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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Piece of Treasure
When I first bought this and watched it, with the vaguest childhood recollections of it, from its first tv screening in 1981, I was a bit disappointed, and found it rather crummy.

However, over the past few years I've found myself watching it again and again, and have grown more fond of it with each viewing. It's full of sparkling gems. Once you get past the...
Published on 6 Feb 2007 by Neil Magrath

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Sarah & the Space Prawn"
Invisible Enemy is no classic but many aspects have fared the last 3 decades quite well. Sentient viruses, mayfly clones and a Fantastic Voyage ripoff are all imaginative concepts even if they probably stand up to no scientific scrutiny.
There are some lapses in logic such as how the clones acquired their "parent's" memories (how they got their clothes cloned also is...
Published on 23 Jun 2008 by Bob Marlowe


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Sarah & the Space Prawn", 23 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
Invisible Enemy is no classic but many aspects have fared the last 3 decades quite well. Sentient viruses, mayfly clones and a Fantastic Voyage ripoff are all imaginative concepts even if they probably stand up to no scientific scrutiny.
There are some lapses in logic such as how the clones acquired their "parent's" memories (how they got their clothes cloned also is easy to explain-this is a family show!)but they tend not to get in the way of the fun.
Uncle Tom gets to vary his performance as he fights infection and does a very doolally turn when 1st infected and Leela gets to play the hunter/fighter in an environment very alien to her.
The guest cast offers 2 decent turns from Dr Who Repetory actors Michael Sheard and Frederick Jaeger. And of course it's K9's debut and a strong 1 where he's at his best-in a hi tech environment.
Sets and modelwork are on the whole very good and the effects were not so bad for their time. Of course you can upgrade these to some improved CGI. A very nice touch is signs in phonetic English (Isolayshun Ward) and the fibrous hairs etc. to show infection work okay.
Why is this story held in such low regard? it probably is due to the Nucleus of the swarm. Unsuccesfully building up to its 1st full appearance by being a tentacle in a box, it's soon seen in its full inglory as an undernourished prawn which needs to be pushed about and has such shaky tentacles it must have OD'd on caffeine!
1 of the worst monsters of the entire decade & it's a shame because otherwise it's a fun story.

K9 & Company was better than I remembered (except for the execrable Hart to Hart on a pocket stylophone theme tune), but will only ever be knockabout Xmas fare. This tale of black magic is done so gently it's like a pre-school edition of the Whicker Man. I kid you not, Mary Whitehouse would have approved!
Amongst the guest cast Colin Jeavons and Linda Polan (Mrs Ploppy from Blackadder 2) are the most memorable making a great deal out of thinly sketched characters.
Elisabeth Sladen shows that she could have carried a series even then, and makes the most of the scripts opportunities. An interesting moment is when she retorts to Brendan that she has no desire to become a "surrogate mum". Hard to imagine that in her current incarnation!
Brendan is Adric mark 2 as Ian Sears tackles a thankless role as another boy genius. he brays like a donkey at K9's name, no wonder Sarah snaps "Stop honking!"
K9 is in a setting where he doesn't belong and it's so obvious that once they find the coven he's going to be able to stun them all, the story's left resting on the hunt itself. Even with its red herrings it just isn't interesting enough.

There's a good documentary about the making of Invisible Enemy with several key players. 2 things jar. 1: If you're going to show the sory to today's audience then please give them a chance to tell us what they think instead of just showing them sitting there and 2: Why do we hear nothing on the rationale behind the prawn? the only mention is Louise Jamieson's witty observation that being menaced by a prawn is like doing a love scene with someone you don't fancy-very Swiss Toni!
The commentary is a chummy and matey one like for Invasion of Time but more entertaining. Louise, John Leeson, Mat Irvine and writer Bob Baker are all fun-Leeson noting that he based his virus voice on a Christmas pudding!
We see K9 on Blue Peter& larry Grayson's Generation Game (that's the easter egg)plus there;s a featurette on FX and some intriguing production studio footage. A good package.

The inadequate documentary on K9 and Company covers the story on 6 minutes plus a further 4-5 on the K9 books and proposed animated series (but without footage or photo of the new look K9)and it's all punctuated by the K9 & Company theme!
K9 telling his own story is another failed attempt at Earth humour and there's a contemporary appearance on Pebble Mill.
The saving grace is the commentary where Eric Saward, Linda Polan, John Leeson and of course Lis Sladen really tell us the story behind K9 & Company & offer their opinions on it.

A good story with good extras and a mediocre story with miserly extras. Big fans only
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent episodes, 29 Dec 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
"The Invisible Enemy" is a typical Tom Baker episode with the lovely Leela (October 1977). Includes the trendy (at the time) miniaturisation and injection into the body idea along with the current brain model concepts. This is the first time the Doctor meets K9. One bad mistake is when Leela kicks part of the Doctor's brain and it hurts him - since the brain feels no pain in itself, this is a bit dodgy; unless the Doctor's different anatomical features include this difference!

"K9 and Company (a girl's best friend)" is a one-off special (28 December 1981) with no Doctor, when SarahJane meets K9 for the first time. A rather terrible black-arts cult story, but fun nevertheless. I don't think this epsiode features much amongst the endless Dr Who repeats, so it is an excellent addition to the DVD collection.

The DVD extras are good as well, as is now usual for the Doctor Who releases.

Thoroughly recommend this set.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Piece of Treasure, 6 Feb 2007
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When I first bought this and watched it, with the vaguest childhood recollections of it, from its first tv screening in 1981, I was a bit disappointed, and found it rather crummy.

However, over the past few years I've found myself watching it again and again, and have grown more fond of it with each viewing. It's full of sparkling gems. Once you get past the incredibly silly, but touchingly Eighties opening titles, the story really takes off, with a rather dramatic and effective opening scene of demonic worship and blazing cauldrons.

There are some rather corny West Country accents in it, and a lot of darting eyes, reminiscent of 'Five Go Mad in Dorset', although Gillian Martell is nowhere near as amusing as Robbie Coltrane in drag.

I'd say it's well worth watching 'K-9 and Company' just to see the late, great Bill Fraser growling his way through it, and to see K-9 wearing a silver crown, and tinsel round his neck, while trying to sing 'We wish you a Merry Christmas' at the end. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! You also get a lovely collector's item, a 'K-9 and Company' postcard, with the video.

I think it's probably a good thing that this spin-off from 'Doctor Who' didn't develop into a series, as another little gem that I own, the 1983 'K-9 Annual', is full of stories about K-9 and Sarah-Jane Smith doing battle with numerous black magic covens in 1980s Britain.

I think a 'K-9 and Company' tv series could have proved equally repetitive. It's possible that the character of Brendan Richards hints at this at the end of 'K-9 and Company'.

I think 'K-9 and Company' stands alone as a little piece of treasure from the golden days of 'Doctor Who', and is well worth collecting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Soggy Doggie, 9 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
Invisible Enemy

They must have done Fang Rock on the absolute cheap because there's been money spent on this - look at those sets, and the models - very nice - and more characters - and extras!

And when I say sets, that's the Titan Base, the Bi-Al Foundation *and* the inside of the Dr's brain; it can't have come cheap.

It's a very good story - even if there is a massive lift from Fantastic Voyage - and it still manages to remain intelligent and exciting while adhering to what I must refer to (until I find the name of the BBC quisling responsible) as 'The Whitehouse Code'; the two gentlemen from Bristol have produced an excellent script that it positively stacked with good ideas, all of which seem to make sense; intelligent virus, takes over the intellect, when it finds the Dr it realises it could start time travelling, so he clones and miniaturises himself and Leela, enters his own brain, then the nucleus of the virus , gets out of his body, grows the human size, and plans to breed millions of enormous microbe-type creatures and use them to take over the universe. It's clever stuff; even the 'blow it up' solution is artfully achieved: 'Methane atmosphere, mix well with Oxygen and run'.

I'm not *quite* sure how a virus has a nucleus, but maybe they do - what do I know from Biology?

What else it good about it? The acting certainly, with Frederick Jaeger doing another excellent professorial turn, while Michael Sheard goes from benign supervisor to infected fanatic with mordant relish, and John Leeson makes an excellent debut as the voices of both K-9 and the Nucleus - well, they had to economise somewhere.

And it looks very good - and none of the Bi-Al seems to be Titan re-dressed - and there's some amusement to be gained in reading the signage - spelling has clearly developed in 3000 years. The model work is great too. The new CGI option is worth watching - better zaps all round, and the continuity error on the asteroid model gets tidied away. The long shot of the shuttle appearing as a tiny dot in the distance over the surface of Titan, and flying in to the landing pad is really most impressive.

The nucleus, not quite so sure; OK, in 1977 I was convinced, less so now having eaten in a few more fish restauants and can picture Barry Newbery sitting at his table, doodling the next Dr Who monster on his serviette. It was unofficially nicknamed 'The Pregnant Prawn'.

4/5

K-9 K-9

I don't know quite why, but there's something about Terrence Dudley's stories that always seems to make my eyes cross. This could, quite plausibly, be the best of the four, possibly because the Dr and the TARDIS aren't in it, meaning there was less for him to get muddled over.

There's nothing actually wrong with the story, devil-worshippers in darkest Mummerset, girl and dog out to track them down - it's just like Scooby Doo, only in this Scooby's a robot - and in the end the leader of the coven is the last person you expect, and he'd have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for the meddling kids. (And the sophistication is that the plausibly sinister couple are actually the red herrings - they're probably just into SM or something)

The problem is that, in the main, Scooby Doo seems a bit more plausible.

In the first place, how are you going to keep K-9 secret? He's not exactly in-con-flippin-spicuous is he? And he's got one of those voices that carries - what are you going to do, spread a cloth over him and pretend he's a coffee table?

And devil-worshippers - come *on* - I've been on this planet for half a century, and in that time I've known some very funny people and I've done some very odd things, but I've never met a devil-worshipper, still less the sort likely to stick a knife in some stray kids and hope the police don't notice. I think it's getting quite lazy to assume that the International Church of Satan sacrifices people - equally so to assume that just because we're in the English Countryside there must be devil-worshippers.

But, if you set all that aside it's OK, and the story did connect Sarah to K-9, which very much needed doing, and it's perfectly functional, and quite charming in it's way, and it's nice that the Wing Commander has such a splendid dog, and it's always nice to see Colin Jeavons in something, even though he's chronically wasted in this nonsense.

And the titles. My goodness they're awful; really, really embarrassingly atrocious. Only a true pro like Miss Sladen could possibly have done them without shouting 'This is bloody stupid' and going home; perhaps she was a little bit *too* professional.

1/5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars K-9 Heaven, 30 Sep 2009
By 
A. Foxley (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
It's fair to say that if you don't like K-9 (and frankly, why wouldn't you?) this set probably isn't for you. If you do, there's so much to enjoy here. It bundles the 'Doctor Who' story 'The Invisible Enemy' (marking the robot dog's first appearance) with 1981 spin-off special 'K-9 and Company', and whilst neither are 'Doctor Who' at its finest, they're not quite as terrible as some would have you believe.

'The Invisible Enemy' is nothing spectacular - it's your average 'Doctor Who' story from the mid 1970s, with Tom Baker as the Time Lord, accompanied by Louise Jameson as Leela, with a fairly humdrum plot that owes a lot to 'The Fantastic Voyage'. It's probably appropriate that it makes its DVD debut in this box set, as K-9 is probably the best thing about it. Otherwise, it will do little to dispel the perception of the show as a cavalcade of crummy acting, unconvincing (if not necessarily wobbly) sets and endearingly daft monsters. And they don't get more endearingly daft than the Nucleus of the Swarm, which winds up resembling a giant prawn for its final battle of wits with the Doctor - one of many, many absurdities in these four episodes. That said, if you're minded to be able to chuckle at the production's shortcomings, or at the very least forgive them, the whole thing rattles along at a decent pace, and is never dull.

If 'The Invisible Enemy' is absurd, then 'K-9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend' is even more so. It's particularly fascinating now as a kind of prototype for modern day spin-off series 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', albeit much slower in pace and not particularly tailored to be child-friendly. The plot is simple - Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) moves in to look after her Aunt Lavinia's country residence (and Lavinia's ward, Brendan), only to find the Doctor has sent her a present. That present is K-9 Mark III, who accompanies her as she investigates strange goings-on in the local area, seemingly linked to Black Magic rituals. Quite why the English countryside was thought to be the natural setting for a K-9 spin-off, heaven only knows, and in reality it's more Sarah Jane's show, her mechanical companion proving to be of somewhat limited use, particularly on location. It's a decently-made, if slightly misguided, piece of television, though now chiefly remembered for its vaguely hilarious title sequence and theme music, which tries to follow the template of shows such as 'Cagney & Lacey', but basically boils down to Lis Sladen jogging through the countryside and K-9 resting on a wall. If viewed firmly with tongue in cheek, though, it's a lot of fun.

As ever with the 'Doctor Who' DVD range, there's a host of special features, including commentaries from cast and production personnel (I particularly enjoyed the one for 'K-9 and Company', which unites Sladen and K-9 voice artist John Leeson with guest actress Linda Polan and script editor Eric Saward), production featurettes, behind-the-scenes material, trailers, and perhaps most interestingly of all for K-9 fans, PDF versions of several spin-off books featuring the mechanical mutt, including the sole 'K-9 Annual' from the early 80s. Whilst there's perhaps less here than on some other releases, one could hardly say there was a shortage of bonus material. Also, for anyone desperate to have the 'K-9 and Company' DVD sleeve match those of the 'Doctor Who' titles on their shelves, that disc features a reversible sleeve.

'K-9 Tales' is good fun, and probably little more than that - but there's nothing wrong with being fun. It's not a high point of the DVD range, but your collection would be all the poorer without it.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disc problem has been fixed, 29 July 2008
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
Purchased this item from Amazon 25/07/08, checked the disc and found no problem at the end of episode 3 of 'Invisible enemy' as reported by earlier users. It seems that the problem has been sorted and it is now safe to buy this series!
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warning!!Huge authoring fault on Episode 3!!!!!, 11 Jun 2008
By 
Withnail (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
Hold off from buying this just yet as there are some scenes in the third episode that have been switched around. Once 2Entertain repress the discs that's the time to buy it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 30 Oct 2008
By 
Andrew Kerr (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
This Doctor Who boxed set comprises of Tom Baker's The Invisible Enemy, and a doctor who spin-off called K9 and Company. This release has been quite controversial for two reasons. The first being the fact that 2Entertain somehow managed to make an authoring mistake, much to the horror of Doctor Who fans, which meant that two scenes on Episode 3 of The Invisible Enemy were the wrong way around - ruining the episodes cliff-hanger. While 2Entertain did offer support for anybody who had purchased a faulty disk (offering a helpline number and an address to send the disc back to them.) The fact remains that not only should this not have happened in the first place (quality control anyone?) but a lot of faulty discs still remained on sale in various retailers including Amazon.co.uk and Woolworths, so I personally don't understand why they didn't undertake an entire recall instead of allowing the faulty items to be sold. The second reason why this release was controversial was because the spin-off K9 and company was never very popular. There are plenty of brilliant Doctor Who stories still to be released that feature K9, it therefore seems rather cheeky to create a boxed set called K-9 tales that in fact offers so little to the viewer. The first reason was why I held off buying the boxed set for so long, but after finally doing so, I'm not entirely sure if I'm happy doing so.

The best way to describe the best part of this boxed set (The Invisible Enemy) is to say that it's essentially a mediocre rip-off of The Fantastic Voyage, except with your classic doctor who budget and more plot holes. The story involves around The Doctor becoming infected by a virus after passing through a region in space. As a desperate measure The Doctor and his assistant Leela clone themselves which are then shrunk down and inserted into his body. The story is very irregular and doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny (something I feel most Doctor Who stores actually do). On the plus side it is first ever appearance of K9, but I feel that this is not Tom Baker's best. The revamped special effects actually work to the favour of the story. But the giant prawn sadly still doesn't work for me. This story is definitely one that is a matter of personal taste, and while for me it's not the greatest Doctor Who, it's still not the worst. There are good special features which was a welcome surprise - especially anything to do with K9. But The Invisible Enemy is a bizarre (but still fun) story. Needless to say K9 is the real star of the story, and I enjoyed his debut appearance.

The first problem with K9 And Company is the opening theme music, which will most likely put you off straightaway. But the story involves Sarah Jane Smith and K9 investigating a black magic cult. Sadly it doesn't really work at all. The characters are shallow and to be honest - boring, just like the actual story. You'll most likely want to fast forward through half of it.

The picture and sound quality of both stories has been restored nicely and is at least something to be thankful for.

If you have been unlucky enough to receive a faulty disc of The Invisible Enemy below is the telephone number and address for 2Entertain, so you can send it back to them. However, saying that I should also point out that the faulty disc might actually be worth a lot of money in the future. When DVD's go the way of Betamax, it might be a collectors item. I'll leave the choice entirely to you.

DVD Support
2entertain
33 Foley St
London
W1W 7TL

020 7612 3186

dvd.support@bbc.co.uk
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Massive error on one of the discs, still got faulty disc after restocking, 11 Jun 2008
This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
Don't buy this until 2E sort out the huge authouring error on the invisible enemy disc which really effects episode 3 badly. Poor quality control, must do better.

UPDATE, I WAITED TILL AMAZON RESTOCKED THIS DISC BEFORE ORDERING AND THEY STILL SENT ME THE FAULTY ONE. BUYER BEWARE

Finally got a correct version from amazon thanks
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not one to buy... yet!, 14 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
As a fan of the series and K9, I was looking forward to this release. I won't be buying it though as a huge fault on the authoring means that episode 3 is out of sequence.

2Entertain knew about the fault before the release date of 16th June, but it seems have decided to go ahead with the release of the faulty DVD anyway.... and I will keep my money well away from this release until they fix it...(even if it means "The Invisible Enemy" remains invisible in my collection!

AMAZON - PLease stop selling a faulty product, and remove this item from your site UNTIL you can confirm you have received corrected discs.

"We're always having trouble with K9... we always seem to be repairing him". Why can't 2Entertain do the same?
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