Doctor Who review: The Light at the End – the fiftieth anniversary’s other multi-Doctor story

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Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary gave us not one, but two major multi-Doctor stories. We’ve looked at the one for the new era, now let’s look at the one for the classic: The Light at the End.

Last month, we looked at several major anniversary stories in Doctor Who, including two multi-Doctor stories. We also looked at how problematic multi-Doctor stories can be if not handled right. And, while The Five Doctors was a fun enough romp, we also examined how The Day of the Doctor just might be the best multi-Doctor story on-screen.

But there was another multi-Doctor story released that year: The Light at the End. It was a story that, unlike the twentieth anniversary special, actually had five Doctors in it. Specifically: Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann.

In fact, even the first three Doctors showed up, to some extent. The first three incarnations appear only briefly, played by William Russell, Frazer Hines and Tim Treloar. (The last of which has gone on to play the role to a much larger extent in The Third Doctor Adventures.)

Many Doctors, one enemy

Including so many Doctors is risky, especially when each one of the main incarnations in the story has a companion with them. But The Light at the End avoids the trap The Five Doctors fell into by primarily focusing on the Doctors themselves, and avoids bringing back too many enemies.

For example, The Five Doctors brought back the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Yeti and the Master. But Big Finish wisely chose to only bring back the last one. Of course, it’s unsurprising that the catastrophe in this story is directly caused by him.

It also makes sense for the incarnation to be the decaying Master as played by Geoffrey Beevers. Beevers is the last surviving Master of the Classic Series, but just as importantly, he’s also been playing the role at Big Finish for a long time. So it makes sense that it’s his incarnation that gets featured.

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