2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2013
I really enjoyed `Delta and the Bannermen'! It was fun! It was unusual. It's a three-part story during Sylvester McCoy's first season of `Doctor Who' and it's got to be the most bravest story ever to blend comedy and darkness in the mix.
Fans of Doctor Who have a problem with this story, as well as the whole of Season 24. I like Season 24 on some level. I enjoyed 'Paradise Towers' with Richard Briers; 'Dragonfire' featuring Ace and certainly `Delta and the Bannermen' with its action, comedy and hot summery quality mixed into it. I agree though that perhaps the whole season is too comedic. I like there to a balance between comedy, drama and horror stories in `Doctor Who', otherwise the whole show becomes too silly and over-the-top. The following two seasons of Sylvester McCoy's Doctor certainly improved with great stories like 'Remembrance Of The Daleks','The Curse of Fenric' and 'Survival'. But all in all, I'd say `Delta and the Bannermen' is probably the story I'm most fond of from Sylvester McCoy's first season.
The story itself is set in the 1950s (1959 to be exact) - good reason to enjoy it since it's not on an alien planet or set in the future. A proper historical with some aliens added into the mix. The Doctor and Mel (Bonnie Langford) arrive at a toll port run by the intergalactic Tollmaster (played by Ken Dodd) and go along with some alien tourists called the Navarinos, who go on a trip back in time on Earth to 1959, hoping to visit Disneyland Paris. However, they get diverted off course by some American satellite and have to make repairs to their bus whilst staying at a holiday camp in South Wales called Shranghi-La. Whilst staying there, menace and danger is approaching as a Chimeron Queen called Delta has hitched a lift with the Navarinos to escape from the vicious Bannermen led by the notorious Gavrok (played by Don Henderson).
I've had my DVD cover for `Delta and the Bannerman' signed by Sylvester McCoy at a convention in Newcastle last year in October 2013 since writing this review. Sylvester as the Doctor is pretty good in this. He's still trying to find his feet as the Doctor by this point, as he's still doing the comical light-hearted Doctor and isn't the dark Doctor we come to know later in the series. But he certainly proves himself to be heroic when helping Delta and defeating the Bannermen. I love his confrontation scenes the Doctor has with Gavrok as there's some passionate dialogue being used here and Sylvester delivers such as a fine performance.
Bonnie Langford as Melanie is the Doctor's companion in this story. I do like Mel, although I do find she's rather underused in this story which is a shame. Mel does scream in this story I'm afraid, which is a bit annoying since that's all she seems to do in her time on the series. The Big Finish audios have certainly improved Mel's character and Bonnie doesn't get to scream which is a great relief. I liked it in this story when she's trying to be friends with Delta at the holiday camp and also expressing her disgust at Gavrok and the Bannermen for killing the Navirnos on their holiday bus which they don't care at all.
The story features a really good cast including the aforementioned Ken Dodd and Don Henderson. I did think though that Ken Dodd was unsuited to the part of the Tollmaster despite his interest in science fiction according to the interviews on this DVD. He makes the part too comedic and sometimes I can't take him seriously due to his comedy career. But he did have a good time on `Doctor Who' with Sylvester McCoy so I understand. Don Henderson is great playing Gavrok, the sinster and evil mercenary leading the Bannermen. He's so callous and disregarding in his character. You wonder though why he and the Bannermen want to kill Delta and the Chimerons so much since they have this bitter hatred towards them. Don Henderson is pretty scary and really good in his villainous performance, and I only just discovered he was in `Poldark' through the pages of `Doctor Who Magazine which pleased my dad. By the way, is that a chicken's leg Gavrok was eating in the story. Whatever it was, it didn't look appetising.
There's Welsh actors Richard Davies (who's been in Fawlty Towers) playing Burton who's in charge of the Shranghi-La holiday camp and Hugh Lloyd (from `Hugh and I') who plays Goronwy a bee keeper and seems to know a lot from talking to his bees. There's American actors Stubby Kaye and Morgan Deare playing really funny double-act Weismuller and Hawk, who've both been in `Who Framed Roger Rabbit' and are on the lookout for an American satellite that could crash into Earth. There's also Belinda Mayne who plays Delta, the Chimeron Queen who's on the run from the Bannermen and needs help to protect her new-born baby daughter. And there's David Kinder who plays Billy who is a mechanic, rides a Vincent motorcycle with sidecar and falls for Delta at the holiday camp.
A special guest star in this story is lovely Sara Griffiths playing motorcycle girl Ray (short for Rachel). I've had the pleasure of meeting Sara at a convention in Chiswick back in 2011. She's really friendly and I liked her a lot. I really love those scenes where Ray's in the laundry room with the Doctor and she's crying over not catching the attention of Billy who she's got a crush on. Just to let you know, Sara's Welsh accent is fake. She may have a Welsh surname but she's not actually Welsh I'm afraid. I was convinced when I saw and heard her in the story. I told Sara how convincing her Welsh accent was. She didn't believe me, but glowed at the compliment. Sara of course would have been a potential companion in `Doctor Who' as the producers and writers were trying out either Ray or Ace to be a companion for Sylvester's Doctor. In the end, Sophie got the companion role of Ace. But Sara is still good, and one wonders what it would have been like if Ray became the Doctor's first Welsh girl to be in the TARDIS. Perhaps Big Finish could bring Sara Griffiths back as Ray for some adventures with Sylvester's Doctor. Sara has gone on to do another `Doctor Who' story with Colin Baker in the Big Finish audio `I.D'.
Speaking as a Welshman, I loved this story being set in Barry Island in South Wales. This is probably the first proper use of a Welsh location in `Doctor Who' before Russell T. Davies came along setting the show in Cardiff. The location is lush especially in sunny weather. I enjoyed watching this story because of that, and especially on a sunny day helps to feel the sunny warmth of this story and keeps you in a good mood.
The special features for this DVD are as follows.
There's two news features covering the making of `Delta and the Bannerman'. There's a `But First This' item featuring interviews with Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford and Ken Dodd (plus some raw extended footage of those interviews). There's a Wales Today report on the making of the `Part 1' cliff-hanger sequence with the Doctor and Ray, featuring interviews with Sylvester McCoy, John Nathan Turner and Stubby Kaye.
There's an original edit of `Part 1' with some extra scenes that were deleted from the final episode (bear in mind there's no music or sound effects to account for this version of the episode except for the opening and closing titles). There's an interview with the late Hugh Lloyd over his life and career in `Hancock', `Hugh and I' and `Doctor Who' (the interview is dedicated to him after he passed away). And there's my personal favourite - `Clown Court' which is an item of entertainment where Sylvester McCoy gets put on trial by Noel Edmonds over some outtakes during the production of `Delta and the Bannermen' as well as `Silver Nemesis' and referencing an outtake in a Peter Davison story - `The Awakening'.
A special feature of particular interest is the 'Stripped For Action - The Seventh Doctor' documentary that focuses on the comic book adventures of the Seventh Doctor during the late 80s and early 90s. It features interviews with Big Finish supremoes Alan Barnes and Gary Russell; new series Paul Cornell who wrote some comic stories for Seven with Bernice Summerfield; and Andrew Cartmel (script editor of the Sylvester McCoy years) who also wrote some comic strip adventures.
There's trailers and continuity items for the story as well as the standard photo gallery for `Delta and the Bannermen'. There's an info text option, and a very enjoyable audio commentary with Sylvester McCoy, Sara Griffiths, Chris Clough (the director) and Andrew Cartmel (the script editor). To finish off, there's a Coming Soon trailer for the next DVD release `The War Games' with the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Jamie and Zoe.
I've really enjoyed this Sylvester McCoy 'Doctor Who' story and have done my own sequel to it with the Seventh Doctor, Ace, Delta and the Cybermen. `Delta and the Bannermen' is really good to watch in the summer time, particularly on a hot summery day during a heat wave. Do remember to have lots of cool drinks on hand when you watch this story.
The next story with the Doctor and Mel is 'The Fires of Vulcan'.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2009
Whilst this 1987 TV adventure, that sees Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford at a 1950s Welsh holiday camp helping an oppressed princess escape the clutches of a band of greasy killers, isn't the series' high-point, it's still a lot of fun; and some superb DVD extras make this a worthwhile purchase.
With the likes of Ken Dodd appearing in this serial, it's no surprise that it gets a lot of stick; Producer John Nathan-Turner was very accomplished at persuading big TV names to appear in the show during the 1980s (Richard Briers, Stratford Johns, Anton Diffring, Rula Lenska, Kate O'Mara et al); but none of his casting decisions were quite as bizarre as Ken playing an intergalactic toll-keeper who is mercifully obliterated early on in proceedings. That, and the sideburned guy from early 80s acapella troubadours `The Flying Pickets' as a mercenary hired by the eponymous Bannermen, make this story memorable to many; for all the wrong reasons.
Casting shenanigans aside, the actual story is fast-paced and fun, with some great 1950s characters; lots of energetic Rock 'n Roll; and a few hints that this Seventh incarnation of The Doctor isn't all sweetness and light. The much-maligned Bonnie Langford was nearing the end of her tenure on the show, and this serial represents for me, an upturn in the quality of the show that hadn't been seen since the decade began.
DVD extras are pretty good and include: 'Stripped for Action': The story of Doctor Who comics, and 'Clown Court': A study of the Seventh Doctor. There are also the usual production stills, interviews and PDF files, plus an insightful look into the career of actor Hugh Lloyd, who played the enigmatic beekeeper Geronwy.
on 9 July 2014
Doctor Who doesn't always have to be grim, it can afford to be more comedic and light hearted on occasion. 'Delta and the Bannermen' is a brave and confident attempt to do something different and engaging, and it is mostly a great success.
The story involves some very evocative and imaginative ideas and settings. The plot of the alien Navarinos going on a holiday on 1950's Earth is brilliant. The setting of a Welsh holiday camp is far more interesting than a generic space ship or space station (and this story is less patronising to the Welsh than 'The Green Death' was). Being filmed entirely on location is an enormous benefit; the story looks great.
After a shaky performance in 'Time and the Rani' and a good showing in 'Paradise Towers', Sylvester McCoy has improved again and he shines here having finally settled into the role. Bonnie Langford also gives a good performance in her penultimate appearance.
Richard Davies is great fun as Holiday camp leader Burton and Hugh Lloyd is a joy as eccentric bee keeper Goronwy. In episode one Ken Dodd appears as the Tollmaster, this is probably the most complained about guest appearance ever in Doctor Who and I don't understand why. Dodd is on screen for less than four minutes and his performance is enthusiastic and entertaining.
The story is by no means perfect. The romance between Billy and Delta is rushed and unconvincing and Billy transforming into a Chimeron is a bit silly. Also, Don Henderson's deadly serious performance is a bit jarring against the whimsical nature of much of the story, but it's hard to deny that he is utterly convincing as the genocidal Gavrok. The Bannermen are treated as a genuine threat and they are unusually ruthless and bloodthirsty. Oddly, the reason for the Bannermen attempting to wipe the Chimerons out is never explained.
Despite its flaws, 'Delta and the Bannermen' is still thoroughly enjoyable, it's a breath of fresh air and it symbolises a return of imagination and whimsy to Doctor Who.
The extras are as follows. 'But first this' is behind the scenes footage from the filming locations of 'Delta and the Bannermen', it features interviews with Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford and Ken Dodd. 'Interview Rushes' is extended versions of the interviews with McCoy, Langford and Dodd.
'Wales today' is a contemporary news report, it features another interview with McCoy. 'Hugh and Us' is a very nice interview with Hugh Lloyd about his career.
'Clown Court' features Sylvester McCoy being 'put on trial' for some of his gaffes on Doctor Who. They show various outtakes from McCoy's time on the show.
There's an early edit of episode one which has a few minutes more material but it doesn't have any incidental music or sound effects. 'Stripped for Action' looks at the Seventh Doctor's comic strips.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2012
This is another good story for McCoy. This first season of the Seventh Doctor is such a fresh change since Baker's last season (not C Baker's fault either), and this is another story which is so different to what went before and after - that's it is well worth re-looking at it. What's good about it?
(1) It's a lovely, fresh, and colourful piece for McCoy - even Langford seems more comfortable in this story.
(2) Ken Dodd is pretty good. The way people go on about Dodd being in the show, he was abysmal. He really isn't and again is so fresh.
(3) It's very much character led, and you find yourself feeling very sorry for the people murdered by Gavrok - like Murray and the Tollmaster. :(
(4) Don Henderson as Gavrok is so brilliant. He's one of the most evil characters for such a long time and beats the many that have become before for evilness. His acting is excellent. Well worth watching just for Gavrok.
(5) The incidental music put together by Keff McCullough is really excellent and has such a brilliant feel of 1950's pop music - amazing. Shame there was never a soundtrack released. :(
(6) Who is the mysterious Goronwy? Is he a Time Lord?
(7) There is a real feeling of panic and big fear by episode two and three.
Come and give it another go - it really is excellent. :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2015
This story has so much going on for this and is such an enjoyable piece of television. I have seen this story three times now and i still enjoy watching it again, its so underrated. The 7th doctor in my opinion is fantastic and just seems to get better and better by each season i would personally recommend any sylvester mccoy story.
on 17 March 2012
ok, Delta and the bannermen might not be one of the doctors who's classic or seen as a very good story but reading some of the bad reviews on this story, me being a dr who fan anyway i had to add it to my collection. After seeing it i didn't really know what the fuss was all about, for me it wasn't even half as bad as stories like the twin dilema, time and the rani or some of the new series episodes rubbish (2005- present) that we have on eg. love and monsters. you can clearly see that dr who is running out of money with the guards wearing the same helmets that are in Earthshock (5th doctor story). However i do believe that the story has loads of potential, but sometimes does fail the grab the audiences attentionn especially with a VERY annoying companion.
overall i would reccomend this story as i dont think it's as bad as the people make out, sure it won't make you go wow that story was mind blowing, but that still doesn't make it a good watch.
on 21 December 2005
This story is not generally held in high regard. But I often feel that's due to the overall campy nature of Season 24 as a whole. If 'Delta' had been in a series of darker-themed Dr Who stories, it would have stood out as light relief. But in Season 24, an intentionally camp story doesn't really stand out from the unintentionally comic ones which preceded it. Which is a shame, as 'Delta' is an enjoyable journey back to the time and location of Butlins. Added to that is the spirit of fifties 'I Married A Monster From Outer Space'-type sci-fi, and Don Henderson as a genuinely chilling villain. The Sylvester McCoy Doctor also improves in this story, starting his change from a comedy figure to a darker, more mysterious character.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2013
It started so well - maybe we were out of the nursery that Dr Who had occupied for the last 8 weeks - the opening battle scene was suitably bleak, Don Henderson was at his snarling best, and the Bannermen looked to be credibly dangerous baddies.
The Toll Port scene; a barmy cameo from Ken Dodd, an intergalactic coach trip to 1950s Disneyland that ends up in Wales, and then (because we all know what happened to Santino Corleone) Doddy gets shot in the back.
Then it's off to the world of Hi-de-hi, but just as it might be getting boring, the crepe soled Brian Hibbard turns out to be a South African sounding bounty hunter, and it's a very nice end to Episode 1.
I was left with a very pleasant feeling of 'What the heck's going on?', but a week later, I found out.
We're staying in Hi-de-hi, but with no Paul Shane, no Jeffrey Holland, no Su Pollard (though that might be a blessing) and no Nikki Kelly's legs.
If a very pleasing runabout with some nice scenery is what you're after this is just the ticket, but Episode 1 suggests more than that, and more never comes.
OK, Hugh Lloyd is lovely, and Don Henderson chews the scenery to great effect, but the Bannermen are reduced to fall guys for the daftest of traps, and the two American agents are really quite silly.
The director's cut is better than the transmitted version, and it is all shot on location, which is always a bonus (even the spaceship interiors are in the cellars of the holiday camp), but the high drama of the of the first episode melds into a 1950s love story, albeit one with some good music.
Poor Ray; losing Billy to the Queen of the Chimerons, but then she was never going to get him, was she? Still could have been worse, we might have ended up with her as the new companion.
And blowing up the bus full of tourists - what a great waste of a great idea. And the baby looks silly. Still, it sounds like they all had a great party at the end of filming, so something good came out of it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2009
2 stories for the price of 1, the gritty tale of Bannermen hunting the Chimeron to extinction goes head to head with a lighter tale of aliens off on a space coach to 50's Earth for a holiday.
The Bannermen are in true Who style, convincingly warlike despite the small number. They have red flags down the back which I realise is emblematic but does look a bit gameshow. The jolliest aliens ever in Who the Navarinos just want a good time. V nice touch that going through the "Transformation Arch" to look human is physically difficult! Just as well they change since their natural form is like the body parts shaped vegetables that used to excite Esther Rantzen on "That's Life"(*1)!
The story's at its strongest when both approaches gel e.g. an image of smoking blue suede shoes being the remains of a despatched alien. Where the gritty and jolly clash, it's a problem e.g. Gavrok (a wonderfully irredeemable villain played by Don Henderson) menaces the Tollmaster-Ken Dodd as a galactic Ken Dodd. The 2 performances are so out of sympathy it's like they are edited together from different shows.
Sylvester has settled into his role carrying his scene demanding respect for the white flag of truce with great authority & one of Bonnie's better stories e.g. when she reacts to a callous murder of innocents.
Mostly a great guest cast notably Sarah Griffiths as Ray, considered as a possible companion and Hugh Lloyd as the otherwordly Goronwy. Such a great character and performance, who cares if he's not integral to the plot?
There are 2 painfully unfunny comic relief characters which even the stunt casting of US legend Stubby Kaye can't help. David Kinder struggles with charmless romantic lead Billy. He's insensitive to Ray's feelings and his actions rob Delta of any choice in their romance. Belinda Mayne is good as Delta despite some inconsistent writing.
There's a terrific animatronic baby that still stands up today.
Some careless writing lets the side down in a few places e.g. Gavrok receiving a message of the Doctor's location kills the sender before tracing the location. For all that the piece is underpinned with breezy charm and you just can't dislike it!
Extrasinclude ; a longer edit of part 1 with a tardis scene and other deleted moments and a comtemporary magazine show feature on the making of with the uncut interviews too. There's a good insight into Sylvester's thoughts during his 1st year.
He's on good form in the commentary joined by director Chris Clough, script editor Andrew Cartmel & Sara Griffiths. Musing on Ray's potential Sara brushes compliments aside saying Ace was a better choice. Cartmel is curiously proud of a dreadful shot of CSO'd bees!
Stripped For Action brilliantly covers the 7th Doctor's comic adventures during the show's run, after, tied in with the New Adventures novels and alternating with older Doctors.
Hugh and Us is an odd interview galloping through the veteran's long career and then discussing Delta briefly.
Recommended for those who have seen other Sylvester tales and enjoyed them but less so for others.
(1)An iconic Consumer Rights show of the 70's and 80's
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
the above was the working title for this three part doctor who story from 1987, which now comes to dvd. set in wales in the 1950's, it involves the seventh doctor and his companion mel meeting an alien lady who has come to earth with a group of alien day trippers, and helping her deal with the genocidal aliens who are on her tail.
Doctor who at the time was a show that hadn't quite recovered from the cancellation crisis of the previous two years. buried in a slot opposite coronation street by the bbc in the hopes of killing it off, anf facing endless criticism from fans who didn't like what the show had become. the new doctor was still finding his feet as this season went on.
when I first saw this in 1987 I liked the first part, but the second seemed to go way over the top, and it only managed to pull itself back slightly in part three.
however opinion can be influenced by the mood of the time. coming back to this when it was released on video in 1987, it was quite a pleasant surprise on second viewing. the seventh doctors true character is slowly emerging as sylvester mccoy figures out what he wants to do with the part. the irritating habit of misquoting sayings is still here but the dark manipulative scheming is starting to appear. it's got no tie ins to past continuity or old monsters at all, which given how obsessed the programme got with that at times in the 1980's is a welcome relief.
And it also features welsh teenager rachel aka ray. smart, mechanically minded, pleasant and with a wide eyed sense of wonder, she was a potential new companion. the production team went with ace who appeared in the following story instead, which was a shame, because she's far more likeable than ace. that's all a matter of opinion of course because ace and the doctor did go quite well together, but we can but imagine what could have been.
this story doesnt take itself entirely seriously - which is the cardinal sin of doctor who fandom - and the two american spies are rather extraneous characters, but for light and simple entertainment from a time when tv wasn't made to order by focus groups or with an eye on overseas sales, it's not too bad. the one problem is the incidental music, a raucous lot of 1950's style music. presumably wanted by the producer for atmosphere so the blame may not lie with the composer, but it's too loud and it doesn't create mood the way good incidental music should.
the extras on this disc are as follows:
a commenatry from sylvester mccoy, sarah griffiths [ray] plus the director of the story and the script editor.
the disc has english language subtitles and language track and audio descriptive.
but first this: a six minute long feature from a bbc children's show of the time intervewing cast members on the set of the story. these are reasonably good interviews and the clip is not long enough to outstay it's welcome.
wales today: another report from the set, this one two minutes long and shown by bbc regional tv in wales at the time. it's also decent watching and just the right length.
interview rushes: these are sixteen minutes worth of film, the original film used for the interviewsmn in the but first this piece. the film quality is a bit rough and you can barely hear the presenter but there's mroe here than in that clip. although at sixteen minutes it's a bit overlong.
part one first edit is a thirty minute long version of the first episode, containing a few scenes - not least one in the tardis - that didn't make it into the final version. you might say why not just put the deleted scenes onto the disc on their own? but this is a fascinating thing to watch because being the first edit it has no sound effects [when a gong has to sound you just hear a crew member offscreen say 'GONG'] and it's an interesting experience to watch an episode without them. although not one you may want to do very often.
hugh and us is a seven minute long talk with actor nugh lloyd, who appears in the story, and it was recorded before he died last year. it's a very entertaining watch as he's a good talker with interesting things to say about his work on bbc tv decades ago and on delta and the bannermen itself.
clown court is a six minute sketch from a noel edmonds saturday night show which has a framing device showing him putting the doctor on trial, all by way of showing outtakes from the show. what may sound annoying is actually quite funny, not least thanks to some genuinely amusing outtakes, including one from later story silver nemesis and one from fifth doctor story the awekening. even the outakes from the piece being recorded that play after it are quite fun.
stripped for action is a twenty two minute long piece looking at the seventh doctor's life in comic strips. this is part of an ongoing series covering each doctor's era of that kind. this is pretty comprehensive but it does have a lot to get in and doesn't go into quite as much detail as you might like on a few things, so if you didn't follow the comic strip or the original novels at the time you may be a bit lost.
trails and continuity is a few minutes of bbc announcemts for and during and after the story.
photo gallery is a selection of stills from the story and it's making.
prodution information subtitles play during the story if switched on and give informaiton about it's making.
radio times billings for the story can be seen by watching the disc on a computer and accessing the files on it.
and there's a trailer for the forthcoming release of the second doctor story the war games on dvd. a quite superb trailer, thanks to great editing and excellent music, it's a very entertaing watch.
a decent package of extras, but a shame that there's not a making of documentary. and there are no easter eggs that I could find.
so the dvd like the story isn't the best in the range, but it's not bad