Customer Review

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value for money release of a weaker story, 21 May 2008
This review is from: Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD] (DVD)
At one point in the commentary for 'Black Orchid', someone remarks that this story feels like Terrence Dudley just dusted off a Miss Marple-style story he had written and added the Doctor into it. This tale has no science fiction elements at all, relies on heavy levels of coincidence to power its narrative.

The change of pace both marks it out in the season and also contributes to many of its weaknesses. There is so little narrative that the production resorts to a five minute cricket sequence in the first part (more on that later!) and corridor-wandering galore.

Still, it is hard to deny that the story has a unique feel and it is nice to see the Doctor go back in time.

The commentary for this story features the entire TARDIS crew who are on fine form. As others have noted, this is much more negative than most Davison commentaries because of the four actors only Sutton has a soft spot for the story. Whilst some will feel that they are too negative about a well-loved story, the commentary is frequently very funny indeed. One highlight for me is Peter Davison's synopsis of the cricket scene where he refers to an off-scene character, "Smutty", whose friend he has been mistaken for.

I emerged from the commentary more aware of the story's faults but much more fond of the story despite them. I may no longer be able to take it seriously but in many ways that is not such a bad thing as it has increased my enjoyment of it no end.

Amongst the other extra features there are also deleted scenes, a now and then featurette looking at the locations and a featurette on the Fifth Doctor's era in the comics. This last item is the sort of thing that will either appeal to you hugely or not at all. Suffice it to say that if you enjoy Doctor Who comics it is an interesting overview of the era from Doctor Who Monthly editors and artists - if not you will likely be skipping over it.

'Black Orchid' is certainly not one of the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time but the BBC has put together a good package of extras at an excellent price.
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4.2 out of 5 stars (35 customer reviews)
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