Viewers that sat down to watch last Saturday’s new episode of DOCTOR WHO, “The Rebel Flesh,” might have been shocked when the final frames revealed a clone Doctor spouting his usual rapid-fire dialogue from behind an Odo-like mass of featureless flesh. On the other hand, since it was a story all about clones (or Gangers), how likely was it that we weren’t going to get a double Doctor?
This isn’t the first time we’ve met a twin of the Time Lord. In fact, it’s happened quite a few times over the years, with everything from robot and android doubles in “The Chase,” “The Android Invasion” and “The Caves of Androzani” to another clone in “The Invisible Enemy” as well as assorted projections, brief duplications and so on.
The extended universe of DOCTOR WHO audios, books and comics features still more, but let’s stick to the TV show and get on with the five best Doctor doubles in WHO history, excluding the newly introduced and very welcome Ganger Eleventh Doctor:
1. The Abbot of Amboise/The First Doctor
“The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve,” Season Three, 1966: In this now-lost adventure, poor companion Steven (Peter Purves) can be forgiven for thinking the anti-Huguenot Abbot is the First Doctor (William Hartnell) in disguise, since the two men share the same face! Embroiled in the events leading up to the historic event known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (hmm, the story title is a bit early), the TARDIS team have a lot more than a Doctor double to worry about.
2. Ramón Salamander/The Second Doctor
“The Enemy of the World,” Season Five, 1967-1968: In one of the many Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) tales missing from the BBC archives (only one of six episodes remains), the Doctor meets his spitting image in a near-future South American dictator. Troughton’s tour-de-force performance not only included playing both the Doctor and Salamander, but both men masquerading as each other. If only we could see the story today.
3. Meglos/The Fourth Doctor
“Meglos,” Season Eighteen, 1980: Fans often wondered, “what would it be like if the Doctor looked like a cactus?” That burning question was finally answered when Meglos, an evil sentient plant, took the Fourth Doctor’s (Tom Baker) form but found himself incapable of holding the image steady, occasionally breaking out in bumps and spines. The Doctor does him one better by pretending to be Meglos as part of foiling the dastardly creature’s plans.
4. Omega/The Fifth Doctor
“Arc of Infinity,” Season Twenty, 1983: When the legendary Omega (Ian Collier), founder of Time Lord society, borrowed the Doctor’s body print as a way back from an anti-matter universe to our own, he briefly inhabited a physical form identical to the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison). Sadly, he was soon running madly through Amsterdam with Rice Krispies on his face, frightening children and imploding due to molecular instability. Nice hair though.
5. The Metacrisis Doctor/The Tenth Doctor
“Journey’s End,” Series 4, 2008: Labeled “10.5” (if you like decimal numbers) or “10.2” (if you prefer software nomenclature), this single-hearted Doctor was created with siphoned regeneration energy, a spare hand lopped off in “The Christmas Invasion,” and some human DNA from Donna Noble. 10.5 sets up house in a parallel universe with Rose Tyler, which is a happy ending or a nightmare depending on your opinion of Rose. He’ll be busy, that’s for sure.
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