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Doctor Who - Frontios [DVD] [1984]

4.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Peter Davison, Jannet Fielding, Mark Strickson
  • 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: 30 May 2011
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004P9MRSU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,969 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Doctor Who Frontios by Christopher H. Bidmead

An irresistible force draws the TARDIS to the barren surface of Frontios, where in the far future the last surviving humans cower amongst the ruins of their wrecked spacecraft. Under constant threat from lethal meteorite bombardments, few of the doomed colony members realise that the ground of Frontios itself opens up and devours the unwary. Not permitted to assist, the Doctor’s attempt to leave is thwarted when the unimaginable occurs: the TARDIS is utterly destroyed.

All the while, burrowing undetected below the planet’s crust, sickening alien parasites prepare a gruesome and final fate for all humanity...

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jun. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A piece of science fiction drama from the BBC comes to dvd.

It's set somewhen in the future. And it sees the last vestiges of the human race clinging to survival in a primitive colony they've established on a far flung planet.

They face threats that are natural. Internal. And alien.

But the planet in question is called Frontios rather than Carpathia. Because this is an older effort than a certain recent series, this being a Doctor Who story from 1984.

It features Peter Davison as the Doctor, with Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson as his companions Tegan and Turlough. All four twenty five minute long episodes are complete on a single dvd.

Frontios is not a world that the time lords will allow any interference with, so when the TARDIS is pulled there by a strange force, the Doctor is anxious to get away as quickly as possible. But he swiftly finds that the TARDIS isn't going to be able to get him offworld any time soon.

Caught up in the usual fear and mistrust with only a few allies that he usually finds in this situation, the Doctor has to solve the mystery of the meteors that constantly hit the colony. The disappearance of the former colonial leader. Who seemingly knew more about the secrets of the planet than he ever let on.

Turlough has to face a frightening memory.

But the real threat doesn't come from where they suspect....

A totally studio bound story, but Frontios does manage to make a virtue of that via some well designed sets that do create the illusion of a ramshackle and tightly knit colony. It does need the occasional long shot with a matte backdrop, but these are also quite successful.
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The Fifth Doctor, Turlough and Tegan are forced to land on the planet Frontios by a strange force that even the TARDIS cannot counter. The Doctor is keen not to land as it is apparently forbidden by the Time Lords (and when did he ever really care about them?) On the planet they find one of the last remnants of humanity, struggling to survive on a barren planet with strange meteor showers killing them off at an alarming rate. What follows is a great study of the small group fighting to survive, and starting to fight each other. This political study soon shifts and an altogether creepier tale with sci fi monsters comes to the fore as the reasons for the meteor attacks become clear.

This is a cracking script from Christopher H. Bidmead, and I remember it quite grabbing my attention when I first saw it on TV as a child. The study of the dynamics within the small colony, the great characterisations, and the use of real science concepts, added with the really scary idea of the earth just swallowing people up really got me hooked. I especially liked the way it is almost two tales in one, with a tale of intrigue morphing onto a hard core sci fi thriller.

While the story was well written, the realisation on the screen, as ever, was limited by the budget. The monster costumes were a bit of a failure. But that is looking through my grown up eyes. As a child (when this was the norm on TV, I doubt modern kids exposed to the CGI wonders of new Who would feel the same) the were really creepy, and made me really scared of woodlice. Actors were on good form here, especially Davison, who really delivers with the sense of rising panic that he does so well.
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I recall watching this story many years ago. The logic of Christopher H Bidmead's storytelling states a lot of sophistication. It still holds itself well, Davison is brilliant as the Doctor - why do people think the role has to be constantly played really over-the-top?

Only let down was the design of the aliens involved with the woes of Frontios but they did convey a little bit of menace.
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It's a good story, really.

That is to say, the first two episodes work very well, and then it all gets dodgy.

It's well designed; there are good sets and uniforms (interesting that those Terran Federation helmets remained in use for so long...), and it's well acted. Peter Davison is at his best; 'Professorial' is a word much used in 'The Making Of', and Mark Strickson gets to do some proper acting - first time since Enlightenment he gets to do the real stuff, rather than just buttoning his blazer in an interesting way.

Peter Gilmore is a bit one note (and the note seems to be James Onedin in a bad mood), but that's OK because it's easy to concentrate on William Lucas, and Lesley Dunlop (I find it so easy to concentrate on Lesley Dunlop) and Jeff Rawle - it's nice that Plantagenet doesn't go bananas and the whole story just become about him, because it looks like it ought to, then (as CH Bidmead explains) 'it all turns upside down'.

We meet Tractators. How to ruin a Dr Who story with one ill-considered production decision. It really is one of those, 'It's going so well, but it's a JNT story so they've got to louse it up somewhere...' moments: This time with woodlice.

They employed dancers to play Tractators, because dancers can move so beautifully, and then they stuck them in rigid costumes that didn't move at all. I can only imagine what colour the dancers turned the air, because it's an absolutely moronic error - like it was taken by the Gumbies on Monty Python - it is in the same ballpark as chaining Anna Pavlova into a sack and then chucking her onto the stage at Covent Garden and demanding she perform the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
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