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Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD]

4.3 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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  • Doctor Who - Black Orchid [1981] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 14 April 2008
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015083M6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,178 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The sci-fi series dips its toe into Agatha Christie waters when the Doctor (Peter Davison) arrives in 1920s England and becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. When the TARDIS arrives at Cranleigh Halt railway station on a summer afternoon in 1925, the Doctor and his pals are surprised to be met by a chauffeur (Timothy Block) and whisked off to a cricket match. Lord Cranleigh (Michael Cochrane) has assumed that the Doctor has come from Guy's Hospital for the charity event to be held later that night in aid of a sick kids' hospital. There then follows a masked ball, a case of mistaken identity and mysterious, murderous goings on in this two-part homage to the golden age of English whodunnits.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Strange story altogether, and I wonder if Terrence Dudley ever really properly understood Dr Who - beyond the need to get the scripts delivered on time - but then, he produced Survivors for three years, and I'm not sure he always understood that either. It's not just that this isn't sci-fi, I'm not sure it's even Dr Who.

Though it may simply be Dr Who pretending to be something else, and nothing wrong with that, in fact it might be one of the adventures of Lord Peter Wimsey; it's the right period and class, and just so we know how posh the Cranleighs are, one of them's played by Michael Cochrane.

It's not that the story's offensively bad, it's just not terribly good; the Nyssa/Anne thing and the subsequent doubling at the fancy dress party is nice, and then the Dr and the 'baddie' both dressed as Harlequin (and the costume's nicely designed), and the party itself looks fun (even if it was freezing), and the cricket match is great, and I love stories with steam trains in them (even if, in this case it's a sound effect and a smoke machine).

And, like King's Demons (also by Mr Dudley, funnily enough), the first episode's very interesting and mysterious, but the second really fails to supply an exciting solution. When we really need to see the Dr using his intelligence and insight to clear his name, he simply tells Sir Robert he's a Time Lord and proves it by showing him inside the TARDIS - letting a *stranger* in? - the First Doctor would have had fifty fits! Not just that, it is a massive lazy cop-out on a par with the egregiously bad Carnacki the Ghost Finder.
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By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 14 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD
There are a number of reasons why Black Orchid is one of the worst Doctor Who stories and easily the weakest BBC Dr Who title to date. Firstly, there's no reason for the Doctor to be in it at all. Aside from playing a bit of cricket, getting stuck in a secret passage, finding a couple of bodies and being suspected of being the killer for about the 100th time before the plot - a tired 20s country house number with under-developed gothic undertones - quickly resolves itself while he's not even around, he has no real impact on the plot (what little there is) and there's no real science fiction or even historical aspect to the story. It's simply an exceptionally weak and very tedious country house non-mystery that plays like an outline for an episode of Ripping Yarns played straight. Worse, it's so uneventful. Even at 49 minutes over two episodes it's mostly filler: in the first episode there's a lot of not very much to set up the not very much that happens in episode two. The direction is dull, the writing mechanical and perhaps the only unique thing about the story is that it shows that the normally relentlessly vile and whingeing Tegan could be nice for an entire story and it wouldn't kill her.

It's not the worst of the stories produced under John Nathan Turner's contentious stewardship, but it's possibly the dullest and most utterly pointless: hard to disagree with the audio commentary on this extracting-the-urine-releasing-this-as-a-single-DVD (on video it was doubled with The Visitation) where the cast basically spend 50 minutes rubbishing its many weaknesses. Extras are pretty thin too - 4 deleted scenes and trims, featurettes on the locations and the Peter Davison Dr Who comic strips, extract from Blue Peter and Points of View, continuity announcements and the usual trivia track and stills montage.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Doctor and his friends land in the middle of a 1920s country-house murder mystery novella, full of jolly good sorts and decent and not-so-decent-chaps (and chap-esses) It's too short at only two episodes and had a few production problems from bad weather but, in its own way, it's "simply topping!" Good show! 5*

A charity cricket match and fancy-dress ball, an aristocratic family with something to hide, a country house with secret passages and hidden rooms, a mysterious "Indian", a posh policeman and the local Bobbies are all entangled with visiting strangers, an elusive Harlequin and a cluster of dead bodies.

If it all sounds strangely familiar, well, in a way it is. But at the same time, Terence Dudley's `Black Orchid' is unique - not really science fiction, not really a classic-style `Doctor Who' historical either, this time the Doctor materialises not in another time or place, but somewhere else altogether - in a novel, or rather, a genre.

In my opinion, `Black Orchid' isn't an historical or even a serious murder-mystery story; what it is, is *fun*. I think of it as an affectionate homage (with just a hint of P.G. Wodehouse) to the whole field of classic English murder-mystery novels and their heroes, from Holmes to early Agatha Christie stories to Lord Peter Wimsey to Campion - the latter character later played (and very well played) by none other than Peter Davison. Fellow fans of the genre will no doubt enjoy spotting the many parallels as much as I did, so I won't give them away here...
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