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Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster
, 27 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who - Terror of the Zygons [DVD] (DVD)
The first story from Tom Baker's second year as the Doctor comes to DVD. All four twenty five minute long colour episodes are presented on one disc. With various extras on the second.
The story sees the Doctor, Sarah and Harry, return from travels in space and time to help the Brigadier and U.N.I.T. deal with strange goings on in Scotland. Oil rigs are being destroyed, and the trail leads to an area where local legend speaks of a terrifying monster.
But no one who has heard those stories is prepared for the Zygons. What really lurks in Loch Ness. And the deadly threat to the human race that they pose...
This comes from what is generally regarded as the most popular season of the original show. It features a production team who have just discovered what they want to do - gothic science fiction horror - and a lead actor who has really settled into the role. It's a perfect bridge between this bold new era for the show and what came before, since it's the last proper U.N.I.T. story of the time [two subsequent appearances for the group didn't feature the Brigadier, and thus it was never quite the same].
It features excellent guest star actors who take their roles seriously and deliver great performances.
It features stunning scenery and great location filming.
The Zygons are an utterly superb design and a very memorable monster.
It's also one of the best directed stories ever from the original series. Look out for some chilling moments in a barn and a stunning shot of a survivor from a destroyed oil rig walking ashore on a beach in particular.
There are a couple of lines of dialogue that don't quite work. Some slight stereotyping. And some of the visual effects would look so much better in cgi. But you shouldn't have any problem suspending your disbelief. Because it's classic Doctor Who from a classic era, and well worth five stars.
The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:
It's also English audio captioned.
Disc one contains a commentary from the producer, the writer, and some of the production staff.
It also offers an isolated score, so you can listen to the incidental music all on it's own. And production information subtitles which offer details and trivia about how the story was made.
There's also a deleted scene from part one, which shows the TARDIS arriving. The only way to watch it [on this disc] is by selecting an option to have it included in the first part. The picture quality isn't perfect, but the scene is very good.
On disc two, you can find some of the usual extras for this range:
Photo gallery of stills from the story and it's production.
A trailer for an upcoming release in this dvd range.
Radio Times listings for the story as a PDF file.
And a few other features:
Scotch mist in Suffolk is a thirty two minute long making of feature. It's all talking heads rather than a narrative, but it's very involving and well worth watching.
Remembering Douglas Camfield runs for thirty minutes, and looks at the work of the man who directed this. And a fair few other Doctor Whos. Since it covers all his career before and after it's an interesting look at tv of old, with archive clips from some dramas not seen in a while.
UNIT Family part three runs for twenty six minutes, and continues the story of those involved with it on the show from a point at the end of Jon Pertwee's era right up to the last Seventh Doctor season. This is absorbing viewing, which packs an emotional wallop. Because there's so much in here from Nicholas Courtney it's easy to forget when watching that he's no longer with it. Thus it hits you when you remember. Do watch it to the very end of the credits.
Do the same with Doctor Who stories: Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen. Both run for twenty minutes [approx] and are more interviews originally recorded for a 2003 documentary. Both are very good interviews. And one suggestion Tom Baker makes becomes rather interesting in the wake of a recent appearance...
Merry Go Round: The Fuel Fishers, is a twenty minute long programme from 1977. Some will remember BBC schools programmes, broadcast in the morning and something your class would be allowed to watch a few of every so often, depending on the subject matter. This is all about North sea oil rigs. It's a little dated but is well presented and pretty watchable.It's presented by Elisabeth Sladen.
South Today is a three minute long interview with Tom Baker done by a reporter from the BBC regional show back when the story was doing some filming in that local area. It's short. But sweet.
You can also find a couple of easter eggs on the second disc.
These can be found by watching it on a computer, and moving the pointer over the screen till a hidden Doctor Who logo lights.Or when using a dvd remote, move the arrow key to the left when the selection is on remembering Douglas Camfield to light up the logo. This will show you a short clip from an old edition of Disney Time [an old show that would have a presenter introducing clips from Disney movies] which was presented by Tom Baker in character as the Doctor. This clip - which was on the second edition of the VHS - comes from the end of the programme and sees the Doctor leaving to help the Brigadier.
Another easter egg can be found by doing similar with the arrow key when the selection is on South Today. This brings up the deleted scene from part one of the story, and thus it can be watched all on it's own. As before, the picture quality isn't perfect. But the scene is.
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