Customer Reviews


67 Reviews
5 star:
 (38)
4 star:
 (23)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable classic historical
This story was a first for me, and was glad to have seen the DVD featuring the vid-fired and lovingly restored version, with animation to complete the serial. I've come to realise I really like the early Hartnell historicals (well, I can't be the only one), so I may be a bit biased. I had high hopes for it and was not disappointed. Basically, if you enjoyed The Aztecs...
Published 17 months ago by Film and music appreciator

versus
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice video, shame about the animation
The Reign of Terror has always been something of a mixed bag for me. There are great performances from the principals and the sets look fantastic, but the story struggles to fill six episodes and there is a lot of repetitive capture/escape/recapture padding. It struggles to live up to the pace and taut storytelling of the previous historical adventure, The Aztecs...
Published 18 months ago by Simon Exton


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable classic historical, 3 Mar 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
This story was a first for me, and was glad to have seen the DVD featuring the vid-fired and lovingly restored version, with animation to complete the serial. I've come to realise I really like the early Hartnell historicals (well, I can't be the only one), so I may be a bit biased. I had high hopes for it and was not disappointed. Basically, if you enjoyed The Aztecs this will be a welcome addition. The production values are wonderful considering the use of the more cramped Lime Grove studios circa 1963, but there's a lot of attention to detail, something talked about by Carol Ann-Ford on the main DVD making of extra. Considering the director of this story didn't speak great English, collapsed during the making of ep 3 due to stress, and would never work on Doctor Who (or I think, BBC) again, this is a very accomplished story. All actors do there jobs pretty well, and there are a lot of dark moments as well as a bit of humour, though never over the top. Series 1 of classic Doctor Who was just that: 'classic' in my book and I am happy that with this release we have all of it on DVD, and that it survived the early 70's BBC tape junking fun to a large degree.

I found the animation of ep 4 and 5 very watchable. There was a lot to commend about the sets and the facial design, and for me felt like as good, if not better than The Invasion. I found some of the quick cutting a little jarring early on during ep 4, which was quite noticeable, but this improved and although some have complained a lot about the animation and some of the short comings, I don't see it! I think for a first attempt the animation studio have done Doctor Who proud. For the uninitiated the same animation house are doing 'Tenth Planet' ep 4 to finish up the Hartnell era on DVD. And another studio are doing a similar thing to the 'Ice Warriors' release due a little later in the year. All told it's a very good year to be a classic Who fan, and buy this release as soon as you can it's great!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor Regenerates... in every angle., 1 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
This story in itself is very good, fairly simplistic and padded with capture/escape/capture routines but the production design and (first time) location filming are excellent. Although the plot is straight forward there are a couple of twists and character reveals that keep the interest. The editing in the live action segments is clever and I didn't realise until the documentary that William Russell was on holiday for two episodes. (His scenes were pre-recoreded on film). Check out "The Book of Lists" for a full list of cast holidays/illnesses and how they were 'explained' in the corresponding episodes. After all they couldn't just replace an actor with another when they had chicken-pox (I think it was) for one week. Oh, what ? See "The Mind Robber"?

The animation is a mixed bag I'm afraid. Firstly, I am more than happy it's here. I want to see as complete a story as possible and as I watched I was already imagining how The Tenth Planet pt 4 might look or Power of the Daleks. I even thought about even animating existing episodes using the original soundtracks the we could see Wirrn that don't bounce on their bums.

The problem lies here. Unless you have the money (I'm not going to say 'animating skills' cos this is still animation under a tight budget)of Disney or Dreamworks, the realism is going to be limited. I don't mind this. The Invasion episodes, Scream of the Shalka, Shada, Infinite Quest and Dreamland all have their pros and cons as animated Who but all are watchable. Here it is the same.

Firstly, I found a dip in sound quality in these animated episodes and that knocked me before any animation. After a couple of minutes however, I acclimatised and it was no longer a problem.

Where my gripe starts is the changing character likenesses between shots (hence "the Regenerating Doctor"). It's not just a case of, for example, the Doctor not looking like William Hartnell.... It's that sometimes he does (usally head on) and then from another angle he looks like someone else (with a fat chin). Susan suffers with this also (different hairstyles) as do most of the other cast members. It is a little jarring. The quick cuts also stand out at times but they do help the episodes flow. The animation is sometimes simple eyebrow raising contrasted with what I believe were rotoscoped actions which become very fluid. The other thing the animation emphasises more than live action is how limited the range of sets are. (Yes it's due to budget) One set in the prison, one set in a big(ish) room for the most of the two episodes. That's NOT the fault of the animation in this case but just emphasises the budget limits of the show. It is redeemed with a trip to Television Studios (see the documentary)for the final part.

So, in summary, a good episode, well acted and nicely restored. An informative documentary. The animation is mixed, never bad, sometimes very impressive, but a bit inconsistent. I'm not going to compare it to other animated Who because that boils down to your own taste and suspension of belief. Loved the spiders walking on the web tho.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carry On Doctor, Don't Lose Your Head, 26 Jan 2013
By 
Mr. D. K. Smith (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
Broadcast in August/September 1964, The Reign of Terror brought the first season of Doctor Who to a close. Landing in Revolutionary France, the Doctor and his companions find themselves in danger as soon as they step from the safety of the TARDIS. Ian, Barbara and Susan are captured and taken to Paris where they are thrown into the Conciergerie prison. All they have to look forward to is a visit to the guillotine.

The Doctor, meantime, makes his own way to Paris and decides that the best way to effect the release of his friends is to pose as an important local official. This he does, but he's under suspicion almost straight away, and there are many dangers to overcome before the four time-travellers can escape this land of fear ....

Dennis Spooner's six part story is a deft mixture of historical colour with the odd comic touch. It anticipates the lighter tone that Spooner would take with his two historical stories in the second season, The Romans and The Time Meddler, although The Reign of Terror is a tad more serious than both of those. Hartnell is on fine form, as by all accounts he preferred the historical stories as this gave him a chance to bounce off other actors, rather than monsters or aliens. If you want to see Hartnell somewhat adrift in a land of strange creatures then pick up The Web Planet. But don't blame me ....

Although most of the first season of Doctor Who exists in the BBC archives, episodes four and five of this story are missing. This is a shame, as they contain the heart of the story. The VHS release contained the four existing episodes with a brief summary of the two missing episodes, but the DVD has something considerably better - four and five are animated, synchronized with the original audio soundtrack.

Although there has been some criticism of the animation, it looks pretty good to me. There's some nice visual touches, and overall the two episodes are certainly better than the static fan-produced recons that have been produced in the past. There are some jarring quick cuts, and the characters don't always look the same when viewed at different angles, but on the whole it's a good effort. There's room for improvement though, so hopefully the style can be refined for future releases.

Features wise, there's an entertaining documentary with some amusing and interesting anecdotes from the likes of Timothy Coombe and Carol Ann Ford. And there's the usual good-quality commentary track with a mixture of contributors swapping stories of a production that happened almost half a century ago.

Although it's taken a long time to appear on DVD, it's been worth the wait, as the story - thanks to the two animated episodes - is now as complete as it can be. Supplemented by a good package of features this is a fine example of early Doctor Who and a great showcase for the man who nearly fifty years ago started it all - William Hartnell.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A piece of television history, 21 Aug 2013
By 
Stephen Reid "Stephen" (Basingstoke) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
If you buy this DVD, it is probably because you are a Dr Who fan with fond memories of the earliest days of this great series. I watched these episodes with my parents when they first aired and found the whole concept of the programme captivating. Watching this original story now reminds me that the production standards were those of the day: the camera angles are inflexible, the budget is low, there are very few special effects. It cannot be judged by modern-day production standards.

But the magic is there. In the early days, Doctor Who alternated between 'future' stories and historical ones. This is the latter, set at the time of the French Revolution when Robespierre was about to fall and Napoleon was about to rise to power. In those days, as the attached documentary says, young people would be expected to be familiar with the story and this re-imagining, reasonably faithful; to the historical facts, would bring the history to life for them. The BBC bosses had a thing about science fiction (they were very suspicious) and wanted this type of story to 'keep the standards of the drama up'.

A lot of the story is dialogue rather action or special-effects based. The plot is complex with shades of the Scarlet Pimpernel - who are the good guys and who are the traitors? The plot twists and turns through six episodes, with episodes four and five being faithful-to-the-original animations. They work well: the characters are well drawn.

I found the incidental music to have aged badly, to the point of being intrusive. But hey - that's how things were back in the sixties.

This is the last story of the first series. William Hartnell is still playing the Doctor as a somewhat sinister character: the softening has started but it only really completes in later stories.

The accompanying documentary is very good: there were lots of troubles behind the scenes on this story, which no viewer could have suspected. Fascinating!

So how to score this? Being fifty years old, it is not made to modern-day standards. But that's not the point: these early outings are where the longest running sci-fi show started. It is a piece of television history. Four stars is fair, I think.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor vs. Citizen Robespierre, 19 Jun 2014
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
The DVD of Doctor Who – The Reign of Terror sees a partially lost story completed by animating the two missing episodes (the soundtracks still survived in rough and ready form). With so many stories missing episodes, it’s a clever solution albeit an expensive one, which is probably why it’s only previously been used on Patrick Troughton’s iconic Cyberman story The Invasion. The results aren’t quite as satisfying here, the unflattering animation and the at times excessive cutting breaking the established rhythm of the surviving live-action episodes, but never enough to make you want them to abandon the idea in future.

Coming from the end of the show’s first season when it still took its historical remit as seriously as its science fiction one, it sees The Doctor, Ian and Barbara finding the TARDIS has set them down in the middle of the French Revolution when the line between traitors and patriot was constantly shifting. Naturally the companions find themselves separated, the humans sentenced to death in the Bastille and the Doctor masquerading as a guillotine-happy judge in a ridiculous hat to rescue them, affording him ample opportunities to mingle with the great and the infamous (Robespierre among them, played like Raymond Massey by Keith Anderson) at the height of the Terror as a conspiracy unfolds in the background. It’s a decent six-parter with a few surprises, not least Barbara standing up for the Revolution even as heads are rolling, offering a brief role for future Gumshoe screenwriter Neville Smith in the first episode.

Despite the obvious budget limitations it’s often quite a good looking story and, judging from the colour stills gallery on the DVD, one that would have looked great in colour. Thanks to director Heinrich Hirsch’s inexperience with television it was a particularly troubled production, something the DVD extras cover in some detail in both the audio commentaries and the documentary on the disc, though other extras are fairly thin on the ground – a virtual tour of the animated sets, stills gallery and onscreen production trivia pretty much round things out (Carole Ann Ford’s links from the earlier video version are not included among the extras).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Citizen Spooner, 26 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
The animated episodes of this remind me, for some reason, of the illustrations in my Marquis de Sade for Beginners, but I'm sure it's just a co-incidence.

The problem with this is that once you get beyond the rosettes and bicorns, there's actually very little going on. Most of the plot is 'We've got separated and we need to get all together again in order to escape from this horrible place and time', with a bit of 'Ian has to deliver a message' as a sort of afterthought. 'What do we do in France during the Terror?' - 'GTF out of France'. Right from the start with the travellers getting involved because they've been arrested, the script could be more inventive, and Susan's assertion that it's the Dr's favourite period is never followed up, and in any case it's just not credible (why do she and Barbara never refer to the book she was reading in the very first episode?)

The psychology of the Terror is never properly explored, and much of it is taken as read; there's no explanation of that this is a revolution turned in on itself. While the thoroughly unpleasant Revolutionary troops do supply the much needed menace, there is little to conclude from it.

The violence is also badly muted. It really wouldn't do any harm for us to see Rouvray and D'Argenson get shot properly. Even accounting for the prissy attitudes of the time, looking the other way is a massive cop-out.

All of the above is a great pity because it's a great period in dramatic terms. It's got much more potential than is allowed to happen - the Doctor disguises himself, Ian is only on pre-filmed inserts, Susan is ill for no good reason, so the story is basically Barbara meets the Scarlet Pimpernel, and even that scarlet avenue is never properly explored.

But it's well-played - a good cast doing fine service to a fairly duff text - the gaoler is enjoyably corrupt and cowardly (though it's all too easy to imagine him being played by Peter Butterworth), and the real good guy - disguised as a bad guy - is commendably plausible (he could so easily be laughable) and it's very well designed, even if much of it was played in a cupboard in Lime Grove.

In fact, it palpably lifts in the last episode, by which time they're in TV Centre and William Russell is back from his holidays. The scene in the inn - 'the landlord is tied up and gagged in the cellar' - is really a lot of fun (but I've no idea what it acheives).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Who at its best, 26 Aug 2013
By 
EA Clewes (Altrincham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
Willaim Hartnell vs Jean val Jean. Good storyline. Well acted. For the time it was (still is) the best sci fi programme around. Good old British quirkiness and humour.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reign of Terror Review, 9 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
Very well put together, perhaps a little too much of the re-capture scenario but none the less, very good.

Edward Brayshaw makes both a charming and excellent villain, as we know, he certainly dropped the charm in the War Games! Could he have played the Master....? Instead he ended up in Rent a Ghost!

The early historical shows have held up well as the sets are well put together, a shame it wasn't made in colour, compared to the sci-fi based stories where so much of the equipment now looks terribly antiquated.

The cartoon links are brilliant, whilst not quite out of the top artistical drawer, they are so very much better than the short episode links provided to the likes of the original VHS release of the Invasion.

If you like the early years of Dr Who, you will enjoy this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good dvd, 17 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
I really like the animation of episodes 4 & 5 I thought it was good. Can't wait to see what it's like on The Ice Warriors and The Tenth Planet when they come
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who-The Reign of Terror, 25 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
Not the best of the early historicals by a long stretch, but still a good, solid story with a lot of entertainment value, if a little padded out. The visuals of two episodes are missing from the BBC archive, but the soundtracks still exist and the lost visual element has been replaced with some pretty decent animation (fittingly, in black & white to the match the rest of the story). Well worth a look.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD]
Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror [DVD] by William Hartnell (DVD - 2013)
6.90
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews