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Doctor Who - Day of the Daleks [DVD] [1972]
Doctor Who - Day of the Daleks [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Offered by Springwood Media
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars !#@!!* of the Daleks, 11 Feb. 2012
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Quite an interesting concept behind this - guerillas from the future come back to the C20th to try and assassinate Sir Reginald Styles because they believe he is to blame for the Dalek occupation of Earth. This leads to a time paradox which the Doctor explains to the guerillas but which does your head in if you think about it too much.

Jon Pertwee's Doctor is great fun in this story - squatting in Styles' house for the night, scoffing his best cheese and wine, biking around the wastelands and denouncing the Earth controller of the future ("You, sir, are a quisling!")while scoffing his best food too.

The only things that let the story down are the Daleks. In their five years' absence since 1967, the BBC seems to have forgotten how to work them or voice them properly; they are squawky, unthreatening and mostly immobile. The Ogrons are there to act as the Daleks' big, hairy nursemaids, taking care of the rough stuff for them. When the 4-Dalek 'army' trundles across Styles' lawn, you half expect the Ogrons to be bringing up the rear with picnic hampers and a warm rug. It would take a few years (until Genesis of the Daleks, in 1975) before they recaptured their original air of menace.

For some, this let-down spoils the whole story, but I've still given it four stars because Pertwee carries it through, as always, on his broad, velvet-padded shoulders and makes every scene he is in thoroughly entertaining. Seems a shame, though, that the Controller gets exterminated. Couldn't he have run off to join the Resistance?


Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD]
Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Price: £5.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial Performance, 9 Feb. 2012
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Many Doctor Who fans over a certain age have an almost emotional attachment to this story, perhaps because it seems to evoke the Third Doctor's era so completely. It's one of those Doctor Who stories defined as much by its atmosphere as by its plot. Much of it is shot on location. Consequently, it has a distinctive 'feel' to it, especially for fans of Jon Pertwee, which makes a detailed analysis of the storyline seem to be rather missing the point.

By the end of Pertwee's second season, all the regular cast are interacting and sparking off each other very nicely. Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier is particularly good and Roger Delgado's characterisation of the Master also reaches a peak. Delgado and Pertwee are well-matched on screen via a chemistry between the two actors which, arguably, the series doesn't achieve again until John Simm squares off against David Tennant over 30 years later. Apart from that, Delgado really seems to be enjoying himself capering about maliciously in his vicar's robe and wizard cloak.

(Talking of cloaks - the one draped over the shoulders of Miss Hawthorne was, apparently, Margaret Rutherford's Miss Marple cloak- which Damaris Hayman borrowed from her for the occasion).

Almost all the Doctors have at least one story like this; a single adventure that showcases their era - and this is Pertwee's. A rural setting, a homicidal alien vicar summoning up demons and a village trapped inside a heat barrier! Miss Hawthorne was right, it was magic.


Winston Churchill The Wilderness Years [2005] [DVD]
Winston Churchill The Wilderness Years [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Hardy
Price: £10.26

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Hardy for PM!, 12 Aug. 2011
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After watching Albert Finney's tour de force as Churchill in 'The Gathering Storm' I didn't think I could accept another actor in the role but I reached back through the years to 1981 and a programme I only half-watched as a teenager. Robert Hardy is beyond brilliant in this - as another reviewer has mentioned - he totally absorbs himself in the part and hogs the limelight most of the time (which Churchill loved to do...and why not?!).

I understand the comment made in other reviews about the portrayal sometimes appearing overdone because Hardy doesn't seem to let up on the 'Churchillian style' for a moment - even when not orating in the Commons. From what I've read, however, this seems to be pretty much what he was like. It was part of what made him so different. (Finney plays it more or less the same way 20 years later, in an era when TV producers would probably be even more highly sensitive to accusations of parody). Churchill, by all accounts, was a complete one-off in his private behaviour as well as in public.

But a few extra words should go to some of the other performances here - most notably Peter Barkworth, Eric Porter and Edward Woodward. Barkworth's Baldwin is a close study of the man himself (he may have read the Middlemass biography as preparation)- avuncular and assured, seemingly relaxed but hiding an insecurity and apprehensiveness which keeps welling up. Porter's Neville Chamberlain and Woodward's Samuel Hoare are so good they actually steal most of the last hour of the series. The climactic build-up from Munich 1938 to war in 1939 is so well-conveyed that you find yourself wanting to reach through the TV screen and shake Chamberlain by the throat until he wakes up to the danger. The last confrontation between Chamberlain and Hoare on the eve of war, with Chamberlain confused and Hoare desperate, is brilliantly acted (I don't know if it actually happened, but it makes great TV!).

Overall, this is high quality stuff. Unlike many shorter modern productions (why are they all so short?), it treats you as a grown-up and assumes you don't just have the attention span of a hoodie. It bothers to give you the policy details, it bothers to have long, intense conversations, it bothers to develop fully-rounded characters and it doesn't try to fob you off with wildly-veering camera angles as a substitute for real drama.

If you love serious, involved historical drama - this will keep you happy for quite a few evenings!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2012 12:27 AM BST


Doctor Who: the Space Pirates
Doctor Who: the Space Pirates
by Frazier Hines
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carry on Clancy, 3 Aug. 2011
I've just finished listening to 'The Space Pirates' audio track for the first time and have changed my view of an adventure which I never took much notice of before. It's actually very good. It has a strong plot idea and is unusual for being rather more 'rough and ready' than many Troughton era adventures. You could probably put it in Jon Pertwee's era and, with a few tweaks, it wouldn't look out of place.

The acting honours are divided equally here between Patrick Troughton (of course) and Gordon Gostelow. Some people, I think, didn't appreciate the Milo Clancy character. I think he's superb! A lot of my regret at the BBC's destruction of the rest of the episodes is not being able to watch more of Gostelow in action. Making him a space-age equivalent of an old Wild West frontiersman was a touch of whimsical creativity by Robert Holmes and he brightens up what otherwise would be a rather hard-edged and sombre storyline.

So -a seriously good story and well worth buying.


Doctor Who - The Dominators [DVD] [1968]
Doctor Who - The Dominators [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Patrick Troughton
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Kick up the Quarks, 31 July 2011
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As other reviewers have said, this is not a 'classic' adventure but any survival from the Troughton days is a gem by definition....and this one is fun in its own humble little way. The Quarks are cute and they blow to bits very nicely. Troughton is in fine 'dotty uncle' mode.

The Dulcians live up to the first half of their name - unfortunately. The Dominators are more entertaining since they spend most of their time shouting at each other. Poor old Probationer Toba seems to be right most of the time. He wanted to shoot everyone on the planet as soon as they landed (which would have been a mercy, at least, for intergalactic fashion sense). But he was always getting told off by his boss. As each Quark gets knocked off, poor old Toba has to grit his teeth and pretend it hasn't happened. Am I the only one who felt a bit sorry for him? Probably.

There's an endearing touch of 'Play School' about the costumes, acting and plot in this story. This is underlined by the presence of the great Brian Cant, who gives a rather tactless speech about universal love and harmony until the poor Dominators can't take it anymore and throw him through......the round window.


Doctor Who: Logopolis [DVD] [1981]
Doctor Who: Logopolis [DVD] [1981]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £15.98

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lego-opolis, 30 May 2011
Bit of a damp squib, really, worth buying only because it's a regeneration story. Much of the dialogue (and a significant amount of the acting) in this story is wooden and the sets for Logopolis look as if they've been constructed from egg boxes and lego. With the exception of part 1, which is quite good at times, there is little tension and no very gripping action. 'Aunt Vanessa' was a promising, feisty character in the Jackie Tyler mould but, sadly, she cops it very quickly. Deprived of any strong acting support, Tom Baker wanders through the rest of the story looking very bored. Building a doctor's final story around mathematical calculations was probably not a good idea and helped to ensure that 'Logopolis' comes nowhere near the dramatic quality of Peter Davison's 1984 swansong 'Caves of Androzani'.


The Changeling [DVD]
The Changeling [DVD]
Dvd ~ George C. Scott
Price: £5.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My Father! My Room!", 30 May 2011
This review is from: The Changeling [DVD] (DVD)
If you like the focus to be on 'atmosphere', this often-overlooked ghost film will mesmerise you. Its secret is probably the music score, which is remarkably memorable and creepy. All the standard ingredients are present - haunted house, hidden attic, seance, ghost-seeking-revenge - but it's the accompanying soundtrack that raises them above the ordinary. The director focuses on the plot and plays on latent fears of the 'darkness upstairs'. He doesn't try to buy audiences off with ripped-off limbs, torture chambers or sex scenes and there is no light relief of any kind. There are some notably chilling scenes (when the murdered child's cobweb-covered wheelchair suddenly appears from out of the dark at the top of the stairs and when the sleepwalking girl sees the ghost of the drowned boy floating under her floorboards). George C.Scott is great to watch (of course) as he struggles to come to terms with the recent deaths of his wife and daughter while simultaneously trying to pacify the homicidal anger of a phantom six year-old boy. Kick back on the sofa, turn off the lights and enjoy...and see how long it takes you to get the music out of your head afterwards!


Doctor Who - Planet of the Spiders [DVD] [1974]
Doctor Who - Planet of the Spiders [DVD] [1974]
Dvd ~ Jon Pertwee
Price: £6.50

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Cheers For the Eight-Legs, 5 May 2011
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This last Pertwee story has many strengths - Lupton (John Dearth) and Tommy (John Kane)take the acting honours, while Cho-Je (Kevin Lindsey) is downright cuddly.The chase scene in Episode 2 is fun (do we really care if it doesn't advance the plot?) and Dudley Simpson's incidental music bounces along nicely. But there are some real disappointments. My heart always sank when the inhabitants of an alien planet turned out to be tunic, skirt or curtain-wearing yokels with west country accents. The inhabitants of Metebelis 3 are among the worst and their 'village' scenes have the feel of a church hall amateur production. The special effects are generally poor (especially the cave of the Great One). You would have thought they would have pulled all the stops out for the last outing of a great doctor. They managed really ethereal, wacky effects for the cave in 'The Mutants'(1972) but the Great One's cave is a real let-down. So is the whole regeneration, which seems hastily tacked onto the end of episode 6 and is...well...less than gripping. Pertwee's dynamic doctor seems too muted in this story, restricted in his final episodes by down-beat dialogue and cramped studio sets. He should have gone out in action, not in traction.


Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks, The Colin Baker Years 1984 - 86 [DVD]
Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks, The Colin Baker Years 1984 - 86 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Colin Baker
Price: £6.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Davros Undead, 18 Feb. 2011
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Not being a fan of this 'troubled' period of the series (there was a reason it was 'troubled' - it wasn't very good!),I only bought this DVD to have samples of every doctor's era. But there's no denying 'Revelation' is a cut above the mid-1980s norm.

Mixing Daleks with a palm-bedecked funeral parlour, a camp, egotistical funeral director and his vicious, lovelorn assistant gives it a 'Rocky Horror' feel which definitely works. The weirdness has an 'atmosphere' (without which, any story sinks without trace)and carries the plot along. Alexei Sayle's DJ irritated me at the time. Watching it again, it seems right that he's there. The snow helps...and so does a quality cast, which you certainly have here. The transparent Dalek scene was nasty and genuinely scary.

This is one of the few stories where the standard 'chimp discovers synthesiser' soundtrack which replaced Dudley Simpson actually fits in. By 1985, the number of truly memorable Doctor Who stories remaining could be counted on the fingers of one hand - Revelation of the Daleks has to be one of them.


Doctor Who - The Tomb Of The Cybermen [1967] [DVD] [1963]
Doctor Who - The Tomb Of The Cybermen [1967] [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ Patrick Troughton
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £15.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Troughton Masterclass, 18 Feb. 2011
Odd that many in Doctor Who fandom claim that this 'lost story' was a disappointment when finally rediscovered in the 1990s because it didn't live up to its 'classic' status. Says who? I missed it first time around but enjoyed every minute of it when it was re-released. Episode 1 is spooky and the dialogue and plot are thoughtfully constructed. The 'tomb' scene in Episode 2 is a work of dramatic art. Patrick Troughton absolutely sparkles as the Doctor, still retaining the air of mystery he cultivated early in his era and lost a little toward the end. Quite a few later doctors cite Troughton as their all-time favourite doctor. Watching him in 'Tomb' you can understand why. Ok, some of the supporting cast are a bit lame, but that's hardly unusual. If 'Tomb' isn't a classic, you can forget almost all the 1980s and some of the later 1970s stories as well.


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