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3.6 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who - Earth Story (The Gunfighters/The Awakening) [DVD]
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on 8 November 2014
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2011
Firstly i find this to be one of the strangest boxsets released, apart from being based on earth (yes the clues in the title folks) the actual stories have nothing in common, we had Mara Tales, Mannequin Mania, Dalek War,all had a running link, but it seems that this has been put together solely for the purpose of getting another 2 stories released, and given it a loosely based theme.The two stories used are William Hartnell's "The Gunfighters" and Peter Davinson's "The Awakening".

The Awakening.

This seems to me the stronger of both stories, this 2 part adventure, is set on earth (your seeing the pattern emerging) and takes the Doctor and his companions to the village of Little Hodcombe, where the Civil War turns into the real thing, and meeting Tegan's grandfather a villager and Sir George Hutchinson, whi is in thrall to the Malus, which needs phsychic energy to activate itself,

This is an action packed story which probably seems a little to rushed at times and could have probably benefited from a third epiosde, to give the viewer time to absorb, and fully appreciate the story, the idea of a creature that can link timelines past and present, is a good one and overall the story is good, the supporting cast are strong and well acted and overall it's a top story.

Features include:

* Commentary
* 'Horse destroys gate' outtake
* On The Cutting Room Floor
* Kamelion deleted scene
* Barry Newbery: Designer documentary
* Back to Little Hodcombe documentary
* Location footage compilation
* Now and Then locations documentary

The Gunfighters.

This too be is the let down out of the two, it centres on the Doctor trying to find a dentist, after hurting a tooth on a sweet (previous story "The Celestial Toymaker"), and arrives on Earth (getting that title link)in the wild west where he visits Doc Holiday, which lands the Doctor in an OK coral

This story seems to go bad to worse and just ends in a daft ending which you seem to be glad to see, by the time it arrives, the story just does not seem to work, although some good support cast (Doc Holiday and Wyatt being the better) thus could not be saved, and is a story that is viewed and put back to let the dust collect, i'm sure that the writers probably though that the idea was a good one unfortunately the execution was far removed, and this was also one the least watched stories since Doctor Who began in 1963.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2012
The first Doctor Who William Harynell & the fith Droctor Who Peter Davison in one package, the first doctor in cowboy time with doctor five modernday with an flip having round head vrs caverdeirs. Worth getting them as with doctor Who tales , they only keep on the shelve for not that long.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2011
From the EYE OF HORUS (the independent DOCTOR WHO website).

There is an affinity with DOCTOR WHO - THE GUNFIGHTERS that I am unfashionably proud to announce that may be derided by the vocal minority amongst fans who slovenly languish across the darker recesses of the Internet.

Like the 1966 story, initially, back in 2003, is seen to be the underdog, the lambasted and viewed on a veneered level without examining the truth and the values that lie beneath. With the passing of time, a sensible and a more considered appreciation as has seen both garnering a new legion of fans.

The unqualified successful restoration of DOCTOR WHO - THE GUNFIGHTERS print for this DVD release by BBC DVD ensures that that ongoing reassessment by progressive fans (including those that have discovered the DOCTOR WHO brand since 2005) of Donald Cotton's re-imagineering of the 1881 event, "The fight at the O.K. Carrol".

As the production is so "different" to the normal, run-of-the-mill DOCTOR WHO story, THE GUNFIGHTERS is a truly unique but would not be out of place if re-shot (sic) in 2012 for SERIES 7. Punctuated with comical wit, hard-nosed historical characters and an eccentric soundtrack, modern viewers may - just may - embrace it.

The timing for this release may be perfect, capitalising upon the success of the post-Russell T Davies re-branding.

Surprisingly, the DVD package of "value added material" is extremely entertaining and informative. Yes, it is on the "lite" side but this does not detract from its thoughtful structure and production.

Personally, the key to the enjoyment of any DVD release, DOCTOR WHO or otherwise, is the specially recorded studio-based commentary featuring the insights of the production's cast & crew. DOCTOR WHO - THE GUNFIGHTERS features a spur clinking, chap-oiled line-up that is a very special indeed.

Acutely moderated by Toby Hadoke (the moth-riddled performer/actor who deftly teases pertinent long-lost memories from the aging commentary team akin to an "Actor Whisperer"), Peter Purves is accompanied by the story's Production Assistant, Tristan de Vere Cole, and guest actors Shane Rimmer, Richard Beale and David Graham. Their collective thoughts, observations and praise/criticism will ensure unenlightened and derisive fans view the story under a different light.

DVD studio commentary.

On THE GUNFIGHTERS, Peter Purves: It worked extremely well but I don't have happy memories of the time we made it.
Tristan de Vere Cole: It was so polished, amazing good B-Feature. An extraordinary good production.
Peter Purves: I think you're right.
Tristan de Vere Cole: The sets were fantastic, the costumes are brilliant, and the casting was very good. The only think wrong is that DR WHO (The Doctor) is not centre-stage. Very peripheral.
David Graham: The production values are terrific, and I based the voice (of Charlie the Barman) on the famous actor, Walter Brennan. I think I put a bit of cotton wool in my jaw that helped with the accent.

FACT: A production gem. The "No Shooting" sign behind the Saloon bar is a "flap" that could be hinged backwards behind the set to allow for a camera to film into the room. The flap was operated by the Son of Anthony Jacobs (who played Doc Holliday), Matthew Jacobs who, in 1995/96, wrote the script for DOCTOR WHO - THE TV MOVIE for Paul McGann).

On the NEW SERIES, David Graham: The latest DOCTOR WHO's are over produced. These had a simple realism, more genuine, I think.
Peter Purves: A straightforward story. The NEW (SERIES) ones are more complicated.

On the story's Director (Rex Tucker), Tristan de Vere Cole: Rex was a " hauteur" but the end product is excellent.

ERRONEOUS FACT: The information text states the obvious: "The pistols were loaded with blank cartridges, not live ammunition".

On the production's humour featuring Stephen, Tristan de Vere Cole: It is terribly funny.
Peter Purves: I'm pleased it is. Gosh because being funny on television is hard because you don't know don't get laughter feedback.

On his cotton wool assisted character of Charlie the Barman had inspired Marlon Brando in THE GODFATHER trilogy of films, David Graham: He was always copying me.
Shane Rimmer: I thought it was tobacco!

On William Hartnell, Peter Purves: He looked cross all the time and it makes it different to imagine that can be funny. I liked him a lot and never had bad words with him.
David Graham: Very nice to work with.
Peter Purves: He didn't like Rex Tucker and Michael Leeston-Smith (THE MYTH MAKERS). He thought Michael was a "clown"; he'd turn up in his jodhpurs.

FACT: Following a substantial re-edit of episode by Series Producer, Innes Lloyd, Rex Tucker requested that his "Director" credit should be removed from the on-screen credits list.

On the reasoning why Peter Purves was "sacked" from DOCTOR WHO, Shane Rimmer surmised: Perhaps, it was the singing!
Peter Purves: I was embarrassed by it. Terribly self-conscious and actors don't feel self-conscious when you can absorb yourself in a very distinct character.

On the story's direction, Richard Beale: It's very well paced.
David Graham: There a lot less fancy camera work in this than there is today. Like "cross-cutting".

At the start of episode two's (titled DON'T SHOOT THE PIANIST) commentary, Toby Hadoke: Don't shoot the Moderator.

On receiving fan letters, Peter Purves: I don't get fan letters from anywhere very often. Sometimes, I think that I didn't really exist.

On recalling THE GUNFIGHTERS, actor Richard Beale (who played Bat Masterson): I have a bad memory these days. I rang myself up the other day.

On recalling filming at the Riverside Studios, Richard Beale: I saw a man commit suicide at the Riverside Studios. The chap chucked himself over the bridge.

On the murder of Seth Harper, Peter Purves: That was a good death, Shane.
Shane Rimmer: Who shot me?

On filming THE GUNFIGHTERS, Shane Rimmer: I was most impressed by the authenticity of it.

FACT: During the restoration of the print, professional may have discovered that not only episode four was transferred from videotape to film (by Innes Lloyd in order to facilitate re-editing) but both episodes two and three may have been too. Potentially demonstrating that the Series Producer was disappointed with Tucker's direction of those episodes too.

On his time on THE GUNFIGHTERS, David Graham: It was wonderful to see myself all those years ago. Goodbye all, thanks.

(And then reverting to this Charlie the Barman accent)

Mighty proud.

Fascinatingly, Tristan de Vere Cole describes the process by which actors' fees were "capped" (i.e. limited) by the BBC in the 1960s and were assigned by the "duration" of the production. For example, for a 30-minute DOCTOR WHO episode Peter Purves was paid £30.

On the lead actor playing DOCTOR WHO, Richard Beale: (Jon) Pertwee made a lot of impression more so than Hartnell.
Peter Purves: Jon was a very strong Doctor but Bill (Hartnell) was definitive.
Tristan de Vere Cole: He was the definitive. A little frightening and not a little joker.

The remaining DVD "value added material" may be, as I said, "lite" but is nonetheless intriguing.

In a perfect length, THE END OF THE LINE intelligently analyses the momentous period that preceded the series' first regeneration in 1966. The series had similar times since (the start of the Pertwee era, and the hiatus forcing the series off-air in 1985) but unlike those periods the series was not as established as it seemed.

The hallowed corridors of the BBC Executive had concerns and may have disassembled the Police Box without a second thought.

Going beyond THE GUNFIGHTERS, the documentary chronicles the changes, the panic and the entrepreneurial enterprise that the DOCTOR WHO production team employed to keep the series' from drowning beneath the turbulent waves. Waves created not only by the BBC Executives (requesting that a reluctant John Wiles replaced Verity Lambert as Series Producer) but also by the series Production Team themselves through negligence and poor planning (continuing with commissioned scripts that were clearly unfeasible & unlike, to sacking to cast members without due care & diligence, and experimenting with a series formula that had been so successful).

Fascinating documentary, and could have gone further & deeper that it did.

TOMORROW'S TIMES - THE FIRST DOCTOR continues with the unwieldy format that has been established in previous DVD releases and, therefore, an easily subject to the "fast forward button" on the remote control.

The remaining "value added material" is standard material; a PHOTO GALLERY (set to the iconic song, THE BALLAD OF THE LAST CHANCE SALOON from Lynda Baron), a COMING SOON trailer for DOCTOR WHO - PARADISE TOWERS, the archive material from the RADIO TIMES, and the essential on-screen INFORMATION TEXT.

Whilst I am still bemused to why DOCTOR WHO - THE GUNFIGHTERS (honestly, I would have bought this DVD as a "single-disc" product) is presented as part of a boxset titled, DOCTOR WHO - EARTH STORY, the DVD is wonderfully evocative of a bygone television age that told substantial, entertaining and informative stories (similar to VINCENT AND THE DOCTOR from 2010).

Having watched (for this review) the DVD with the commentary & information text active, I will be going back over the forthcoming 2011 May Bank Holiday to indulge in this infamous CLASSIC SERIES four-parter and re-appreciate this misunderstood production.

Its time has come.

High noon.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2013
To start with the Gunfighters, I actually rather like it, if for all the wrong reasons. Tosh it maybe, but it's good hearted tosh, reasonably well-played, and even if the American accents each seem to have come from different states - or at least different dialogue coaches - there's really only a couple that are truly dodgy. And it's an energetic, harmless piece of nonsense that at least doesn't pretend to anything as lofty as historical accuracy.

Maybe I just like watching the British version of a Western; it's like the Mechanicals' play at the end of Midsummer Night's Dream; the very cack-handedness of it makes it kinda fun.

And it's not historically accurate at all (Pa Clanton was dead by the time of the shootout for a start!); what inspires this isn't history at all, it's Hollywood, particularly the 1957 'Gunfight at the OK Corral' with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, which also has a sung refrain. So I think it's bad but forgivable; it's not really trying to be Tombstone in 1881 - as Dodo exclaims 'We're in a Western!' 2/5

The Awakening

Well, they'd featured one Liver Bird - Nerys Hughes in Kinda - now Polly James in this one (wonder why never Elizabeth Estensen).

First off, I am a re-enactor, and this story is based on a raft of falsehoods that (were I so minded) I could get quite narked about. No village organisation has ever got this much high end autheti-kit together to do a bit of English Civil War History about an engagement that never happened - and by 1984, the re-enactment community was sufficiently sorted to have been employed on By The Sword Divided, and was so known to the BBC, and could have been asked just how plausible this storyline was likely to be.

Which it is not. This is a non-existent re-enactment society, in a non-existent village, doing a battle that never happened. I'm taking a dim view already. It's like if the BBC can just make it up, then we all just make it up.

Providing we can suspend all disbelief concerning a huge number of law-abiding hobbyists, then Awakening is a good story. The Dr, Tegan and Turlough turn up at an idyllic English village to find that they've all gone bonkers about the Civil War, and that (for some reason that has nothing to do with reality) the last battle has to be 'for real'.

Don't be so childishly stupid - we all want to go to the beer tent in the evening - we don't want to kill the guys on the other side, cos then the police come and take you away. And re-enactors are a spirited lot who can, at least, recognise an ego gone mad (we get our fair share, rather like in the broadcasting business funnily enough) so if a Malus starts telling them what to do, they're going to tell it to get stuffed. Oh, OK, it's a story.

As a story, it works very nicely, if you accept that in England we take our history so seriously that we kidnap granddads, and dress unwilling strangers up in period costume with a view to burning them to death, then yes, it's a good story, but this really has so many holes in it you could use it to strain cabbage.

But it's good, nonetheless, it's well acted, even if it's tripe, and it has a good script, even if it's nonsense, and when the Malus does start to exert its baleful influence over something that would never, ever happen, then it really is quite enthralling - it's good drama, well acted (Dennis Lill, Glyn Houston, Keith Jayne - Michael Own Morris casting from his time on Survivors) and the reference to The Visitation is welcome.

Nice phantoms in the church, and a great set, and it is a good story, but for goodness sake!!!

Could Eric Pringle not have talked to some re-enactors first? If only in the interest of making it all a bit more credible? It wasn't 'a rather nasty game' when you needed all that help on Sword Divided, was it BBC?

I wonder how widely those words 'rather nasty' could be applied; to broadcasting corporations possibly. So could the words 'two-faced' and 'patronising'.

3/5, but someone is so deserving of a slap.

The two do have something in common - Gunfighters isn't about history, and Awakening isn't about re-enactment. And they're both set on Earth; wow, that's so unusual - it really is an unattractive ploy to sell two stories that might not prove sufficiently popular on their own.

I'm not paying nearly a tenner for six episodes of Dr Who.
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7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2011
"The Awakening" is a little gem. Neatly told, with a nice build-up and payoff. At two parts it doesn't outstay its welcome, and there's no padding- the curse of so many DW stories. The guest cast also compliment the story well.

"The Gunfighters", however, is dire. A more far comedic approach (encouraged by the earlier humourous "The Mythmakers") results in appalling acting and scripting. "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon"- aka, the badly sung cacophonous dirge that permeates the story- is especially awful. It's possible the cast were having a good time making this trash, but this viewer certainly didn't enjoy the results.

So, 2entertain...tell us: did you pair these two stories up, just to make sure when it was time to flog "The Gunfighters" more people would buy it? Be honest: you did, didn't you?
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2014
The actual episodes were good however the DVD cover of "The Awakening" was damaged in which the plastic on the case was half ripped off.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2013
great son loved it big doctor who fan, loves all actors who have played him. what else can I say
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This is a review on the DVD The gunfighters. I do not own the other DVD in this box. The gunfighters was given 9/10 in the flawed Mark Campbell book Doctor Who - The Complete Guide. Going by Campbell's glowing review I managed to acquire this single DVD the gunfighters and what a huge disappointment it is. Compared to other William Hartnell DVDs this has got to take the cake as the worst. The incidental music is extremely irritating being the same western ballad over and over again sang very poorly.
The acting is terrible using fake American accents and trying to be wild west cowboys with dismal results.
The story is hard to follow, like a poor stage play. I fell asleep during this, it's that bad.

I have most doctor who on DVD and this must be up there as the worst of the 1960s series.
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9 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2011
Not a review of the stories, just a comment on how the BBC are still releasing minimal content for outrageous price!
Especially when the new doctors are sold as complete series one, two, three ... In fact every TV series is released this way now.
Wall to wall of half empty plastic boxes anyone?
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