23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Although the Doctor is still attempting to return Tegan to Heathrow in 1982, the TARDIS is proving less than co-operative. Instead, the time-travellers find themselves in 1666. The fear of plague still haunts the land, but the Doctor is more interested in the wrecked remains of a spacecraft's escape pod.
When he discovers that the alien survivors intend to unleash a virus to destroy the human race, the Doctor faces a race against time to avoid a final visitation.
Eric Saward's debut script for the series clearly impressed producer John Nathan-Turner, as he offered Saward the script-editor's job shortly after.
It's interesting that during Saward's tenure as script editor you sometimes come away with the impression that he was less interested in the Doctor and more interested in his own creations, such as Lytton and Orcini. This seems to start here, as the most compelling character in The Visitation is the roguish actor and highwayman, Richard Mace (a nice guest turn by Michael Robbins).
So whilst Michael Robbins is good value and there's some nice location filming, The Visitation does feel a bit derivative of earlier stories such as The Time Meddler and The Time Warrior. It's therefore a solid, if unremarkable story from Peter Davison's debut season.
This special edition carries over all the bonus features from the original DVD. In addition to this there's three new documentaries, the first of which is another edition of Doctor Forever, this one covers the Audio releases and is an interesting watch.
Grim Tales reunites Davison, Fielding and Sutton, and they, along with Mark Strickson, take a stroll around the locations used in the story, for an informal chat about making The Visitation. This interview footage in intercut with talking heads footage from the likes of Eric Saward. Having the TARDIS crew together is a definite plus, and makes this a cut above the normal making of documentaries.
Davison, Strickson and Fielding are together again for the final documentary, The Television Centre of the Universe. This sees them, along with Yvette Fielding, back at Television Centre to chat about their memories of working there. As with Grim Tales, their interview footage is intercut with talking heads such as costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux and AFM Sue Hedden amongst others. This is another good documentary that explores some of the magic of Television Centre. A second part will appear on a forthcoming release.
As with all these Special Editions. if you have the original DVD then a decision to rebuy rests on any improvement to the picture as well as the new special features.
This release has used the original film elements, so the PQ of those sections does look better than the original DVD. Although I'd say that this isn't enough to justify a new purchase. The two new documentaries featuring Davison and co are entertaining, particularly if you're a fan of this era. So whilst this won't be an essential purchase for many, overall it's a good package.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2009
I am going to be mildly controversial here and support this DOCTOR WHO release!
As a long-term fan I am naturally nostalgic and wear 'rose-tinted spectacles' whenever watching Dctor Who; what genuine fanboy wouldn't? Tom Baker was my first (and favourite) Doctor and Peter Davison comes second - mainly due to his tenure being during my adolescent and formative years. I remember this story clearly and fondly: The Visitation works well as a historical story - bearing in mind the limited budget of the early 80s the BBC always produced great sets and imagery when producing period pieces for Doctor Who. Carefree actor Richard Mace lends a lighthertedness to the proceedings, the Terileptils (whilst fairly rubbery!) form distracting villains and their colourful android is well realised.
Overall a solid story sees Peter Davison getting into his stride as The Doctor and hints at the sad, yet somehow welcome, impending demise of the tiresome Adric...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2014
I'm very happy to write this review on my birthday!
This is one of my favourite stories from the Peter Davison years. It's a lovely story and features my favourite TARDIS team - the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric.
The story has the Doctor and his friends arriving on Earth in 1666. They've arrived in the midst of the Great Plague and there are angry villagers who want to kill them. With the help of local highwayman Richard Mace, they discover the planet's in danger as the lizard-like Terileptils come to cause havoc.
This story is by Eric Saward and directed by Peter Moffatt. This is Eric Saward's first contribution to `Doctor Who' as he would later become script editor for the Peter Davison and Colin Baker eras. Here he delivers a really exciting and intriguing tale set in a historical time with an alien element.
Peter Moffatt also directs a lavish tale with splendid location work; fine pace and charisma. This is one of Peter's many directing jobs n `Doctor Who' and one of his finest. I enjoy watching stories directed by Peter Moffatt as he's a hit with the actors who enjoy working with him.
I like how this story utilises the historical backdrop of the Great Plague with the Doctor and his friends in danger with the villagers determined to kill them. Pretty soon the story leads to the Great Fire of London, which becomes a significant element in the course of the story.
I'm happy that I've met all four actors Peter Davison; Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse who've signed `The Visitation' DVD cover for me at a convention in Slough, 2013. I've also met Michael Melia (as the Terileptil Leader) recently and had the DVD cover signed by him too.
Peter Davison was a delight to meet in Slough! It was a brief meeting really as he's a busy actor and was working on `The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot' at the time. But I'm glad I've met him. I told him how much I liked `The Visitation' and that Nyssa's my favourite companion which he was pleased about.
I really like Peter as the Doctor in this! He delivers so much energy, enthusiasm and integrity. He shows concern for his companions and clearly likes Nyssa. I find it funny when the Doctor tolerates Tegan as he doesn't understand her at times. "Why does she always overreact?"
I'm delighted I met Janet Fielding in Slough first time. She immediately said `Hiya Tim' when I met her. I wondered if she was psychic. It was lovely meeting Janet and I told her how much I enjoyed her in the Big Finish audios she'd done recently. I've met Janet thrice now at conventions.
Janet plays Tegan with such vibe and fiery energy. She tends to moan at a lot I'm afraid, getting annoyed and angry with the Doctor for not getting her back to Heathrow Airport. They're soon caught up in the danger of 1666 and Tegan's a prisoner of the Terileptils and under mind-control.
I got to see lovely Sarah Sutton again in Slough. She plays Nyssa, my favourite `Doctor Who' companion. Sarah was happy to sign `The Visitation' DVD cover for me. I told her how much I like this story and Sarah likes it too since she prefers the historical stories in `Doctor Who'.
Nyssa's tremendous in this. I liked her scenes with the Doctor and when she's building the sonic booster in the TARDIS. She gets to destroy the Terileptil android. I liked it when Nyssa's sad about destroying the android saying it was `a magnificent machine', showing her empathy and depth.
I've met Matthew Waterhouse a couple of times before meeting him again in Slough. I've read his and enjoyed reading his memoirs in 'Blue Box Boy'. It was a nice to meet Matthew again and I had a group photo with him, Janet, Sarah and me making us `the four companions', ha, ha.
Adric is annoying and underused I'm afraid. He's scolded by the Doctor, but has an interesting bond with Richard Mace. Adric makes out that he's useless when he can't help Nyssa in the TARDIS. Adric does get to fly the TARDIS and rescue the Doctor, Tegan and Mace from the manor house.
I got hooked into this story when I found out Michael Robbins was in it as Richard Mace. Robbins is well known for playing Arthur in `On the Buses' - `What a lot of rot you talk!' Here he does a fruity performance as Mace, who's a roughened but charming highwayman and a `once noted thespian'.
The monsters are the lizard-like Terileptils. Michael Melia (who would appear in `Eastenders') plays the Terileptil leader. He's amazing in all that mask and costume. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting to Michael at a convention in Sheffield, 2015 and having a photo with him.
I like the Terileptils a lot. They're a reptilian species planning to colonise the Earth by destroying the human race with a deadly version of the plague. The Terileptils could have been more agile since they look so rigid on screen. I hope they'll return to `Doctor Who' soon either on TV or Big Finish.
The Terileptil leader keeps a snazzy-looking android, which wasn't what Eric Saward envisaged. It's meant to be pretty, but it looks too 'discotheque' with diamonds. It should have had a more human-like appearance. The android does a good job in scaring the villagers as the Grim Reaper.
The sonic screwdriver gets destroyed in this story. I was shocked as the Doctor became helpless and dropped his sonic screwdriver to the floor. The Terileptil Leader destroys it and it bursts into flames. I couldn't believe it! No! They can't destroy the sonic screwdriver! I felt they `killed an old friend'.
It turns out the Doctor's the one who caused the Great Fire of London. This is something that appealed to Peter Davison when reading Eric Saward's script. I like how the story ends with Pudding Lane getting caught up in flames and the familiar `Doctor Who theme' music echoes at the end.
This story was originally released on DVD back in 2004. It contained a wealth of special features.
These include `Directing Who - Peter Moffatt', an interview with the director looking back on the stories he directed. There's `Scoring the Visitation' with composer Paddy Kingsland; `film trims' and audio options including a commentary with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse and director Peter Moffatt and a `music-only option'.
There's `Writing a Final Visitation', an interview with Eric Saward; a photo gallery; an `information text' commentary option and an 'Easter Egg' to look out for on this DVD.
'The Visitation' was re-released in 2013 with a brand new 2-disc Special Edition DVD. It contains the original DVD special features as well as some new bonus material.
On Disc 2, there's a really exciting making-of documentary called `Grim Tales - Revisiting the Visitation'. It features Peter, Janet and Sarah guided by Mark Strickson (Turlough in `Doctor Who') revisiting `The Visitation' locations and sharing their memories of the story. There are also interviews with writer Eric Saward and Michael Melia.
There's another documentary called `The Television Centre of the Universe - Part 1' with Peter, Janet and Mark. There's `Doctor Forever - The Apocalypse Element' looking into the audio adventures of `Doctor Who'. There are PDF files including a Radio Times Listings of the story and a BBC Enterprises Sales Sheet. And there's a `coming soon' trailer for the `Inferno - Special Edition' DVD.
`The Visitation' is a fabulous story from the Peter Davison era. It's one of my favourites containing a slightly comedic feel in a historical period setting. I like the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric, and am pleased to have the DVD covers signed by all four actors, plus Michael Melia. I enjoyed watching the Terileptils and Michael Robbins gives a splendid performance as Richard Mace!
The next story with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric is 'Smoke and Mirrors'.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
England's green and pleasant land, spoiled only by rats, plague, the Grim Reaper and a giant alien fish lizard with attitude problems. Welcome to 1666!
`Heathrow airport' never looked better. So what if the Doctor did arrive 300 years early, you can't please some people! Attractively filmed around leafy parkland and a manor house west of London, `The Visitation' is a good-looking `history meets the alien' outing for Peter Davison's Doctor in his second story (in filming order), he brought a welcome freshness and energy to the series. The interior sets and effects set a high standard and the animatronic `monster' design is unforgettable. Michael Melia performs a convincing alien even under several inches of latex.
For once this is not a deliberate invasion; the three fugitive Terraleptils have crashed on Earth and have nowhere else to go. So, naturally, they decide to wipe out humanity and take the planet. No Terraleptil is going to win a galactic beauty contest but they do have a love of art (so the Doctor tells us), which must explain why their android looks like a glam-rock / disco art installation on legs! Like all the design work, it conveys high quality and adds to the very distinctive, glossy look of the story.
`The Visitation' gives the Doctor more companions than you can waggle a gill-flap at (if you're a Terraleptil), no less than four. The fourth `companion' is the wonderful creation of Richard Mace, out of work 17th century "ac-tor" and part time highwayman, played with zest, flamboyance and a rich, rolling delivery by Michael Robbins. Mace has obviously spent so long treading the boards of Restoration England's temples of theatrical tradition (as he might say) that for him, "All the world's a stage" is literally true. Even when he's up a tree or faced with a bad-tempered extraterrestrial, the curtain never falls. ("You jest, Sir!") Brilliant, and an example of how comedy in `Doctor Who' can add to a story when it appears to come naturally from the character's own life.
Three companions plus one does sometimes feel like too many roles with not enough action to go round, but the different characters play off each other well and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) has a good story with something properly scientific to do and gets the result. Attractive as the woods and country settings are, a longer section in plague-ridden London would have added to the story, the sets are excellent and deserved more time on screen.
`The Visitation' is a very enjoyable history plus monsters story with a memorable final twist and well worth a visitation of your own, I'll visit four stars upon it, plus a bonus star for the quality of the special edition extras. The special edition picture quality is sharp and colourful, displaying the fine location filming and sets.
Best of the many extra features on the two special edition DVDs:
The commentary is very entertaining, full of cheerful memories and anecdotes and a good deal of fun at their own characters' expense.
`Grim Tales' where Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton go for a light-hearted celebratory trip (pun alert) in the woods. Mark Strickson guides them round the locations and leads them to find the site of The Chemical Toilet (I'm not making this up) then it's off to the manor for tea. It's obvious that all concerned enjoyed the experience then and now and this sense of enjoyment comes across for us to share.
`The Television Centre of the Universe - Part One' is a similarly jolly stroll through a day in the life of classic `Doctor Who' at the now deserted TV Centre.
`The Apocalypse Element' - the story of `Doctor Who' on audio.
NOTE: The DVD menu shows clips from the programme as background, so if you don't know the story already, press `Play' ASAP. And leave the PDF materials for later unless you want to know the whole plot!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2014
As hard as it may be to believe, at the time 'The Visitation' was the first proper historical Doctor Who story since the (outstanding) 1977 story 'Horror of Fang Rock' more than four years previously. It was a most welcome return and the story really makes the best of its 17th century setting.
Eric Saward's script is simple but very effective; there are only a small number of proper characters but they are mostly well written. It's also pleasing that Saward's habit of sidelining the Doctor isn't in evidence here; the Doctor is a central character throughout. I was pleased that the sonic screwdriver was written out in this story as I was never keen on it. The trouble is Saward struggles to find things for all three companions to do. It doesn't help that Richard Mace almost becomes a companion for this story.
Peter Davison gives his usual superb performance here; watching him it's easy to forget that this was only his second story to be filmed. Michael Robbins is magnificent as highwayman and actor Richard Mace. Michael Melia does a good job of playing the Tereleptil leader, it couldn't have been pleasant for him in that costume. John Savident, of Coronation Street fame, puts in an appearance in the first episode sans distinctive Lancashire accent.
The story is very well executed by director Peter Moffatt; the large amount of location filming is splendid. The sequences of the android wandering through the forest disguised as the grim reaper are particularly effective. The Tereleptil costumes are very impressive, the mouth even moves. Paddy Kingsland's incidental music is very good indeed. The scenes towards the end, set in London are nicely done. The Tereleptil leader meets a suitably grim end, burning to death. The conclusion of the story, with it being revealed that the Doctor started the great fire of London, is genius.
'The Visitation' is not quite one of the series' all time classics but it is a very enjoyable adventure nonetheless.
All of the special features from the original 2004 DVD release are also included on this special edition. These include 'Directing Who Peter Moffatt' A very nice 26 minute feature which looks at Moffatt's directorial contributions to Doctor Who. It's composed of footage from an interview with Moffatt interspersed with clips from the stories he directed. Moffatt comes across as very likeable.
There is also 'Writing a final visitation' which is an interview with Eric Saward in which he talks about the writing process of 'The Visitation'. It's quite good and it lasts for approximately 12 minutes. The other extra from the original DVD release is 'Scoring the Visitation' in which incidental music composer Paddy Kingsland discusses with Mark Ayres the music he composed for the story. It's very detailed and it lasts for 16 minutes.
While there were some pleasing extras on the original DVD, they have gone to town for this special edition. 'Grim tales' is a 45 minute 'making of' documentary. However it breaks the formula of the usual 'making of' documentaries; Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Mark Strickson explore the locations used for the story. They've clearly gone to some effort to make this documentary.
'Television Centre of the Universe part one' is a very engaging feature about (yes!) BBC television centre. It's presented by Yvette Fielding who is joined by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson. Together they go on a tour of the centre and share their memories of working there. There are some very funny anecdotes and plenty of banter between the four.
'Doctor forever- the apocalypse experiment' is about Doctor Who on audio. It almost exclusively focuses on Big finish. This is likely to be a love it or hate it feature.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2014
Just truely fantastic, this is now one of my all time faviourtes
Peter Davison is my faviourte doctor of all time and i personally love everyone of his stories and peter davison always give a truely fanastic performance, in this story we have the companions Adric, Nyssa and Tegan and also a character who used to be a star from on the buses his name is michael robbins, i personally thought he was great i think he would of made a great companion to travel around with the doctor but oh well,
wish i could rate it more stars, the special dvd it self is great and has a lot of great extras 5 stars for them as well
Buy this today!!!!!!!!!!
on 29 October 2014
One of the best stories from Peter Davison's tenure as the Doctor, led by a delightfully over-the-top performance by Michael Robbins as "resting" thespian and temporary highwayman Richard Mace. I hadn't seen this story for years, but it has lost none of its charm, with Robbins's scenes alone making this story worth watching. What came as a pleasant surprise was discovering John Savident lurking under a long wig (I had completely forgotten his brief appearance in episode 1). This makes a close encounter of two actors who would later appear in rival soaps, Coronation Street (Savident, as garrulous butcher Fred Elliott) and EastEnders (Michael Melia, who played ill-fated publican Eddie Royle), completely unrecognizable here in his rubber Terileptil costume. The biggest deficit, as always in Doctor Who stories from this period in time, is the bungling, whining, and ineffectual Adric, who mercifully is kept well out of the way by Eric Saward's script and Peter Moffat's direction.
The "extras" on disc 2 of this Special Edition are a bit disappointing compared with some other recent "Classic Who" releases, though there are some nice moments in the 45-minute "Revisitation" reminiscence, presented by Mark Strickson (looking more prosperous today than when he played the emaciated, aging schoolboy Turlough, at a somewhat later point than this story), and featuring cast members Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, Michael Melia, and Peter Van Dissel, as well as director Peter Moffatt.
on 23 June 2009
A good debut for Eric Saward as writer. This is his most traditional Who tale with its aliens land on Earth and the Tardis crew arrive to sort it out story but without a mega body count.
The Doctor offers to help the stranded aliens al la' Russell T. Davies giving Peter Davison a good scene as he says "What does it matter if you've been in prison?" In particular Davison is great in scenes with Michael Robbins' marvellous actor cum highwayman Richard Mace.
There are too many companions and Nyssa is stuck in the Tardis doing tech stuff but at least she gets a nice moment reacting sadly to the destruction of an impressive creation that the Terilpetils were using against them.
Adric and Tegan get most of the companion action and for once the tension is there for a reason, Tegan's frustration at the Doctor's failure to return her to home. Janet Fielding is great as she vents "call yourself a Timelord? A broken clock keeps better time than you!"
The Terileptils are interesting but lack development. A hit & miss mask some animatronics E.G. the gills, still stand up but the mouth does not move properly with speech and the body suit is woeful. Michael Melia as the leader still gives a great performance though. Good andriod design.
The remaining guest cast do great work with small roles, esp John Savident as the Squire.
Direction is good but never quite great.
Nice to see it tied into a specific timeline, between the Great Plague and Fire of London.
The extras are quite good, had they been slightly better I would have given a 4 for the whole package. There's no making of but in "Writing a Final Visitation" Eric Saward talks us through the script's development and shares some intriguing lost concepts for the Terileptils.
"Scoring the Visitation" sees Paddy Kingsland discussing the story's musical requirements, a little dry unless you're very interested in that area.
There's an extended scene, some continuity announcement stuff as an easter egg and in "Directing Who" Peter Moffat charmingly discusses his work on the show and shares with us how difficult Tom could be at the end of his time, his thoughts on working for JNT who he had been senior to on other shows amongst other things.
The Commentary is like the Earthshock one with Jan, Pete, Sarah and Matthew Waterhouse on funny form. There's less mickey taking for Matthew and he makes the funniest comment about how rich it was to hear Michael Robbins complain about the show after he spent years in On the Buses! Peter Moffat doesn't really fit into it, coming across like an old boy who popped in with the tea and wouldn't leave.
A good package but really more for fans of this era than generally.
on 15 July 2006
Story: 4/5 - Extras: 4/5
"The Visitation", by Eric Saward, is an old school "Doctor Who" story. Relatively sedately paced with lots of location filming in damp-looking woodlands, and conforming to the classic pseudo-historical formula of an alien force invading superstitious pre-industrial Earth, "The Visitation" hardly pushes the boundaries of 1980s television, but it does provide a relatively moody tale that takes advantage of the major event of the era (the Great Plague) in true historical style, and even offers a cheeky explanation for the Great Fire of London.
For the four episodes that constitute "The Visitation", the regular crew of the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric (as if the TARDIS wasn't crowded enough already) are joined by gentleman of the road and sometime thespian Richard Mace, played in true OTT style by actor Michael Robbins, and as a result the story is positively bloated with foreground characters. However, given this challenge, writer Eric Saward manages remarkably well to give them all something to do. Much as in "Earthshock", Nyssa spends a certain amount of time hanging around in the TARDIS towards the end of the story, but at least this time it's for a reason.
The principal monsters of the piece - the reptilian Terileptils and their jewel-encrusted android - are pretty well realised given the era and the budget, there's a nice introductory sequence to set the scene, a distinctive score and a whimsical closing shot that doesn't quite make you cringe. Overall, "The Visitation" is an enjoyable little story.
On the DVD, there's a raucous commentary with the full TARDIS crew plus director Peter Moffatt. It's fun, although they do get a little carried away from time to time in slagging off actor Michael Robbins. Beyond the commentary and the usual on-screen production notes, a few original featurettes are thrown in to make up a reasonable DVD package.
on 12 April 2011
I am going to be mildly controversial here and support this DOCTOR WHO release!
As a long-term fan I am naturally nostalgic and wear 'rose-tinted spectacles' whenever watching Dctor Who; what genuine fanboy wouldn't? Tom Baker was my first (and favourite) Doctor and Peter Davison comes second - mainly due to his tenure being during my adolescent and formative years. I remember both of these stories clearly and fondly: Black Orchid is one of the best Doctor Who stories ever realised on TV - mainly because it's so cosy and redolent of the kind of fictional England that only ever exists on TV, (think Midsomer Murders, Poirot et al). Although, as often stated, the plot is fairly mundane, it is a lot of fun - not one but TWO foxy Nyssas, a marginalised Tegan, an intriguing sub-plot and that all-pervading 'Englishness', summed up by cricket, high tea and The Charleston!
The Visitation also works well as a historical story - bearing in mind the limited budget of the early 80's the BBC always produced great sets and imagery when producing period pieces for Doctor Who. Carefree actor Richard Mace lends a lighthertedness to the proceedings, the Terileptils (whilst fairly rubbery!) form distracting villains and their colourful android is well realised.
Overall a solid pair of stories see Peter Davison getting into his stride as The Doctor and hint at the sad, yet somehow welcome, impending demise of the tiresome Adric...