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This review is from: Doctor Who - Planet of Evil [DVD]  (DVD)When I was a teenager I sort of fell in love (is that the right noun?) with Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. This may mean that my reviews of this period of Dr Who may be a little biased. I do think, though, that the Hinchcliffe period was one of the show's strongest and this story doesn't disappoint.
The story is a rather weird conflation of "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Forbidden Planet" that doesn't really address the core idea of either. That sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does because the two precursors are simply influences on what has become a new and original tale. The script is taut and the characters are well-drawn and sub-plots like the antipathy between Salamar and Veshinsky, are allowed to play out believably.
Tom Baker is beginning to get into his stride as the Doctor. He is still evidently more comfortable when the character is in "dynamic" mode, but he is still a joy to watch. Elisabeth Sladen is well-established in her role and she delivers a confident performance that I could watch again and again. Frederick Jaeger and Ewen Solon were, at this time, established actors and their performances do not disappoint. Neither does that of Prentis Hancock.
Special mention should be made of the set design, which is top-notch, and the "monster".
Why not 5 stars? Only two real weaknesses. Firstly it was probably a mistake to make the "parallel universe" one of antimatter. Too much is widely known about antimatter to make the idea of being "infected" by it entirely believable. Secondly, there should have been a better way of presenting the "infected" Sorensen than going caveman. These are minor points, though. Enjoy.