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Frontios buries its own dead,
This review is from: Doctor Who - Frontios [DVD]  (DVD)This solid story is probably C Hamilton Bidmead's best contribution to the original series, and it's a shame it wasn't made a little earlier in Davison's run since his take on the fifth Doctor is more substantial and developed than that of most other script writers of the time. There's a good guest cast here, led by Jeff Rawle making the most of having greatness thrust upon him, and a generally above-average level of darkness and detail to the execution of the script that almost overshadows the limitations of an all-studio production. You wouldn't think that if you only watched the documentary, though, which I found surprisingly critical and overly harsh, coming close to claiming that this was as flawed a production as the season's earlier Warriors of the Deep. To me, the seriousness and flashes of lyricism in Bidmead's script make the end result well worth revisiting.
Not that there aren't flaws. Mark Strickson is probably the wrong type of actor to give a subplot about a deep-seated race memory bursting forth to, since he even comes across as quite hammy when just being interviewed for the DVD (and I wish he'd get his hair cut!). Turlough was one of the better developed companions of the original series, but it didn't always happen organically. As usual the story wouldn't miss Tegan if she'd been cut out, and I for one would be happier to have a little less of Fielding's stagy performance. The tractators aren't that bad as monsters, but they are a creepier threat when unseen in the early episodes; their costume realisation, as is often the case, probably looked better on paper.
There's not really such a thing as a typical Davison story, but I'd say this is one of his better ones; more accessible and stand-alone than Castrovalva, the Mara tales or the Black Guardian trilogy, and better written than most of the rest. Give it a whirl, and you might be pleasantly surprised.