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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Class My Boy!!!
Ah! Black Orchid, one of my truly favourite pieces of Doctor Who serialage. It's hard to describe why this small 2 part tale works so well for me, but, suffice to say, it just does. The story is by no means original, epic, consequence driven or even action orientated, but charm, now this is evident in abundance. Peter Davison's first year as the Doctor has always been one...
Published 4 months ago by The Real M.B.E. Of Tooting

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value for money release of a weaker story
At one point in the commentary for 'Black Orchid', someone remarks that this story feels like Terrence Dudley just dusted off a Miss Marple-style story he had written and added the Doctor into it. This tale has no science fiction elements at all, relies on heavy levels of coincidence to power its narrative.

The change of pace both marks it out in the season and...
Published on 21 May 2008 by Andrew Brack


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Class My Boy!!!, 26 Feb 2014
This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Ah! Black Orchid, one of my truly favourite pieces of Doctor Who serialage. It's hard to describe why this small 2 part tale works so well for me, but, suffice to say, it just does. The story is by no means original, epic, consequence driven or even action orientated, but charm, now this is evident in abundance. Peter Davison's first year as the Doctor has always been one of my personal favourites, the quality of the scripts, direction and of course a new Doctor add so much vigour to the show after 7 years with good old Tom. Reinvention is the key here and Black Orchid fits perfectly in the middle of this ideal.

Being a 2 part historical tale set in rural England in 1925, this is a story that reeks of Britishness and tonnes of charm. One must concede that Peter Davison, over perhaps any other Doctor fits in well in this high-class culture. Davison has really grown on me as the Doctor, his innate Human qualities are in sharp contrast to the alien Baker and for me at least, this is a welcome change, especially after 7 years. Here, Peter and Co. {Adric, Nyssa and Tegan} are working beautifully. There's a real sense that after the events of Kinda and The Visitation, the team is kicking back and enjoying life for a bit. Of course, these things never last for the intrepit foursome and suddenly and expectedly, people start to die, but whom could it be???

It would be churlish to even suggest that this is an Agatha Christie who-dun-it, its not. It's purely a character piece and anybody who watches this tale and does not work out who the killer is within the first 26 seconds is in trouble, big trouble. Hospital visit will need to be arranged. But the charm of this is not it's plot, which is near to non-existent, but the performances of the quest cast and most importantly, the regulars. Peter Davison has by now settled into the role and gives a charasmatic performance as the Doctor, Adric is as annoying as ever but he has such a small part to play who cares??? Tegan is slightly less verbose here and comes accross as quite a charmer and at ease in this time period.

Nyssa is the main draw here, JNT wanted to give Sarah Sutton the spotlight at least once this year as he had done with Tegan in "Kinda" and Adric in "Earthshock". Sarah proves herself to be highly capable here playing both Nyssa and Ann with relative aplomb. You always know who's who, but that only adds to the enjoyment I feel. This story features some great guest characters such as Michael Cochrane as Lord Cranleigh and especially Barbara Murray as Lady Cranleigh. The casting is superb with not one person looking ill-at-ease. A word or two must also be said concerning the design of this tale. It's class. Pure class. The location filming is some of the most beautiful ever captured for Doctor Who, the cricket scenes in particular are incredible. The DVD thankfully has cleaned up these film elements and now they look truly breathtaking. Inside, and the BBC lives up to its name with some of the most convincing sets created for the show. The mansion truly looks like a mansion, the stairs are impressive enough but the level of detail is unsurpassed. Truly great work from designer Tony Burrough.

Now then, the BBC DVD release of this classy tale is not to be sniffed at. Although a patent budget release, the extras are plentiful and both episodes come with a commentary and other fiddly bits to keep amusement amused. The Restoration Team have superceded all previous efforts {until the next release} in restoring this tale, as mentioned above, the raw film elements were found to still exist and have been scanned at HD quality to ensure that the best results were possible. This whole tale simply glows with love and dedication. 10/10.

In all, Black Orchid is one of my favourite tales, lightweight it may be but that only adds to its endless charm. I highly recommend this 2 part Davison tale for a Sunday afternoon viewing in mid July.

Many thanks for your time, it's greatly appreciated.

M.B.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story set in the 1920s - with the Doctor, two Nyssas, Tegan and Adric, 20 Jun 2012
This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
I love 'Black Orchid'. Straight to the point. I just love it. It's my absolute favourite Doctor Who story from the Peter Davison era. And I'm so pleased that this is lovely Sarah Sutton's (who plays both Nyssa and Ann Talbot in this) favourite story as well.

When I first bought this story on DVD in April 2008, it was on the day I was working on my first year project at University. I was tired and stressed out working on it that I decided to buy that DVD that lunch time during the day. I had an hour or so to spare before going back to lectures so I decided to watch Part One of that story during my lunch break back home. After watching the first episode, I enjoyed it so much that I couldn't wait to watch the second episode. But I decided to do my afternoon lectures first and come back home later to watch the second episode. When I finished watching Black Orchid, I decided to watch it again after enjoying it so much. Now I've seen it for the umpteenth time and know all the lines of the character/actors.

I asked Sarah to sign this story for me when I first met her back in February 2010 in London. Sarah was glad to hear that I liked `Black Orchid'. She signed that as well as 'Circular Time' (my favourite audio) for me on that same day. Two aspects of why Sarah likes this story is because it is a historical set in the 1920s and that it allows her the chance to play two parts in it.

I certainly enjoyed the murder mystery aspect of the story and it's quite surprising how Terence Dudley (the writer) managed to put so much into a two-part story, which is unique. I loved the cricket match scenes in the first episode (the only bit about `Black Orchid' that Peter Davison really likes) and enjoyed the fancy dress ball dancing scenes out on the patio. I especially loved the character moments between Nyssa, Adric and Tegan when they're enjoying themselves at the ball. I love the comedy moments when Adric's uncomfortable about dancing and instead rather eats at the buffet and Nyssa calls him a `pig'. Funny stuff.

Sarah has said although she liked this story, she doesn't think it develops Nyssa's character since it's merely her playing two parts for the whole of the story. I'd be inclined to disagree with her on that point, because I do think `Black Orchid' does develop her character since we see a side of Nyssa where she enjoys herself and is a sociable person during the story. This is quite a break from having her being the scientist for other stories.

On saying that however, Sarah really does shine throughout as not only does she play Nyssa, but also the equally lovely Ann Talbot. She is quite girly and emotional in this story I'm afraid, not like Nyssa who's much stronger and calmer than her, but she comes across as being bubbly, cheeky and really nice throughout. Ann is certainly an interesting character, as we get to learn who is she and why she is being chased by this mysterious antagonist who happens to be the murderer (I won't reveal any spoilers). For me it's hard to decide who's better, Nyssa or Ann. I certainly didn't know who it was that got attacked or who was going to be attacked in the cliff-hanger for Part One. Though I should have suspected it was Ann since she seems so squeamish when being attacked, and Sarah plays it very well. Sarah puts across the aristocratic nature very strongly and equally in her performance in Ann as well as with Nyssa. I really enjoyed the `topping' moment between Nyssa and Ann, and I especially loved those moments where they first meet at Cranleigh Hall and get to know each other.

Sarah plays both parts very differently and very well and it's really nice for Nyssa to have a story where she's given more attention, although (and I think Janet Fielding makes this valid point as well in the commentary), it would have been nice to have learned why Nyssa and Ann look so similar and an explanation on that would have been interesting despite just stating it throughout, considering Nyssa's from Traken and Ann's not. Perhaps there is a story out there already if anyone wishes to comment.

I like both Nyssa and Ann wearing their fancy dress outfits at the ball, since they both look so gorgeous, even though it is a skimpy outfit anyway. And certainly Sarah gets to show off her dancing skills since she went to ballet school as a little girl before going into acting.

I was very disappointed from hearing the audio commentary how much Peter Davison, as well as his other companions Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) gave negative views on Black Orchid and that Sarah seems the only one who's positive about it. I don't think Sarah got a chance to say much in that commentary (told me she couldn't get a word in edgeways). Despite the fact that Peter doesn't like this story (or as Sarah says `hates it'), it certainly is unlike any Doctor Who story I've ever seen before. Peter stated the reasons why he didn't like this story was because it doesn't contain any sci-fi elements and it seemed silly to set the story in a country mansion. I think that's one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much since it's a pure historical and it's nice to have a break from all the space-yarns I've seen in Doctor Who, which at the time were getting a bit boring for me.

The rest of special features on offer include the `Now and Then - The Locations of Black Orchid' feature which I enjoyed immensely. I loved hearing the nostalgic 1920s music in the background of the feature as well as hearing it during the story (the 20s music is my dad's favourite part of `Black Orchid' since he's a massive fan of nostalgic music). In terms of the locations of `Black Orchid', I found them very interesting and pleasant to watch, as they don't seem to change much since the original broadcast in 1982. Seeing them almost made me want to go there, especially since it was sunny when they were being shot. I felt sorry for the actors who had to film during wet weather on the patio for the fancy dress ball (Janet certainly wasn't happy). I also loved the railway station. I always feel a sense of nostalgic when visiting a railway station, and I always try to do that when going on holiday whether in England or in Scotland.

There are also some `deleted scenes' from Black Orchid, focusing heavily on the fancy dress ball. I would have loved these scenes to be reincorporated into the story, or better still, have the whole story set in a special edition version with no breaks or pauses so it makes up as one whole story, like they did with `The Five Doctors', `Enlightenment', `Planet of Fire', `Battlefield' and `The Curse of Fenric' (my dad would like that as well apparently).

There is a `restoration' feature as well on this story. I was very impressed with the grading. The Restoration Team have made this story look so fresh and new, it's hard to believe it looked so grainy back in 1982 on its original broadcast. I also enjoyed the `Blue Peter' clip which looked at how the costumes were made for Black Orchid and how the presenters went to the actual place where they did the costumes and actually put some of them on, including the military uniforms and the dresses.

A special feature of great interest is the `Stripped For Action - The Fifth Doctor' featurette. This covers the comic book adventures during the Fifth Doctor years from 1982 to 1984, which can be found in 'The Tides of Time' graphic novel which I've already read. This includes contributions from Dave Gibbons (artist), Alan McKenzie (DWM (Doctor Who Magazine) editor of the time) and former DWM editors as well as contributors to the Big Finish world Gary Russell and Alan Barnes. Each talk about the comic strip adventures of the Fifth Doctor, including `The Tides of Time', `Stars Fell on Stockbridge', `The Stockbridge Horror' and `Lunar Lagoon'. I only became interested in the comics when `The Stockbridge Trilogy' came out in 2009 from Big Finish with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. I read the comics a while later, and it was nice to have this DVD extra as a helper's guide into what the Fifth Doctor comic strips were all about.

There's also a `Points of View' programme about Doctor Who's time slot on Monday and Tuesday's during the time and an exciting Coming Soon trailer for `The Trial of a Time Lord' DVD. The info text wasn't impressive I'm afraid to say, since very little information was given about the story like all the other Doctor Who DVD info text options.

I would love to say more about `Black Orchid', but I think this is a good time to stop. All I can say I enjoy `Black Orchid' every minute and I can't seem to stop watching it again and again. You may find it short, but it's certainly a relaxing, enjoyable experience. It certainly has made a huge impact on my life with meeting Sarah Sutton and seeing her at conventions. It's definitely a shining story for Sarah and Nyssa, and it's one of my absolute favourite stories as well as for Sarah.

The next story with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric is 'The Darkening Eye'.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better with age, 13 Jun 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Well as a younger viewer, the classic who stories take a lot more will to get through at least in my opinion. What's fun about Black Orchid however is that it is a short two parter which makes the story easy to get through without becoming boring or slow paced. Although the story isn't appreciated as much as other stories, Black Orchid succeeds in bringing a much more calmer tone to the series and for using a non sci-fi plot which every once in a while is quite nice to see. It's focus on the 1920s is brought to life by the great supporting cast, costumes and wonderful settings. The main cast each have their own roles with The Doctor being framed for murder, Nyssa finding her doppelganger, Tegan finally having some fun rather than moaning about wanting to get to Heathrow and Adric...eating chicken! The bonus features are all enjoyable but the commentary is definitely worth a watch after seeing the episode on it's own as the main cast talk about the experience working on the story and it's genuinely funny and entertaining to listen to. Overall Black Orchid is a calmer and more subtle story to the rest of the season and the decision for it to be placed right between The Vistation and Earthshock was right as both of these stories are quite darker in contrast so I would recommend people to watch this story in the middle of those stories. Black Orchid has aged well and despite its focus more on time than space, it is fun and a great addition to Doctor Who DVD collections. :)
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value for money release of a weaker story, 21 May 2008
By 
Andrew Brack (Atlanta, GA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
At one point in the commentary for 'Black Orchid', someone remarks that this story feels like Terrence Dudley just dusted off a Miss Marple-style story he had written and added the Doctor into it. This tale has no science fiction elements at all, relies on heavy levels of coincidence to power its narrative.

The change of pace both marks it out in the season and also contributes to many of its weaknesses. There is so little narrative that the production resorts to a five minute cricket sequence in the first part (more on that later!) and corridor-wandering galore.

Still, it is hard to deny that the story has a unique feel and it is nice to see the Doctor go back in time.

The commentary for this story features the entire TARDIS crew who are on fine form. As others have noted, this is much more negative than most Davison commentaries because of the four actors only Sutton has a soft spot for the story. Whilst some will feel that they are too negative about a well-loved story, the commentary is frequently very funny indeed. One highlight for me is Peter Davison's synopsis of the cricket scene where he refers to an off-scene character, "Smutty", whose friend he has been mistaken for.

I emerged from the commentary more aware of the story's faults but much more fond of the story despite them. I may no longer be able to take it seriously but in many ways that is not such a bad thing as it has increased my enjoyment of it no end.

Amongst the other extra features there are also deleted scenes, a now and then featurette looking at the locations and a featurette on the Fifth Doctor's era in the comics. This last item is the sort of thing that will either appeal to you hugely or not at all. Suffice it to say that if you enjoy Doctor Who comics it is an interesting overview of the era from Doctor Who Monthly editors and artists - if not you will likely be skipping over it.

'Black Orchid' is certainly not one of the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time but the BBC has put together a good package of extras at an excellent price.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars doctor whodunnit, 22 April 2008
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
a two part doctor who story from 1982, featuring peter davison as the fifth doctor, and his companions tegan played by janet fielding nyssa played by sarah sutton and adric played by matthew waterhouse.

This is a slightly unusual story compared to the norm because it contains no science fiction other than the tardis, and reintroduces a style of story not seen since the 1960's known as historical, in which the tardis lands on earth in the past and the crew get caught up in goings on of the time. often such stories involved actual historical events and figures but this, set in 1920's england, doesn't. It involves the tardis crew visiting a stately home and getting caught up in a murder mystery and the secret of the family who live there.

This could be an agatha christie story. It's nothing special, but it's a pleasant little diversion, well made and well acted. and the restoration team have done a good job on the film and the picture now looks superb.

The extras:

a commentary from peter davison and the actors who played the companions. this group are always very good at commentaries and they're fun to listen to. and you'll find they're not personally too keen on the story.

for an easter egg, go to the special features pages and move a pointer around them [if watching on a pc] and a doctor who logo will light up. click on this to see bbc continuity announcements of the time for the story

There are a few deleted and extended scenes, running for about ten minutes in total. nothing special but worth a look, and nicely framed in the style of a 20's movie

A now and then feature of ten minutes duration looks at the locations where the story was filmed as they were then and as they are now. they all look very nice so this is a decent watch

Stripped for action is a fifteen minute documentary about the comic strips that featured the fifth doctor. It's interesting stuff, showing how they were put together despite behind the scenes tribulations.

There's a nine minute clip from childrens show blue peter made at the time showing two of the presenters visiting a costumers that supplied the costumes for this story. and lots of other programmes. interesting and worth watching

A short clip from bbc points of view of the time - long running show where viewers opinions are aired - shows viewers of the time weren't happy about the time slot the show was given. and that points of view then as now patronises and doesnt address the issue. some things never change.

A fascinating feature, also framed in 20's style, looks at how the film was restored. technical and very interesting

The radio times listings for the story can be accessed on a pc as a pdf file

and there's the usual information text, english subtitles and photo gallery for the story

the coming soon trailer is for the soon to be released 6th doctor story the trial of a time lord. and it makes it look very good. possibly a little better than it actually is. This isn't actually the next release, and a date for it awaits to be confirmed.

decent little story. decent little package for it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who, 5 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Zoverstock has once again fulfilled our order. Zoverstock are always on time and the items we order are always in good condition, may they continue to satisfy the publics need and may they always do well.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Know what you're getting, 22 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
It's fair to say that when people think 'Doctor Who', they think monsters. It doesn't spoil the story that much to say that this doesn't have any.

Instead, this story has a little fun, as the Doctor plays cricket and goes to a fancy dress party - where he gets involved in a family secret/murder 'mystery'.

So if you like Doctor Who stories that are a bit of fun, then you may well like this. If you don't ... maybe best to skip this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who - Black Orchid (1982) - When the Fifth Doctor and his companions solve an Agatha Christie Style Mystery, 7 July 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
As explained in my two reviews - The Mira Tales and The Visitation - Special Edition, in my opinion Peter Davison is the best of the 1980s Doctor's. Both the Black Orchid and Tom Baker's 1975 'The Sontarian Experiment' is the two best two part Doctor Who adventures. This tiny gem is the best acted historical sci-fi adventure, and a great prequel to the next great epic adventure 'Earthshock'.

I loved this 1982 adventure as it focuses on my favourite 1980s companion Nyssa, played by absolute perfection by Sarah Sutton. It demonstrates that the actress can extend her character into two roles of both Nyssa and her earth bound 1920s twin 'Ann Talbot'. The character I felt really sorry for is the character of 'George Cranleigh' who is terrible scarred and driven into madness by brutal South American tribes. As I explained both Peter Davison's first series and his first two episodes from his second series (Arc of Infinity and Snakedance) where his best as these episodes are captured in my mind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as present, 8 May 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Bought for a birthday present. The Dr Who series is always well received and the feedback I have had was positive.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy addition to a DVD shelf., 13 July 2012
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
After reading other reviews showing that this story does in fact have no alien threat in it whatsoever, I was a little worried over the quality of this story. However, after watching it, I realised that even if it did not have any bug-eyed monsters, there was still a good quality story underneath it all.
I have read reviews that point out that the Doctor is not really needed in the story at all. And I agree that it is a simple murder mystery plot however I suppose that it was the Time Lord's day off from saving the world.
4/5 stars; I would recommend this DVD, if just to see Peter Davison's Doctor actually play cricket.
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Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD]
Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] by Peter Davison (DVD - 2008)
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