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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 6 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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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Little Gem, 29 Feb 2008
By 
Amazon Customer "A Likely Lad" (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Black Orchid was the fifth story to feature Peter Davison's Doctor and was notable for being a two-parter and the series first historical story since the Patrick Troughton days.

Now we Doctor Who fans can recite and quote all the facts and figures of any story, including this one, but what is so special about Black Orchid is that it is one of the very few stories that does not have to be watched with any appreiciation of science fiction, because apart from the TARDIS and the regular line up of characters there are no sci-fi elements at all, and that adds to the enjoyment enormously as it was quite a change of direction for the show at the time.

The whole story has a Sunday afternoon play of the week kind of feel, revolving around a type of Agatha Christie style murder mystery and is perfect for members of the casual viewing audience whom may not be interested in sci-fi but want a nice easy, pleasant hour of viewing.

It's ironic that Peter Davison himself does not like the story when this was the adventure where he finally shook off the shadow of Tom Baker and truly found his own interpretation of the part, he is very much in the minority as it is generally loved by almost everyone.

This was my favourite story in that crucial first year of Davison's and the fact that it was up against blockbusting Cybermen stories and more expensive shows and the first story of the fifth Doctor says a lot.

I have seen a provisional list of extras but as they have not been confirmed as such, I will leave their description to my fellow reviewers.

This is a huge thumbs up for the more quiet, gentle and character based stories of Doctor Who, to be enjoyed mainly for that reason, as there are not many of those in the original series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love it. Good storyline, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
I read alot of negative reviews of this story. I love it. Good storyline, although it is not the typical who story full of alien monsters. It is very good. I am happy I purchased it anyway.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well, stripe me pink, 29 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Strange story altogether, and I wonder if Terrence Dudley ever really properly understood Dr Who - beyond the need to get the scripts delivered on time - but then, he produced Survivors for three years, and I'm not sure he always understood that either. It's not just that this isn't sci-fi, I'm not sure it's even Dr Who.

Though it may simply be Dr Who pretending to be something else, and nothing wrong with that, in fact it might be one of the adventures of Lord Peter Wimsey; it's the right period and class, and just so we know how posh the Cranleighs are, one of them's played by Michael Cochrane.

It's not that the story's offensively bad, it's just not terribly good; the Nyssa/Anne thing and the subsequent doubling at the fancy dress party is nice, and then the Dr and the 'baddie' both dressed as Harlequin (and the costume's nicely designed), and the party itself looks fun (even if it was freezing), and the cricket match is great, and I love stories with steam trains in them (even if, in this case it's a sound effect and a smoke machine).

And, like King's Demons (also by Mr Dudley, funnily enough), the first episode's very interesting and mysterious, but the second really fails to supply an exciting solution. When we really need to see the Dr using his intelligence and insight to clear his name, he simply tells Sir Robert he's a Time Lord and proves it by showing him inside the TARDIS - letting a *stranger* in? - the First Doctor would have had fifty fits! Not just that, it is a massive lazy cop-out on a par with the egregiously bad Carnacki the Ghost Finder. This does not live up to Lord Peter Wimsey, nor to Sherlock Holmes either - though the solution - George horribly mutilated by Indians and kept in the attic - is admittedly Holmesian, though without any of the deduction that should attend it.

The denouement is good however; lots of scary stuff on the roof, and a fine fall from Gareth Milne who, as Peter Davison's stunt double really deserved a part of his own.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 27 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
My alltime favorite Doctor Who story. Black orchid is fantastic I think i like it so much because it does not have any sc-fi elements and its just a murder mystery. Its fantastic.

Peter Davison - The Doctor
Janet Fielding - Tegan
Sarah Sutton - Nyssa
Matthew Waterhouse - Adric

(Black Orchid ranked 117th in Doctor Who Magazine's mighty 200 pol in 2009)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair value thanks to the bonus material and extras on the DVD, 30 Dec 2008
This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
This is not a great story for Doctor Who as the good Doctor and his companions seem to have been crow-barred into a period murder mystery with little or no sci-fi relevance.

However, that has been done before in other stories and I suppose this outing would stand up to criticism better if the other difficulties of the early Davison era were not so apparent - the overcrowded TARDIS with too many companions having not enough to do - Adric appears to spend most of this story stuffing his face!

This is only a two parter and it even feels overly long at that. It is a story which relies too much on quaintness and incidental acction to fill the time - such as the Charleston routine - much as I enjoyed watching Janet Fielding doing it.

However! The commentary is interesting enough and at the price, I do not regret having it as part of my complete collection. If you are a fan of Nyssa you should also add it to your collection. Next to Keeper of Traken and Terminus this is her biggest episode.

If you are planning on a Doctor Who evening and do not have the time to fit in two four-parters you, like me, will probably fall back on this one from time to time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Gem, 28 April 2008
By 
JA Fairhurst "johnfair" (Edgeley, Stockport) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
There are no strange aliens or even stranger worlds in this story, just a historically set story in which the Doctor and his companions are allowed to show their incomprehension of the era in which they have fallen. The almost perpetual confusion of Nyssa and Adric over the local idioms was neat and the whole Nyssa/Ann twin thing was handled excellently.

As other reviews have stated, the basic story is rather Agatha Christie-ish but the BBC have always excelled at this sort of story. The relatively short storyline meant it didn't get bogged down in inconsequentials and the large amount of on site filming meant that we got a feel of the world around the story.

Tegan is the companion who really shone in this story as she introduced the Charleston to the British Aristocracy.

The extras aren't too hot - a Making Of/Then and Now comparison of the on site scenes and the problems of shooting outside in an English autumn proving the best of a relatively weak selection.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice, quaint little serial - well worth watching, really enjoyable, 14 April 2008
By 
L. Green "Feltano" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Barcode: 5014503243227

I always eagerly await new Doctor Who DVD releases and having bought this on the day of release and watched it straight away, i have to say, i really enjoyed it! It's a quick, charming, story where Peter Davison's Doctor really shines. The companions largely take a back seat and get a chance to relax although we do get to see Tegan and Nyssa in some delightful costumes showing off their dance moves while Adric stuffs his face with food. Another thing i like is that Doctor Who has always felt quintessentially British and Black Orchid more than ever emphasises this with its posh country manor and 1920s railway station. Its visually a very satisfying story with lush period colours and scenery replacing the usual futuristic environments and monsters - it's nice to step away from the norm once in a while and Black Orchid does this very well. A refreshing historical curiosity in the midst of the Doctor's adventures.

While the plot itself probably isn't the strongest and it feels short and relatively simplistic at only 2 episodes, the episode as a whole is really enjoyable. What makes Black Orchid so appealing are those little moments of magic that truly define Doctor Who. The Doctor playing cricket is one such example as is his trying to persuade the police he's innocent where he comes across frustrated and maybe even a little worried at the allegations against his name. As he says - 'it's just not cricket'. The Nyssa/Ann thing which forms the crux of this episode is a nice touch too.

In terms of the special features there are the usual deleted scenes, another comic strip analysis, probably the best of the bunch being a short documentary about the locations used. The episode commentary feels quite busy featuring the Doctor and all three of his companions and they are quite critical of the episode, quickly claiming it as 'not one of their favourites'. Just like the episode itself though, there are some really nice moments here and it sounds like the four of them really had great fun getting back together again to record this. Peter especially is brilliantly cheeky in his comments. All in all, a great release and one well worth getting your hands on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Proves Orchids are not always what a girl should wish for, 18 July 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Every thing on the admin side spot on probably the shortest Dr Who up to that period but good non the less
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Clown at the Cricket Match", 11 Mar 2008
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
Sorry but that's the best faux Agatha Christie title I can come up with. marks are for the Story only as this was originally written before the DVD was released, but I can say it's a good 'un. Easily the best of the Davison 2-parters this one plays like it was written to be 2 parts from the start and not 4 parts edited down to 2 as the others appear to be.
It's a little Agatha Christie due to a slight murder mystery and the lack of sci-fi apart from the tardis. It is not wholly about the mystery and the culprit's unmasking as the tardis crew are actually seen enjoying themselves for once.

A charming tale with a few nods to whodunnit conventions such as the Doctor's stolen clown costume leading to him becoming a suspect. There is some wit here with a joke about the Master and the obligatory reaction to seeing the tardis.
They all get to dress up and Nyssa takes centrestage as her resemblance to Ann Talbot plays a part in the story.

The regular and guest cast all give good performances, light and right for the story. Recommended for all Who fans unless they only like effects and monster heavy stories.

A budget release patterned on the Time Meddler, we are offered a "Stripped for Action" about the 5th Doctors comicbook adventures which is similar to Time meddler, 15 minutes but of time well used. The main interviewee is Dave Gibbons a favourite Dr Who artist for many fans of a certain vintage. The run of stories is put into perspective including how Steve Parkhouse went from writing to art, why The Meddling Monk and Ice warriors made an appearance and assessments of the artists'strengths (I didn't agree with the overgenerous praise for Mick Austins'artwork!).

The restoration featurette is worth a look, even if not one of the best. More work was done on the story than you might have expected.

There is also a vintage Blue Peter feature about costumiers Bermans and Nathans which has the briefest of mentions of Black Orchid.

The deleted scenes are an unexpected bonus for a Davison story and we are led into them by having footage that survived into the broadcast treated in sepia. They are presented with some incidental 20's style music which is also a technique used for the "Now and Then" featurette.

This look at locations is one of the best they have done with informative narration giving us plenty of making of material.

The commentary has the classic Earthshock line up of Pete, Jan, Sarah and Matthew. Most of them don't like this story much, except of course for Sarah Sutton who enjoyed her chance to play 2 roles. Davison in particular has a number of spot on observations abour deficiencies in the story. It doesn't stop me liking Black Orchid but they're interesting nonetheless. Interestingly having said what a poor writer Terence Dudley was, Jan & Pete go on to say they prefer Kings Demons by the same author, which many consider far weaker. Not as funny as previous commentaries but good. However if you love this story, fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a bumpy ride!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't stand the test of time, 24 Sep 2011
By 
S. Wright - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
I loved this Doctor Who episode from my childhood but, compared to more recent episodes, it looks clunky and poorly made.
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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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