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E. Randy Dupre "ERandy"

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Full Fathom Five (Doctor Who: Unbound)
Full Fathom Five (Doctor Who: Unbound)
by David Bishop
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Blatantly not originally a part of the Unbound range., 7 Jan. 2014
I guess one of the problems you face when commissioning a series of "what if?" stories is ensuring that they deviate from the canon in the right way. The Unbound series is largely hit and miss in this regard - while some of the stories genuinely do have the feel of an alternate take on Who, others only have a loose connection with it.

Full Fathom Five falls into the latter camp. It has so little to do with Doctor Who in any shape or form that its inclusion within the Unbound range sticks out like a sore thumb. This Doctor has absolutely none of the character traits, personality or moral compass of the character in any of his other incarnations. In fact, the only part of the story that makes him be the Doctor is the inclusion of his (inactive, pointless) Tardis.

The inevitable conclusion is that Bishop had this story banging around his head already and simply decided to call his main character the Doctor when Big Finish came knocking.

As a drama in itself, it's entertaining enough - an underwater Frankenstein story that includes an element of the old "if you could go back in time and kill Hitler before he had the chance to do any damage, would you?" chestnut. It has horrific moments, it has tender moments and it has an element of tension in the telling (thanks, largely, to the gimmick of having the narrative jump backwards and forwards in time every other chapter).

It has little point, though. As it reaches the end, the actions of the main character - our supposed Doctor - become ever more extreme and ever more absurd, utterly destroying any kind of meaning that the tale might have had by slapping you around the face with it.

It's a passable way to waste an hour, but it's got absolutely nothing to do with Doctor Who, "what if?" tale or otherwise.

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin: Complete Box Set [DVD] [1976]
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin: Complete Box Set [DVD] [1976]
Dvd ~ Leonard Rossiter
Price: £14.99

74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great series, slightly shoddy DVDs, 27 July 2009
Episode 5 of series 1 has been cut.

This is baffling. Two cuts of about fifteen seconds total. Two jokes cut short, two scenes ruined. Why? It's not as if they were even the slightly outdated jokes - just the one where Reggie says "shush" to an owl when he's trying to sleep in the van, then the one where CJ dismisses the "crank" note, before changing his mind and taking it more seriously.

It's like the bad old days of movies on TV, where stations cut for time. Only, it doesn't even make that amount of sense. This episode was complete and uncut on the old VHS release, so why isn't that the case here?

As far as the rest of the collection goes, it's good enough. The first series is quite possibly the single greatest - and most subversive - sitcom ever to be broadcast on BBC1. The second series drops the ball a little as far as focus, pacing and purpose go, but it's still better than pretty much any of its contemporaries.

The third... well, the third's very much of its time. The jokes still work, Rossiter's performance is still magnetic and winning, but the basic concept behind it has aged badly and is unlikely to have any real relevance to modern viewers' lives.

The 1990s', post-Rossiter series, The Legacy of Reginald Perrin, is awful, and the perfect demonstration of just how brilliant a performer the show's deceased star was: it's obvious from the first moments of the first episode of Legacy that Rossiter was previously the glue holding the entire thing together, his performance the one thing that lifted it above predictable, dull, cheap catchphrase comedy and made the show something special. Without his presence, it fails dismally.

The addition of the related Comedy Connections show and the Christmas sketch is welcome, but the BBC are missing the ball by failing to provide on their DVD releases the kind of extras that classic movie DVDs have enjoyed for some time, commentaries being the main one.

At the time of writing, this is listed at under £20. It's a bit of a bargain for that price and if you haven't seen the show before, I can't recommend it enough. However, the fact remains that the first series is the true classic here, and on this boxset, for whatever reason, it *isn't* truly complete.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 6, 2015 2:49 PM BST

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