Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wotan Demands "Doctor Who is Required", 4 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Doctor Who: The War Machines [DVD] (DVD)
The War Machines is the first Doctor Who serial to be set in contemporary London and in Ian Stuart Black's War Machines its London in the swinging 60's, The War Machines was brought about by the need to refresh Doctor Who, the show was 3 years old at this point and in the early days of television 3 years was like 3 decades, so producer Innes Lloyd decided to do something different. The War Machines concerns a computer that becomes self-aware and decides that humanity cannot develop any further and so must be erased. It is a classic story and one that thank God still exists in the BBC archives, after being returned from Nigeria in 1985 of course. WOTAN {Will Operating Thought ANalogue} is the central villian of the piece and although it is a sterotypical 60's computer, it is rather a clever concept. People in 60's Britain were so concerned about computers taking over the world and replacing humanity that the idea was always begging to be written for Who at some point, I imagine that this serial scared more adults than children as adults were all to aware of the tensions that were brewing over seas between America and Russia.

Although The War Machines is not the best Hartnell story, it is one of the more entertaining ones and this comes at a time when the old boy was tiring fast and his relationship with his fellow cast and crew members was rocky. William Hartnell knew that his days in the role of the popular hero were numbered and so we start to see and hear the anger and passion that fueled this great actor. Billy is on top form for me here and looks to be doing what he does best, dominating the show and making himself centre of everybody's attention. The conviction that he burned in to those 60's cameras was inspiring and for me his interpretation of the Doctor was the most powerful. Nobody could show as much furry as old Billy boy. Anneke Wills and Michael Craze make their debuts here and are a breath of fresh air to a show that after Dodo was really in need of re-establishing its companions, I have always had a fondness for Ben & Polly, they were at their best with Pat but that does not mean they don't shine here. This is a great adventure for them to become aquainted with the Doctor and start their travels with him.

The BBC DVD release is brilliant, for too long we have been waiting for this serial to be released on to DVD and now its here we could not have asked for anything better. The DVD has been painstakenly put together from all different sources and extracts that have been returned from all over the world. So now in 2008, we have a complete version of the original serial and its never looked better, the picture and sound quality is immense and I just can't believe that I am watching a recording that is now 45 years old and of this quality. The modern restoration equipment has been used to good effect here and so I am chuffed with the DVD I got on my shelf. It seems criminal to pay such a small price for such a great DVD, The extras are varied I grant you, but nonetheless entertaining, there are some very interesting documentaries on this release and a fantastic commentary with Anneke Wills and the original Director. Highly Recommended.

All in All a bargain release and well worth the money.

10/10

Many thanks for your time,

M.B.
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