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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my opinion...the BEST series of Doctor Who. EVER.
Normally, when a series reaches its fourth season, signs of faltering start to show. Or you find that a programme is way past its best, recycling old material/plot ideas and is no longer as fresh and quality as you fondly remember.

Mercifully, though...that is not something that applies with the fourth series of Doctor Who. Far from being tired and overdone,...
Published on 20 Dec. 2010 by R. Wood

20 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great series but way too expensive!
I thought series 4 was really great. Especially the visual effects. They just keep getting better and better. Just recently I saw some episodes of the first series again and everything just keeps looking better, sounding better, better stories (for the most part), and more fun.

But the price is way too expensive. I'm sorry, but let's keep it real. It's only 14...
Published on 10 Oct. 2008 by Remco

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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my opinion...the BEST series of Doctor Who. EVER., 20 Dec. 2010
R. Wood "ryecroftwood2" - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
Normally, when a series reaches its fourth season, signs of faltering start to show. Or you find that a programme is way past its best, recycling old material/plot ideas and is no longer as fresh and quality as you fondly remember.

Mercifully, though...that is not something that applies with the fourth series of Doctor Who. Far from being tired and overdone, the fourth season of the new series was just as inventive and deep as ever, with Russell T Davies taking the show in further directions. In fact, I'd call it the best series of new Who. Aside from being my personal favourite, I found Series 4 more consistent and epic than anything that has gone before or since. And most importantly, it turned me from an admirer of the show, into a die-hard fan.

Here, David Tennant was now entering his third series as the Tenth Doctor, and had established himself as both an icon of television and arguably the greatest incarnation ever of the Time Lord, supported by great companions whose chemistry drove previous series to such classic heights. After choosing Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman to share the spotlight with David, Russell T Davies shocked the world by unveiling high-profile comedienne Catherine Tate to reprise her role as loudmouthed temp Donna Noble to return to the series; as the Doctor's FULL-TIME companion.

The reaction was understandable, given that the Donna Noble character (from the ill-received episode `The Runaway Bride'.) was absolutely unbearable and that Tate herself was a comedienne whose style some people find (myself included) hit-and-miss. But Davies clearly knew what he was doing by bringing Tate back. Here, Catherine once again showed absolutely tremendous chemistry with David, and won millions of viewers over (myself included) with her brilliantly funny and heartbreaking portrayal of Donna.

The character itself was reinvented drastically for Series 4, maturing from a real gobby idiot to a much more well-rounded and deeper companion, truly worthy of the Doctor. What's so refreshing about this series was the relationship between the time traveller and his companion. Here, Donna is truly the Doctor's best mate, the big sister he never had. No romance whatsoever. With Rose in series 2, the soulmate premise and implied love felt natural. With Martha and her unreciprocated love, it made for an interesting sub-plot in Series 3. But the relationship here is just two true friends going around and having a good time, and that's what gave Series 4 its heart.

Right from the first episode, "Partners in Crime', you can expect nothing but laughs and quality. It's such a solid start to the series and is terrifically paced, with Donna having long realised to open her eyes and show everyone just how brilliant she is as she seeks out the Doctor, both (independently) investigating an insidious scheme to seed aliens as...weight loss pills (!). In terms of plot, the episode is laughable, with the whole Adipose premise being overly silly. But why the episode is such a winner, is the character depth/interaction, the look at Donna's life and the Doctor and Donna finally reuniting after constantly missing each other. You find yourselves cheering the reunion when it happens, and when the Doctor and Donna team saves the day and sets off, you know you're in for a brilliant ride across the series.

And right throughout, that's what you get, with both David and Catherine at the top of their game, bringing drama, comedy and flat-out excellence, both together and by themselves as they provide so many unforgettable Doctor-Donna moments. In terms of general plot of the whole `Medusa Cascade' arc, Series 4 delivered in a way no other series did, with cracking sub-plots, ominous omens, high-stakes, daunting questions about the futures of both Donna and the Doctor and outstanding guest appearances from the likes of Billie Piper (Rose), Freema Agyeman (Martha), Elizabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane) and John Barrowman (Captain Jack). As for monsters, you can expect some great frights from returning creatures like the Ood and the Sontarans, the insidious Vashta Nerada and dangers of planet Midnight, and of course, the ULTIMATE horror in the Doctor's life (give you a clue, begins with `D'!) and the long-awaited return of its CREATOR.

In terms of overall consistency, Series 4 can still be viewed as being an absolute triumph. Very few episodes are below par, with the majority being either great or must-see classics. Ones to watch are definitely "Partners in Crime", "Planet of the Ood", Steve Moffat's phenomenal "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" two-parter, Russell T Davies' staggeringly good "Midnight", and the utterly essential three-part finale, consisting of "Turn Left" (Catherine's greatest ever performance), "The Stolen Earth" (a rollercoaster epic) and "Journey's End" (an exceptional finale with a climax that's initially uplifting, then utterly heartbreaking).

Special-features, there's loads to sink your teeth into. Commentaries, deleted scenes, trailers, a whole disc full of Doctor Who: Confidential pieces, featurettes, David Tennant's video diaries...Oh, and there's also the 2007 `Voyage of the Damned' Christmas special (featuring Kylie Minogue) and the absolutely brilliant "Time Crash" Children in Need special (featuring the Fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison). Quality-wise, the picture and sound are typical 2Entertain crispness, there are subtitles and audio navigation (for those who need them) and the package itself features beautiful panoramas that fold out.

Even though Catherine Tate's Who days are long over and David Tennant has now regenerated into Matt Smith, Doctor Who: Series 4 still remains utterly essential viewing. I still consider it the best series ever and its impact can never ever be forgotten. At such a bargain price, there's all the more reason to purchase this boxset. It just doesn't disappoint. Classic, quality viewing. Relive the days where the Time Lord continued his travels with (truly) his best friend by his side.
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160 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic, yet personal, 30 July 2008
ds (Whitby, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
Amongst fans, series four of Doctor Who has probably been more divisive than any of the the preceding three, causing some to lament that it had become little more than a soap opera, while others applauded its desire to push boundaries and experiment.

Personally, I fall into the latter camp. As time has moved on, the bar has been moved ever higher in terms of performance, scripting and production values, even since series 3. As good as David Tennant is, and he is VERY good, this is most definitely Catherine Tate's series. When she was cast, there was a vocal tranche of opinion that dreaded her appearance, based purely on her role in the 2006 Christmas Special (in the series 3 boxset). Even that was a little harsh; she had merely played the part as written, though there were clear echoes of her sketch show in it. However, as time went on, the audience went on a journey with Donna and gradually warmed to her, as she gained some kind of enlightenment and a sense of wonder at all the things she saw. Not just that, but her relationship with Tennant's Doctor, though platonic, had that wonderful kind of spark that Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn shared in their movies. I think the perfect example of that comes at the very end of the series; it was the major highlight of the series finale for me.

So, what of the episodes themselves:

First episodes of a series are tough to judge at the time and while series 3's 'Smith and Jones' had been the best at that point, 'Partners In Crime' trumps it. The Adipose plot was admittedly barely a cypher to bring CT and DT back together, but Sarah Lancashire held her own and there were obvious signs of the great chemistry to come. And if that wasn't enough, there was THAT scene to finish the episode off. Hands up who saw that one coming? ( Liars! :-) )

I really loved 'Fires of Pompeii', with its (in hindsight) predictions of what was to come later and in-jokes ofr all those Cambridge Latin Course veterans. 'Planet of the Ood' was a relatively low-key and downbeat affair, though it too subtly presaged later events. It did still give us glimpses of the fact that Tate's Donna was not going to be content to be a mere mute (or screaming) ornament in proceedings.

The Sontaran double bill, a Helen Rayner effort, was infinitely better than series 3's misfiring 'Daleks In Manhattan'. And Chris Ryan was wonderful as Staal. While it didn't hit the stellar heights of later stories it was certainly much better than merely adequate.

'The Doctor's Daughter' was, in hindsight, probably the weakest episode of the series, which sounds bad but isn't really meant to be. I rather enjoyed it, Its very simple premise and its sense of time and history being compressed as they were was a very interesting one. And of course we have a new character floating around the universe. Who knows when we'll bump into her again...

'The Unicorn and the Wasp' managed to keep up a tradition of doing nice historical author-ish episodes with some style and elan. Some quibbled about the effects and the climax, but such things border on the churlish in retrospect. The episode is a fun one, and perfect for peak-time Saturday family viewing.

From this point onwards, however, the series seemed to hit another gear entirely. Steve Moffat's Library double was, quite simply a stunning tour de force on so many levels. By now though, this is what we have come to expect of the man who manages to put the fear of God into the nation's ten-year-olds every series. Job done this time round - "stay out of the shadows"

For me, the two most surprising episodes were 'Midnight' and 'Turn Left'. The former's simple one-set staging reminding me very much of 'Twelve Angry Men'. It left RTD able to concentrate on what he does best, more than ably assisted by Lesley Sharp's performance. The mysterious and unresolved menace was beautifully realised. 'Turn Left' though, was the biggest shock of all. The usual Doctor-lite episode threw us into a world without the Doctor and shows us the consequences. It shows also how important Donna is in this context. And of course we get the return of Rose...

Then, the finale: if this really is to be RTD's swansong then I think the intention was to comprehensively clear the decks and prepare the way for Moffat to do his stuff. As a result, there was an awful lot to pack in and, towards the very end, a suitably RTD-ish tendency to ladle on the cheese, but he largely gets away with it. Once again though, Tate steals the show, with her half-timelord, half-human meta-crisis showing just how fabulous she was all along. The best bits for me were the crackles of dialogue, like when the half-human Doctor regenerates:
"It's you!"
"Oh yes"
"Oh YES"
and then taking control of things once the threefold man is reunited with all the parts of himself.

There were lots of nice touches, such as the Sarah-Jane references concerning Genesis of the Daleks, especially the moment where Davros recognises her: chilling.

That all this was so wonderful makes Donna's fate all the more heart-rending and pathetic. We'll miss her. And Bernard Cribbins too: a national treasure. I'm not sure about Rose's resolution either, though it does tie up all those floaty, "wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey" bits, to steal a quote.

In the end, what is series 4? Well, in my eyes it is certasinly a progression from the series 3. This season had no clunkers at all and was of a generally high standard. Tennant's Doctor is now utterly fully formed, having recovered from some of the overwrought gurning of series 2. Now he's alone again, next year's specials and 2010 series give the writers and team a blank slate to work from. It alsd helps to have such a talent of cast and crew talent and a wealth of goodwill to go wit hit. You really do get the sense that eveyone concerned loves this show.

RTD has done a great job in reviving what many thought was a dead show and making it consistently the most popular, best produced, mote inventive and simply best drama on British TV.

When release time finally comes it will be an essential purchase for me. I hope it will be for you too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Going Strong, 2 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
Series four of Doctor Who sees the return of Donna Noble, the new companion who is travelling with the Doctor this series. Series three is in my opinion the best series of Doctor Who, but series four is definitely a close second. There are so many great stories in this series and I will now give you my thoughts on each of the episodes.

Voyage of the Damned – This is a good Christmas special, but not up to the standard of “The Christmas Invasion” or “The Runaway Bride” in my opinion. It was great to see Kylie Minogue in an adventure with the Doctor; there are some funny moments as well. The characters are great, in particular Astrid, Mister Copper and Banacafalata. The plot is okay, the “Host” are good as they generate suspense but there are some flaws and areas that could have been improved. However, it is an enjoyable Doctor Who story. Grade: C- (7/10)

Partners in Crime – This episode is a great start for series four, and is a really good way to bring the Doctor and Donna back together who haven’t met again since “The Runaway Bride.” The chemistry between David Tennnant and Katherine Tate is brilliant. This episode is a lot of fun to watch and is very funny. This is possibly one of the funniest episodes I have ever seen of Doctor Who. I loved the characters and the ending is excellent. The plot and the Adipose are the weak parts; it’s light-hearted most of the time. The storyline is bizarre but the entertainment factor overpowers this negative element. The comedy is what makes this episode work though. It’s good to see aspects of Donna’s life and view the introduction of Wilfred Mott who is a significant character for later in the series and the specials. It’s a solid opener for series four. Grade: B- (8/10)

The Fires of Pompeii – This is a decent story, not the greatest episode in series four though. The monsters bothered me slightly and I didn’t really like that Peter Capaldi was in this episode, he was to become the 12th Doctor later in the show. I found parts a little boring but I think lots of the dialogue is well written. David Tennant and Katherine Tate give superb performances as the Doctor and Donna. The scenes where they debate Pompeii’s fate and if the Doctor should save people from destruction or not are brilliant. The setting of Pompeii is good; the recreations of the era look very realistic. Overall, I just feel that this episode could have been better. This is the weakest historical episode so far in my opinion since the series has been revived. Some scenes are great and even emotional, but I find other episodes in series four superior to this one. Grade: D (6.5/10)

Planet of the ood – This is a good episode. It explores the themes of lying, slavery and profiteering off of others, which are dark themes but the episode handles it very well. However, lots of the characters are underdeveloped as the episode focuses most of its attention on the main plot and the topic of slavery etc. Only Mister Halpen is developed well as a character. Donna’s viewpoint of being disgusted by the ood to caring about the species happens too quickly. There are some great action sequences and well written dialogue but some scenes are put in to waste time, such as the scene where the Doctor runs from the claw. The ood brain aspect is confusing but the ood look good in the episode and it’s well Directed by Graeme Harper. This is a darker episode of the series, concentrating more on the emotional aspects from the series. I would have enjoyed it more if the villains were not one-dimensional characters, being motivated by money and they come across as evil most of the time for no reason. The ood mention at the end of the episode that the Doctor’s song is ending soon, implying the death of the 10th Doctor which I thought was great foreshadowing. This episode has a great atmosphere, it’s chilling and entertaining. Not the best in series four, but very good. Grade: B- (8/10)

The Sontaran Stratagem – This is a really good episode, I enjoyed seeing the return of Martha Jones and are there are a few different things going off. The CGI is incredibly well done and the plot is good, even if it is a basic idea. I like the fact that we got to meet Donna’s family as they meet the Doctor (having met him briefly previously), this was something that was lacking in series three as we didn’t see Martha’s family much. What I didn’t like in this episode was the way the Doctor treated people, he is mean much of the time. This is not David Tennant’s fault; the Doctor is just badly written in this episode. The characters are developed well and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this first part which has a dramatic ending. Grade: B (8.5/10)

The Poison Sky – This is episode is more of a disappointment after the great set-up in “The Sonataran Strategem.” It’s not bad, but is much more action orientated and there is not much character development. I’m not a fan of the Martha clone element, even if there is a funny scene when the Doctor talks to the clone after he finds the real Martha (with the Doctor knowing all along that the Martha clone was a clone.) The interaction between the two Martha’s is cheesy but emotionally driven. David Tennant’s Doctor could again have been better written and the plot isn’t as interesting. The Sontarans are not the best villains; raging war for no reason is a silly concept towards the end. Some scenes are well executed and I liked that Wilfred Mott, Donna’s Grandfather, appears in the story again. The episode has some good scenes but it’s weaker than part one and is not a strong entry from series four. Grade: C- (7/10)

The Doctor’s Daughter – This is the worst episode in series four in my opinion. I find the plot very boring in places and standard, being a basic war storyline and it’s uninteresting. Jenny is one of the more intriguing guest characters we have had this series and there are some funny scenes. I liked the scene towards the end which packed emotion. The episode is a waste of potential for the most part, the acting is great though. The Hath are not a very good species but okay. I know some people who like this and I respect your opinion if you do like it, but for me it’s a disappointing entry into the fourth series. Grade: E- (5/10)

The Unicorn and the Wasp – When I first saw this story I really liked it. However, now having re-watched it again, it didn’t have the same effect on me as I knew who the murderer was. It took away the mystery but I still think it is a good episode. Agatha Christie is brilliantly cast and all the characters are good. The setting is suitable and it’s great to watch the Doctor in a detective story. Donna didn’t really do much in the episode; however she did fit into the story quite well. Some scenes could have aimed at being more serious, but the fun side of the episode worked well. The plot is slightly bizarre, but the story is engaging. Screen time was divided well for each of the supporting cast. It is also easy to follow and doesn’t feel overloaded which is good, considering it’s a murder mystery. It could have been more ambitious but the character development is excellent, as is the CGI for the wasp and the direction. It’s a fun and enjoyable episode. Grade: C (7.5/10)

Silence in the Library – This episode is one of the best in series four. It has a very intriguing storyline and a lot of suspense which keeps the audience in the moment. The villains are also intriguing and I like the character of River Song. The mood of the story and dark setting help the episode a lot in delivering a spooky atmosphere. The library gives the feeling of no escape for the characters. There are many questions posed in this episode that a viewer wants answering in part two. Series 4 really ups the game from this point onwards. Grade: B+ (8.7/10)

Forest of the Dead – This episode is excellent and even better than part one. I liked the emotional side to this episode towards the back end and the alternate reality surrounding Donna. It has a great plot, good characters, great pace and I very thrilling. I loved this one. Grade: A- (9/10)

Midnight – This episode is brilliant and definitely my favourite from series four. It’s my third favourite episode out of all the revived Doctor Who, behind “Human Nature/The Family of Blood” and “Blink” from series three. It’s so tense and chilling; the actress who plays Sky is excellent and really creepy. David Tennant is again fantastic as the Doctor. The enclosed setting makes it all the scarier and it has a great cast. The dialogue is superb as well. That’s what makes this episode, the dialogue. It’s wonderfully written by Russell T Davies, he creates conflicts constantly among the characters. This is by far the best RTD’s scripts for Doctor Who; he did an amazing job writing this episode. “Midnight” is original, imaginative and terrific. Grade: A (9.5/10)

Turn Left – Another great episode this time giving Donna most of the screen time, the Doctor barely makes an appearance. The absence of the Doctor does not affect the quality of the episode though. I like how Rose Tyler returns and the plot is really interesting. The music is great in this story, the acting is superb and it carries some emotional moments. Katherine Tate’s performance is outstanding in this episode and it really shows how great an actress she is. This episode ends on a dark note and leaves the audience eagerly awaiting the next instalment. Grade: B+ (8.8/10)

The Stolen Earth – This is a great episode and sets up everything for part two really well, with a powerful cliff-hanger. It features the return of the Doctor’s arch enemy and their creator, Davros. He has to be the best villain in series four. The Doctor and Rose are reunited and we are greeted to some old faces that have appeared over all the four series. A really strong episode. Grade: B (8.5/10)

Journey’s End – This is where all the Doctor’s companions come together to fight the evil Daleks and thwart Davros’s deadly plan. This episode is a great end for series four; I especially liked seeing all the Doctor’s companions in the TARDIS towards the end. It lacked some suspense and a lot of the action took place aboard the Dalek ship, but I really enjoyed this episode. It feels like the end of an era to me. It’s sad what happens to Donna but this episode ends series four very well. Grade: B- (8/10)

Series Four is not the best Doctor Who series, but it is good. The second half of the series delivers some brilliant episodes and really boosts the grade up in my opinion. The Doctor is again on his own after this series and there are now only five more 10th Doctor episodes. The end of the Russell T Davies era and David Tennant’s reign as the 10th Doctor is almost upon us…
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionate, 7 Oct. 2009
Martin Turner "Martin Turner" (Marlcliff, Warwickshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
This is the Doctor Who series that most requires rewatching from beginning to end. It is emotional, poignant, political, tragic, heroic, comedic, and, to my mind, the most passionate exposition in Doctor Who's forty-five year journey.

The original Donna Noble character, in the Christmas Special 'the Runaway Bride', seemed at the time to be no more than a celeb-special with Catherine Tate playing a dumpy comic heroine with enough attitude to keep the Doctor on his toes. But, from the first episode of the fourth series (not counting Christmas special Voyage of the Damned), her character builds to be the most passionate and complex of all the Doctor Who companions.

In Episode 1, Partners in Crime, we see Donna taking things into her own hands, and eventually bulldozing the Doctor into allowing her to accompany him -- though, touchy as she is, she almost doesn't go when she thinks he is being too familiar.

In Episode 2, Fires of Pompeii, she persuades the Doctor to interfere with time by saving a family that would have died. But, unnoticed at the time, a soothsayer character tells her 'you've got something on your back'. A throwaway line, it would seem.

Episode 3, Planet of the Ood, lifts Doctor Who to a new level of political awareness, with the enslavement of the Ood brought to an end at the cost of many lives. It also brings in the bizarre apparent misunderstanding 'Doctor-Donna'.

The two-parter, Episodes 4 and 5, are more traditional Doctor Who / UNIT fare, giving us back Martha Jones, and allowing for the high comedy moment when the Doctor thinks Donna is leaving, and gives her his leaving speech, only to discover she is going home to get some things.

Episode 6, the Doctor's Daughter, had me almost in tears each time I watched it. The sharply compressed timeline makes this excellent science-fiction on its own account, but it's the revival of the Doctor's daughter _after_ the Doctor and Donna have gone, so that they don't know, which lifts this episode emotionally to new highs. But notice also, it's Donna who figures out that the numbers of the rooms are dates, and solves the fundamental paradox of the civil war in doing so.

Episode 7 is the only false note in this series, for me. Perhaps others who enjoyed it would be better placed to comment.

However, the double Episode 8-9, Silence in the Library with Forest of the Dead, is to me the undisputed pinnacle of Doctor Who so far -- better than Genesis of the Daleks from the Tom Baker years, better than The Green Death from Jon Pertwee's time, even beating the multi-award winning Blink from series 3. It's no surprise that it was written by Steve Moffat, the same writer as Blink, whose forthcoming tenure as main writer promises a golden age. Alongside the terrifying plot device, which speaks to our most basic instinctive fears of the dark, the story opens up new sides to the Doctor when we meet for the first time his long-term love interest, Professor River Song. All the strangeness of a relationship with a Time Lord is brought out when we realise that this event sandwiches the first time the Doctor ever meets her, with the last time she ever meets him. But River Song's meeting with Donna, when she tells her how sorry she is, but won't say why, really sets our thoughts moving.

Episode 10, which barely features Donna at all, could have come from almost any series of Doctor Who, before or after the revival. Although light on ideas, it makes massive dramatic sense after the emotional pinnacle of 8 and 9.

Episode 11 pushes Donna right to the front, and it's also one of the most gut-wrenching episodes I've seen. Its key moment is when the Italian family are put in a truck to be taken to a concentration camp, and Bernard Cribbins as Donna's grandfather, Wilf, cries "It's happening again". Most science-fiction series on TV have a go at at-least-one alternate history episode. Doctor Who, where the rules of time travel are so much more established, understood and central to the plot, has remarkably few of them. To see another one, you have to go back to Inferno in the Jon Pertwee era. But this is the alternate history episode to beat all others: after a time-beetle-thing climbs onto her back, Donna's history is rewritten so that she never meets the Doctor. her absence from 'the Runaway Bride' results in the Doctor's death, which means that successive catastrophes are not averted, and Britain is left in post-apocalyptic dystopia. The episode is so perfectly judged that it would rival many feature films, and I was absolutely astonished to find it was just one episode -- I could have sworn it was a double.

Powerful as it is, we discover that Episode 11 is just the precursor to the extraordinary finale The Stolen Earth followed by Journey's End. Bringing all of our favourite characters back, including the ever-menacing Davros, first encountered all those years ago in Genesis of the Daleks, it is the most extraordinary roller-coaster of accidents and reversals. For once the culmination is not 'reverse the polarity of the neutron flow', but a personal dilemma which mirrors the conclusion of Genesis...
Even more extraordinary is the way in which Donna is left tragically as the only person who can never know that she saved the universe. And at that point, we understand why Professor River Song was so very, very sorry.

I was highly sceptical that Catherine Tate would make a good Doctor Who companion. How wrong I was. Coupled with the amazing presence of Bernard Cribbins, who is now more than 80, and the steadily maturing performance of David Tennant, this one gets my vote as the best series of all time.

All time yet, that is. With Steven Moffat at the helm, we could be heading for even better days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor goes forth, 12 Feb. 2014
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
Doctor Who needs little introduction - a TV sci-fi series that started way back in the 1960's that ran more or less continuously until the late 1980's and was required Saturday night viewing for generations of British kids. It was notable for it's scary monster of the week theme, the changing title role, the Doctor's slightly ramshackle mode of conveyance and the variety of "Doctor's Companions". Sadly, it was also notable for it's limited budget, wobbly sets and man-in-a-rubber-suit aliens. However, despite its failings, it gained a special place in the nation's conciousness and is looked back on with fondness by many.

After a seventeen year break, the series restarted in 2005 with new writers, Doctors and companions and it has gone from strength to strength since.

This, the fourth series of Doctor Who continues Tennant's Tardis tenancy. It begins with another Christmas Special in which none other than Kylie Minogue steps in as the Doc's companion. Subsequently, however, the mantle is taken on by Catherine Tate as the inimitable Donna Noble. Kylie, I am afraid, isn't given the chance to develop her character much and is little more than throw-away eyecandy. Catherine, on the other hand, is... annoying. It's hard to say who is more annoying - Donna or the Doctor - but I would put my money on Donna. That said, she is a darn sight more interesting than poor old Martha, who looked good but never really recovered from being Rose's successor. Tate certainly stamps her mark on the series, giving a lusty, red-blooded, full-lunged performance that threaten's to upstage Tennant's Doctor.

The series comprises:

- Voyage of the Damned
- Partners in Crime
- The Fires of Pompeii
- Planet of the Ood
- The Sontaran Stratagem
- The Poison Sky
- The Doctor's Daughter
- The Unicorn and the Wasp
- Silence in the Library
- Forest of the Dead
- Midnight
- Turn Left
- The Stolen Earth
- Journey's End

I've moaned at some length about the series' inability to achieve escape velocity and actually leave 20th/21st Century earth and this one is no different. Even when it /does/ (e.g. Library and Ood) it may as well not have bothered. I've also noted that each season generally includes a couple of stinkers and a couple of jewels and again, S4 is the same.

The Library/Forest 2-parter is a good 'un by any standards with a creepy premise, plenty of peril and some mind bending concepts. Despite the apparently mundane location, the idea of a library the size of a planet is pretty cool and the head librarian nicely recalls Resident Evil's Red Queen. By contrast, Partners in Crime, with its insufferably cute fat-gremlins is just terrible and I felt compelled to skip forward to the next ep after an excruciating 30 minutes. The Sontaran 2-parter (Stratagem/Poison) is a bit 50-50, with great (and familiar to us old gits) aliens but again a rather mundane setting. And so it goes. Nevertheless the series is probably the best of the four to date.

One of the real joys of watching Doctor Who all these years after it aired is spotting the cameos - both established actors and new faces that have subsequently established themselves. So, keep a lookout for Colin (Merlin) Morgan, Chris (The Young Ones) Ryan, Tim (Thank you Darling) McInnery and Peter (the twelfth Doctor) Capaldi.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best companion......ever!, 30 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
I have just again watched the entire fourth series and it is as I remembered it,excellent (with the exception of the O.K Sontaran story).
I have never been a fan of sketch shows so I had no preconceived opinions of Catherine Tate as a companion,I had only seen her in dramatic roles.From the classic series through to the new series I still find her to be my favourite.The chemistry between her and David Tennant was tremendously written and delivered by the two actors,Donna Noble really needs to return (after all,as the River Song character hinted at Donna's future was bleak).
As much as I have also enjoyed Matt Smith's tenure as the Doctor (and his companions) the story telling in the pre Matt Smith stories is far less complex and probably more enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS!, 2 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
im 17 and a massive doctor who fan!

arrived promptly and everything was in brilliant condition.

ive never really got into buying box sets, so for the first time im glad to be giving this 5 stars. ive been watching doctor who since the return in 2001? and it was only this christmas i asked my mum for this series. i had forgotten nearly all of it! so i watched the whole box set in 4 days! it was awesome! many of my mates have asked to borrow it and they have enjoyed it too!

this now sits nicely with my harry potter box set, sherlock holmes box set and my new collection of doctor who!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A TARDISfull of brilliance, 5 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
Series 4 was what knocked Christopher Eccleston from the spot of Favourite Doctor! Every episode was well made and had a good plot. This series makes me miss the era of Russell T Davies!

I won't go for a massive episode by episode analysis, so I'll talk about my favourites.

Planet of the Ood - It was nice to see the Ood return, and it was also interesting to see (as a few of us suspected) a backstory in which they were not willing servants naturally. Tennant and Tate's performance in the episode was outstanding, and I thought that this continuation of the story to the Waters of Mars/End of Time was well done.

The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky - The return of the psychotic potato dwarves! Those sontarans were upping their game and actually using a clone of Martha! Also, Luke Rattigan was a brilliant addition to the episode as someone working with the sontarans! Poison Sky doesn't disappoint either, although I wasn't sure about why the Sontarans would just chant rather than doing stuff! Small disappointment was that the Rutans didn't return, but you can't have them all I suppose...

The Doctor's Daughter - Good storyline, Good continuity, Good addition of characters like Cobb and Jenny. Brilliant!

Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead - Steven Moffat in his field. A good scary storyline, the introduction of River Song, and creepy monsters that hide in the shadows. Donna's dream world is also quite interesting and Moffat is doing his best stuff. Not remotely confusing for a change!

Turn Left/The Stolen Earth/Journeys End - I'm including Turn Left with this as it was effectively the prequel to the Stolen Earth. The episode was interesting as it was a case of 'Going back in time and seeing what would happen if you had died early on'. Here we see the Doctor dying having consequences for companions like Sarah Jane, Captain Jack, and Martha. And Rose makes a worthwhile appearance that works really well. Gone are the days of Series 2, Rose hath become a badass!

The Stolen Earth is a brilliant episode. It also wins the award for best cliffhanger EVER!!! We see the return of almost all companions in the episode, including Ianto and Gwen from Torchwood and Luke and Mr. Smith from SJA. Also the Daleks and their creator make a return. At the end, a reunion with Rose goes very very wrong for the Doctor.

Journeys End however is the best episode ever of the new revamped Doctor Who! We see everyone come back, The Daleks enact their destructive master plan. Daleks Caan's Prophecy comes into being and the Ood get it right! And, Two Doctors appear - 10th and 11th (Technically). Many characters get a huge change and this makes the episode and EPICsode!

Series Four - 13 Episodes of Brilliance, CGI and Barminess!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant series, 29 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
It's taken us six months to watch this, the last full season with David Tennant as the Doctor. Great first episode featuring Kylie Minogue, who would have made a good companion, but it was not to be. Donna - Catherine Tate - appears in episode Two, a quirky and somewhat amusing one featuring some weight loss pills, and the cute aliens known as adipose (which can now be bought as plush toys!).

I didn't much like Donna at first, but her lack of romantic interest in the Doctor was quite refreshing, and she grew in confidence as the series progressed - making her eventual departure, in the last episode, tragically final.

There are threads running through this series which make it more complicated than the old series used to be, but there are still quite a mixture from the cuddly Adipose to the terrifying Vashta Nerada, not to mention the ancient daleks with their battle cry `exterminate', which still makes me shudder and want to hide behind the sofa, as I did as a child.

Lots of companions re-appear in this series, including one from the Doctor's future (is that `pre-appear?') and there's a delightfully light-weight episode featuring Agatha Christie, a society hostess played by Felicity Kendall, and a script which includes a large number of titles of Agatha Christie's books.

The final DVD contains a wonderful documentary, seeing into the lives of those involved in the show, with script-reading, filming and post-production. David Tennant is brilliant throughout.

Great stuff... I just wish I'd known sooner that there are some extra episode from 2009 which are chronologically between Series Four and Series Five. So we needed to get hold of them before we could move on to see Matt Smith as Doctor.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Catherine Tate and David Tennant make fun and dramatic mayhem, 20 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
The return of Donna Noble to the brilliant science fiction drama was one of the best masterstrokes in all of time travelling adventures and with David Tennant raising his dramatic and comedic talents even further this was one of the best series in Russell T Davies' era.

The start of the series from Christmas was high in adventure, perfect in drama and with that slice of comedy genius to make it riveting from start to finish.

The Christmas special including Kylie Minogue was fast and furious and a great adventure styled episode with a sad ending.

The official start of Series 4 was arguably the funniest ever episode of the New Who with Tennant and Catherine Tate as Donna rocking the fabrications of a fat reducing drug company. Containing bizarre dietary implications for consumers the near misses between meetings are well timed, really funny and has you praying for them both to find one another.

After a look away from an old friend the series really starts.

Some of the better episodes include "Midnight" which is a claustrophobic thriller as an unknown being inhabits itself within travellers on a voyager.

The episode with the Ood is almost heartbreaking as well as Donna is thrown right into the hearts of aliens and the Pompeii consequence was history defining entertainment of unmatched proportion (look closely and you will see future companion actress Karen Gillian)
With this series there are many two episode stories, which usually annoys me personally but in many cases stories can often be better for it. The library episode for example keeps the tension building as we're thrown red herrings every three minutes.

The return of the Sontarans is a case which was perhaps overstretched, as great as they were as enemies.

The finale is all over the place. It will break your heart, make you cheer, make you gasp in shock. When you first watch the penultimate episode climax after a Dalek shot, you dare not believe what you have just seen.

This is a cracking series full of everything you need from a TV programme and thanks to writers and actors and everyone involved.

The highlight of the series is Donna Noble and because of Mrs Tate you can watch these classics over and over again.

Special features include behind the scenes, DR Who confidential, David Tennant's video diary amongst interviews and effects featurettes.

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