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4.8 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who - The Seeds of Doom [DVD] [1976]
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The final story of Tom Baker's second season as Doctor Who comes to dvd. This six episode long story sees the Doctor dealing with both alien and human monsters. He and Sarah Jane are called to an arctic research base to investigate something found in the Ice. Which turns out to be a Krynoid. An alien plant creature that could infect the world.

But the human monster, obsessive millionaire and plant lover Harrison Chase, would like the Krynoid for himself. And after he gets a Krynoid pod back to his manor house in England, the Doctor and Sarah have a fight on their hands. With the future of the entire planet at stake....

The Seeds of Doom comes from a time when the show was absolutely at the top of it's game. The programme and it's star were hugely popular with the public. The producers were giving the viewers gripping tales of gothic terror. And there were very talented people involved from the acting to the writing to the producing and directing departments.

All of which leads to six classic episodes. It stretches itself to six parts by concentrating on the arctic situation for the first two and then what happens back in Britain afterwards. This approach never makes it feel padded. And coupled with a memorable array of supporting characters - Tony Beckley as Harrison Chase exudes menace and is never over the top. John Challis makes his henchman Scorby a fully rounded character with some depth rather than just a thug. And you have to like man from the ministry Sir Colin, an astute individual worlds away from the self serving buffoons of the third doctor's years - this becomes good strong adult drama.

The Doctor does get a bit violent at times, but that's because he understands how high the stakes are. There's some rather gruesome alien possession as the Krynoid takes over people. And it is a bit of a weak exit from the series for UNIT, as their last appearance in a 1970s story sees none of the regular shows. But you can't really criticise. This is classic Doctor Who. Well made and acted and superb entertainment all round.

This is a two disc edition. All six episodes of the story are on disc one.

It has the following language options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

English audio captions.

A commentary from Tom Baker and several members of cast and crew plus the son of the late Douglas Camfield, who directed it.

Disc two has the following extras:

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

Production information subtitles.

Radio times billings for the story and the director's paper edit as PDF Files that can be viewed by putting the disc into a computer.

'Podshock': A thirty seven minute long documentary about the making of the story.

'Playing the green cathedral', a ten minute long interview with composer of the incidental music for the story. Even if you're not musically minded this is quite interesting viewing as he's a good interviewee.

'Stripped for action: fourth doctor', another in the series that has spread across this range looking at the Doctor's time in comic strips this covers the fourth doctor's era and runs for twenty minutes. Possibly only of interest to comic fans but even so it's an interesting look at how the monthly doctor who magazine began and changed the landscape of the form in many ways.

'Now and then', runs for nine minutes and looks round Athelhampton House in Dorset which was used for a lot of the location filming. Showing off some very lovely scenery this is well worth a watch.

'So what do you do exactly?' has production assistant and later director of other doctor who stories Graeme Harper explain, in a six minute feature, what some of the jobs you always see on tv show credits entail. If you're curious about that then this is very good viewing,

Isolated score gives you the chance to listen to the music from the story on it's own.

There's a trailer for the next release in this range of dvds.

And there are two easter eggs which can be found by watching the second disc on a computer and moving the pointer over the special feature screens till they light up a hidden doctor who logo. There's one on each of the two pages of special features on this disc. The first shows a very funny outake. And the second has actor John Challis [Scorby] tell of the time when Doctor Who met another famous BBC character. It's a funny little anecdote.

The story alone makes this worth five stars, but there's a pretty good batch of extras to go with it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2014
'The Seeds of Doom' rounds off Doctor Who's thirteenth series in fine fashion. Right from the very start, with the discovery of the Krynoid pod, it's a gripping story. A major contributing factor to this is Geoffrey Burgon's fantastic music.

The threat of the Krynoid is extremely nasty and the way in which characters transform after being infected by one of the pods is harrowing and very graphic. This is horrific stuff even by Hinchcliffe era standards. There are however times when the visuals of the developing Krynoid fall rather flat, especially with the part four cliffhanger with someone in a rubber costume lumbering up to the Doctor and Sarah. Later on there is a remarkably impressive model shot of the Krynoid creature looming over a mansion which helps to compensate for it.

The story features not one but two superb villains. Plant obsessed millionaire Harrison Chase is gloriously over the top and is played to perfection by Tony Beckley. Meanwhile Chase's hired thug Scorby, played brilliantly by John Challis who played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, is probably the best henchman ever in Doctor Who, Challis is very convincing as the tough guy, but is also very good later in the story when Scorby shows vulnerability.

Tom Baker judges his performance perfectly, he effortlessly balances seriousness and eccentricity. The Doctor's joking around never interferes with the story. It's also a great story for Sarah Jane, she gets to save the Doctor's life at one point and she also stands up to Scorby. Elizabeth Sladen's performance is very strong.

On the downside, after an exemplary build up, it's a shame that the Krynoid is eventually destroyed by having explosives dropped on it, which isn't particularly inspired. It's also slightly odd to see UNIT feature in this story with no Brigadier, Benton or Harry Sullivan.

Despite these minor flaws, 'The Seeds of Doom' is one of the best ever Doctor Who stories. It features fine acting from the entire cast and very little padding for a six parter.

As for extras, there is 'PodShock' which is the usual 'making of' documentary, it's very thorough and clocks in at 37 minutes.

'Now and Then' revisits the filming locations used for the story, while 'Playing in the Green Cathedral' is a 10 minute interview with Geoffrey Burgon about his career.

In 'So What Do You Do Exactly?' Graeme Harper explains the roles of the production assistant, director's assistant and production unit manager.

'Stripped for Action- The Fourth Doctor' is about the Fourth Doctor comic strips, which, in all likelihood, will interest you a lot or not at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2013
And it gets how big? That big? Blimey, so it does! And that was Keeler? So where is he now? Oh, right.

Such it is to make a story truly gruesome; the special effects are important, but more so is that the situation is taken seriously, which in this case means following to its conclusion the Krynoid's biological imperative to survive. Stevenson's ambition and Chase's obsession are merely opportunities, incidental to the unthinking need for the plant to germinate, grow, seed and consume - and there is very little available to stop it.

Harrison Chase is a brilliant personification of plant-obsessed psychopathy, given with needle sharp relish by Tony Beckley; high, black gloved camp - rich, spiteful, spoiled. John Challis (later Boycie in Only Fools) does a very nice line in thuggish menace as the generally contemptible Scorby, and Seymour Green is finely understated as the butler, Hargreaves, emollient and pettish by turns (his platitudes to the stricken Keeler are faultlessly served).

Besides these, Kenneth Gilbert is nicely acid as Dunbar, while Michael Barrington is clearly just doing what he's good at as Sir Colin (though doing it well). Sylvia Coleridge is lovely as Amelia Ducat - complete with improbable red hat, blue NHS glasses and black cigarettes - she steals every scene she's in, and is a delight to watch.

The filming is very fine throughout; the sandpit works exceedingly well as Antarctica, and the stuff around Athelhampton House is fantastic. Someone clearly did something very clever with the lighting, as it doesn't look nearly as cold as it must have been.

The Krynoid, from pod to towering monster, is superb and horrible. John Gleeson and Mark Jones are both very well cast as the men destined to turn into plants - the former had an atypical gait as a result of hip failure. while the latter was very tall and flopped like a stricken marionette. The growth phase that features huge tentacles growing out of each side of Keeler's head is particularly horrid, and the shots of the full size - two man - creature, towering at 50' tall above the house, don't look like the CSO that they surely are.

By the end of Episode 6, with UNIT failing miserably, Henderson minced, and Scorby drowned by the pondweed (brilliant) the story does seem to be running out of ideas, so thank goodness for the RAF, incinerating the nasty plant - if only we'd thought of doing that when it was still in the pod!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2010
It is no surprise to learn that Robert Banks Stewart, the writer of "The Seeds of Doom", also contributed to "The Sweeney", for if we ever came close to finding out the Doctor's real name, it is in this story, where it could easily have been revealed to be Jack Regan. This is the Action Man Doctor - crashing through windows, thumping goons, waving guns around, even crashing chairs over heads. "SHUT IT!!" His response to the threat posed by this week's special guest aliens (or perhaps in this case we should call them "blaggers"), the intelligent plant-life Krynoids, is equally one that would make the Brigadier blush with pride. "Finally", the Brig must have sighed, "I've cracked him! He's got the taste for napalm in the morning!" Such a pity it had to happen during the Brig's day off. Similarly absent from "The Seeds of Doom" is any concept of negotiation or restraint; rarely, if ever, has the Doctor been so belligerent (does that UNIT Sergeant REALLY deserve the tongue-lashing he gets for asking what seems like a reasonable enough question?). But questions over its' loyalty to the series' model aside, "The Seeds of Doom" is one of the greatest Doctor Who adventures simply for being a far superior production to the standards of the time. Tom Baker is at his zenith here ("If the Krynoids get established on this planet, Sir Colin, it will mean the end of everything, even your PENSION!") and the supporting cast is up there with the strongest of any story in the "old" Doctor Who, with well-drawn and believable characters convincingly played, and primed with well-crafted dialogue that provides depth as well as wit. Tony Beckley is an enjoyable and suitably menacing villain as the quietly demented Sir Harrison Chase, and while some of the visual effects are typically clumsy the Krynoid monsters are impressive. There is also an understated yet ominous musical score running throughout the story, in keeping with the whole "Quatermass" vibe.

It may not be "true" Who, but it doesn't matter when it's this good. An excellent adventure.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This story is the highlight of the Tom Baker era and one of the best Dr.Who stories of them all. The Antarctica scenes are well done and the story never sags across six episodes. The transformation scenes are almost painful to watch and the large Krynoid at the end is surprisingly effective.
Scorby (played by John Challis- Boycie from Only Fools and Horses) undergoes genuine character development over the course of the story so that we're almost saddened by his (somewhat gratuitous) demise.
Evoking memories of The Thing From Outer Space this was one of the last truly creepy Doctor Who stories - sublime.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2010
It's taken a while for 'The Seeds of Doom' to be released on DVD, but the reputation of this six-part finale to Tom Baker's second season as the Doctor precedes it and it's a welcome addition to the range. The story itself is practically the stuff of Doctor Who legend, owing a great deal to Quatermass and the Day of the Triffids, but with a couple of modern-day twists so that the action begins in Antarctica before moving to the Home Counties for the last four episodes. It's a dark, horrific tale well suited to an autumn or winter night, although Douglas Camfield's direction is atypical for the series at the time- it's more physical than the "Gothic" style of Philip Hinchcliffe's producership generally tended to be, and this brings out a bit more edge in Tom Baker's Doctor. Similarly, Geoffrey Burgon's incidental music is a departure from the series' norm and adds to the strange atmosphere although the acting is uniformly good, with Tony Beckley turning in a distinctive performance as the deranged Harrison Chase and "Boycie" John Challis as a particularly nasty heavy.

The package of extras is as good as can be expected given that several important people connected with the production are no longer alive and composer Geoffrey Burgon passed away several months after recording his contributions. A large number of the supporting cast and behind-the-scenes staff contribute their memories, while there are also features on how the story was made and a return to the stately home where the story was filmed. A good package all round, although in spite of the story's reputation, it probably won't be to everybody's taste as it concentrates on action and horror at the expense of wit and charm.
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on 2 December 2011
I won't pretend to be a life-long fan of Doctor Who. In fact, before the start of this year, my only real experience with the series was the parts of the 1996 TV movie I saw way back in the day. Despite this, in true geek form, when I develop an interest in something, it tends to get a little obsessive. Therefore, once getting up to date on the new series, I decided to go back to the roots (in regards to this serial, no pun intended!).

I have not yet seen all of the available classic stories, but I have seen a couple dozen of them, and this is easily one of my favourites. I feel that this one makes the most out of the small budget it had, and while it still clearly does not have the top of the range effects for its time, unlike some of the other classic stories, it very rarely feels cheesy or silly.

The concept of evil trees may seem a bit silly, but the combination of great writing, great acting and a genuine sense of tension leads this to being one of the most effectively riveting stories of the classic era that I've seen. Filled with moments where you wonder "how the heck is the Doctor going to get out of this one?," the six episodes fly by and provide a great adventure for The Doctor and his fantastic companion Sarah Jane Smith, who, unlike many of the classic female companions, manages to not be completely useless and actually offers a lot more to the story than eye candy.

With the great monsters (with their cries that almost rank up their with the likes of Xenomorphs and Predators) and the great use of various locations, I found myself thinking that this would have almost been worthy of a cinematic adventure for the Doctor. It was one of those stories that didn't allow itself to be limited by being a small screen serial. I honestly feel it would have made a great movie.

All in all, this serial is a must see for fans, and a story that I would even call accessible to people not yet familiar with Doctor Who. It's a tense, effective adventure that I enjoyed the heck out of watching.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2001
This is definitely one of the best DW adventures. Tom Baker is absolutely wonderful as the Doctor and here, he gives one of his best performances. He and Elisabeth Sladen are so natural together and they make a wonderful team. There are some great supporting performances, most notably from Tony Beckley as Harrison Chase an insane megalomanic millionaire. John Challis is also really good as Chase's No1 heavy, Scorby. Great plot Get it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2007
The above is just one of the memorable lines uttered by Tom Baker's Doctor in this, what is regarded by many as the start of the so-called 'golden era' of Doctor Who. First broadcast in 1975 at the end of the fourth Doctor's second season, the serial sees Baker really hit his stride whilst Elisabeth Sladen exudes confidence; the resulting chemistry cementing the series' greatest double-act until Lalla Ward's Romana came along.
Not really one of the much-vaunted 'gothic' stories, this is more of a 'Boy's Own' romp, the action switching from Antarctic wastes to the mansion belonging to the sinister Harrison Chase, an unhinged billionaire botanist. Featuring green slimy monsters, ingenious methods of disposing of one's enemies and a host of 1970s TV stalwarts (plus the aforementioned John Challis), the story romps along at a cracking pace.
Whilst it is easy to mock the (clearly) polystyrene snow, rubbery aliens and fake locations, these are exactly what gave 1970s (and to a lesser degree) 1980s 'Who' its charm and great appeal. I have watched this story more than any other and it never fails to remind me of why I am such a fan of the show.
"Mr Stevenson, what you have done could very well result in the destruction of the entire human race..."
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2001
It is generally perceived that Tom Bakers first two seasons as the Doctor were his best, and possibly the best ever. There are one of two stories which do stand above the rest. The brilliant Seeds of Doom being one of these.
I always felt that some of the earlier 6+ parters had too much padding causing boring repetiveness. Not so here. This story has the depth to be worthy of a six parter. Tom and Elizabeth really shine here and there are some terrific supporting performances too. Notably Harrisson Chase the meglomanic Millionaire who grows steadily madder by the second and thinks he is part of the plant world. Great Production, Great Costume Design and Direction. What more can you ask for in a Who story?. (Except Leighbridge-Stewart, Benton and co. as the UNIT team brought in). Nevertheless, TERRIFIC STUFF!
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