38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who in an exciting(ish) adventure with the Voord
Back in its very first year, DOCTOR WHO was billed as "an adventure in time and space" and alongside the principal characters the audience really didn't know what to expect next whenever the TARDIS landed and this was part of its early charm. In these early days, the narrative used to pretty much alternate between "historical" and "futuristic" tales and for a brief time...
Published on 23 Sep 2009 by Emanon
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sea of Acid, Sand of Glass
Season one, 11/4/64-16/5/64.
My main gripe with this story is, it's just too ambitious on it's minuscule budget. Who plays to it's strenghts when it embraces it's limitations, and doesn't try to do a story that needs a Hollywood budget. Rant over.
Dalek popularity was still in the ascendancy when Nation delivered this script. The only other time he went...
Published on 16 Oct 2009 by Armchair Pundit
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who in an exciting(ish) adventure with the Voord,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)Back in its very first year, DOCTOR WHO was billed as "an adventure in time and space" and alongside the principal characters the audience really didn't know what to expect next whenever the TARDIS landed and this was part of its early charm. In these early days, the narrative used to pretty much alternate between "historical" and "futuristic" tales and for a brief time scriptwriter Terry Nation, whose second DOCTOR WHO this is, had cornered the market in the "futuristic" ones having changed forever the public profile of the show with his creation of the Daleks a mere three stories previously.
By this time, William Hartnell is mellowing beautifully into the role of the Doctor and is rather loveable despite what you might have heard, but he is noticeably absent for two whole episodes of this story (parts three and four), but luckily the supporting companion roles are strong enough to carry the story for a while without his presence. Ian Chesterton (William Russell) has always been to my eyes an all-out hero. Plucked out of his relatively dull life as a schoolteacher in 1960s London he throws himself into his adventures with a gusto and brio. Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) is equally impressive and the quiet dignity, strength and bravery her character shows over the course of her adventures is something to be admired, and as a role model Barbara would hold up today as someone to look up to and emulate. The Doctor's Grand-daughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford) has a tougher time of it generally as her character was rather inconsistently written and she seems younger and rather more "wet" in these episodes than in some of her other stories.
THE KEYS OF MARINUS is the fifth ever broadcast story of DOCTOR WHO and the series seldom played around more with the expectations of its audience than in this six part tale, which has a different setting nearly every week. In episode one, the TARDIS arrives on the strange world of Marinus, a fairly effectively realized world of glass sand and acid seas where they are coerced into a quest to find the eponymous keys by the mysterious Arbitan played by the very same George Coulouris who was once in "Citizen Kane" and introduces the rather sinister rubber-suited Voord.
Subsequent episodes transport us to other parts of Marinus and these various visits give an overview of a complete world seldom shown in the series. They are all created to variable effect, but all-in-all a real "Saturday morning adventure serial" air is created. Mind games are played in the city of Morphotron (where all is not quite what it seems) and are quite cerebral for teatime telly, and the Jungle sequence proves suitably menacing in a slightly wobbly pre-Indiana Jones kind of a way. A visit to some Ice Caves is slightly less effective, but does give Barbara a very disturbing confrontation. Then the city of Millennius, with its rather brutal legal system, provides a chance for a returning William Hartnell to shine before we are returned to the island first seen in the opening episode for the slightly bonkers climax when the evil Voord plan is finally revealed.
Yes, it's now well over forty years old and can seem a little slow or cheap or mistake-riddled to an audience used to more modern sophisticated fare, but there is a magic and charm to these old stories that is hard to quantify, and if you settle down to enjoy what is obviously an experience that is very different, you will find a great deal to like. The sets range from the almost brilliant to the most basic as do some of the props. Some of the effects are pretty simplistic but they do manage to help to tell the story. The image quality is pretty good too, considering, as there's been a pretty impressive restoration job done on these episodes.
This story follows on directly from MARCO POLO, a serial seemingly now sadly lost forever as it was one that was misguidedly wiped back in the day. You can listen to MARCO POLO as a rather fine Audio CD version however. THE KEYS OF MARINUS then leads directly on into THE AZTECS which was the first William Hartnell DVD release and if you also take into account DOCTOR WHO - THE BEGINNING DVD box set, a fairly hefty chunk of that amazing first year of the Doctor's adventures is now available to you, and given the tape wiping policy of the past, to we fans of archive television, that's something of a small miracle in itself.
Given the age of the material, there isn't much left in terms of available extras, but a fairly significant set have still been assembled for this release. A ten minute interview with designer Raymond Cusick gives a frank insight into the difficulties of early television production and stretching a wafer thin budget to create a mind-boggling number of locales in a tiny studio. The commentary bounces along and is quite fun with William Russell and Carole Ann Ford representing the actors and Director John Gorrie alongside Raymond Cusick from the Production side in a fairly upbeat vein all held in check by Clayton Hickman to keep them "on-topic". The text commentary is up to the usual standard and there are also the usual photo gallery and Radio Times billings.
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My All Time Favourite Doctor Who Story,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)As someone who has watched the series since the very beginning I am happy to say that this is my favourite story of them all. I like the idea that it is set in different locations and instead of one long story it is composed of a number of smaller ones. I remember when I first saw it that I found the Voord an interesting adversary for the Doctor and I was surprised that they only featured in the first and last episodes. Sadly William Hartnell is absent for two episodes but as usual he makes his presence felt whenever he appears. William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford are as excellent as ever and all appear throughout the episodes. I missed episodes 2 and 3 when they were first transmitted and I was delighted when years later I got to see the complete story. Back in the 1960s it wasn't always possible to be at a TV set when you got your one and only chance to see the episodes. While I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a full documentay on this DVD what extras there are, are very good. The commentary is interesting and I like the complete set of sweet cigarette cards. I only managed to get a few of these when they were originally released. The text commentary is good too and of course the episodes look better than they have ever looked. It was great to see this story again and I can watch it again and again being fully involved in what is going on ever time. I find it difficult to understand Doctor Who fans who don't enjoy this story or The Web Planet - another of my all time favourites. Perhaps it makes a difference if you were there when it was originally transmitted. Doctor Who for me in its first three seasons was at its most magical and wonderful. I am fortunate in that I can watch these stories today and still enjoy them - just as much as I did back in the 1960s.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terry Nation's lesser known creation,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)Writer Terry Nation had become a household name by the mid 1960's through the creation of the Daleks, however, his two non-Dalek tales are less known. The Keys of Marinus is a 6-part serial from Who's first season, a mixed bag of episodes that constantly change setting every episode. The idea behind this tale is fascinating, a great quest for one goal against a variety of foes. The overall storyline holds the serial in check as at 6 episodes in B&W some people can switch off.
Originally, I had low expectations for this story, it did not jump out at me when reading up on the plot on Wiki, however, the first time I viewed the VHS copy back in 09 I was impressed to say the least. My real apprieciation of this classic serial came when I bought the DVD off Amazon, the visual quality was fantastic and I can honestly say that it kept my attention constant throughout the 150 minute viewing. The Restoration Team has yet again done a fantastic job in releasing this tale, the bonus features are a little light and brief, I would have liked a documentary on the production and a couple of words from the lovely William Russell but I'm grateful anyway.
The Voord would never be seen again on television, they would return in comic form only. The character of Yartek, leader of the Voord is played very well and is a shame he never made a return. Terry Nation would write only one more Dalek-less serial for Doctor Who, The Android Invasion for Tom Bakers 4th Doctor in 1975.
Overall then, The Keys of Marinus is a great Billy Hartnell serial from Doctor Who's first year on television, some people will not like the format of the story, but I think it works well and is a shame it has not been implemented since. This is a worthly purchase and I can't recommend it highly enough.
DVD 7/10 - Needs more bonus content.
Many thanks for your time,
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bill Hartnell rides again!,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)Well I suppose this was an exercise in pure nostalgia for me but I always regarded the first doctor as the best and complete stories from this era are rare on the ground. By modern day production values the sets are admittedly a bit clunky, and some people seem to be unable to lose themselves in a story presented in black and white, nevertheless this is a good story from the early years.....and.....it reminds me what it was like to be 12 years old again!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keys to the Planet,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)One of the main problems of a planet-hopping sci-fi series like Doctor Who is that planets are usually represented by a tiny microcosm of their entirety, meaning that we only get to see a minute fraction of their terrains and life forms.
Even alien invasions of Earth always seemed to take place in a square mile or so of West London (never too far from the BBC Television Centre), whilst the rest of the city, indeed the entire Earth remains blissfully unaware of what is happening!
In the Keys of Marinus, writer Terry Nation attempts to change this, by having the Doctor and his companion's travel around the planet, experiencing many different landscapes and those that populate them, including jungles, Polar Regions and even a mysterious city where it seems all desires can be made real.
Their task is to locate the four keys to a machine known as the Conscience of Marinus, which is said to remove all evil thoughts from the population. Now under attack from the Voord (one of the programmes more rubbish alien creations), the keys must be recovered to stop the planet from falling into the wrong hands.
Because Doctor Who was then an all year-round production, actors had to take breaks whenever they got the chance, and this is the first story in which the Doctor disappears for two episodes so that William Hartnell could go on holiday. It was a policy that would continue right up until the end of the Patrick Troughton era.
But it does give a chance for his co-actors to really come into their own, and there are excellent performances from William Russell (Ian) and especially Jacqueline Hill (Barbara), with a real chemistry between them. Sadly the same can not be said of Carole-Ann Ford who's character Susan begins to rapidly change from the mysterious teenager she was to become little more than a screaming cipher, apparently scared of everybody and everything. A real waste.
For designer Raymond Cusick this production was a real challenge, producing new sets for every episode, all squeezed into the BBC's tiny studio at Lime Grove, along with having to produce demanding miniatures and special effects all on a tiny budget, and it is a tribute to him and his team that the results are for the most part, very impressive.
This DVD's main feature is an interview with Cusick in which he talks about the difficulties of creating the different areas of the planet. There is also a collection of fifty picture cards which came from packets of candy sweet cigarettes (yes kids, you used to be able to buy sweets that looked like cigarettes!). They tell a story featuring a war between the Daleks and the Voord.
Oh and look out for the plug for the Doctor Who DVD series before the main menu appears; the theme tune has been given a bizarre drum'n'bass makeover!
The Keys Of Marinus is not a Doctor Who classic, but it is ambitious, and is worth a look just to see what could be achieved back in those early pioneering days.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very... Odd, But Great...,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)First I'll say that this has great features and is well priced, so if you are a Doctor Who fan and know about the serial, get it, because from here on I'll discuss the serial.
This story is very odd, but great. At times you're just left thinking "What?" and the monsters are rather silly. I also found the court thing in the last episodes odd. But even though it is odd, it is somehow modern for it's time. They're going from place to place searching for keys. This isn't the usual Classic where things drag on throughout episodes, this is a bunch of entirely different stories bunched together, making it sort of fun for modern audiences to enjoy over most other Hartnell episodes.
If you haven't watched much of the revived series yet and have just started on Doctor Who, I suggest you watch more of them first, but after that and a few later Classic episodes, make sure that you watch this as one of your first Hartnell's to get a good taste. I think even a child can enjoy this in the right mind.
I give it a four for because it is brilliant and I have not given it five due to its oddness...
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars quest for the keys,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)Back in 1963 nobody expected Doctor Who to be a major hit, or last very long. But then along came the daleks, and the show really took off. With it being on screen for over forty weeks of the year the pace of the production meant that it was sometimes hard for the production team to keep up.
So for the fifth story of the first season they turned to terry nation, who'd just created the daleks. One of a group of tv writers who were responsible for the vast majority of episodic drama of the time, he could turn out a script quickly and whenever required.
This story finds the tardis crew landing on the world of marinus. A machine there has the ability to remove evil from people's mind. But the keys that control it have been hidden all over the planet, lest they fall into the wrong hands. With the nasty creatures called the voord trying to seize the machine for themselves, the only hope the planet has is for the tardis crew to find the keys.
An episodic story ensues, with each key being in a very different location allowing for a different kind of adventure each week. and the inveitable confrontation with the voord in part six.
The limitations of this are manifold. William Hartnell was entitled to two weeks off so the doctor has to be written out in the middle of the story. the small budget and the technical limitations of the time and the need for new sets every week result in the whole thing being very stagy. And the voord, tipped to be the next big thing after the daleks, never really amount to much. in their first appearance they're men in wetsuits but in their next appearance in the story they're humanoid creatures who look like men in wetsuits.
And yet the whole thing proceeds very nicely. Like many old doctor whos you can watch this and admire how they made a purse [not quite a silk one] from a sow's ear. and the production does it's best. It doesn't have the problems of so many 1980's stories of poor production values down to bbc apathy of the time. It fights against those limitations.
This is not fast paced spectacular television, it's a nice little relic of days gone by and an entertaining little story with it.
the age of the whole thing means there's not much they could provide by way of extras.
there's a commentary from william russell [companion Ian] Carole Ann Ford [Companion Susan] the director John Gorrie and the Designer Raymond Cusick.
The one feature, the sets of marinus, is a nine minute long interview with raymond cusick about his work on the story. a fascinating look at the things designers had to contend with at the time he's a very good talker and an interesting listen. And very forthright with it. Don't switch off the extra till you've seen what's after the end credits.
In addition to the usual radio times listings of the story as a pdf file there's also one showing some sweet cards of the time which tell a short story involving the doctor and friends and the daleks and the voord.
there's also the usual items for this range: production information subtitles, coming soon trailer for a forthcoming doctor who dvd, a photo gallery of stills from the story and the production, english language subtitles and language track and audio captioning.
This is a single disc release, and I couldnt find any easter eggs. The dvd starts with a general trailer for the range but you can skip that by pressing the next button.
So whilst this may not be for every doctor who fan, it's not a bad record of an integral part of the show's very early days
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
By A Customer
This review is from: Doctor Who The Keys of Marinus [VHS]  (VHS Tape)I must confess buying this I was very dubious.. I had only seen the War Machines and the tenth planet before this and hadn't liked either of them but I thought I should see at least one with the original team(Dr 1, Susan, Barbara and Ian) The acting is very funny and many sets wobble but that only makes the story better!! The story is excellent and the music is first class. I have now seen most of the Dr 1 stories which wern't junked and must admit that this is one(If not the)best of the early Dr Who era!! Recommended!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've got the key - I've got the secret,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)This epic six part serial from Doctor Who's second year, 1964, takes the form of a series of quests, as The TARDIS and its crew arrives on the planet Marinus on an island of glass surrounded by a sea of acid. The travellers are forced by the elderly Arbitan to retrieve four of the five operating keys to a machine called the Conscience of Marinus, of which Arbitan is the keeper. These have been hidden in different locations around the planet to prevent them falling into the hands of the evil Yartek and his Voord warriors, who plan to seize the machine and use its originally benevolent mind-influencing power for their own sinister purposes.
As a child of the 70s I first encountered this story via Philip Hinchcliffe's superb 1980 Target novelization. The story arguably makes a better novel, as aliens such as The Voord and evocative Sci-fi elements such as the acid sea are far better imagined than brought to life with early 60s technology. Still, this adventure is a lot of fun; with mystery, action, aliens, murder, deadly puzzles and betrayal, there is plenty going on, and William Hartnell and his three companions all acquit themselves well. If you can get past The Voord in their wetsuits, and the wobbly sets, and can handle the monochrome picture, then you'll thoroughly enjoy this, even if you've never watched Doctor Who before it's still pretty accessible.
DVD extras announced so far on this two-disc set, include a ten minute featurette titled `The Sets of Marinus', focusing on the notoriously flimsy sets that featured in this serial, a photo gallery from the original production, and at least one `Easter Egg'.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shoot me, but I love it,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  (DVD)The Keys of Marinus isn't exactly regarded as one of Doctor Who's finest serials. In fact, some would say it's a load of rubbish. But I can honestly say that it's my favourite story of the show's first season.
It's a story so filled with imagination that one can look past the bare-bones production values and cellophane that's supposed to look like ice. And hey, most of the sets aren't really that bad; I'd even say they're some of the most imaginative of 1960s Who.
The premise is simple: the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan land on Marinus, an acid-filled world, and are sent on a quest to find the five keys of - wouldn't you know it - Marinus. Each episode is set on a different part of the planet, ranging from a city of supposed tranquillity to a screaming jungle. This concept would be revisited somewhat during Tom Baker's tenure with the Key to Time season in 1978.
It also gives the companions a chance to shine, with William Hartnell being entirely absent from two episodes, and William Russell and Jacqueline Hill are truly excellent in this story. As for Carole Anne Ford... not so much. The guest cast are also great, the highlight being the ambiguous Vasor played by Francis de Wolff.
The characters encountered are varied and interesting, the locations endlessly inventive and dripping with creativity, and it truly keeps you hooked for its duration, unlike some of the other more leisurely-paced Hartnell adventures. Go on, give it a watch.
The extras are, sadly, not up to the usual standards for the Classic Who range, with the only extra of note besides the usual info text, photo gallery and commentary (by Russell, Ford, director John Gorie and designer Raymond Cusick) is a nine-minute interview with Cusick, and he is very frank about his opinion on the design work in the story. And by that I mean he didn't like it. There are also a couple of nifty DVD-ROM features such as Radio Times listings and scans of the Cadet Sweet cards featuring the Daleks and the Voord. There's also a coming soon trailer for the excellent Dalek War box set.
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Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus [DVD]  by William Hartnell (DVD - 2009)