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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why do so few people get it?
'Paradise Towers' has a rather poor reputation, in fact it is perceived by many to be one of the weakest Doctor Who stories ever. Is this reputation deserved? Absolutely not in my opinion.

There are some wonderful sets for the towers, in the past Doctor Who sets had been inappropriate because they were so spotlessly clean, in this story the sets look grubby...
Published 7 months ago by Benjamin Coupland

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Towers - The Seventh Doctor lost in Paradise
I remember watching Sixth and Seventh Doctor serials when they were first aired, and not liking them much, especially the start of the Seventh Doctor's reign. I haven't seen them again until the DVD releases, and in general (Time and the Rani, Vengeance on Varos etc) I have reassessed my opinion and found lots to enjoy. This however was just as bad as I remember and time...
Published on 22 July 2011 by Victor


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why do so few people get it?, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
'Paradise Towers' has a rather poor reputation, in fact it is perceived by many to be one of the weakest Doctor Who stories ever. Is this reputation deserved? Absolutely not in my opinion.

There are some wonderful sets for the towers, in the past Doctor Who sets had been inappropriate because they were so spotlessly clean, in this story the sets look grubby and help to create the impression that Paradise towers is dilapidated and neglected. The sets are assisted by some remarkably effective red, blue and green lighting. Admittedly though some of the sets, the Rezzies' flat for example, are rather over lit.

After a shaky performance in 'Time and the Rani' Sylvester McCoy starts to find his feet as the Doctor and his performance here is on the whole very good. Sadly Bonnie Langford's performance is poor, she's just too cheerful and upbeat (this seems especially unsuitable in the scenes set after she has almost been cannibalised by two old ladies).

It has been suggested that Richard Briers' performance here is a career low. I couldn't disagree more, for the first three episodes Briers gives a very amusing and entertaining performance as the Chief Caretaker (the manner in which he converses with Kroagnon in the basement is especially hilarious). I will admit that Briers goes over the top when portraying Kroagnon in the body of the Chief Caretaker in the last episode, but this is nowhere near as bad as some would have you believe. Clive Merrison gives a good performance as the Deputy Chief Caretaker.

Howard Cooke may be a poor physical fit for the character of Pex (who was supposed to be really muscular) but he gives a strong performance.

Stephen Wyatt's script is full of imaginative ideas and dialogue, for example the Kangs' distinctive dialect. The cannibalistic Rezzies are sublime, Elizabeth Spriggs and Brenda Bruce are simply brilliant in these roles. I also found the Caretakers' blind obedience of the rules amusing, especially in the scene where the Doctor uses this to escape them.

The main monsters in the story are the cleaning robots, in my opinion they look quite good although they do move slowly (something they have in common with most other Doctor Who monsters) and it's difficult to imagine they could do any harm with their implements.

On the DVD there are two complete scores, you can watch the story with Keff McCulloch's score or a rejected score from David Snell, McCulloch's is the better of the two even if it is a bit too upbeat at times. Snell's score is moodier but also quite repetitive.

In conclusion 'Paradise Towers' is very good but by no means perfect.

As for extras, there is 'Horror on the high rise' a 34 minute 'making of' documentary, which is very good. The highlight for me was an interview with Richard Briers.

The other major extra is 'Girls girls girls the 1980's' in which Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Sophie Aldred all talk about their periods on the show. All three have interesting comments and this is very amusing at times. Fielding clearly loathed the outfits that were inflicted on Tegan which is fair enough. This clocks in at 21 minutes and is introduced by Peter Purves for some reason.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Towers - The Seventh Doctor lost in Paradise, 22 July 2011
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Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
I remember watching Sixth and Seventh Doctor serials when they were first aired, and not liking them much, especially the start of the Seventh Doctor's reign. I haven't seen them again until the DVD releases, and in general (Time and the Rani, Vengeance on Varos etc) I have reassessed my opinion and found lots to enjoy. This however was just as bad as I remember and time has not improved it.

The set up is interesting - The Doctor and Mel try to go to the fabled Paradise Towers for a holiday. When they get there they find instead of a gleaming modern tower block, the place is a dump. The occupants, who were sealed inside, have split up into various societies and gangs, all warring with each other. It's a fascinating set up, and a really great idea. But that's where it ends. Having had this great idea the script writers then had to find some problem for the Doctor and Mel to resolve, and, frankly, the mystery at the heart of Paradise towers is pretty incomprehensible and pointless. It really feels shoehorned in.

There are a few fun ideas - the officious `Caretakers' and their strict adherence to the rule book, the way the caretakers are all named after regulations and the Kangs all named after wall signs, the `Rezzies' and their strange dining habits. But there is not enough here to flesh out the series. Added to which is a misjudged performance from Richard Briers as the main bad guy, it is just too camp and silly to make him seem like a real threat. The main `monsters', the cleaning robots, are just badly constructed and again so laughable that they give no sense of menace, which this overly humorous series badly needed. And there's Mel. Mercifully her stay with the series was a short one, and this series shows just why she is one of the series least liked companions. It's a shame really, as Bonnie Langford has shown how good the character could have been in her work on the Big Finish audio range. Finally there is the rather disturbing scene with the knife wielding grannies - I found this disturbing as an 11 year old, and I still do today.

Sylvester McCoy is still trying to get to grips with his Doctor's character, and generally does a good job with the material given to him. His performance is pretty much the high point of the series, his physical timing is great and leads to some genuinely humorous moments.

In all an interesting set up which has no room for the Doctor, so goes nowhere. Poor monsters and villains, too much humour and Mel at her worst. Sorry, but I have long considered this to be the worst of all the classic Dr series, so can only give the story 1 star.

On the upside, the DVD from 2Entertain is a great job. The usual informative production subtitles, and a host of special features which are well thought out, interesting, and have a relevance to the story. It's quite a package. The picture and sound have been very nicely restored and presented, someone has put a lot of thought into this package. SO another star for the overall presentation, two stars in total.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Paradise Last, 18 May 2014
This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
In fact, Paradise Not Quite Last, there are a few `Doctor Who' episodes often thought worse than this. But not many. 2*

`Paradise Towers' is a huge, once luxurious residential complex now fallen into squalor. It would be easy to see this as yet one more political satire on the 1980s, but tower blocks grew from the Utopian idealism of the 1950s; `the people' would be given new, modern homes in futuristic blocks, and they would be happy. But even twenty years before `Paradise Towers' was broadcast, `the people' often weren't happy - one of the stock complaints went along the lines of `those architects build these places but they don't live here themselves'. Be careful what you wish for - in `Paradise Towers' the `Great Architect' does indeed live in the building, and he definitely doesn't like the residents spoiling his vision of concrete perfection ...

So why are the Doctor and Mel in the building at all? Because Mel wants to swim in its pool ... there are worlds out there with effervescent oceans but no it must be this pool. So she goes looking for the pool while the Doctor wanders around the corridors and they both run into odd characters and trouble. Personally I found Mel the most annoying companion ever, a gratingly cheerful and unbearably bubbly character. (For another example of a cheerful, bubbly - but wonderful - companion, see `Jo Grant'.) Sylvester McCoy finds the Seventh Doctor's most humorous side, he's one semi-comic element of the story that works well and it's a contrast with the serious, mysterious Doctor he played later. But he really doesn't have enough to do here.

The building looks great, sets and location filming blending to create a convincingly run-down `paradise' where the problem isn't just the building, it's the people. The retiree residents and girls have been abandoned while most others went off to fight some unspecified war. The residents are hiding in their flats while the girl gangs (`Kangs') roam and battle in the halls. This half works. The `Rezzies' include two wonderfully written and acted comedy cannibal ladies straight out of Hansel and Gretel. And they want to eat Mel, so that wins the viewer over immediately! However, the `Kangs' are cringingly, embarrassingly dire.

Supposedly trying to keep order are the Caretakers (official local authoritarians), their cleaner robots and Pex (unofficial would-be superhero). Again it's 50/50. The Caretakers seem like yet another Nazi parody (Daleks have that one well covered) but a doubtfully comic one; fine actors asked to play unconvincing roles, neither comic nor scary. The cleaner robots look quite good but then move so slowly I thought their batteries must be running down. You'd have to be glued to the floor to be in any danger. Pex is both an amusingly comic send-up of every superhero film you're seen and a strangely poignant character - he's hopeless, desperately pretending to be brave and not very good at that. Faced with a `deadly' pool robot trying to `clean up' Mel, he won't even shoot it from the safety of dry land to save her life. Is he afraid? (Or just a `Doctor Who' fan expressing his opinion ...? (!)) Don't give up on Pex; there could be a hero inside.

So there are some better moments but overall this is a run-down wasteland in the world of `Doctor Who'; a waste of good designs, some fine actors and some good satirical ideas that mostly don't come off: 2* for the sets, the Rezzies, Pex and a likeable comic Doctor. `Paradise Towers' is a fair example of season 24, which I think is the worst in the show's history by some distance, and a sad place to see a show that, ten years earlier, produced one classic story after another. Paradise lost.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a waste, 24 July 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
What a jolly good script; bleak, dystopian, dark, and all set in a nightmare block of flats. What could go wrong?

Well, not the set design, that's for sure; it's a great set. murky, dirty, horrible. With some moody lighting, it'd look tip-top, but the lighting, mindful of the cameras being used, isn't moody, it's really quite bright.

Strong cast though; Richard Briers, Clive Merrison, Brenda Bruce, Elizabeth Spriggs, Judy Cornwell; mouthwateringly good actors, let's get them all into some really super frocks, um.

The costumes are a bit, well, panto. Nothing wrong with that if it is a panto, like a show for children, but isn't Dr Who supposed to be for grown ups too? Um.

The cleaning robots too are on the panto side of naturalism, and so is the thing in the basement, add to that the desperately unfunny foot-sticking-out-of-the-bin motif to indicate death - and Tabby vanishing feet last down the waste disposal (blowed if I can see how they fitted Elizabeth Spriggs through there), and the whole atmosphere of seeping menace goes out of the window.

The girl gangs could have been so good if they'd been allowed to be scary, grimy, feral (oh, and sexy - Andrew Cartmel admits a fetish for just such girls in The Making Of, and I fully sympathise) but they're not - all a bit too clean, too pretty, too anodyne. Even Pex, with stubble, a rangy eye (possibly just one), sweat stained combats and knackered body armour (and a cheroot) could have been interesting - like an Aliens marine - but he's too clean cut.

And, as The Making Of points out, the caretakers should all have been played by old, somewhat mis-shapen men, not the tall, clean-limbed toughs they are here. Mr Briers' performance could have been toned down a notch too. If this had been played straight - as it should have been - it would have been a great story.

Cos what it is, at bottom, is dystopian gothic horror, and by means of some silly costumes, under-direction and an acting style on a par with that of Bonnie Langford (who seems to be absolutely in her element, at the end of some of her scenes with Howard Cooke, they seem about to burst into song), it's been turned into pantomime. Oh yes it has.

What The Making Of doesn't properly explain is why, with a whole paid staff of television professionals working on it, this was allowed to happen.

It really is a criminal waste of talent and energy. A crying shame.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great, 14 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
a dvd that is worth watching and a must see would recomend to any doctor who collector and new comer
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5.0 out of 5 stars Seventh Doctor Heaven, 4 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
I realise that I am probably a lone voice in the wilderness that is 80s Dr Who, but I love this. Sure th acting is dodgy, the script is worse, the set is clearly BBC TV centre, and McCoy chews the scenery with every line (until Richard Briers gets going!) but then again, loads of Dr Who stories can have the same criticism levelled at them. I watched this when I was a kid, loved it then. Watched it as an adult, and still love it. Now off to complete my collection of McCoy's seasons.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Original concept, 24 Oct 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
A good story but I'm not keen on Mel as the companion. Still the robot cleaners make for an interesting if not amusing threat.
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4.0 out of 5 stars In Paradise, 17 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
A good Sylvester McCoy story, if just slightly odd. Richard Briers got to play the pantomime villain with great relish.
This is one of McCoy's better stories. A well acted episode. Would recommend to any Dr Who fan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great story, 5 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
I liked this story and enjoyed it very much. Sylvester McCoy was great as always. The acting was ok and i love Bonnie Langford.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I'll Scream and Scream until I'm Sick, 28 July 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
More terrible monsters and how on earth did Bonny Langford get the job as Who's assistant. She just can't help playing the part like a pantomime part. And ohhh that constant piercing screaming. No wonder I've not watched these in such a long time. Not too bad a story this time though.
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Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987]
Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987] by Sylvester McCoy (DVD - 2011)
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