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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Surprise on Varos
Surprisingly dark, yet fantastic at the same time, who knew a Colin Baker story could be so good?

Actually, I'd been at a loss for a while. I'd been getting what was generally considered the best story (or best two) from each Doctor, on DVD, but I was stuck at one for Colin Baker. No one could settle on one they liked, until a while later I kept hearing...
Published 19 months ago by Edgar Duncan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars decent dvd
The storyline is ok, the special effects are very good for the time and budget and the casting is very good. However the special features on this dvd are very poor. The audio commentary for this story is possible the best feature of this dvd. value for money is good.
Published 7 months ago by joshuaconnor


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Surprise on Varos, 7 Mar 2013
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Surprisingly dark, yet fantastic at the same time, who knew a Colin Baker story could be so good?

Actually, I'd been at a loss for a while. I'd been getting what was generally considered the best story (or best two) from each Doctor, on DVD, but I was stuck at one for Colin Baker. No one could settle on one they liked, until a while later I kept hearing 'Vengeance on Varos' was a good one to watch. So, I finally picked it up and I personally say it's up there with all the other greats.

Colin Baker's Doctor isn't dislikable in this story (for once), and instead is relatable and helps out, even given the dire situation. One of the things I loved about this story was that it was so strong without the Doctor and Peri even needing to land on the planet of Varos, but when they came in, they pulled it in a new direction, saving the life of someone who was going to have their execution broadcast to the world... purely for entertainment. In fact, this premise is somewhat relevant to modern audiences, with the height of reality TV and what does count for entertainment on talent shows, it strangely portrays a twisted version of society, as well as some political corruptness.

I was pleasantly surprised by this story.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing., 10 Aug 2013
Colin Baker was a massively underrated and over criticised Doctor. Yes some of the episodes were violent, but people need to get over that.

This is a really strong story, with a good script, good direction and really good acting from Baker and Nabil Shaban as Sil. The scenes set in the Punishment Dome are scary and hilariously psychedelic.

The special features are also really good, the "making of" documentary is very insightful and really shows the writer's intention for the story. Some of the other features, like Baker and Nicola Bryant (sporting her STUPID American accent) being interviewed on swapshop only to be phoned by The Master, are very entertaining.

This DVD is well worth the money and is a definite purchase for any fan of Doctor Who.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DOCTOR WHO AT IT'S BEST!, 25 July 2013
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To anyone who thinks Colin baker (doctor no.6 ) is one of the worst doctor's in the programmes history needs a swift kick up the backside as this story proves without a shadow of a doubt how wrong that comment may be as this story boosts a strong performance from all concerned and especially from Colin baker , Nicola Bryant , Martin Jarvis and the rest but mostly this story is about violence on TV and how we react to it and for the people on Varos this is the only form of enjoyment they have which is not too different from what we watch today and at the time was criticised for being too violent and the doctor being too violent...RUBBISH I say just enjoy it for the great storytelling , brilliant performances and the great production values....vengeance will be yours if you buy this great DOCTOR WHO STORY!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I consider this relevant today story with a look at how far TV audience's are willing to go to be entertained, 17 Oct 2013
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Mr. Thomas Grant (UK) - See all my reviews
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Firstly am a massive Tom Baker fan, who has also enjoyed, even some Pat Troughton, Pertwee and Even Davidson stories, but somehow I felt Colin Baker, if given more chances to input his own stamp on his doctor, could've been up there with Tom, why?, well when a great script is there, potential starts to shine.

I think Philip Martin's script and ideas are possibly the best input from Season 22 and the best since the wonderful Robert Holmes "The Caves Of Androzani" of Season 21. It takes something from the modern day society, (i.e. addiction to reality TV), audience's participation and what level the viewer is willing to go to in order to be entertained. Your left with how far you would go and if you take it away, what does one do.

In this story, yes there's violence, but its not instigated by the doctor, in fact he's trying to stop it and change people perceptions towards their actions and the cruelty of it all. What I find is this story really shines for Colin Baker as the doctor, he takes charge, plays the doctor with style and panache, with a twist of humour.....Colin is strong in this story and its probably his best performance as the doctor is this season, (apart from the early tardis scenes, stop making him narky), John Nathan Turner attribute me thinks here to fill scenes, as Colin has since said he wanted the doctor to be unpredictable, but also to love the companionship with Peri, which we do see in Season 23, Colin will get his wish. However I do find his doctor in this story very fixating, even in that loud outfit, shame more of him taking charge more like this didn't happen sooner.

Nabil Shaban as the wonderful Sil makes a memorial new enemy, wish we'd had more of him then just the Mindwarp episode in Season 23, plus even the dark cliffhanger like at the end of Part One is cool, like is the doctor really dead?, this modern structure, the 45 minute episodes and focusing on Colin being the central character etc, etc all work in my eyes and making him be the strong lead, works perfectly, I know others may say Revelation or Attack are better stories, but I disagree, for me it is about the doctor first and foremost and for me, this is a better performance from Colin and more the doctor we see in the next season 23 and shows he can get the viewers attention as a lead actor. He just needs a good story to get his teeth into and boom we are off running.

Watching this am starting to hate the slating Colin recieves as the doctor, I believe viewing this again he has been badly underated, if the show had more episodes like this in the 80's, then maybe the viewing figures would have stayed between 7-8 million which was more then the shows 4 million by mid the Sylvester McCoy era and dropping, I say shame on you BBC for sacking a talented actor and not investing in more thought provoking scripts and better effects, maybe Colin would have been the doctor for a longer time and been around as long the brilliant Tom Baker was.

Anyway, I love this story and Colin, that's coming from a Tom Baker fan, hope you enjoy it too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice or Nasty? - The Doctor and Peri on Varos with Sil, 18 Sep 2014
This review is for my best friend from school Stephen who is a fan of this story.

"One of my best, you will love it!...Great news though! This one has extra features! Even more of me!", Colin Baker, `The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot'

This is a 2 by 45 minutes episode story on a 2-disc special edition DVD, with Disc 1 containing the story and Disc 2 containing special features.

`Vengeance on Varos' is a story from Colin Baker's first season of `Doctor Who' in 1985. This is an extraordinarily grim and thrilling adventure in the history of the show, as it depicts a society that's pretty violent with its game shows and reality TV and reflects how society is depicted between the state and the media. I enjoyed watching this story when I saw it on DVD. I gave a copy of this story to my best friend from school as a present for Christmas, and I'm very pleased I did since he enjoyed it so much and considers it one of his favourites. He especially loves the atmosphere of the story and loves Sil and his foul laugh whenever he appears on the screen.

The story has the Doctor and Peri travelling in the TARDIS until they stall in space. With the Doctor depressed by this, Peri tries to brighten his spirits by taking a look in the TARDIS manual. They soon make their way to the planet Varos whether they hope to get some Zeiton-7 to refuel the TARDIS. However when the Doctor and Peri arrive there, they discover the planet Varos under a tyrannical state of video violence and are soon on the run by military guards shooting at them. Whilst on the planet, a reluctant governor is making dodgy trade dealings with a grotesque alien called Sil from Thoros Beta. Can the Doctor and Peri survive this adventure unscathed and restore the planet to a state of peace and remove the violence?

This story was written by Phillip Martin, who is a well-known writer for `Play For Today' and the political thriller series `Gangsters'. This is his first and bold attempt to write a `Doctor Who' story and he does a pretty good job in depicting a society that's sadistic in its morals and is on the verge of out of control video violence. When depicting the violence on the TV screens, the audience take it quite casually at home which is shocking as they act like they're watching a dangerous reality version of Big Brother. Some of the story is pretty gruesome and hard to believe that it was shown in 1985, especially the acid bath sequence. A story like this wouldn't be made like that today. But it's a compelling story that looks into how humanity is perceived in a darker setting and how important it is to redeem ourselves when the worst aspects are out in the open.

I enjoyed watching Colin Baker's Doctor in this story. I have some sympathy for Colin as he's a really good actor and does a very interesting interpretation of the character and wasn't given a fair crack of the whip during his time on the series. Colin manages to find his feet as the Doctor in this one. This is still the volatile and abrasive Sixth Doctor that started from 'The Twin Dilemma' and 'Attack of the Cybermen'. He's still bickering with Peri and seems to take an amoral view on things in life. I like that moment in the acid bath sequence when the Doctor looks down on the two dying guards who attacked, and casually puts his multi-coloured coat back on and says to them, "Mind if I don't join you." I think it's fair to say this is not an adventure where the Sixth Doctor is entirely nice and friendly throughout. But he displays concern for the condition of Varos and is pretty opposed to their violent ways despite being slightly violent himself. I've met Colin five times now at conventions and enjoy sharing the things I like about his adventures. I hope to share with Colin what I think about this story.

Nicola Bryant is sexy as ever as Peri in this story, in glamorous costume and all that. I've had the pleasure of meeting Nicola recently at a convention in Weston-super-Mare with Colin. I enjoyed chatting to Nicola, although I must admit I was in awe when I first saw her. But we got on well afterwards. I enjoyed watching Peri in this story. Her scenes with the Doctor in the TARDIS seem like they don't like each other very much. But they do like each other and seem to care about each other very much, almost like a husband and wife scenario. I like it when Peri shows some sympathy towards the Governor when he's about to be `voted' and how she receives some concern and attention from him. Peri gets transformed into a bird-creature which was quite a shock and surprise when I saw it.

The story's villain is the slug-like Sil, a Mentor from the planet Thoros-Beta (played by Nabil Shaban). I really enjoyed Nabil's performance as Sil, making him so grotesque, horrible and funny all at the same time. Nabil is a disabled actor in real life and does an amazing performance as this vile creature. My best mate from school loves Sil. We both like it when he does that guttural laugh which only he can do, and those amusing hand movements whenever he gets angry. Sil became a popular character from this story that he would return again to `Doctor Who' in 'The Trial Of A Time Lord' (`Mindwarp' segement); and also in some Big Finish audios including the lost story 'Mission to Magnus' and 'Antidote to Oblivion'.

The rest of the guest cast are really good, including Martin Jarvis as the Governor (who's appeared in `Doctor Who' before in `The Web Planet' and `Invasion of the Dinosaurs' and did the voice of God for the Audio Bible). There's also the couple watching TV at home - Arak and Etta (Stephen Yardley and Sheila Reid). Sheila would later play Clara's gran in `The Time of the Doctor'. I enjoyed watching these two, as they're not involved in a major part of the story, but are viewers watching events unfold with all the various torture and executions taking place and seeing the Doctor and Peri friends on the run. I like that last scene at the end of the story when they don't know what to do, not there's no more violent telly. Also there's Jason Connery (Sean Connery's son apparently) who plays Jonda in the story and gets to show his naked torso when being tortured at the beginning of the story.

`Vengeance on Varos' became a story of much debate as it was criticised by the public as being too violent. Certainly the acid bath scene and torture scenes prove that to be the case. In fact many stories of Season 22 (Colin Baker's first season) were debated for its violent content. This became one of the contributing factors for Michael Grade and Jonathan Powell from the top levels of the BBC to make the decision of `resting' the show for 18 months. It's a shame really since this story is accused for violent content as it's quite a gripping story and does pretty well in depicting how important it is to oppose embracing the violence from the point of view from the Doctor and Peri. It's a shame `Vengeance on Varos' is overlooked in that respect, as it comes across as a pretty good piece of television drama.

This story was originally released in 2001 with very few special features. But in 2012, the story was restored to full brilliance and was repackaged and released with a brand-new special edition DVD containing new additional features.

On Disc 1, there's an audio commentary on the story with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Nabil Shaban. There's also an isolated music score track by Jonathan Gibbs to watch during the story; as well an mono production audio option and a 5.1 surround sound mix audio option. There's also an info-text commentary option to watch during the story

On Disc 2, there's a brand new making-of documentary on `Vengeance on Varos' presented by writer Matthew Sweet and features interviews with Nabil Shaban; Sheila Reid; writer Phillip Martin; script editor Eric Saward and music composer Jonathan Gibbs. There `The Idiot's Lantern' where Samira Ahmed discusses the way `Doctor Who' uses television in stories such as this one and `Bad Wolf'/'The Parting of the Ways' with Christopher Eccelston's Doctor. There are also some extended and deleted scenes cut out from the story before transmission. There's a remake of the `Acid Bath Scene with Alternative Music'. There's some `behind the scenes' footage containing a look into how the story was made; plus some `outtakes' from the making of the story. There are also some `trailers' for both episodes of this story when they were shown in 1985. There's also some `continuity' announcements from the story's original transmission.

The highlight of this DVD for me is an episode of the continuing series of `Tomorrow's Times - The Sixth Doctor', where it tells the story of the Colin Baker years of `Doctor Who' through the newspapers. This was special as it's presented by Sarah Sutton (who plays Nyssa in `Doctor Who', my favourite companion). Watching Sarah as newsreader was a real treat, and I enjoyed how Sarah tells the story of the Colin Baker years from the newspapers. It starts off pretty well in jovial humorous tones with Colin's happy start in the series, before going into sombre sad moods with Colin's unhappy experience with the `trial' season and getting sack. Sarah put a lot of emotion when she told this story of Colin's departure that I really felt and hung onto. I had no idea Colin lost one of his son's during his time on `Doctor Who'. Sarah is exceptionally brilliant newsreader and I enjoyed her a lot in this special feature.

There's also a BBC News report on Colin Baker's casting in `Doctor Who'. There's a `Breakfast Time' interview with Colin by Frank Bough. There's also the full `Saturday Superstore' interview with Colin and Nicola and a guest appearance from the Master during one of the phone calls. There's also a `French and Saunders' comedy sketch using sets from `The Trial of a Time Lord' and Dawn and Jennifer dress up as Silurians that I cringed while watching. There's also a photo gallery for this story; PDF materials including Radio Times Listings and a `coming soon' trailer for the next DVD release which is `The Ambassadors of Death' with Jon Pertwee's Doctor.

I enjoyed `Vengeance on Varos' as a story and in terms of production. I'm very pleased 2Entertain have done a grand job in re-mastering the story and released it with a brand new 2-disc special edition DVD that's impressive than the original DVD in 2001. I'm glad Sarah Sutton presents the `Tomorrow Times - The Sixth Doctor' feature. But for the story, it's a good one with Colin's Doctor and Nicola's Peri and features a brilliantly funny and vile performance from Nabil Shaban as Sil. I'm sure you'll enjoy this. Just make sure you don't fall into any acid baths. That could be fatal.

The next story with the Doctor and Peri is 'Grave Matter'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who Pushes It's Boundaries & Delivers A Disturbing Adventure, 17 Jan 2014
By 
Timelord007 (The Tardis) - See all my reviews
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Positive.
1)Colin Baker showcases a great range of emotions to his portrayal of the Sixth Doctor in this story & delivers a great performance.
2)Nabil Shaban gives an excellent performance as Sil vile & disturbing a great villian who returned in the Trial Of A Timelord story Mindwarp.
3)Great script by Phillip Martin debating reality tv in the 80's was way ahead of it's time & now half of the tv programmes on telly are reality tv.

Negative.
Criticism was thrown unfairly at this story for it's violent content, Personally I thought it shook up Doctor Who which is part of the show's appeal.

Dvd Info.
Running time 89 minutes,Commentaries,Making of,Coming soon trailer,Photo Gallery & much more.

Trivia.
1)Jason Connery is the son of James Bond actor Sean Connery & Jason took over the role from Michael Praed in series 3 of Robin Of Sherwood.
2)Sheila Read has recently appeared in Clara's Gran in Time Of The Doctor but is best known as scooter driving Madge in Benidorm.
3)Steven Yardly appeared in Genesis Of The Daleks as Servin.
4)Owen Teale appered in Torchwood episode Countrycide & appeared in Big Finish audio adventure The Mind's Eye as Hayton.
5)Martin Jarvis has appeared in Doctor Who 3 other times, The Web Planet, Invasion Of The Dinosaurs & Big Finish audio Jubilee.
6)The acid bath scene caused uproar with Mary Whitehouse & her viewer's & listeners association, Never mind.
7)Sil has appeared in two Big Finish audio adventures Mission To Magnus & Antidote To Oblivion both written by Philip Martin.

Review.
The Tardis is malfunctioning it's stopped producing orbital energy & needs a power source named Zeiton-7 ore a rare & powerful mineral found only on the planet Varos.

The Tardis arrives on Varos a formal penal colony were The Sixth Doctor & Peri discover that violence & death are being broadcast to entertain the resident's on the planet Varos whom vote on the outcome.

The Doctor & Peri are deemed rebels & find out that Sil a evil delegate from the Galatron corporation is intent on ruling Varos by having Varo's inhabitants vote to have the Governor executed live on tv & he can then control the mining rights of Zeiton-7 ore, The only power source that can fuel the Tardis.

Can the Doctor bring order to the chaos on the planet Varos & obtain the vital Zeiton-7 ore to power his Tardis or will he become the latest casualty of Varo's violent reality tv?

Timelord Thoughts.

Season 22 has taken a lot of scrutiny over the year's for it being the most violent of Doctor Who season's.

I disagree with that statement as I find season 22 pushes the boundaries of Doctor Who & with a new Doctor comes a change of tone to the show as that's what Doctor Who is supposedly to be about is change.

This story is way ahead of it's time as when first transmitted in 1985 we hardly ever had reality tv barring opportunity Knocks or New Faces, Now you can't change a channel without some reality show being shown on the telly.

This story is excellent written by Phillip Martin as it delivers great performances by most of the cast(Jason Connery is the weak link as Jondar).

Colin Baker gives one of his best performances as the Doctor here a darker & sombre tone far removed from Peter Davison's boyish charming performances.

The story doesn't pull it's punches & showcases the attempts to overthrow the Governor by Sil a great villian played superbly by Nabil Shaban who delivers a vile & creepy performance yet makes the character have a certain charm to him.

This story came under fire especially the acid bath sequence by Mary Whitehouse & her happy bunch of viewer's & listener's, But Doctor Who is all about change & when Colin Baker took over from Peter Davison the tone of the shows dramatic changed as it should do.

This story would've benefited from some location filming as it's a complete studio recording that makes it feel confined but this is a minor gripe to what is otherwise a excellent Doctor Who adventure.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, 6 Jun 2003
By 
J. A. Eyers "jaeyers" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Watching this DVD, it's difficult to see why the series was in such trouble in the mid-1980s. This is not only great "Doctor Who", it's great television fullstop. A two-part (from the brief era in which the series had 45 minute episodes) stroy, it sees the flummoxed sixth Doctor discover the TARDIS needs more fuel, get embroiled in a political revolution on a mining planet, then watch the long-suffering Peri get turned into a birdwoman by a dastardly torture device.
The story really works in the 45 minute time slot. Scenes are allowed to be played out to their full potential and characters are allowed to shine. Though ultimately shorter than most of the 4x25 minute episode stories, there feels like there's more to it. A couple of characters serve only to reflect the feelings of a populace kept in line by televised punishments and never become part of the main storyline, and you just get the impression these would have been cut right out of a traditional length episode, which were always about leading up to the next cliffhanger. In this story, the plot is allowed to develop without needing to get the Doctor into dire straits every 20 minutes.
Villain of the piece, Sil, has been described as a love or hate character, and this is possibly true. I found his irate tongue flappings very entertaining. He comes across as the illegitimate child of Jabba the Hutt and Gollum from "Lord Of The Rings".
True star of the show, however, is the much underrated Colin Baker. People found his Doctor grumpy and dislikeable, but in this story he's courageous, witty and a little scatterbrained. He really does seem to care about poor old Peri, too. Incidentally, in an extended scene on the DVD (there are over ten minutes of cut material) he's shown to have a blazing row with Peri, which makes it look like they hate each other. I'm glad it was cut.
Whilst this story was a comment on the power of the media as a tool of an oppressive regime, I did wonder whilst watching it how Tony Blair and co would respond to a little Varosian democracy - the governor is tortured live on TV whenever the people reject his plans...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars V-Factor, 9 July 2014
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This ought to be a Doctor Who classic. It has a classic plot, classic script, classic villain and some superb acting. It just doesn't quite reach the mark however, perhaps if the acid bath scene had been handled better or some of the supporting actors gave better performances, it might be regarded better. As it is however, it is still one of Colin's best.

Plot: This is satire and very good satire at that. It hasn't dated and in fact some elements of it are more relevant today than at the time it was broadcast. In particular the voting aspect can be seen today in all of the reality shows that dominate television at the moment starting with Big Brother and ending with X-Factor et. al. With what we see now it is no leap of the imagination to forseee a future where politicians are voted in. Its primary weaknesses, is the fact that the Doctor doesn't get involved early enough and a secondary villain with a mask that makes him too similar to Sharaz Jek: his self mutilation might have been better served with something different like a false hand. I think that Maldak could have been given a more substantial role, giving his switch over more resonance.

Script: Absolutely superb. The Etta and Arak sequences in particular stand out as being something different from the norm. The closest Who has ever come to doing this again is in Blink. The only false note is the Doctor's comments as two people die in an acid bath. This is more like a James Bond comment than Doctor Who.

Design: The whole planet looks well done. The Punishment Dome looks too clean and artificial, but overall it is not bad. The choices for the look of Sil were well done, making him a very different kind of villain. Only Etta and Arak's place looks lived in.

Acting: Jason Connery might have seemed like a casting coup, but I just don't rate him (he fares better on Robin of Sherwood, but still doesn't have the charisma of either his father or Michael Praed). Geraldine Alexander also doesn't come across well. Better casting on these two roles might have gone down well. Better yet have Geraldine Alexander stripped the waist and dodging a laser... oh it was on before the watershed. I can dream. Keith Skinner does a better job in his short role, as does Owen Teale, either of whom might have made a better Jondar. Nicholas Chagrin and Forbes Collins are marginally better, though neither convinces as villains. The rest of the cast are much much better. Martin Jarvis as the Governor seemingly unsympathetic at the start, but switching easily as time goes by. Reid and Yardley are brilliant in their scenes, becoming a commentary of their own on the plot. Colin gives another charismatic performance and it is easy to see why by now that he was picked for the role. But the outstanding acting award must go to Nabil Shaban as Sil. He turns this unmoving villain (close to last season's Mestor) into something spectacular. He is another example of how great actors can still give a tour-de-force performance despite masks and make-up. His laugh, his squeezing hands and his ranting and wheedling all are made the most of. This character deserved another airing and he got it.

Direction: Not a bad job. Some of the sequences might have been better managed - particularly in the punishment dome . And the younger actors could probably have done with some better direction to make the most of their limited roles, but in general the whole thing is well done, with the director coaxing the best actors to give some superb performances.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Varos's Punishment Dome, 13 April 2014
By 
Amazon Customer "Sussman" (London CA) - See all my reviews
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One of the better Colin Baker Dr Who episodes, where the Doctor becomes involved in a television show where people are killed for entertainment the resulting story was much darker than originally intended. The more grim acid bath sequence was much criticised for its tone and for the Doctor's throw away remark at the end of the scene.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Colin Baker Does It Again With Another Great Story, 21 Aug 2014
I'm just reviewing the story, this story is truely fantastic, one of Colin bakers finest stories, I personally love Colin' s era of doctor and think he always gave a 100% brilliant performance. This era of doctor who is so badly underrated it's unreal, I personally don't get what is not to love, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester Mccoy are three amazing doctors and 80s doctor who is possibly the best era for who. Will I watch this story again? Answer is yes cause I will and will do for years to come, Peri played by Nicola Bryant is great in this story and is a fanastic companion through out all her episodes. I couldn't possibly recommend this episode any higher. Watch this to today 10/10 story
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Doctor Who Vengeance on Varos [1985] [VHS] [1963]
Doctor Who Vengeance on Varos [1985] [VHS] [1963] by Colin Baker (VHS Tape - 2000)
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