"Doctor Who" The War Games: Episode Five (TV Episode 1969) Poster

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Interesting dynamic behind enemy lines.
Sleepin_Dragon10 March 2018
Half way through the War Games, and my interest is still there. I can't think of many instances where there are disagreements between The Doctor's adversary, normally when he takes on the bad guys, they have a united front, but not in this case, there are political and procedural disagreements among the ranks of The Doctor's foes. The story continues to build, with yet more questions being asked, who exactly is The War Chief, and how does he know The Doctor. Is the whole concept of The War Games, just a group of men playing at War with people's lives? Or is there more to it then just that? Who is The War Lord?

It's funny how Society has changed since these days, I watched several episodes on International Women's Day, and the group of friends I was sat with were horrified by the character of Lady Jennifer, Jamie's insistence on treating her like a fragile flower. Times were about to change for Women on the show.

Great scenes between The War Chief and The Doctor, not often you get a bit of needle between the bad guys, it showed a much greater depth of character, but then the length of story permitted it. I wish they'd brought The War Chief back at some point, such a complex and intriguing character, brilliantly played by Edward Brayshaw. The Doctor is also very interesting, brilliantly played by Vernon Dobtcheff, who is still acting almost fifty years later, an actor memorable in Father Ted, Poirot, Blake's 7, and many, many other shows.

It's gorgeously psychedelic once again, Sixties circles galore. It has a wonderful charm which I really love. It's another good episode in a great story, so much rich content.
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Sensational! The greatest of Doctor Who ever!
nrfindell30 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Review for all 10 episodes.

This story is the very peak of Doctor Who, its highest point. It has better writing than any story before it and any story since. Every actor is on fine form for there final appearances. The music is at its height with possibly the best room search score ever. It creates atmosphere like no other and the plot gets thicker and thicker before the conclusion of the millennia streams in
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Momentous, historic, fabulous epic which starts a lot of the series' mythology.
A_Kind_Of_CineMagic19 September 2014
Review for all 10 episodes:

This is an epic of a story as it spreads across a huge 10 episodes. Much more than that though, this has truly epic importance in the history of Doctor Who! There a number of reasons why this is one of the most important and pivotal stories in the whole series.

Firstly, it finally reveals that The Doctor's own people are called Time Lords and it introduces them as a society for the first time. This, after 6 whole series, finally removes a little of the mystery of the show by telling us something of The Doctor's origins. It also tells us that The Doctor has run away, stealing his TARDIS and that he is at complete odds with the way in which their society behaves. He is shown to be quite terrified of the Time Lords, in fact.

As well as these hugely important revelations it also has the major event of the end of Troughton's tenure as The Doctor with him being forced to regenerate. This is not only the second ever regeneration, it has the added impact of being done as a punishment for him refusing to conform to Time Lord rules and running away with the TARDIS. It changes the course of the series as well because they also exile The Doctor to late 20th Century Earth. This is done in order that the series can have a period of purely Earth based adventures with a team of regular 'helpers' (in the form of UNIT).

As if that isn't enough it features the emotional departure of Jamie and Zoe. This is done in a heartrendingly sad way which involves wiping all memories of their time with The Doctor apart from their first meeting.

Even though these massively pivotal aspects occur in this story the most striking thing of all about this story is the brilliance of it as entertainment. It involves a plot where the TARDIS arrives in what appears to be a purely historical setting of the First World War trenches but then has the twist of slowly introducing science fiction aspects leading you to believe it is a 'pseudo-historical' story with alien intervention in Earth history. It then twists again to show they are, in fact, surrounded by many historical periods of war going on at the same time. Soldiers have been removed unknowingly from various wars on Earth to take part in 'War Games' which are being manipulated by an alien force to create perfect soldiers.

The whole 10 episodes are thoroughly enjoyable, superbly written (by Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks), acted, directed (by David Maloney) and presented. Troughton is fantastic (although his finale where he has to pull faces to show the effects of his regeneration are a shame, I wish they had done that differently), Frazer Hines is at his absolute best as Jamie and Wendy Padbury has a good send off too. All the guest cast (including Patrick Troughton's son David) and especially Philip Madoc and Edward Brayshaw as a renegade Time Lord, excel in their roles. For its importance and its exceptional quality this is one of the best stories of all.

My Ratings: All 10 Episodes 10/10

Despite this and The Invasion both being all-time great stories, disappointing stories The Dominators, The Krotons and The Space Pirates dragged the Season down to just medium quality for the series overall.

Average Season 6 Rating: 8.01/10
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I am starting to lose a bit of interest in it.
poolandrews13 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Doctor Who: The War Games: Episode Five starts as Zoe (Wendy Padbury) is captured by the Security Chief (James Bree) & interrogated, he learns that she was born in the 21st Century & that she along with the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) have the ability of both space & time travel. While the Security Chief reports back to the War Chief (Edward Brayshaw) the Doctor & a de-processed Lieutenatnt Carstairs (David Savile) rescue Zoe. Meanwhile back in the American Civil War zone Jamie (Frazer Hines) & Lady Jennifer (Jane Sherwin) manage to convince the resistance what's happening, but in an attempt to defeat their alien captors they walk straight into an ambush...

Episode 39 from season 6 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK during May 1969, after a cracking opening three episodes the past two including this have felt a little dull & the whole story is starting to become repetitive as it loses momentum. An episode of The War Games just wouldn't be an episode of The War Games without at least one character getting captured in one way or another, in this episode Zoe, & her escaping soon after & then spending at least five minutes on the run trying not to get captured again. They say familiarity breeds contempt & while I can't say I condemn The War Games in any way it's starting to become a bit boring, the story is stuck in a bit of a rut & it's needs a fresh injection of new ideas to spark it back into life. I just feel at this point, the half way point in fact, the story has stagnated & just doesn't feel like it is going anywhere. At one point in this episode the Doctor, Zoe & Lieutenant Carstairs find themselves in the alien war games control centre & an alarm sounds to which they notice three guards running down a corridor & the Doctor tells Zoe they are headed for the landing pad. How does he know that exactly? He can't possibly know that for sure in fact, he just can't unless it's one hell of a good guess.

The battlefield scenes have largely been replaced with lots of running around in an alien control centres bland cardboard looking corridors which makes Episode Five the least visually interesting so far & the most plodding. However Zoe is taken to a room at the start which has white walls with thick black circles spiralling out from it's centre, together with the guard dressed in rubber it all looks very psychedelic & kitsch! Episode Five sees the departure of Lady Jennifer Buckingham from the story, in a low key departure she unceremoniously stays behind in the American Civil War zone to tend to the injured members of the resistance. Lady Jennifer was played by actress Jane Sherwin who was the wife of then Doctor Who producer Derrick Sherwin. When originally released on VHS by the BBC here in the UK The War Games was split over two separate releases which meant you had to buy the first tape with Episodes One to Five & if you wanted to see the rest of the story you had to go out & buy the second tape containing Episodes Six to Ten! The fact that all ten episodes could have been easily released in a double VHS tape set didn't stop the BBC trying to make as much money from the fans as possible.

The War Games: Episode Five is alright, I must admit at this the half way stage the story is starting to stall with the constant padding, lots of shots of people running around corridors & very little else going on. There's nothing wrong with this episode but it's not the best or overly memorable & I really hope the writer's inject some new ideas in the second half of the story or least pick the pace up a bit...
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