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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light in the Darkness
Ghost Light is a superb little story and very, very underrated. It's one of the most dazzlingly original and imaginative stories in the show's history, and a superb looking production. The sets are amazing and really feel like an authentic, creepy victorian house. What I think a lot of fans are put off by is it's dense, convoluted plot - there is so much going on and so...
Published on 10 July 2009 by M Evans

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad story but the picture quality?
This isn't a bad story at all and gives an insight into the portrayal of Sylvester McCoy's Doctor, very dark.

The picture quality on this DVD leaves a lot to be desired as it is very grainy, has a soft focus in places and is unwatchable in some parts. I thought it was a defective DVD or perhaps a fault with my Blu Ray player, but after searching on the...
Published on 18 Aug 2010 by Amazon Customer


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light in the Darkness, 10 July 2009
Ghost Light is a superb little story and very, very underrated. It's one of the most dazzlingly original and imaginative stories in the show's history, and a superb looking production. The sets are amazing and really feel like an authentic, creepy victorian house. What I think a lot of fans are put off by is it's dense, convoluted plot - there is so much going on and so many literary references casually bandied about and double meanings that it's very hard to take it all in and repeat viewings are essential to fully appreciate it's subtleties. I don't think the short length of the story (3 episodes) helps as there really is enough material here to easily fill 6 parts with no padding. It's also rather bizarre in places with characters doing odd things, speaking strangely and accepting weird events without question. You really need to watch Ghost Light several times to appreciate it, and I'd also recommend reading the novelisation if you can get your hands on it. As well as being very clever and original, Ghost Light is also damn creepy, being full of dark shadows and grotesquerie, and the main villain, Josiah Smith is truly sinister. An excellent musical score too. I also think that Sylvester McCoy gave his finest performance in this story - his Doctor's dark, manipulative persona is best highlighted in this story. At a time in the programme's history when the show had been getting more bad press than ever, and when it was only weeks away from being axed Ghost Light proved that this long-running show could still surprise us and produced a startlingly original and fascinating story that is one of the best in it's 26 year history. The extras on this DVD are execellent, especially the deleted scenes, if only they'd done a 'special edition' and reinstated these scenes I think the true brilliance of the story would really be brought to light. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review, 12 Nov 2010
Leaving aside my pro-Mccoy bias, this serial is incredibly good. This was the last classic Dr who to be recorded and it shows in many ways. Mccoy and Aldred are in brilliant form, complementing each other wonderfully both as partners and when they argue over being in Gabriel Chase. The supporting cast is also brilliant, with no weak links at all. Particular mention must go to Sylvia Syms, with a performance that manages both creepy roboticism and (in part 3) wonderful human regret, and Ian Hogg, who manages a great balance between cold scheming and internal torture. Leaving aside the performances, the production values are superb. The 19th century victorian feel is evident, and, in tandem, with Alan Wareing's direction, gives the story sense of underlying menace. The best part about Ghost Light, however, has to be the script. To quote another reviewer: it is "Good Weird, Brilliant Weird". Some critics have commented that the plot is nonsensical/silly/too many holes etc, and to this I shall say only two things. First, the story makes perfect sense IF you pay close attention to what is going on. It is a story where missing one or two lines of dialogue might make you confused (not helped by the original audio), not a story that is confusing because of bad writing. Second, as with a lot of Mccoy stories, the structure is as much created by overall theme as it is trad narrative. In other words, the plot is not as linear as something like Remembrance because it is about a central theme as opposed to a story (Full Circle is similar in that the planet environment takes precedence over the story's "plot"). Aside from the story itself, the extras are also pretty good. The making of documentary is very good, as is the question segment with Marc Platt (author). The most valuable extra has to be the audio options- the new sound option gives a score which complements the story, as opposed to drowns the dialogue. Altogether a very good DVD release of one of the very best Dr Who stories. Fully recommended
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who at its very best!, 16 Feb 2013
I have never been able to understand the slating this clever, complex story often gets. In my opinion this is one of the very best Doctor Who stories ever. The guest cast are uniformly excellent and the guest characters are all engaging. The sets and costumes are wonderful and Alan Wareing's direction is strong. People tend to criticise this story for not making sense, in reality the story does make sense but it may take several viewings before you understand the intelligent story completely.

The Doctor and Ace are both superbly characterized with the Doctor acting as a manipulative father figure to Ace and taking her to a hated place from her childhood in order to get her to open up about what happened there. It's also clear that Ace has matured since her first appearance on the show, she has achieved genuine character development, something most companions fail to do.

It baffles me that people choose to dismiss this story while these are often the same people who will talk about how excellent the sloppy 'The Ark in space' and other overrated stories from the same era were. These people would also claim to be Doctor Who fans but they then criticise stories such as this for no reason. Ghost light is an excellent demonstration of how varied and clever Doctor Who can be. Highly Recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad story but the picture quality?, 18 Aug 2010
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This isn't a bad story at all and gives an insight into the portrayal of Sylvester McCoy's Doctor, very dark.

The picture quality on this DVD leaves a lot to be desired as it is very grainy, has a soft focus in places and is unwatchable in some parts. I thought it was a defective DVD or perhaps a fault with my Blu Ray player, but after searching on the internet there are other people complaining about the quality of the picture saying that previous releases prior to this, such as Remebrance of the Daleks, were far superior so just why this is is mystery.

Perhaps the BBC will remaster this and release a "Special Edition"?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'With all its doors and windows open...', 28 Aug 2013
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It's very good this. To start with, very finely written; all the characters are pursued by demons of their own particular madnesses (except for that nice Mrs Grose), generally not chiming in tune with anyone else's. The result is often more of a mad house than a haunted one, with Redvers breathlessly quoting Joseph Conrad, while Gwendoline (a name cribbed from TIOBE if ever there was one) smartly sings 'That's The Way To The Zoo' where there's 'such a lot of nuts', but it's no peaceful asylum; there's a gibbering wraith in the cellar, a cruel housekeeper attended by black-uniformed maids that enter via secret panels, and only after sunset; meanwhile the vicar has come to tea, and he is not happy.

The background to all this seems to be the dawn of Darwinism; Josiah is trying to evolve into a human so he can escape his ship, Control does evolve, Light cannot cope with evolution, Nimrod is stuck on one of its lower rungs, as are the husks, and the cream of Scotland Yard turns back into primordial soup. Oh, and the vicar regresses into an ape.

It's not always easy to know just what is going on, nor what the intended relationship was between Josiah, Control and Light, but with Josiah out to kill 'The Crown Saxe-Coburg' and thus take over the British Empire, it's quite clearly gone badly wrong. Actually, the story goes at such a clip that and is told with such style that I'm not too bothered about the details - I can take them on trust. The more Control becomes a 'ladylike', the less happy Josiah seems to be, so that has to be a good thing, and while Light sets a certain amount straight, he also does huge damage, and we're all better off when he's back in his box.

It's told with almost gleeful relish, and has something of the feel of an MR James ghost story. Gabriel Chase is a deeply unsettled house, where really very nasty stuff is going down; it's little wonder that Ace set fire to it in 1983. I only wonder that the Dr had the gall to take her back there. I can fully understand her being annoyed - I would be.

Michael Cochrane is clearly having great fun as the loopy Redvers, and Sharon Duce is making a fine meal of Control. Sylvia Sims is delightfully horrible as Mrs Pritchard, and John Nettleton is very good as the representative of the Royal Society, who turns into a banana munching ape. I do like Gwendoline, though I don't know why she associates killing people with 'sending [them] to Java'.

The only slight problem in this improbable Victorian pastiche is that Ian Hogg's Josiah is in genuine danger of vanishing from view in the general sea of eccentricity; he simply isn't the weirdest of the weird, or the scariest of the scary, and I'm not sure who that would be - Ace or Gwendoline.

Which leads me to speculate if anyone's used the term 'girl on girl' about his story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars McCoy Doubter No More., 22 Oct 2014
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What's the USP of this review? Well, it's by someone who is not a McCoy fan and who until now was quite dismissive of the whole McCoy era. That is until 'Ghost Light'. Like many a fan, I've selectively bought those DVDs from the so-called Classic era of the programme featuring my favourite portrayals of the Timelord (Troughton, Pertwee, Baker - yeah, I'm 46, can you tell?) before considering others. I never caught much of the McCoy era on original broadcast having being put off by the first episodes of 'Time and the Rani' (now there is a complete dog of a show) and McCoy's clowning around. Yeah, I got all the hype about the later Dark Doctor portrayal but much of this was primarily in the New Adventures novels rather than on screen.

Anyway...'Ghost Light'. I'd caught snatches of this over the years but nothing prepared me for the experienced of watching the complete story. 'Ghost Light' has to be one of the very best stories in the entire 1963-1989 run of the original series. I'd put it up there with many of the Pertwee/Baker classics No, really. A wonderfully intelligent script which doesn't spoon-feed the viewer with heaps of exposition whilst still being easy to follow (I have no idea why people, including some of the cast on the DVD extras, say it's difficult to follow). In that respect it is rather similar to PJ Hammond's 'Sapphire and Steel' with which it shares an eerie atmosphere. The cast and design are of an exceptionally high standard with the only misfires being some of the special effects (late 80s special effects see more dated than mid 70s for some reason) and the music. Don't get me wrong - Mark Ayres incidental music is atmospheric and acts as a great cue for the action but for some reason has been dubbed SO LOUDLY THAT IT DROWNS OUT THE CAST'S LINES AT SOME POINTS (something which in fairness Ayres himself acknowledges in one of the DVD extras).

So if like me you also have avoided buying a McCoy for whatever reason, think again and buy 'Ghost Light'. It is an absolute classic of very high quality indeed representing the best of the original series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird and wonderful, 30 May 2013
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This story from the very end of the original series run is a real gem. Genuinely creepy and thought provoking, although at times a bit hard to follow, primarily because the three episodes a bit tight for the amount of material. Visually excellent but terrible sound - the score often makes it very hard to hear what is being said. A tantalising glimpse of where the series might have gone if it hadn't been off the air for all those years ... Caspar
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever, 12 May 2013
By 
J. Lightfoot "themangaman" (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever, with a fascinating plot and a script where every line is a joy. This story perfectly demonstrates the genius of the McCoy Doctor, his manipulation and his wit. The image quality on this DVD is not so good but it somehow adds to the ambiance. The score is FANTASTIC. I can't believe the laziness of people who claim this story is confusing or not understandable; the story may suffer from being cut into just three episodes but it's all there you just have to make sure you hear and understand every line of dialogue. This story provides key Ace backstory and the performances are terrific.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware picture quality, 27 April 2012
I can honestly say the video version i had was better .Be aware of the picture quality on this dvd its worse than VCR standard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little ray of light, 8 Aug 2011
This late Eighties Doctor Who serial has been dogged by criticisms about its confusing and indulgent storyline since its original broadcast, however I was always fascinated by the story's macabre Victorian setting and grotesque characters, such as Ian Hogg's sinister Josiah Smith and his hard-faced housekeeper Mrs Pritchard, memorably brought to life by the legendary Sylvia Simms.
I think that the problem chiefly lies with the BBC's bull-headed determination to squeeze Marc Platt's fascinating script into three episodes rather than the four it really needed; time and budgetary constraints notwithstanding, the making-of documentary included here with the extras, includes several edited
and cut scenes that would have certainly made things a whole lot clearer. Anyway, with a top-notch cast, a rapidly gelling lead pairing, and a host of creepy scenes, this remains a superb and original story and a treasured part of my DVD collection.
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