If you collect CO’s Classic Who line, then you know you’re forced to buy a lot of rehashed figures bundled with the figures you really want. It’s just one of those things that we Who fans have had to accept in order to make the line cost effective, and for the most part, I think it’s been a worthy trade. But as The Doctor once said, “The universe is big, it’s vast and complicated, and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” And here, folks, is one of those miracles, because not only does “The Three Doctors” set contain no rehashed or repainted versions of The Doctor, it actually has no repacked, repainted, or remolded figures at all. It also bestows upon my collection one of my most anticipated figures that this line can produce… oh yes… it is my favorite of all The Doctor’s companions: Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.
Before moving on to the goods, let me indulge myself with story time. It was the mid 80’s, and every Saturday night a teenaged Figurefan warmed up the old B&W TV (complete with faux wood grain cabinet) in his bedroom and tuned in to watch Doctor Who. It was usually the highlight of my week, and the best thing about it was PBS had finally started over and began showing the stuff from before Tom Baker and Peter Davison. It was brand new Who to me, and I was positively glued to the TV. I delighted in seeing the origins of the series with the 1stDoctor and the little bits of the 2nd Doctor that still survived. But then we hit The Pertwee Era, I became totally engrossed as The Doctor found himself marooned on Earth and made to forge an uneasy alliance with UNIT and The Brigadier
Over the course of the episodes that followed, the somewhat adversarial friendship that formed between the Time Lord and soldier was so gradual and natural that it really served to enrich both characters through their interactions. The Brig was the perfect Yin to The Doctor’s Yang. He was skeptical, parochial, a jingoistic patriot, a bureaucrat, and best of all, the poster child for “the military mind.” In a lot of ways he was the opposite of The Doctor and they played so well off of each other. And yet as much as The Doctor exasperated The Brig with his pacifism, scientific gobbledygook, and anti-military ways, in the end The Brig best summed up his feelings for his old Time Lord friend as a “wonderful chap… all of them.”
For the first time I found myself watching Doctor Who not just for The Doctor, but for another character as well. The Brigadier was just awesome. Naturally, the character owed some of his appeal to the writers, who weren’t content with just creating a two-dimensional tin soldier for The Doctor to butt heads with. No they created a rich character, which just had his own way of doing things. He gradually opened his mind to the possibilities that The Doctor represented, but he never compromised his core philosophy of strength through superior firepower. I’ll never forget his greatest lament: “Just once I’d like to meet an alien menace that isn’t immune to bullets!” Of course, what really made the character work so well was the great performance by the late Nicholas Courtney. He was the perfect choice to breathe life into the role and while companions have come and gone, The Brig has always remained my favorite. I wish he lived to see this action figure, but I know that he lived to understand how timeless his work had become. Ok, enough sentimental stuff… let’s take a look at the packaging…
And there it is: One of the coolest sets to come out of CO’s Classic Who collection. Sure, it’s been a crazy, mind blowing ride getting figures of all The Doctors and some of the Companions, but this is the friggin Briagadier and Jo Grant!! I know I’ve said this before with other Classic Who sets, but holy shit, I can’t believe these figures finally exist. I am so damn happy! Wait… where was I? Oh yeah, the packaging. The style and deco of the box is very similar to what we saw with “The Pyramids of Mars” set. As with all the Classic sets, this one uses printed inserts to recreate a display inside the box, and this one does it better than any so far. It’s a deep interior tray dressed up to look just like the set of Omega’s antimatter palace. The Brig and Jo Grant are to the left and the menacing Gel Guard is to the right, all held in place with string. I really hated to open this thing up because it displays so damn well just the way it is, but I had to get at my figures and saving boxes is just no longer possible for me because of lack of space. The back of the box has portraits of each character from the episode and a blurb about “The Three Doctors” story. Hey, look! The episode originally aired in 1972, the year I was born. Cool! All in all, this is an amazing piece of presentation.
Ok, obviously I got a little off track today, so I’m going to break now and come back tomorrow to actually take a look at the figures. And no, it has nothing to do with me trying to pad out the week because I finally replaced my Xbox and I’m anxious to get back to it and start killing things again.