Customer Review

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE CREAM OF SCOTLAND YARD, 26 July 2005
This review is from: Doctor Who : Ghost Light [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
Although broadcast order places SURVIVAL as the final DOCTOR WHO story - it's really GHOST LIGHT that takes the final bow. While SURVIVAL ends with a more upbeat and open ended ending - it's GHOST LIGHT that really helps to tie up some loose ends, character development (Ace comes full circle here) and opens a lot more doors for the future. GHOST LIGHT is a great story - but within the WHO community there is a great divide between those that love the story and those that hate the story. I fall somehwere in the middle, but with a strong bias towards the "love" side of the arguement. Yes, there are problems with the story. What happens, why, how and to who and what for are often muddled. The story draws deep water on its Victorian roots, yet manages to whip around around the place like a over sugared two year old on skates - things just happen because they happen, with no real clear reason as to why. And by the end of the story we're not so much left with an actual ending as a musing, a personal discovery. So, if you're looking for this story to follow the same path as previous DOCTOR WHO stories and have it simply handed to you... move on. But, if you're looking for atmosphere, tension, suspense, chills and ideas - then GHOST LIGHT is unlike many DOCTOR WHO stories that have come before it. Running only three episodes, it's too short for all the material there, yet just long enough for it never to get too tired or simply run dry before the end (a common problem in DOCTOR WHO stories). There just isn't enough time for the standard padding to fill it out... it just rolls on, taking you along for the ride. It's confusing. It's thought provoking. It's a cheat. It's a riddle. It's GHOST LIGHT, and it's one of the best the series ever produced.
The DVD is outfitted with all the bells and whistles we've come to expect from the series. There is commentary and while solid, never rises to a boiling point (much of the conversation is taken up by the writer - Marc Platt - explaining the story, what was both onscreen and what had been cut, or never made it onto film). But there are some fun moments, and one glaring error as Sylvester McCoy is not present. Sophie Aldred does tell us that this is the story McCoy loved the most, so it's a disappointment he could not be on hand to share his thoughts. Missing scenes add to the story and the highlight (for me at least) was SHOOTING GHOSTS a "as it happened" look at filming. Here we get to see everything happen at once... direction, actions, actors working on lines, marks, stopping and starting, laughs, mistakes, and everyone trying to beat the clock and get the day done. An excellent feature.
If you're a fan of DOCTOR WHO then GHOST LIGHT is a must... if not for the story, then as history marking the end of the original series. A great story, excellent performances and a well put together DVD. Highly recommended.
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