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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb serial by Robert Holmes
Reading the earlier reviews, I think I may be preaching to the converted here! But this is truly an excellent serial.

The story has a humourous script from Robert Holmes, one of the show's very best writers, who was later promoted to script editor in the early Tom Baker period. It's replete with humour right from the beginning: with the jokes about the chickens...
Published on 15 July 2009 by Stephen Poppitt

versus
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Scope for a good DVD Release
Carnival of Monsters is one of those Doctor Who Stories that, without being a classic of the series, stands out quite well in its era. What is particularly noteworthy about this story is the use of colour separation overlay , a trademark of the series and it is probably this story that it was put to the best use in the whole series, other times (like in THE GREEN DEATH...
Published on 21 Oct 2003 by Cameron D Skirving


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb serial by Robert Holmes, 15 July 2009
This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Reading the earlier reviews, I think I may be preaching to the converted here! But this is truly an excellent serial.

The story has a humourous script from Robert Holmes, one of the show's very best writers, who was later promoted to script editor in the early Tom Baker period. It's replete with humour right from the beginning: with the jokes about the chickens as soon as they emerge from the Tardis.

Jon Pertwee was always keen to get his pals into the show, so here we have Tenniel Evans as Major Daly, a stereotype upperclass 1930's Englishman. Tenniel had long been a good friend of Jon, and they had appeared together on BBC radio in the comedy 'The Navy Lark' since 1959. Indeed, it was Tenniel who first suggested to Jon that he should put himself up for the part of Doctor Who, when he heard Pat Troughton was leaving.

Other familiar faces in this serial include Ian Marter ('Twenty times round the deck is a mile'), who would later play series regular Harry Sullivan in Tom Baker's first year, seen here playing a Naval officer.

The guest cast also includes Michael Wisher, as one of the blue-skinned aliens, who had been appearing regularly in Doctor Who since 1970. He was in 'Ambassadors of Death' and 'Terror of the Autons', and was also doing Dalek voices for the show (in 'Planet of the Daleks' and 'Death to the Daleks'), and he would later play the original Davros in Tom Baker's first season (in 'Genesis of the Daleks').

Making his only appearance in Doctor Who is Leslie Dwyer as the carnival owner, Vorg. He later became well-known as Mr Partridge, the Punch-and-Judy man who hated kids, in the BBC televison comedy 'Hi Di Hi' in the 1980s. Most of the humour in 'Carnival of Monsters' develops around Leslie Dwyer, and he even gets to make the famous joke about Jon Pertwee's nose (Pertwee, as scriptwriter Robert Holmes was well aware, was very sensitive about his enormous "hooter").

And playing a very memorable part, as the carnival girl, is the beautiful Cheryl Hall (later to play Citizen Smith's long-running girlfriend, in the comedy series of that name), looking very fetching in a skimpy carnival costume.

The other Amazon reviewers have done an admirable job of revealling all the details of the plot! But fear not: Doctor Who was always more to do with the performances, and the delivery of the jokes, than about the plot. This serial will have you laughing at a witty script, as well as enjoying its inventive storyline.

Sometimes the limitations of the television budget hamper the Special Effects, but on the whole the monsters are well handled. CSO (or colour seperation overlay) was still in its infancy, so watch out for some scenes where you certainly CAN see the join! But these, on the whole, tend to add to the show's charm.

The effects were ground-breaking at the time. And the shot of the giant hand reaching in and removing the Tardis at the end of episode one is still worth seeing.

Like many of the early colour shows which the BBC made in the Seventies, a great deal of attention is paid to the colour itself: these episodes are very colourful, and a great deal of thought has gone into the design of the sets and costumes, to make the very best use of the newly-available colour technology. The result is a beautifully photographed show.

This is one that I've found myself watching again and again, thanks to the charm and humour of the script, the dynamic personality of Jon Pertwee, and the dottiness of Katy Manning as Jo. I can safely say that if you don't like this one, you won't like Doctor Who: they don't come better than this!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good old Robert Holmes does it again!, 22 Nov 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Robert Holmes is reckoned to be Who's best writer, and it was stuff like this, Time Warrior and his scary Auton stories which paved the way for the great work he would do in the early Tom Baker seasons before deliverng his masterpiece, Caves of Androzani in the early 80s.
Carnival of Monsters is not exactly a terrifying thriller by any means, but shows off Holmes imaginaton, humor, and story telling prowess, as well as his gift for extremely well rounded and colorful characters.
The plot about the Doctor and Jo arriving on a small ship which is stuck in a time loop and menaced by various sea monsters is straight out of the Twilight Zone and well worth a look. The sub plot about colorful space showman and girl assistant, lends the whole thing some truly whacky and way out comedy touches. And Pertwee's use of the good old Sonic Screwdriver to fight off an attack by the terrible Drashigs in their prehistoric home is a classic scene.
All in all, vintage Who and a real gem of the Pertwee era, cheesy perhaps, but well matured and worth your time and money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carnival of Monsters, 26 Aug 2009
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
This is a jolly romp where the Third Doctor and Jo Grant arrive in what appears to be the hold of a ship in the 1920s. The truth is much more surreal. This story is the first to be set away from Earth since the Doctor's release from his exile. I love this story because it has some incredibly ludicrous aliens, the lovely Shirna trying to keep her rogue-ish friend Vorg in line and ... of course ... it has Drashigs. The special effects are a bit ropey and might have benefited from a CGI update but once you put your sceptical eye on hold this turns out to be a nice little story with lots of action. Pertwee is sublime and Katy Manning, as Jo Grant, is an excellent foil for his know-all Doctor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a romp, 19 Nov 2009
This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
once again, like most people watching doctor who from the old days, was when the stories were released on video.
this story was typical of 70's doctor who,but this story is fantastic..
unfortunately, the effects are very dated now, but they were state of the art at the time.
the drashigs (anagram of dishrags..)i think were good, and a bit disappointing that there was no actual story involving them from that point on, apart form a cameo in frontier in space.

this is well worth a buy, and we have to be forgiving with the special effects now, time has moved on, and i think, even if the sshow had a bigger bugdet, the effects would still be dated compared to todays standards
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roll-up, roll-up!, 3 May 2011
This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
The second story in Jon Pertwee's penultimate season as The Doctor sees The Timelord, along with assistant Jo Grant, receive a replacement 'dimensional stabilizer' for his TARDIS from The Timelords as a thankyou for his defeat of Omega in The Three Doctors. This enables him to finally leave Earth and UNIT behind and explore the cosmos once more. It is good to see the production team rise to the challenge of a different scenario from the Earthbound adventures that had made up the majority of the Third Doctor's tenure. The story is a self-contained gem; The TARDIS arrives aboard what seems to be a cargo cruiser on the Indian Ocean in 1926 however they soon discover that they are in fact inside an intergalactic 'mini-scope', used by a pair of travelling entertainers who are currently on the planet Inter Minor. Unfortunately for the entertainers (or 'Lurmans') the officials on the planet are entirely without humour and promptly impound the scope in order to destroy it...
The Doctor manages to escape from the machine and stumbles into a political coup, with the protagonists hoping to use the Scope as their weapon. They plan to let the Drashigs escape therby proving their president has lost control and should be removed from office. This idea of a meta-world is something that Doctor Who has always done well - think 'The Invisible Enemy', 'The Deadly Assassin' or 'The Mind Robber' - and Carnival is no exception. It is colourful, kitsch and charming; Pertwee is in fine form and the guest cast rise to the challenge too. The entertainers: Vorg and Shirna are as good a double-act as any seen before whilst the denizens of Inter Minor are both stagily (and perhaps unintentionally) hilarious, with their painted grey faces and Ogron-like haircuts. Even the Drashig - a giant reptile that escapes from the scope - is well-realised for the early 70s (it is far, far better than The Myrka..!) and the sub-plot featuring a pre-Harry Sullivan era Ian Marter is both inventive and strangely comforting, as Edwardian Doctor Who is wont to be. DVD extras are extensive; the pick of these are Behind the Scenes - Looking In: A 1972, snippet that was part of the BBC's 50th Anniversary celebrations and a nice litte 'Easter egg'.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best episodes ever, 24 May 2005
This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Definately not one of the scariest, but one of the best. The Doctor and Jo land on the miniaturised SS Bernice, where a plesiosaur lurks in the water, and they must encounter the carnivorous Drashigs. It is great, with a strange fascination to it. You are intrigued, and want to see what happens next. The cliff hangers are most unusual, and you are never expecting what happens next, like when the plesiosaur appears, and when a Drashig comes out of the water. It has a bit of humor to it, and the Drashigs have a chilling scream and are surprisingly scary. Worth buying. Flawless.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Scope for a good DVD Release, 21 Oct 2003
This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Carnival of Monsters is one of those Doctor Who Stories that, without being a classic of the series, stands out quite well in its era. What is particularly noteworthy about this story is the use of colour separation overlay , a trademark of the series and it is probably this story that it was put to the best use in the whole series, other times (like in THE GREEN DEATH and PLANET OF THE SPIDERS) it is quite laughable and cringable. But here, it is quitewellusedprticularly worthy of note was the giant hand picking the TARDIS up at the end of Episode 1.Unfortunately age has affected that technology and these days probably doesn't look quite as good.
I like the Drashigs, they are well realised with the most unusual cry, very original, must go down as one of the best.
The moral aspect of the story is also well realised, showing that the Doctor has a concearn for all creatures, also a trademark of the series in the Pertwee era.
What I don't like is the script. there isn't much in it. I get sick of the going around getting caught bit on the boat. Mind you it is well acted by all those involved. As for the Inter Minor residents, bit of a laughable race aren't they?
By the way, I'm from Australia and when this story was aired on the ABC we got that aweful Version of the theme, I've got a copy of it on Video, glad they didn't use it ever again.
Apart from what I don't like about the story , it has a lot going for it and it is a very entertaining and refreshing story, not letting the viewer get tired with what's going on. It's great to have a simple plot once in a while. If you want to see a story with all the Pertwee trademarks (well almost, no Bessie) this is one to watch. Not a bad one at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight, 4 Sep 2013
By 
Dickie "The Bear" (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
One of the biggest surprises I've come across in collecting the Pertwee years, this is simply a delight of a story mixing suspense, humour, monsters and everything that makes Doctor Who so great. Pertwee and Manning are outstanding in easily one of the best stories of the Pertwee years. Simply a must have for entertainment value.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Robert Holmes, 30 Mar 2012
This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Robert Holmes, already at this point in his career, a respected writer and Doctor Who regular, delivers this classic 4 part Pertwee story that entertains throughout. I first saw Carnival a few years ago via the BBC Video release, the strange-ness of the story sticking in my mind's eye. The whole concept of this tale is both barmy and genius. The Doctor and Jo land inside a mini-scope, a machine that reduces it's occupants and their habitats in size so they can fit inside a handy portable device. When the Doctor discovers this, quite late in the day I might add, he endeavors to get out alive and stop the menace that is purportedly using said device. Now the genius of Holmes comes through in a variety of ways, his characters, his monsters and his wit. The alien overseers are without doubt the most interestingly bland bunch of so-and-so's to date. The bald-cap dictators scheme with each other as to who should rule, bearing in mind that the main conspirator {Kalik - Michael Wisher - Davros} is the ruling presidents brother, how incredible the amount of loyalty prevails on this planet.

Jon Pertwee is at this point at the height of his powers as the titular Time Lord. Jon has always been my favourite Doctor and this serial demonstrates why. His power, conviction, style, flair and exuberance is what really encapsulates the Doctor for me, and Jon had all these qualities in abundance. Also at the top of her game is Katy Manning's Jo Grant, the ever-lovely Jo is another important part of the mechanics of this classic yarn. Fine performances are abound with this story, Ian Marter's John Andrews is played very well. One of my favourite scenes in this story and the series in general is when the Doctor and Andrews partake in fisty-cups, very funny lines from both parties. Peter Halliday is another great regular actor in Who and his portrayal of the cowardly bureaucratic Pletrac is inspired. Overall this story features some of the finest performances from Doctor Who's regular stars.

The BBC DVD release is basic but does what it's meant to do, delivering this classic tale in a remastered format and featuring some extra bonus material. The Doctor Who Restoration Team evidently felt that their efforts here were not up to the standard of the current releases and so they have seen fit to give this iconic tale a revisit in the second of the Revisitations box sets. And believe me the special edition is so much better. Please take my word and get the box set and the special edition of this story. Highly recommended. 10/10.

Many thanks for reading my review of Carnival of Monsters, its greatly appreciated.

M.B.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Twenty times around the deck is a mile.", 26 Feb 2012
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Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
NB: for some inexplicable reason, Amazon have inanely bundled together the reviews of numerous completely different Doctor Who stories from different eras on the same page. This review refers to the single disc release of Carnival of Monsters.

Even among many fans of classic Doctor Who (and, it's rumoured, among the BBC's restoration team on the DVDs of the series), Jon Pertwee's tenure as the Time Lord has been overshadowed by the popularity of the Tom Baker years. It's a shame, because aside from saving the show from its disastrous ratings slide during the latter days of Patrick Troughton's time in the TARDIS, the Pertwee era saw some of the very best stories in the series. Case in point Carnival of Monsters, which sees the Doctor, finally released from his Time Lord-imposed Earthbound exile and free to roam time and space again only to find the TARDIS is as unreliable as ever and instead of sending him to Metabilis Three, he and Jo Grant are trapped inside... well, that would be telling for anyone who hasn't seen it, but the mystery involves a ship whose crew and passengers are stuck not in time but in a loop of identical behavior that always ends with the appearance from the depths of a Plesiosaur, on the run from the savage wormlike Drashigs and lost inside the circuitry of a machine while, in a side story, a tacky sideshow operator and his assistant are stuck in bureaucratic wrangling with grey-faced aliens who want to deport them...

Thanks to Robert Holmes' imaginative and ingenious script it's a wonderful mixture of the fantastic and the comic that never tips over into self-parody, having fun with its ant farm analogy and even the Doctor himself (the self-confessed vagabond is mistaken for a carnival person) without losing its sense of cosy danger. There's even a chance to see Ian Marter before he became one of the Doctor's regular companions in the Tom Baker years in a prominent supporting role as one of the crew of the ill-fated ship as well as enjoyable turns from Leslie Dwyer and Cheryl Hall as the tatty carnival act. There are even brief cameos from an Ogron and a Cyberman. And remember, twenty times around the deck is a mile.

The original single disc DVD release offers an acceptable transfer and a very decent array of extras - audio commentary by Katy Manning and Barry Letts, a shorter alternative ending from episode four, behind the scenes footage of the shooting of the story, 16mm model tests, a vintage demonstration film for the Colour Separation Overlay training film, TV spot for The Five Faces of Dr Who season, photo gallery, TARDIS-cam model sequence, and onscreen production notes. There's also an extended early edit of episode two is surprisingly worthwhile, expanding on some aspects of the story and including some sly moments (such as the suggestion that the exhibits may be breeding as an explanation for the Doctor and Jo's sudden appearance) that hit the cutting room floor when the show was trimmed by five-and-a-half minutes for broadcast. It also features a terrible reworked theme tune that didn't feature on any of the UK broadcast versions. While listed as being unrestored, the picture and sound quality of the episode is excellent.

The picture quality of the story as broadcast, however, is not up to the standards of later releases, which is perhaps why it was remastered for the Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 [DVD] boxed set - and that version is the best one for first-time buyers to pick up. Aside from the better picture quality, all the extras have been carried over and new ones added: a new additional commentary by Peter Halliday, Cheryl Hall, Jenny McCracken and Brian Hodgson, a making of documentary Destroy All Monsters!, featurette On Target with Ian Marter, which deals with his transition from onscreen companion to one of the best authors of the Doctor Who tie-in novels, a featurette on famous disappearances at sea and a throwaway A-Z of Gadgets and Gizmos. It's a much better treatment for one of the best stories from the golden age of the series.
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