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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's Not To Like? *Minor Spoilers*
Now I'm one of the few people to give this story 5 stars. There are two reasons for this rating: 1) For sheer entertainment and the joy it brings, it's a definite 5 stars; & 2) I want to bump up the overall rating of the story on Amazon, as it's certainly better than 3 and a bit stars. I simply don't understand why this story gets such a bad rep. What you have here,...
Published 13 months ago by Mr. Andrew J. Hodges

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "We call it the Pit." "Ah, you have such a way with words."
"What is that thing in the pit?"
"We call it the creature."
"Ah, that's original."

With dialogue like that it's clear that The Creature from the Pit is not one of the more serious Doctor Who adventures. Constantly undercutting the formulaic aspects with knowing dialogue, it's not for all tastes but surprisingly considering its poor reputation, it's...
Published on 21 Jan 2012 by Trevor Willsmer


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "We call it the Pit." "Ah, you have such a way with words.", 21 Jan 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
"What is that thing in the pit?"
"We call it the creature."
"Ah, that's original."

With dialogue like that it's clear that The Creature from the Pit is not one of the more serious Doctor Who adventures. Constantly undercutting the formulaic aspects with knowing dialogue, it's not for all tastes but surprisingly considering its poor reputation, it's actually rather good fun if you take it as a tongue-in-cheek romp. While this almost became de rigueur for some later entries, here it's still fresh enough to be enjoyable rather than wearing even though it has the series' silliest creature since The Web Planet back in William Hartnell's day. Set on an uncultivated planet where metal is scarce and a ruthless ruler jealously guards her monopoly inbetween feeding disgraced courtiers to an unseen creature in a pit (in case you were wondering about that title), there's a bit of a pantomime feeling to it, be it the vicious `wolf weed' that needs to be whipped away like untamed lions, the Doctor reading Teach Yourself Tibetan while musing over an escape or a Fagin-like bandit chief who you keep on expecting to break out into a verse or two of You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two. But nothing can prepare you for the moment when you finally see the Creature - which unfortunately looks like a giant Day-Glo green willy with rather large testicles. Even worse, the Doctor's first attempt to communicate with it looks like he's having oral sex with it!

If you can get over that - and it takes quite an effort of will to do so - the story is actually pretty decent, the characters lively and the pacing nifty, showing that while producer Graham Williams' tenure was drawing to a close and good ideas were getting harder to come by the team could still put together an entertaining show in spite of everything.

Once again there's a solid collection of extras on the DVD: audio commentary by Lalla Ward, Myra Frances, Christopher Barry and Mat Irvine, an extended scene, featurettes on director Christopher Barry and the making of the unfortunate Creature, an extract from Animal Magic with Tom Baker talking in character about some of the creatures he has encountered and the obligatory stills gallery and trivia track. It'd be hard to make a case for this being an essential purchase for any but Classic Who fans, but it is fun. And remember, if you can help anybody - like preventing them from being eaten by a monster - then do so, they might be grateful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's Not To Like? *Minor Spoilers*, 7 Jun 2013
By 
Mr. Andrew J. Hodges (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
Now I'm one of the few people to give this story 5 stars. There are two reasons for this rating: 1) For sheer entertainment and the joy it brings, it's a definite 5 stars; & 2) I want to bump up the overall rating of the story on Amazon, as it's certainly better than 3 and a bit stars. I simply don't understand why this story gets such a bad rep. What you have here, summed up in a sentence, is a solid, engaging storyline with hilarity throughout and also some slightly dodgy effects.

So let's start with the good stuff! Like I said, the story is certainly solid. At the start, the story presents to the audience the pieces of the puzzle and the threads of the plot, which develop over the episodes, build up the intrigue and make you wonder how it all fits together. It's well paced and the payoff is worth the wait, as it's not what you expect. When you look at the title of the story, you get the impression that it'll be a simple plot and you think you can predict what will happen but in fact it's far better than you imagine. The phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover" has never been more apt.

In addition to the narrative, you have a serial filled with funny dialogue. Tom Baker is on fine form as per usual, really making the most of his amusing lines and selling the alien quality of the Doctor. One particular scene is especially funny, where the Doctor encounters the creature of the pit for the first time. How Tom Baker acts in that scene with a straight face I do not know. Lalla Ward is also wonderful but as this was the first story recorded with her as Romana II (i.e. first on the production timetable for Series 17), she hasn't had the chance to flesh out and define her take on the character. Myra Frances also plays the villainess Lady Adrasta with a deliciously evil quality, assertiveness and guile. Geoffrey Bayldon as Organon has a good rapport with the Doctor and they play off each other well. As for the 3 scavengers, some would argue that they are the weak link in the cast, as they are very two-dimensional. I, however, find them rather amusing and they represent the effect on society from Lady Adrasta's actions as ruler. They also become embroiled in events and contribute to the plot.

When it comes to the costumes, sets and special effects, this is where you see the chinks in the story's armour. On the plus side, the jungle setting is excellently realised like in `Planet of Evil' and `The Face of Evil'. The costumes of Lady Adrasta and her minions are also excellent with vivid colours and hints of Persian traditional dress. Romana also wears a stunning white dress, while the Doctor continues to wear his popular series 17 outfit. However, the special effects for the wolf weeds and for K9's laser do look a bit naff. The creature from the pit is also unfortunately not so well realised. It looks cheap, silly and it has a very unfortunately shaped appendage. While the story is focused around this blobby creature, it doesn't take away from the story. It's quite common in Classic Who to have effects that don't work but then also a lot do. You just need to suspend your disbelief; it is a science fiction show after all.

In all in all, I love this story just as much as any of the highly regarded serials of classic Doctor Who. It's just such an enjoyable romp. It's no way near as serious as the likes of `Genesis of the Daleks' & `Caves of Androzani' but sometimes you want that. It's nice to have such variety and Doctor Who provides that. `The Creature from the Pit' may not be the pinnacle of what Doctor Who has to offer but it certainly has a lot going for it and it is definitely worth a watch. Treat yourself by buying the DVD and sit down for some great entertainment.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all-time favourite story, 8 April 2010
By 
Jason Covell (NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
I am often astonished how quick Doctor Who fans are to put down this story, while praising its immediate predecessor, City of Death, to the skies. To me they are two sides of the same coin: zany plots, outsize characters, witty scripting (and script-editing) by the incomparable Douglas Adams, and a stellar performance from Tom Baker. And the effects? Well, if one were to believe everything said about the awfulness of the production, one would probably be pleasantly surprised to find that it isn't as ghastly as all that (rather like Weng-Chiang's much-maligned rat). Yes, there are some sub-par shots, but as a whole there is quite a bit of clever artfulness at work - no different from elsewhere in 70s Doctor Who.

On the whole though, I find that the charm and inventiveness of the story wins out over all objections. Lady Adastra is a deliciously arch villainess, and the character of Organon, the canny fraud of an astrologer, is a sheer delight. And what to my 10-year-old self was an excellent primer in economics, remains a superb cautionary tale about corrupt dictatorships that willingly impoverish their people by manipulating scarcity and holding onto lucrative monopolies. Doctor Who at its very best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who - The Creature from the Pit (1979) - 4 Star Entertainment with a few flaws..., 21 Feb 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Lalla Ward (Romana II) hit the mark in this hit and miss 1979 adventure as it demonstrates that not all large and green monster are not villianious at all as in the case of Erato (The Creature), and some humanoids can be the biggest evil and sadistic monsters of them all such as the evil villainess Lady Adrastra played excellently by Myra Francis adds to the shine to this adventure of business monopoly backstabbing and tratchery on the green and forestry planet of Chloris.

Both Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Myra Francis and supporting cast of Geoffrey Balydon (Organon), Eileen Way (Karela) and David Telfer (The Head Huntsman) all shine. But there are two downside to this adventure. The first includes K-9 annoying voice provided by David Brierley. In my opinion John Leeson should never left and should of stay on for the 17th season adventures -this one, 'Nightmare in Eden' and 'The Horns of Nimon'. The second is the band of so-called bandits\rebels are represented as comic clowns. I felt really sorry for poor Morris Barry who plays Tollund, he portrays a poor leader and he sound like a poor man Ron Moodie version of `Oliver Twist' `Fagin'. Morris Barry is a better director as he was during the Patrick Troughton era of Doctor Who (Tomb of the Cybermen and The Dominators) than an actor.

If I was the cast director in 1979, I would have picked talented young male and female actors from that era to play the rebels and bandits for example Gillian Brown (Ohica in `The Brain of Moribus) as the female Rebel and Bandit Leader, David Warwick (Kimus in `The Pirate Planet') as her deputy, Sandrina Franklin (Blake's 7), Ray Winstone and Mike Ford (both actors from 1979 film Scum), Kim Butcher and Debbie Fairfax (both actresses from Peter Walker's 1974 Horror classic Frightmare), Carl Howman (Brush Strokes),Tim Munro (the only actor from that comedy crowd, I would have kept in), and Leslie Ash would have given the 'punk' rebels and bandits a bit more gritty realism and due to the punk era from the late 1970s they would have added a lot of panache. It would have been fabulous if Lady Adrastra meet her female Alta ego nemesis who is the exact opposite to her. But due to BBC Director Graeme MacDonald zero tolerance to violant scenes that was never happened instead we ended with a bunch of the comedy clowns with bad wigs and terrible mock Jewish accents, an absolutely missed opportunity.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A matter of metals, 18 May 2010
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
A four part Doctor Who story from 1979, featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as his travelling companion Romana. The TARDIS crew - and K9 - visit a planet rich in vegetation, and where rebels fight a nasty ruler. The Doctor helps the rebels, defeats the ruler, and deals with an alien who has been imprisoned on the planet and who has set plans for vengeance in motion.

It's all very standard stuff plot wise. Not that there's essentially anything wrong with that.

But this comes from a time when the show was accused of going a bit over the top, and this isn't entirely restrained from time to time. Added to which, there are three big faults with it.

1. The script doesn't really come together, jumping all over the place and rather wasting a potentially excellent villainess.

2. Romana. The first story Lalla Ward recorded in the part, and she spends all of it trying to find the character. Thankfully she did get very good indeed in later stories.

3. Erato. The alien. Meant to be a huge blob like creature. Not the kind of thing bbc visual effects of the 70's on a tight budget were ever going to be able to realise wholly convincingly. It just does not work.

Doctor who back then was always made, as one of the script editors once said, with the aim of preventing there being twenty five minutes of blank tv screen on a saturday night. This achieved that aim. But whilst it can offer occasional delights along the way, not least some good supporting performances and an excellent set for the surface of the world, it's not the best the show has to offer.

The dvd has the following audio options:

Language track: english

Subtitles: english

Adult navigation.

The usual extras for the range:

commentary from selected members of cast and crew.

Production information subtitles.

Coming soon trailer for upcoming release in this dvd range.

Photo gallery of shots from the story and it's production.

Radio times billings as PDF Files.

Plus a handful of extras exclusive to this release:

A twenty five second long extended version of one scene.

A three minute long clip from the bbc children's show of the time animal magic, with the Doctor telling viewers about fierce animals he's met during his time. An odd item, recorded seemingly during the production of the creature from the pit, because Tom Baker never seems to be entirely in character and you can hear people talking in the background which distracts. But it's an interesting curio and a good piece of nostalgia for those who remember animal magic.

Plus two decent documentaries:

Team Erato runs for fifteen minutes and has the visual effects team of the time talking about what went into making the creature and the end result. A full, frank, and very watchable piece.

Christopher Barry: Director: runs for nineteen minutes and is an interview with the director of this and a fair few other Doctor who stories. Filmed in the beautiful looking village where he lives, he is an excellent interviewee with lots of interesting stories to tell. This doesn't get up to this Doctor Who time till halfway through, but you might be absorbed enough not to notice or worry.

The latter two extras do life the whole package up somewhat. But all in all, despite not being terrible, it's not the best one in this range.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The pit and the pendulous, 5 May 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
THE CREATURE FROM THE PIT was broadcast slap-bang in the middle of Tom Baker's penultimate series playing DOCTOR WHO way back in 1979 and, as it directly followed the sublime CITY OF DEATH, it was always going to suffer in comparison to that widely regarded classic. Strangely enough, however, this four part story was actually the first story to be made of that year's run, and so in parts it actually looks like there was still some money around to be thrown at it, especially at the impressive jungle sets - less so with the rather rubbish eponymous monster - but sadly, it generally fails to deliver, despite a strong pedigree which includes the one and only Douglas Adams as Script Editor and Director Christopher Barry who had directed WHO episodes dating way back to almost the very earliest episodes of the William Hartnell days.

The adventure takes place on the Planet Chloris which is short on metal but big on Chlorophyll and a rather jolly story unfolds which has quite a lot to say about monopolies and what those in power will do in order to keep hold of it. Luckily, it's not that dry a take on the subject, although some rather "big" guest performances - especially amongst the band of metal thieves (which rather incredibly include the actor Edward Kelsey best known for playing Joe Grundy on The Archers for many years) - and some wild science threaten to send it over the precipice into out-and-out parody, it just manages to stay on this side of it, although the Doctor's now legendary scene in which he attempts to communicate with the rather dodgy-looking creature itself really does have to be seen to be believed.

The TARDIS crew this time includes Tom Baker as the Doctor, who in this story seems to be at the peak of his enjoyment of the role which has led to some criticism of his portrayal over the years - and in this series in particular - but in many ways in that sixth year he gives us the definitive fourth Doctor as he is most remembered (although I prefer the earlier version myself) and this really is the high point before he was diluted down and out of the show the following year. Lalla Ward performs as the Doctor's companion Romana for the first time here, unfortunately saddled with trying to be the new Mary Tamm from whom she had just taken over the role. Thankfully, once the production team realised that they didn't need another Mary Tamm (and Mary herself would be pretty much the first choice to play her anyway) they allowed Lalla to be Lalla and in her later performances (some of which appeared earlier - that's time travel for you) she would be more relaxed and comfortable and downright lovely in the part. K9 also reappears, although with his post-laryngitis voice performed - rather haughtily - by David Brierley. Myra Frances plays an exquisite guest villainess who shares an enjoyable double act alongside Eileen Way (who played the first ever fatality in a DOCTOR WHO episode way back in 1963), and Geoffrey Bayldon (CATWEAZLE himself) makes - rather surprisingly - his only televised DOCTOR WHO appearance as the rather marvellous soothsayer Organon.

Commentary this time is from (on the Production side) Director Christopher Barry (whose tenth and last WHO this was) who has more-or-less managed to forgive fellow contributor, effects man Mat Irvine. The actors are represented by Lalla Ward who's in a rather unforgiving mood (at least with regards to her "Mary Tamm-Lite" look and her co-star) and guest villainess Myra Frances who seems determined to love every minute of it despite what everyone else says, and good on her for that. The now usual extensive extras package (text commentary, PDF selection, Photo Gallery etc.) is supplemented by a 20 minute overview of Christopher Barry's DOCTOR WHO career which also touches on his early life in the British Film Industry, a rather frank piece on the many problems faced by the effects team responsible for creating a mile long gelatinous blob monster on a miniscule TV budget which makes you feel generally much more sympathetic towards the final creation and a rather bizarre 'in-character' piece by Tom Baker for the ANIMAL MAGIC series (which includes the opening credits for that show and made me feel all nostalgic for a few minutes). The extended scene is basically a bit of violence that was trimmed at the time for editorial reasons but doesn't really add anything special.

On the whole then, CREATURE is never going to be considered the greatest ever DOCTOR WHO story, but it's a solid enough set of episodes with some big ideas and even the odd - and inevitable really - hint of HITCH HIKER's GUIDE thrown into the mix, and there's a lot of fun to be had with it (if you can get past the sheer awfulness of the look of the actual creature that is).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh down memory lane, 8 Nov 2003
By 
Mr. S. J. Cassidy (london,uk) - See all my reviews
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I was given TCFTP by a colleague after we got talking about the old Dr Whos. And did it live up to my memories all those years ago??

Yes and no.

What sweeps the Who adventures along is the story adn for the first two episodes this is fabulous. I love the idea of human sacrifice to a monster at the bottom of a hole. And the whole ceremony and living in fear of being thrown to this monster is wonderfully exotic and alien. But as the story progresses it loses menace, and by the end we are back in space with another complicated climax. It starts wonderfully, but loses it in the last episode.
Best things: Lady Adrasta
The Wolfweeds
The murderous Karela
Creeping around the pit scared of the monster
Tom Baker and Lalla Ward
Worstbits: The special effects of the monster (at one point itlooks like the Dr is savaged by a large green blanket)
The bandits (who were terrible jewish miser stereotypes)
Overall: I enjoyed it, and despite rubbish special effects it has brought back my love for the genre. I've started collecting again..
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leave the blob alone., 15 Jun 2011
By 
Jmrichardson "Jaz" (MCR) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
Don't normally post reviews but I'm going to stand up for Creature From The Pit - it's a shedload of fun. The idea of a monster that kills people accidentally trying to say hello is brilliant, Russell T Davies would be proud of that idea! Tom Baker's on great form, Lalla Ward is wonderful, K9 had things to do, a great villain and some good comed supporting characters. It's zany fun: deal with it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars flipping impressive stuff actually...., 17 Aug 2007
this story is one of the many produced by Graham Williams that fans claim to be rubbish and stupid and overlly comical. Well, sorry but youre all very wrong.

let me list all the good points of this story:

great jungle sets and great wolfweeds
great pit sets
great actors and great characters, although Lady Arasta is killed off a bit too soon. Shes so nasty, and there arent that many nasty ladies on doctor who and its nice to have a change.
and Lalla Ward again gets to have some great scenes!
oh, and the whole plot is believable and straightforward.
the cliffhanger to part one is a rare unexpected ending too, the doc doing some we might be thinking as stupid and dangerous...

is that enough good points do you think? well, its enough for a doc fan like me. actually to be honest i feel tom's last two seasons as the doctor were his strongest. so there!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love the old classics, 13 July 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit [DVD] [1979] (DVD)
I love watching the old Doctor Who Stories, especially the ones that I havn't seen before, far better viewing than the new series that is on the television.
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