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Doctor Who: The Gunfighters (Story 25)


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Product Details

  • Actors: William Hartnell, Jackie Lane, Peter Purves, Richard Beale, David Cole
  • Directors: Rex Tucker
  • Writers: Donald Cotton
  • Producers: Innes Lloyd
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2011
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004TPJMRY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,327 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Gunfighters (Story 25)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Tombstone, Arizona, 1881. The air is filled with the sounds of shooting, cussing, and toe-tapping tunes knocked out on the battered piano at the Last Chance Saloon. And then there is something less familiar: the wheezing, groaning sound of a Police Box materializing. The Doctor and his companions aren’t the only newcomers in town. The Clanton brothers have ridden in to settle a grudge with Doc Holliday, the notorious gambler, drinker, and dentist. In the Wild West, tempers are short, guns are swift, and a moment’s hesitation on the draw can mean death.

Customer Reviews

Whatever the case, it does SOUND MUCH BETTER than what was previously available.
Scott K
The stuff that's supposed to be funny is not and the stuff that's supposed to be serious is funny in a crash-and-burn sort of way.
Byron
In the same way that Americans shouldn't do English drama, the British should never attempt to do Westerns!
Kevin J. Loria

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Alan Caylow on April 3, 2011
Format: DVD
"The Gunfighters" is hardly one of William Hartnell's best "Doctor Who" stories. In fact, this story, in which the Doctor (Hartnell), Steven (Peter Purves) and Dodo (Jackie Lane) get mixed up in the legendary Gunfight At The OK Corral, had the reputation for many years as being the all-time worst "Doctor Who" story ever made! It's horribly acted (with the exception of the three leads), with several supporting actors doing horrible American accents (or not even trying to), the script is poorly written, the direction is misguided, and the big final gunfight is horribly staged (all that shooting at each other at close range and *missing*---pathetic!). And then there's that annoying song about The Last Chance Saloon that plays over and over and over and OVER again throughout the whole damm story!

But the one saving grace of "The Gunfighters" is that it's funny, even if most of the laughs are unintentional. Hartnell and Purves are both a hoot in this one---the Doctor and his amusing toothache problem, and Steven hilariously being forced to sing "The Last Chance Saloon" song at gunpoint---and, of course, the mistakes I've mentioned above. And, to it's credit, the story never commits the crime of being boring. "The Gunfighters" is a trainwreck, but at least it's a funny, entertaining trainwreck. A masterpiece it ain't, but, in it's own very strange, very goofball way, "The Gunfighters" still manages to be fun. In short, it's the best bad "Doctor Who" story ever made. How's that for a review?
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Little Roy Blue on July 20, 2011
Format: DVD
I've never understood why Doctor Who fans hate "The Gunfighters" so much. Years ago, I read a ton of negative fan reviews, which tended to judge this story as a laughably poor attempt at drama. More recently, a growing number of fans have acknowledged that "The Gunfighters" is supposed to be a comedy, not a drama; yet they still tend to laugh *at* the story, rather than *with* it. Well, for what it's worth, I laugh with it.

To be more specific: I find "The Gunfighters" to be a legitimately witty spoof of the American Western genre. Donald Cotton's script purposefully indulges in a host of Western cliches, and then "winks" at the audience about this. The much-loathed "Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" - a narrative song that runs through the whole story - is used to highlight the silliness and cliched nature of the action, and thus doesn't bother me at all. (Indeed, strange lines like "he's gone a bit mental under Earp's heavy blow" always give me a chuckle.)

Cotton's dialog is often clever, with many funny exchanges. (Clanton: "I never figured you for a back-shooter, Ringo." Ringo: "I never figured you for any kind of shooter.") The guest actors are often criticized for their silly American accents, but I find them to be no more or less phony than the American accents I hear on British TV today; and silly accent or no, Anthony Jacobs makes a super-cool Doc Holliday.

Fans also often mock the sets in this production, but this strikes me as a strange criticism too, because they're good by the standards of 1960s Doctor Who. Indeed, I like period sets such as the interior of Holliday's dental practice much more than the bland white corridors featured in so many Doctor Who episodes.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alexa Chipman on May 2, 2011
Format: DVD
This was one of the first Doctor Who episodes I ever saw and it is non-stop comedy. The attempts at American accents are so bad they are side-splitting, and the running gag of The Doctor being mistaken as "Doc" and his indignation is fantastic. While many Doctor Who fans like to pretend this episode was never made, enjoy it for the campy goodness! This was an era when DW went back in time without having to drag in aliens and epic Earth-saving battles--it was a fun show for kids and those still child-light at heart.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By buckbooks on November 28, 2011
Format: DVD
It's easy to jeer at this early Doctor Who story set in the Wild West. Americans forget that shooting a western is easy only if you happen to live in the American West. Just drive a few miles out of almost any town in California, for instance, and you're there (this is why Hollywood is in California, not New Jersey). Guess where location shooting was done for most of the Have Gun Will Travel series: would you believe rural Oregon? But try shooting a western in London. You'll end up taping the whole thing inside a cramped TV studio.

"The Gunfighters" does a pretty amazing job pulling this off, with one caveat: The actors (all drawn from the U.K. and Canada) can't speak in a convincing western accent to save their lives. Many sound like cowboys from Australia. Peter Purves (Steven) is particularly bad in the dialect department, just as he was in the earlier Doctor Who story "The Chase," where he plays a hick American tourist visiting the Empire State Building. Other than problems with dialogue, though, "The Gunfighters" is a minor marvel from a production standpoint. The show's ratings were terrible, but that was because westerns from America had already filled the U.K.'s airwaves for years and British audiences were simply growing weary of them.

The story was shot in Ealing Studios and at BBC Television Centre 4 in Shepherd's Bush with a mind-boggling six cameras. Doctor Who was shot "live to tape" during this period, which meant cameras and actors had to move between sets as each episode was taped in near real time like a stage play (if an actor didn't have time to move to the next set before the next scene, the crew had to take a taping break).
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