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M. S. Patterson (Morpeth)

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Doctor Who - The Five Doctors (25th Anniversary Edition) [1983] [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Five Doctors (25th Anniversary Edition) [1983] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Davison
Price: £5.98

17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Into the Death Zone, 6 Feb. 2008
The Five Doctors is one of those stories that either gets a right good slagging from fandom, or is fondly remembered as a nostalgic trip down memory lane with some old friends. I'm of the latter persuasion. It's far from perfect (very little `classic' Who was, lets be honest - the rat in `Talons of Weng Chiang', giant clams in `Genesis of the Daleks', etc), but it has a certain charm that is hard not to smile at.

Consider the huge difficulties this was made under. The original script writer (Robert Holmes) pulled out because he felt the `shopping list' of items he was given too great to contend with. Terrance Dicks stepped into the breach at short notice and finding that the shopping list would change with alarming regularity. Tom Baker's withdrawal from the project, and a constantly changing line up of guest companions being the major ones. Having to juggle filming schedules to accommodate those taking part. And yet it still ends up being good fun. The plot device is simple - each Doctor being taken out of time, resulting in the `current' Doctor (Peter Davison) returning to Gallifrey in an attempt to become whole again - but it has to be, in order to let each Doctor have a chance to shine. The First and Second Doctors finally get to meet the Master, Jon Pertwee tackles the Cybermen, which he never got the chance to do during his tenure, and Richard Hurndall does a more than passable imitation of the First Doctor, whilst injecting a little of his own interpretation as well.

By keeping the Doctors mostly separated during the narrative gives them a chance to individually shine. Some complain that Jon Pertwee's Doctor was arrogant and judgemental here - but being honest, that's what he was like a lot of the time during his tenure anyway. He still allows a lot of charm to shine through, particularly at the end. Pat Troughton, though, slips back into the role with ease, like he'd never been away. Add to that some crowd pleasing moments - a lone Dalek, troops of Cybermen, a surprise appearance by a Yeti, and an enjoyable Cyber-massacre sequence with the Raston Warrior Robot, plus Anthony Ainley's Master reining in his performance - and it all adds up to an entertaining 90 minutes.

There are some negatives - Sarah's fall down an all too obvious gentle incline is cringeworthy, as is Susan's trip over an insignificant clump of grass. Some of the special effects are primitive by today's standards, but the model shots of the dark tower are still quite impressive, all shrouded in mist and evocative. If you want spruced up effects, then watch the special edition, also contained here.

As with most classic Who releases, the extras are extensive, making this a good value package. The new series `complete season' releases could learn some lessons here - considering that so many people involved in the original series have passed away, the level of contributions and anecdotes they get for special features and documentaries is astounding.

Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2008 5:38 PM GMT

Doctor Who - Destiny of the Daleks [DVD] [1979]
Doctor Who - Destiny of the Daleks [DVD] [1979]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Price: £5.99

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, but by no means the worst, 18 Sept. 2007
I've always had a soft spot for Destiny. There, I said it. OK, it's not Genesis; Davros is, frankly, rubbish; the Daleks are mismatched and look tatty (and one is a distinctly odd shape compared to the rest of them, go on, have a look). But on the positive side, it's not Death to the Daleks either, which really was dire.

Ken Grieve's direction is well above average, shooting the metal meanies from low angles is a nice touch. The story is actually quite well structured, and even though subsequent appearances would demote the Daleks to henchmen of Davros (until Rememberance anyway), Skaro's finest are still the main focus of the story for the most part. Their voices are also particularly good here - Roy Skelton on good form.

The humour is a little jarring at times - I keep wondering how this would have panned out if it had been made 3 years earlier - but not as over the top as the rest of the season (or the previous one, for that matter). Lalla Ward's debut is assured and I'm not getting into a debate about the regeneration sequence like many fans.

New, young fans of the new series would probably enjoy this. In fact, even before the new series, I chose this (on crusty old VHS) as an adventure that my girlfriend's 7 (now 11) year old son might like. He did. Subsequently, my girlfriend has never forgiven me for corrupting him... mwa-ha-ha-ha!

One minor complaint - why reveal the Daleks at the end of the episode? As with so many stories titled 'something of the Daleks' it's a bit of a giveaway as to the threat contained. So just get on with it and show them!


Doctor Who - The Complete Series 3 Box Set [DVD] [2007]
Doctor Who - The Complete Series 3 Box Set [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Offered by Atronica
Price: £20.99

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best series yet?, 6 July 2007
OK, I'm biased - a huge Who fan, both old and new. The first series of the revival blew me away, the second I enjoyed but it had a bit of a 'difficult second album' feel to me. Some of the episodes were brilliant, whereas others misfired (Love and Monsters anyone)? However, with series three, I think the team have hit some dizzy new heights in terms of scope, particularly in the 'running theme' for this year. Bad Wolf was fairly clumsy plot device, Torchwood was obviously setting up said series, but this year - references to Mr Saxon didn't feel gratuitously shoe-horned in, it didn't occur every episode (as far as I noticed), and it set up the last 3 episodes nicely.

Stand-out episodes for me - Blink, Human Nature/Family of Blood, Utopia (purely for the last 10 minutes), The Sound of Drums (and particularly John Simm's performance), and 42. However, I enjoyed every episode this year, even the Dalek 2 parter, which I though took the metal monsters in a new-ish direction, but which other people hated. Come on, it wasn't that bad... Although I do think they should be rested next year (and I'm a self-confessed Dalek nut).

Since this revived series has recycled other forms of Who very successfully (Dalek and Rise of the Cybermen from audio adventures, Human Nature from Paul Cornell's 7th Doctor novel, heck, even Sally Sparrow from Blink was in the 2005 annual), how about a new series introduction to Davros, using the Big Finish audio range as inspiration?

Back on track - series 3 is the best yet, containing some fantastic stories, set pieces, performances, direction, special effects and concepts. But don't just take my word for it. After all, as I said at the start of this review, I'm biased...

Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963]
Doctor Who - The Movie [1996] [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ Paul McGann
Offered by somethinginmyeye
Price: £14.75

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great either, 27 May 2006
I admit to being very excited when this was first made - new Who after what seemed like an age of false starts, daft rumours and general disappointment. Unfortunately, what we got was a bit of a mixed bag, a half-British-half-American hybrid that set out to please everyone, but which was ultimately destined to never be.

The plot is a bit of a mess - the first half of the movie is fine, quite atmospheric in places and very nicely directed. Unfortunately it then becomes just another desparate race against time yarn that doesn't really deliver anything and with some plot holes you can fly a TARDIS through. However, the performances are generally good, Paul McGann is outstanding in the role and really deserved a better crack at the whip. Eric Roberts seems to divide fans as the Master, but I admit to liking him - somehow, his Master actually seems like a very dangerous person, rather than the slightly pantomime villain he was in the original series.

The production itself looks good, although I think I'm one of those few fans who doesn't really like the TARDIS interior in this show. I liked the wooden control room in the original series, but this one just seemed out of keeping. By making it so huge, the TARDIS actually seemed smaller as a result to me, and appeared to only consist of two rooms. I love the console, though - one thing they did get right. If only they had put roundels on the walls - it would have felt much more TARDIS-y.

All in all, a mixed bag. Entertaining enough, and a glimpse of what could have been if it had gone to a series. Then again, we probably wouldn't have got the series we've got now, and I for one am grateful for that.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 30, 2012 11:35 AM GMT

Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks [DVD] [1975]
Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks [DVD] [1975]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Price: £5.99

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better..., 9 May 2006
I vaguely remember seeing this when it was first shown (I would have been 4 or 5 - middle age has now firmly grabbed me and won't let go). On its repeat in the 1980's I watched it again and remember being slightly disappointed at the apparent lack of Dalek action... ah the fickleness of youth. This is a great story, well worthy of the 'classic' status bestowed upon it and possibly Terry Nation's finest script for the programme. Great performances from all concerned, tightly directed, and unusually for a six-parter, it doesn't really sag too much. Special mention for Michael Wisher playing Davros - could have been such an over the top performance, but instead is reigned in and played with a subtle menace. This is not the ranting Davros of later stories (although to be fair, Terry Molloy did do a great job in 'Revelation'), but an icy, quietly spoken (at times) figure who truly believes that what he is doing is right... great stuff.

I won't give away the plot, but recommend this for new fans converted by the new series. The extras or pretty good too, although I agree that the post - Genesis stories are sadly under-represented by 'The Dalek Tapes'.

All in all, well worth the money. Buy it, or I'll set my Dalek on you (yes, I own a full size Dalek... middle aged crisis).

Doctor Who - Death To The Daleks [1974] [VHS] [1963]
Doctor Who - Death To The Daleks [1974] [VHS] [1963]
Offered by stephensmith_426
Price: £15.90

12 of 62 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, just awful, 23 July 2004
Truly one of the worst Doctor Who stories (and probably the worst Dalek tale) ever. The Daleks are reduced to trundling around, screaming orders, with no hint of the deviousness that characterised their early appearances. The story isn't helped by the dreadful music from Carey Blyton either - woodwind instruments just do not say 'this is the deadliest race in the universe, flee for your lives' to me, I'm afraid.
It's said that the Daleks won't be in the new series because the BBC and Terry Nation's estate couldn't agree terms over their use. The Nation estate, apparently, want to 'protect the integrity of the brand'. Sorry, but on this evidence, the worst culprit for demeaning Skaro's finest was their very creator. Sad.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 28, 2015 8:32 AM GMT

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