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4.0 out of 5 stars The War Games - Going out with a bang, 14 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The War Games [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
The war games was, as many have remarked already, Patrick Troughton's final regular appearance as the Doctor. It also marked the departure of Frazier Hines and Wendy Padbury as Jamie and Zoe, the final Doctor Who to be filmed in black and white and the last space adventure for some time to come.

The plot is pretty inventive. The Doctor and his companions land in what appears to be world war one. They soon find that all is not as it seems, as they encounter Romans, unionists and confederates from the American civil war and soldiers from the Napoleonic wars. Without giving too much away there is a nasty alien presence behind things, with a dastardly evil scheme. There is a lot of running around; a few quite well drawn additional characters topped off by an excellent a final showdown between the Doctor and the aliens. But the Doctor needs help to defeat the villains, leading to a final episode with some great revelations that added a great deal to Who Lore.

The cast give it their all. Patrick Troughton, by all accounts now quite weary of the heavy filming schedule puts in a particularly spirited performance. Frazier Hines and Wendy Padbury put in some of the better performances from their time in the series. And all the guest cast seem to have a sense of the occasion and pitch their performances just right. Special mention must go to Philip Madoc as the War Lord, Edward Brayshaw as the mysterious War Chief and Noel Coleman as the unnerving General Smythe. The story and final twists are pretty good, and the special effects are excellent for their time. My only problem is with the length of the story. It's a bit too thin to be spread over 10 episodes. It does sag somewhat in the middle with a few episodes of running around, being captured, escaping and being captured for no apparent reason other than to fill up the time. So only four stars for the story.

The disks are the usual excellent standard from 2Entertain. The picture and sound quality are good and have been nicely restored (a vast improvement on my old fuzzy VHS!) The production note subtitles are informative and well worth a read. The story is spread over two disks and there is a third disk stuffed full of extras. Especially interesting to me was the documentary looking at the locations used for filming comparing then and now, and the fan film showing the regeneration into Jon Pertwee.

An excellent set. Full marks for DVD quality and extras. An entertaining and ultimately interesting story, docked a star as it sags so much in the middle. Of definite interest to any Who fan, whichever your favourite Doctor is.
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4.6 out of 5 stars (94 customer reviews)
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Victor
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Location: Hull, England

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