described him as a hero and he responds that he should have been a god. It's delivered brilliantly, and is actually quite menacing. It's a great example of treading that very fine line between a fantastic performance and a bit of a hammy one…

It's nice to see that the design of the other Time Lords in this story seems to be consistent, too. It works almost as a halfway house between the style seen in The War Games and the one that will be making an appearance from The Deadly Assassin onwards. It's little bits of continuity like this that I'm rather keen on - nothing over-the-top, but just enough to make everything feel fairly coherent.

And we get to see them summoning the First Doctor for orders! I mused yesterday that he seemed to be acting as a bit of a go-between for the Time Lords and his other selves, but had forgotten that we actually get to see this in progress. It's great to see him projected up on such a large screen, too, because it's the best he's looked all story. I have to confess that I can't really remember where the tale goes from here (save for the resolution involving Troughton's recorder), but I'm keen to see how they pull off the First Doctor being sent to get involved with the action - I'm assuming that he'll just be popping up on the TARDIS screen again?

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