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Doctor Who - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy [DVD] [1988]

Price: £7.15 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Doctor Who - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy [DVD] [1988] + Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] + Doctor Who: Ace Adventures - Dragonfire / The Happiness Patrol [DVD] [1987]
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Product details

  • Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 30 July 2012
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007Z10I5E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,784 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Although Ace hates clowns, the Doctor decides to take his companion to the Psychic Circus on the planet Segonax. There they find a group of scared performers who live in fear of the sinister and creepy Chief Clown.

But what is so dangerous about this particular circus, why is there such a small audience and will Ace be able to overcome her fear before it’s too late?

Special Features
• Commentary With actors Sophie Aldred (Ace), Jessica Martin (Mags) and Christopher Guard (Bellboy), writer Stephen Wyatt, script editor Andrew Cartmel and composer Mark Ayres. Moderated by Toby Hadoke.
• The Show Must Go On Cast and crew look back on the making of this story.
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Model Effects Unused model effects shots originally intended for the story.
• The Psychic Circus A music video set to a song written by Christopher Guard and featuring vocals by Christopher Guard, Jessica Martin and TP McKenna. Produced by Mark Ayres.
• ‘Remembrance’ Demo Two scenes from Remembrance of the Daleks re-scored by Mark Ayres.
• Tomorrow’s Times – The Seventh Doctor The on-going series looking at the press coverage of Doctor Who reaches the Sylvester McCoy era. Presented by Anneke Wills.
• Victoria Wood Doctor Who sketch from Victoria Wood – As Seen on TV.
• Radio Times listings (DVD-ROM)
• Programme Subtitles
• Production Information Subtitles
• Photo Gallery
• Coming Soon Trailer
• Digitally remastered picture and sound quality

The story was originally broadcast on BBC1 between 14th December 1988 – 4th January 1989.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bob Marlowe on 4 Sep 2012
Format: DVD
I'm not a huge fan of the stories script eidted by Andrew Cartmel becuase I don't think his approach could deliver within the budgets etc. of the time he was working on Who but when the stories came together ( Remembrance of the Daleks, Curse of Fenric and this), you can't deny something special resulted.
Following the teleportation into the Tardis of an advertisting robot(nice touch) the Dr and Ace go to see the Psychic Circus but soon discover that what with the lack of audience, death dealing bus conductor (played by Dean Hollingsworth also an android in Timelash)and strange family watching the shows, something evil lurks at the heart of it.
Sylvester is the dark Doctor here. Ace clearly doesn't want to go due to a fear of clowns but he insists and seems to revel a bit in the goings on. Great performance from Sylvester who is given a neat scene to reveal is skills form his earliest showbiz incarnation as a physical performer e.g escapology and magic tricks. (interestingly Cartmel reveals in the commentary that he wasn't in favour of the way it was done)
Ace's fear of clowns give something different for Sophie Aldred to do & it's good to see a chink in Ace's armour. Her best scenes are with Christopher Guard the 2 working really well together.
Great guest cast most notably Ian Reddington's Chief Clown who switches form an almost Stephen Fry demeanour to menacing very effectively, T P McKenna's bombastic explorer Captain Cook (revealed in the info titles to have been inspired by politician Lord Hailsham!) and Jessica Martin's Maggs. Watch also for Daniel Peacock's Nord and the stallslady played by Sitcom legend Peggy Mount!
Well directed and the tents, plus location filming all convince us the circus is real.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 6 Aug 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First aired in late 1988 - early 1989, this four parter finished season 25 of the classic series on a real high. Season 25 had been much better than season 24, with exciting new companion Ace and the writers having a better idea about the Seventh Doctor's character, and this serial was the apogee of that progression.

I was 12 when this first aired, and I can distinctly remember enjoying it immensely, hence upon viewing it again some years later I cannot help but see it through rose tinted specs and am going to find it hard to write an objective review.

In this adventure Seven and Ace are drawn to the mysterious `Psychic Circus' by a direct mail shot. The Doctor is aware that all is not as innocent as it seems, and pretty soon it is clear that something is very very wrong, with performers dying at a rapid rate in what seems like an extreme version of `Britain's Got Talent' (I wonder if Cowell had to pay the script writers for nicking their idea? Or if he has considered similar fates for contestants who fail to entertain?) What follows is an atmospheric run around with a grand finale that had me right on the edge of my seat.

What made this stand out was the sense of something different. The setting and characters were like nothing Who had done before. The chief clown in particular still haunts me, he is probably the most disturbing Who villain in the entire canon. And there is a dash of humour that is not only welcome, but really works, putting Sylvester McCoy's physical talents to good use for a change and not just the pointless pratfalling of his earlier episodes.

Rewatching this recently I found myself enjoying it every bit as much as I did way back then. The story, with its thrills, chills and high production values deserves 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By a.diaz on 27 July 2014
Format: DVD
Closing off the show's 25th anniversary season, this Stephen Wyatt scripted entry sees the Seventh Doctor and Ace investigate the odd-goings on at The Psychic Circus, a once great show now stuck on a dead end planet, where frankly, if you don't please 'them', you won't just get a boo-ing: you'll get obliterated.

Though the show may have been in its dying days; I think the team rose to the challenge. On top of our really solid double act in the cunningly-deceptive 7th and the spunky Ace, the story's setting allows for a lot of colorfully sinister imagery, be it the sinister yet eternally smiling head clown (who also sports a suit and hat, not unlike Nicholson Joker in Batman '89), or the unsettling ambience within the circus created by a strange trio who observe the acts. This is the production team at its finest, taking the limited budget and simple setting, and then crafting an often tense and creepy atmosphere.

Of course, this is then raises up the script which, much like the setting, is more than what it seems. What seems like another 'weird circus' story actually functions as a rather effective satire of what was going on at the time within the Beeb. In the same way the 'trio' get bored with performances and have run the circus into the ground, one can easily read this as the higher-ups treatment of Who over the years; for all the money it made, no one cared about it and wanted it gone, so they kept piling on more and more adversities, mainly budgetary. Mixed with that strong atmosphere, and you have a very engaging, as well as rather clever, serial that acts as a perfect swansong for the 25th anniversary season.
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