The Gunfighters


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The Gunfighters

Serial Code


First Transmitted

30 April 1966

Final Ratings







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Regular Cast

William Hartnell (Dr Who), Peter Purves (Steven Taylor), Jackie Lane (Dodo Chaplet)

Guest Cast

William Hurndall (Ike Clanton), Maurice Good (Phineas Clanton), David Cole (Billy Clanton), Sheena Marshe (Kate), Shane Rimmer (Seth Harper), David Graham (Charlie), John Alderson (Wyatt Earp), Anthony Jacobs (Doc. Holliday), Richard Beale (Bat Masterson), Reed de Rouen (Pa Clanton), Laurence Payne (Johnny Ringo), Martyn Huntley (Warren Earp), Victor Carin (Virgil Earp.)


Written by Donald Cotton
Directed by Rex Tucker*
Produced by Innes Lloyd


The Doctor has a toothache, so when the TARDIS materialises in 1881 Tombstone, Arizona, his first priority is to find a dentist. But the dentist turns out to be the infamous Doc Holliday, on the run from the Clanton brothers and their hired gunman, Johnny Ringo.

The Doctor, Steven and Dodo must ally themselves with Holliday and sheriff Wyatt Earp against the Clantons, or else they, too, will be singing The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon.


  • This story had the working titles, The Gun-Fighters and The Gunslingers.
  • Thunderbirds voice artistes David ‘Brains’ Graham and Shane ‘Scott Tracy’ Rimmer appear as Charlie the barman and Seth Harper respectively. Graham had also provided Dalek voices for a number of earlier Doctor Who stories.
  • The caption at the end of the final episode reads Next Episode: Dr. Who and the Savages. The Gunfighters was the last story to have individual episode titles.
  • Patrick Troughton was one of the actors considered for the role of Johnny Ringo.
  • The serial features an original song, “The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon”, the last time an original song would be commissioned for the series until “Song for Ten” in The Christmas Invasion.”Ballad” is performed off-screen by Lynda Baron, who years later would appear in the serial Enlightenment.
  • Episode 1 carries the title “A Holiday for The Doctor “, the first and only episode of the original series to incorporate the “correct” name of the Doctor (as opposed to an episode of The Chase called “The Death of Doctor Who” and the 1970 serial Doctor Who and the Silurians, both of which used the technically incorrect “Doctor Who”). The only other televised episodes (to date) to include the name”The Doctor ” in an episode title were the 2005 episode The Doctor Dances, the 2008 episode The Doctor’s Daughter, and the 2010 episode Vincent and the Doctor.
  • This was the first full and only serial to take place completely within the united States. It would be 30 years until another US-set story was filmed as the The TV Movie and the next regular episode to be set within the US wouldn’t air until Dalek in 2005.
    Contains an example of the “Doctor Who?” running joke – When introducing himself and his companions to Bat Masterson, The Doctor creates aliases for the group, and says of himself, “And lastly, sir, your humble servant, Doctor, er, Caligari.” Masterson, confused, asks, “Doctor who?” to which The Doctor responds, “Yes, quite right.”
  • Order the 1st Doctor Box Set via the BBC Page
  • * Rex Tucker was uncredited for episode four, reasons unknown
  • On DVD as Earth Story from 2 Entertainment – the Earth Story DVD page is here
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