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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cybermen return with a crash
Story: 4/5 - Extras: 5/5

As I understand it, some people love writer Eric Saward's "Earthshock" and some hate it. Just to be awkward, I'm going to say that I like it, but it's not perfect.

Earthshock carries with it a bleak atmosphere not uncommon in the Peter Davison era alongside such stories as Resurrection of the Daleks and The Caves of...
Published on 17 April 2006 by M. Wilberforce

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising but only entertaining
Some Dr Who episodes ends with a plot in the 1st part, that seems it would be more exciting in the following parts, but those don't reach that point, and results, in an entertained story, specially if you are a fan, as in this case, where we find ups and downs.
Moreover, this is one of those episodes where the Doctor seems unable to control main events and seems to...
Published on 16 Aug. 2011 by Ruben G. Margarit


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cybermen return with a crash, 17 April 2006
By 
M. Wilberforce "mwilberforce" (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Story: 4/5 - Extras: 5/5

As I understand it, some people love writer Eric Saward's "Earthshock" and some hate it. Just to be awkward, I'm going to say that I like it, but it's not perfect.

Earthshock carries with it a bleak atmosphere not uncommon in the Peter Davison era alongside such stories as Resurrection of the Daleks and The Caves of Androzani, particularly in the death-heavy first episode, with which its sequences of caves and androids is actually a massive diversion from the real enemies - the Cybermen - who only appear at the episode's climax. I imagine that if I was watching Doctor Who in the early 1980s I'd have been pretty impressed with the revelation.

I've never found 1980s Cybermen particularly menacing, but there's no doubt that in Earthshock they do have a certain edge that they would subsequently lack in stories such as The Five Doctors. In Earthshock they really are a powerful force, breaking out of their hibernation silos in droves, murdering anybody who stands in their way and getting up to a fair amount of scheming, too. The voices may not be as chilling as they were in the late 1960s, but they're more intelligible, and it does allow the Cyber Leader to have better lines.

Other aspects are less successful. The numerous supporting characters introduced in episode one, such as Lt. Scott and his troops, become somewhat redundant once the story switches location to a space freighter in episode two (and picks up its new supporting characters in the form of the freighter's crew), none more so than Professor Kyle, the leader of the archaeological expedition, who spends the rest of the story hanging around with Nyssa in the TARDIS until she eventually gets shot. Like many stories of this era, there are too many companions - but that, of course, is all about to change.

Weaknesses notwithstanding, the plot of the story is well constructed and there's a dramatic send-off for Adric as the TARDIS crew is reduced in number by one.

Earthshock comes with a strong package of extras, including a chaotic commentary with the full TARDIS crew, a thirty minute documentary on the making of the story with numerous leading contributors, the usual on-screen production notes, a few film trimmings and bits and bobs from the TV archives, and informative on-screen production notes. Excellent.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Who DVD, 27 Aug. 2003
By 
J. A. Eyers "jaeyers" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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Peter Davison is turning out to be the best represented Doctor on DVD with yet another classic story, this time from the beginning of his tenure. Yes, this is the infamous tale that not only brings the Cybermen back better than they ever were before, but also kills off a companion, whilst also finding time to account for the extinction of the dinosaurs.
This story starts off in the gravel pits and then leads us into the papier mache caves. So far, so ordinary. However, then the Cybermen show up, the action suddenly shifts to a deep space freighter on a course for Earth, and most of the characters die (which, as Peter Davison notes in the commentary, happens a lot in his stories).
This is a dark and exciting story, tautly written and directed. Compared to preceding Tom Baker stories, it injects a new lease of life into the stale old formula, but on its own, it works even better. I'd never seen an episode with the companion Adric in before, I just knew he was widely despised. You don't need to have seen any Doctor Who to understand the relationships going on here. The Doctor is very clearly a frustrated father figure dealing with a frustrated teenage son. The pair of them share this character arc across the four episodes that just adds to the poignant finale (though I'm not too sure about the Coronation Street-style silent credits at the end).
The extras on the DVD aren't particularly notable. There's the par-for-the-course CGI effects, which I would seriously recommend watching instead of the dire original effects in the last episode particularly. Also worth a look is the brief claymation fifth episode, which works as an alternative ending aimed clearly at Adric haters.
The documentary about this particular story is quite good, featuring the writer, the actors, and numerous science fiction commentators (most funny of which is the Tory MP blaming the Labour Government for the direness of the 1970s Cybermen stories). All in all, though, it's a great package.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two shocks, in fact..., 7 July 2007
By 
Don Kepunja "ownstunts" (Retford, Northern England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who: Earthshock [DVD] (DVD)
...if you already own the DVD - this 2007 print is exactly the same as the extant edition, except they've slipped a natty blue sleeve over the old-style box. That's not a criticism - just thought you ought to know in case you weren't going to get it because it wouldn't match yer other Who DVDs (you know what some people are like). It will - and as it's mid-price you can buy new at pre-owned rates. As for the show itself... widely held to be one of the most satisfying adventures of the critically-rehabilitated Davison era, Earthshock offers a interesting contrast between his polite, exasperated, vulnerable Doctor and the cold, supposedly emotionless Cybermen. High production values and a fabulous, truly-filmic score mean it stands up very well, and nice add-ons round out the package. Episode four was the real shock, at the time... and if you don't know why I won't spoil it here... This is part of a re-booted DVD series aimed, one suspects, at tempting new, young Ecclestone- and Tennant-era fans to sample the 'classic' era, and no bad thing for that. Recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it for the commentary!, 29 May 2004
By 
Oymaprat (Nowhere In Particular) - See all my reviews
Now, I may be missing the point of buying the DVD of Earthsock, however it is well worth buying it for the commentary. Peter Davison and Co are in a silly mood, making laugh-out-loud comments in a cheery atmosphere. Yes, yes, it is one of the better stories of the eighties, and yes we do finally get to see the immensly annoying Adric snuff (sorry Mr Waterhouse. But that also makes the DVD worth getting), but it is the commentary that steals the show.
On a more formal note, like B sharp (joke-sorry), it is a good story, with very eighties acting and production. It is a good return for the Cybermen, and the acting is pretty much flawless all round. Except a moment when Mr Waterhouse is messing around with some controls when they are about to explode, obviously trying to keep his distance! Which reminds me, another great extra when a clay version of Adric survives the crash on Dino Earth and gets eaten-a classic!
This a good story for those of you who saw it first time round, especially at a young age, great nostaga! It is definatly worth adding to your undoubtibly huge Doctor Who collection. It will feel right at home among the other classics.
Still, that commentary, ha ha ha... etc!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Shocks in Silver, 31 May 2014
By 
Number13 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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They're back! The Cybermen return in a classic `base-under-siege' drama with great atmosphere, action and an unforgettable ending to create one of the Fifth Doctor's finest and darkest adventures. 4* + 1*

After only one, slightly dodgy showing of the Cybermen through the whole of the 1970s, the impact of this story was huge. We really didn't know they were coming back, we couldn't have guessed where the plot would lead. Two shocks in silver that made this story a legend. But when you know the Cybermen are in it, and maybe expect the second shock too, how well does it still deliver?

In a cave system on 26th century Earth, two lethal androids are reducing a team of scientists and marines to something unpleasantly like pizza topping. Where else would the TARDIS materialise? The atmosphere of this first episode is superb; Eric Saward's script plus excellent direction, set design and lighting create a dark mystery with a stunning cliffhanger. We now know the Cybermen are behind it all, but their sudden appearance still packs a punch - imagine this coming as a total surprise in 1982, a great moment in the life of `Doctor Who'. James Warwick leads a very good guest cast as the marine Lieutenant who initially suspects the Doctor but soon comes to rely on him - shades of a certain young Colonel meeting the Doctor in `The Web of Fear'; the tunnels, the darkness, the military under attack - even the moustache!

The Doctor defeats part one of the Cyber-plan, then action shifts to a huge space freighter on course for Earth, to which the Doctor has traced the Cyber control signal. Again the set designs are excellent, conjuring the eerie gloom of a vast freighter running between planets with a minimal crew. The middle section of the story doesn't quite live up to the excellent first episode; the marines hang around a bit indecisively, Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) is left in the TARDIS with nothing to do and Beryl Reid never quite convinced me as a tough-as-nails freighter captain. She gives a good performance of grim determination but in 1982 was too familiar from many light entertainment roles.

The story picks up again as the Doctor is forced into a battle of wills with the Cyberleader (a definitive performance from David Banks), with some good dialogue on the nature of emotion and humanity, while down in the hold the marines and Tegan (Janet Fielding) battle for the ship. `Earthshock' saw the peak of Cyber-design with the actors giving not-quite-living menace to the classic monsters; infinitely better than the stomping, stamping, far too robotic platoons seen in the new series. Peter Davison's very likeable Time Lord is a good take on the character, even if events sometimes get the better of him.

The climax nears with exciting plot twists, quite violent action of the `ray-gun' type and edge-of-the-seat tension as the Cybermen take control of the ship and hold the Doctor prisoner in his own TARDIS, leaving it to Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) to save both the freighter and the Earth, a hero at last ...

With the sag in the mid-section this might be a 4 star story, but it richly deserves an extra star for delivering two of the greatest shocks in the series' long history. A gold-edged star, originally awarded for mathematical excellence ... 5*

New CGI effects can be turned on from the `Special Features' menu; the existing effects are good but the new ones help.

DVD Special Features:
The commentary is `a hoot' (as an Aussie like Tegan might say). `The Doctor' and all three `companions' obviously had fun remembering the story and swapping anecdotes.
`Putting the Shock into Earthshock' is a good `making of' feature.
`Location Film Sequences': doesn't really add much, sandpit scenes from episode 1.
`Did You See': a BBC review show from 1982, looking back at some `Doctor Who' classic monsters.
`40th Anniversary Celebration': a fun, fast moving clip-fest featuring all the classic Doctors.
Finally, there are two comedy gems on this disc to appreciate after you've seen the story: `Episode 5', and an Easter Egg hidden on the Special Features menu. "Excellent!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful opening, great finale & good throughout!, 14 July 2010
By 
Spidernick (Fareham, Hants, UK) - See all my reviews
This was the story that brought me back to 'Doctor Who', so it holds a special place in my heart. Years before I'd watched The pantomime that was 'The Horns of Nimon' and thought that 'Doctor Who' had become little more than a joke and so stopped watching the programme I'd loved through all my formative years. The irony was that Graham Williams left as producer after that series and things improved markedly once John Nathan-Turner arrived on the scene (well in the view of the majority). I have, of course, caught up with what I missed, but 'Earthshock' was the story that brought me back 'into the fold' as it were.

Some years after 'Nimon' a friend persuaded me to watch 'Earthshock', saying that 'Doctor Who' had changed since 'The Horns of Nimon'. Needless to say I was very impressed. The opening episode is possibly the best first part of a story in the programme's history. These days we all know that it's a Cybermen story, but the shock when first discovering this at the end of episode one takes some beating (it's a shame that the DVD cover gives the game away, but I suppose they thought they'd get better sales flagging it as a Cybermen story and that most people likely to buy it would have known about the revelation at the end of episode one in any case). The build up to the climax of that episode is also extremely well done.

The usual budget restraints mean that we only ever see four or so Cybermen at a time (other than the 'army' marching, which is obviously overlapping the same four over each other) but this has no negative impact on what is a very good story. The demise of Adric (probably the most disliked companion ever) is extremely well done and is extremely moving, with the lack of a theme tune at the closing credits to add atmosphere a nice touch.

In terms of the extras, these are of the usual high quality that puts many Hollywood DVD extras to shame. Also look out for the 'Easter Egg' with the Lenny Henry sketch, which is very funny!

Overall I'd recommend this to Doctor Who fans of both the 'classic' and new series, but also many people who do not consider themselves SF fans generally. Given that it's been out for so long, you can pick it up very cheaply and so it's definitely worth a punt if you're still not convinced. Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic series - lovely surprise!, 26 May 2011
By 
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Earthshock [DVD] (DVD)
Don't ask me why, but for some strange reason, during the 1980's, I strayed away from Doctor Who. Having decided to give these stories a go, I was delighted at how wonderful the stories were. The companions, the acting and, of course the Doctors.
This one was Peter Davison. He's a far cry from Tom Baker or William Hartnell, but he cleverly adds something new and yet the same, to the role of the Time Lord.

This story, "Earthshock" is very cleverly layered to rack up maximum tension. Deadly androids exterminating pretty well anyone in range, hiding the real villains, the Cybermen. The Cybermen look the best ever. Although "So! We meet again, Doctor!" sounded very odd coming from a race supposedly stripped of emotions!

Beryl Reid, great, as the bonus hungry Captain of the space freighter. The Doctor eventually gained her trust as the crew discovered that they would need the Doctor's help.

This story set is obviously one of the ones with money in it. The screenplay, the sets and the Cybermen all looked very good.

There is tragedy at the end, which hasn't been seen in Doctor Who since the 1960's. Have some tissues handy.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHOCKINGLY GOOD!!!!!!!!!, 9 May 2006
This is one of the best Dr. Who DVD's available. It brings a welcome return of the cybermen, who are much better in this than the camp cybermen of the previous story. David Banks plays the cyber leader fantasticallyeven though some say he played the partt with too much emotion.(this is a load of rubbish) We also see the death of a companion, Adric. One of the three companions had to go and as much as I like Adric there was no question that he was the one who had to go.

The picture and sound on this is fantastic and Peter Davison, Janet Fiediing, Sara Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse give the best commentary yet. The Documentary 'Putting The Shock Into Earthshock' is incredibly good with input from the cast and crew. This is one of the best Dr. Who stories ever and is a must have for any fan of the classic series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, Emotional & Fantastic, 29 Oct. 2014
By 
Timelord-007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Format: PAL
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Doctor Who - Earthshock (DVD).

DVD Info.
Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
Region: 2
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Classification: PG
Studio: 2 Entertain Video
Running Time: 97 minutes

DVD Extras.
Audio commentary with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton & Matthew Waterhouse.
'Putting The Shock Into Earthshock' documentary, featuring interviews with the cast & fans of the series (32 minutes). Film Sequence.
Alternative CGI effects.
'Did You See...?' - 10 minute item from 1981 on Doctor Who monsters.
Isolated music score.
Photo gallery.
Pop-Up production notes.
Easter eggs.
Interactive menu.
Scene access.

Story Info.
Doctor: Fifth Doctor
Companion(s): Adric, Nyssa, Tegan
Main enemy: The Cybermen
Main setting: Earth and Briggs' freighter, 2526
Writer: Eric Saward
Director: Peter Grimwade
Producer: John Nathan-Turner
Story number: 121
Season 19
Premiere broadcast: 8th March - 16th March 1982
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 4x25 minute episodes

Cast.
The Doctor - Peter Davison
Adric - Matthew Waterhouse
Tegan - Janet Fielding
Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
Lieutenant Scott - James Warwick
Professor Kyle - Clare Clifford
Captain Briggs - Beryl Reid
Berger - June Bland
Walters - Steve Morley
Snyder - Suzi Arden
Mitchell - Ann Holloway
Trooper Baines - Anne Clements
Second Trooper - Mark Straker
Cyber-Leader - David Banks
Ringway - Alec Sabin
Cyber-Lieutenant - Mark Hardy
First Crew Member - Mark Fletcher
Second Crew Member - Christopher Whittingham

Ratings.
Part one - 9.1 million viewers
Part two - 8.8 million viewers
Part three - 9.8 million viewers
Part four - 9.6 million viewers

Trivia.
1)This story had a working title of Sentinel.
2)The Doctor doesn't know what killed the dinosaurs, but always meant to go back & find out.
3)The Doctor, Tegan & Nyssa each kill a Cyberman.
4)When the Cybermen are marching the Doctor & Tegan back to the TARDIS, the lead Cyberman misses the bottom step & nearly falls.
5)The Doctor grinds Adric's gold-edged star into the Cyber-Leader's chest.
6)One of the android costumes would later be repainted silver & used as the costume for the Raston Warrior Robot in The Five Doctors.
7)Scott was offered to Gareth Hunt.
8)First appearance of David Banks as a Cyberleader in a Doctor Who serial.

What's Up Doc?
A fateful landing on Earth in the 26th Century finds the TARDIS deep within a system of subterranean caves & even deeper within the mystery surrounding the brutal murder of a group of geologists working there.

Who is controlling the androids guarding the hatch in the rock face? More importantly, what lies beyond the hatch? The answers provide a serious threat for the Doctor as the time & place is set for an encounter with his old arch enemies, The Cybermen!

The Doctor must stop the Cybermen who intend to destroy the Earth by crashing a space freighter into it, at whatever the cost...

Timelord Thoughts.
Earthshock is one of Peter Davison's best story's as the Doctor which contains a cracking script by script editor Eric Saward that combines claustrophobic horror with a action-driven script that provides shocks galore.

The story begins with a group of armed soldies being killed off one at a time by some unseen menace were the Tardis has recently landed resulting in the Doctor & his companions Nyssa, Tegan & Adric becoming unwittingly involved in events that will see the Doctor come face to face with one of his oldest & deadliest enemies the Cybermen.

Earthshock is balls to the wall scary, dark, bleak & in places quite horrific something I find missing from the new series revival, the plot is a fast paced & suspenseful 4 part story which builds up the pace & tension throughout with a superb cliffhanger to episode 1 together with that killer ending at the climax to episode 4.

The Cybermen to feel a menacing threat & a force to be reckoned with thanks to Peter Grimwades solid direction who turns Sawards script into a well paced action/adventure with a huge bodycount & a story that packs an emotional punch.

Peter Davison stands out in this story giving an amazing performance as the Doctor & comes into his own in this adventure by taking complete control of the situation & adds little moments of vulnerability berating a Cyberman about human emotions to his shock expressions during the final moments of the story who is horrified at the final outcome.

Sarah Sutton is brilliant as Nyssa & best suited to Davisons boyish wanderer incarnation of the Doctor, Nyssa is a helpful & encouraging companion who risks all to do the right thing as she does yet again here & the character is made all the more believable by Suttons understated performances in the role.

Mouth on legs Tegan is quite a unlikable character that is made likeable by Janet Feildings excellent performances, Tegan moans & complains who is always telling the Doctor she wants to go home & is one bossy lady but gets in on the action by joining Scott & his troops who are trying to find the Doctor aboard the freighter & kills a Cyberman by using its own Cyber-gun on him when fallen to the ground.

Adric is once again an annoying companion & plain irritable who now wants to go home & ignores the dangers of E-Space because he & the Doctor have had a argument but his character does improve later on as he tries desperately to stop the freighter from crashing by decoding the logic codes of the Cybermen's computer, but with only a limited amount of time in which to do so when a near dead Cyberman shoots the console on the bridge Adric dies but diverts the spaceship enough which crashes to Earth wiping out the Dinosaurs in one of Doctor Who's most shocking endings, if this was Eastenders the drums would've certainly have kicked in.

The guest cast do well in this adventure & while Beryl Reid is no Captain Kirk she is decent enough as starship Captain Briggs while James Warwick plays Lieutenant Scott with great efficiency despite his occasional accent changes throughout the adventure & a special mention must go to David Banks who debuts as the Cyber Leader here making the part his own during the 80's who adds great menace to the part.

The extras are great on this release, highlights include a cracking Audio commentary with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton & Matthew Waterhouse who share great anecdotes about when they made this story, a brilliant 32 minute documentary, 'Putting The Shock Into Earthshock', featuring interviews with Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, Eric Saward, Ian Levine & archive footage of the late Peter Grimwade plus contributions from fans & writers of the new series, Mark Gatsis, Big Finishes Gary Russell & current show runner Steven Moffatt, the Alternative CGI effects are a welcome bonus & enhance the story with some decent special effects of new Laser bolts plus a excellent CGI shot of the freighter crashing into Earth.

Overall, Earthshock is a story when Doctor Who took risks, shocked & was completely unpredictable in it's storytelling, the story is dark, sombre & menacing that delivers an emotional yet believable tragedy, the cast mostly give great performances & director Peter Grimwade tightly paces his direction with great suspense & nerve jangling tension which in my opinion is some of the best directing of the classic series, this is classic Who at it's very best & one of the best Fith Doctor story's recorded.

Timelord Rating.
10/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earthshock - Excellent!, 6 Aug. 2014
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
CONTAINS SPOILERS

Season 19, first transmitted in 1982, was this first time I ever watched Dr Who. I was 6 at the time, and I still have three very strong memories from the season. The first is the fire at the end of `The Visitation', the second is an intense irritation with Adric throughout the season and the third is this story. I can remember watching the finale of this and being really shocked. I can also remember being totally gripped by the story throughout. To be honest, when watching other DVD releases from this season I really cannot remember having seen them before. But this one was still stuck in my mind. As ever when reviewing a Peter Davison release it is difficult to do objectively, as he was my 1st Doctor, and I still have a great affection for his character.

As a 6 yr old I loved this story. Watching it again some years (decades actually - where did the time go?) later, I can see that it is a story with some flows but with enough good stuff to overcome it. The Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric land the TARDIS in some mysterious caves. There is a troop of soldiers in the caves investigating the disappearance of an archaeological expedition. Pretty soo the Doctor is under suspicion, but it turns out that the real threat is far more dangerous. After a tense underground fight, the threat is revealed to be on a space freighter travelling to Earth. The Doctor and the remaining soldiers soon remove themselves to that location, and then things start to get really scary. I don't think that it will be a surprise to anyone reading this that the main threat is Cybermen, and that the ending is a tragic exit for Adric from the show, and is one of the best moments in the show's history. It was certainly the best moment in Adric's tenure.

OK, the good stuff. This is a very dynamic adventure, with some great direction. The opening episode, set in caves with a soldier watching the progression of the troops on a monitor on the surface is very atmospheric. This, and a shot of Tegan later with a big gun and looking a lot like Sigourney Weaver reminds me a lot of Alien. Then when things move to the spaceship and the Cybermen start appearing it just keeps getting better. There is a real sense of threat and tension. Davison is on top form, with just the right amount of rising panic and simple disingenuous honesty and morality. And Adric. Ironically for his leaving story he finally makes some sense as a character all the way through and becomes a little more likeable and less of a brat. If he had been characterised like this all the way through season 19 he wouldn't have been so unpopular. He still whinges a bit, but it is bearable, and I almost started to like the character. And then there is the sudden impact of his death and the end credits with no music. Classic stuff.

The bad stuff - my only real criticism of this adventure is that Sarah Sutton's Nyssa is mostly sidelined, relegated to loitering in the TARDIS for a lot of the serial while The Doctor, Adric and Tegan are off having fun. This was a regular problem in season 19 and Sarah Sutton must have wondered what the point of turning up to work was as all she would be doing would be loitering around a TARDIS set. Apart from the lack of any meaningful role for Nyssa this is an almost perfect adventure.

As to be expected, 2¦Entertain have done a bang up job with this release. The picture is clear and fresh and the sound superb. The restoration team probably didn't have too much to do with this story but they have taken every care with it. As usual there is a plethora of extras, from the usual info subtitles (always interesting and entertaining), an audio commentary, a fascinating Claymation episode 5, clips from other TV shows of the time that feature Dr Who and an interesting documentary. A 5 star package of a 5 star story.
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