- Actors: Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, David Daker, Lewis Fiander, Jennifer Lonsdale
- Directors: Alan Bromly
- Writers: Bob Baker
- Producers: Graham Williams
- Format: VHS
- Studio: BBC
- VHS Release Date: 1 Oct. 1999
- Run Time: 96 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 71 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00004CXV4
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,390 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ £2.80 delivery
Another adventure for everyone's favourite time-traveller. The Doctor (Tom Baker), Romana and K9 find themselves suspected of being drug smugglers when they arrive on the Empress, a luxury liner. The Empress has become merged with another craft, the Hecate, after colliding during a hyperspace jump. Somebody on board the Empress is smuggling Vraxoin, a deadly addictive drug, and matters are complicated still further when the Mandrells, a race of monsters being transported from the planet Eden, are let loose on board the ship.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The sets for the Empress are very badly overlit and as a result they look cheap and dull and fail to convince as the interior of a luxury cruise liner. The sets for the Hecate ship and the jungle on Eden actually feature rather good lighting and so there are some atmospheric and tense scenes set there.
The monsters in this story are the Mandrels and the costumes are very poor, they look more cuddly and endearing than threatening. When they are in the dimly lit Eden sets they don't look too bad, but seen in full in the harsh lighting of the Empress sets they just look comical. They aren't the only costume malfunction either, excise officers Fisk and Costa wear strange leather outfits adorned with sequins.
There are some funny lines of dialogue in the story but in other places the humour falls rather flat, often because it conflicts with the more serious themes of the story, such as the dangers of drugs. Lewis Fiander's performance as Tryst is very over the top, his comedy Germanic accent being a particular problem, and this undermines the serious nature of his character. He is supposed to be complex and ambiguous, misguided but not evil but he often seems more like a comedy character.
The scene in which the Doctor leads the Mandrels back into the CET is rather cartoonish. He walks off screen and the Mandrels follow, we then hear him crying out in pain as they attack him but he comes back seemingly unharmed but with his clothes torn to shreds. Aside from this though Tom Baker's performance is superb. He is eccentric and captivating, and he is deadly serious when the script requires it.
K-9 is quite prominent here, he is voiced by David Brierley who does a decent job but he's no John Leeson.
'Nightmare of Eden' is far from perfect but it is still fairly enjoyable.
The extras include 'The Nightmare of Television Centre' in which members of the crew on the story talk about their memories of it. The feature paints a very negative picture of the story as the interviewees mainly talk about how much they hated working on it and how poor they thought the finished product was.
They even had 'I'm relieved the nightmare is over' T shirts printed afterwards!
'Going Solo' is footage from an interview with the story's writer Bob Baker. He talks about his inspiration and research for the story and gives his opinions on the Mandrels and some of the performances.
'The Doctor's Strange Love' is a peculiar feature in which author Simon Guerrier, comedian Josie Long and writer Joseph Lidster have a discussion about various aspects of the story while, inexplicably, sitting on the set for Sarah Jane's attic from the Sarah Jane Adventures. It does have its moments.
'Ask Aspel' is footage of Michael Aspel interviewing Lalla Ward from around the time the story was originally broadcast.
The story also features Lalla Ward as the Doctor's companion Romana [the second one]. And K9.
It sees the TARDIS arrive onboard on a spaceship which has just collided with another one. In a manner that has left the two of them fused together. The time travellers soon find that the ships have other problems. There's murder onboard. Drugs. A strange machine. And deadly monsters. Both human and alien.
Can the Doctor save the two ships, and those onboard, from the monstrous Mandrels?
Back when this was made the Doctor Who production team would run out of budget as the season went on, and thus an entirely studio bound story with cheap special effects and costumes would always crop. Just to save money. This particular season of the show has a reputation with fandom for being silly and pantomime like at times. This story does have it's problems in that respect. Down to budget and production difficulties. The director departed halfway through and the producer had to take over.
The Mandrels look great when seen in the dark. But in brightly light scenes they're slow and not very menacing at all.
But like 1980's Doctor Who stories that suffered the same kind of production problems and have a bad rep as a result, there are interesting things lurking in the middle of this.
Tom Baker delivers one of his best performances of his later years on the show. Making the Doctor convincingly alien.
David Daker who plays one of the captains of the two ships deliver an excellent performance.
Lewis Fiander who plays a scientist called Tryst who is onboard one of the vessels adopts a weird accent for the character that sounds like a mixture of several european ones. But he never goes over the top in his performance and makes Tryst a memorable character as a result.
With superb chemistry between Lalla Ward and Tom Baker the two leads are a delight to watch.
And the perils of drug addiction do get shown in an uncompromising manner.
Some may find the anti drugs message of this hammered home a bit too much, but that's a manner of opinion.
Along with two great cliffhangers, there's a lot to like in this story. It's not the greatest one ever made but it's far better than it's reputation and it's well worth a watch.
The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:
It's also English audio captioned.
There's a commentary from Lalla Ward plus the writer of the story, one other cast member and two of the production staff.
Radio times listings for the story. [As a PDF file viewable by opening the disc on a computer].
Production information subtitles that give information about the story and it's making.
A photo gallery of stills from the story and it's production.
A trailer for the next release in this dvd range.
The Nightmare of Television centre: A twelve minute long feature which sees three of the production staff talking about the problems that the making of this story faced. It's a somewhat one sided production as it only focuses on the negative aspects of the whole thing, but it's an interesting watch and very well paced at just twelve minutes.
Going solo: runs for eight minutes. It's an interview with Bob Baker who wrote the story. He had written several before with Dave Martin but around this time the two had gone their separate ways. This spends very little time on that and more on the commissioning and writing of this script. But he's a good interviewee so it's worth a watch. And it contains the one pitch that Doctor Who producers would be bound to commission every time they heard it.
The Doctor's strange love: this sees writers Simon Guerrier and Joseph Lidster [who have done a lot in the Doctor Who audio and novel field] and comedienne Josie Long sit around on the set of the Sarah Jane Adventures [for no apparent reason] and discuss Nightmare of Eden. For fifteen minutes. Some of the attempts at humour in this do fall a bit flat, but when they touch on the good points of the story they make some very interesting observations. So it's worth watching for that.
Ask Aspel: is a blast from the past. It's eleven minutes from the old BBC tv children's show where Michael Aspel would interview people and put questions from viewers to them. Here he interviews Lalla Ward. It's an ok interview, and it's also an interesting trip down memory lane. As seeing the title sequence of the show again should bring back memories for some. And there are a couple of tantalising clips from some shows of the 1970's in it.
However, some of the special features are hit and miss. "The Nightmare of TV Centre" essentially rehashes the info text, Lalla Ward's Aspel appearance is a bit wooden and overly mannered, and as for The Doctor's Strange Love... the biggest load of rubbish I've seen for ages, essentially a YouTube blog that has no right to be on a proper DVD, giving it a status it does not deserve. It's for this reason I deduct a star.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews