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Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987]

3.8 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Doctor Who - Paradise Towers [DVD] [1987]
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Product details

  • Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford
  • 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: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 18 July 2011
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004VRO84M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,781 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Mel wants to go swimming so the Doctor takes her to a tower block called Paradise Towers where there is reputed to be a fantastic pool. When they arrive they discover that the place is far from being the superb leisure resort they had expected - it is run-down and dilapidated.

The hallways are roamed by gangs of young girls known as Kangs; the apartments are inhabited by cannibalistic old ladies, the Rezzies; and the building is managed by a group of dictatorial caretakers, presided over by the Chief Caretaker…

Special Features

  • Commentary with cast and crew
  • Documentaries and behind the scenes footage
  • Photo Gallery
  • Digitally re-mastered picture and sound quality

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember watching Sixth and Seventh Doctor serials when they were first aired, and not liking them much, especially the start of the Seventh Doctor's reign. I haven't seen them again until the DVD releases, and in general (Time and the Rani, Vengeance on Varos etc) I have reassessed my opinion and found lots to enjoy. This however was just as bad as I remember and time has not improved it.

The set up is interesting - The Doctor and Mel try to go to the fabled Paradise Towers for a holiday. When they get there they find instead of a gleaming modern tower block, the place is a dump. The occupants, who were sealed inside, have split up into various societies and gangs, all warring with each other. It's a fascinating set up, and a really great idea. But that's where it ends. Having had this great idea the script writers then had to find some problem for the Doctor and Mel to resolve, and, frankly, the mystery at the heart of Paradise towers is pretty incomprehensible and pointless. It really feels shoehorned in.

There are a few fun ideas - the officious `Caretakers' and their strict adherence to the rule book, the way the caretakers are all named after regulations and the Kangs all named after wall signs, the `Rezzies' and their strange dining habits. But there is not enough here to flesh out the series. Added to which is a misjudged performance from Richard Briers as the main bad guy, it is just too camp and silly to make him seem like a real threat. The main `monsters', the cleaning robots, are just badly constructed and again so laughable that they give no sense of menace, which this overly humorous series badly needed. And there's Mel. Mercifully her stay with the series was a short one, and this series shows just why she is one of the series least liked companions.
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'Paradise Towers' has a rather poor reputation, in fact it is perceived by many to be one of the weakest Doctor Who stories ever. Is this reputation deserved? Absolutely not in my opinion.

There are some wonderful sets for the towers, in the past Doctor Who sets had been inappropriate because they were so spotlessly clean, in this story the sets look grubby and help to create the impression that Paradise towers is dilapidated and neglected. The sets are assisted by some remarkably effective red, blue and green lighting. Admittedly though some of the sets, the Rezzies' flat for example, are rather over lit.

After a shaky performance in 'Time and the Rani' Sylvester McCoy starts to find his feet as the Doctor and his performance here is on the whole very good. Sadly Bonnie Langford's performance is poor, she's just too cheerful and upbeat (this seems especially unsuitable in the scenes set after she has almost been cannibalised by two old ladies).

It has been suggested that Richard Briers' performance here is a career low. I couldn't disagree more, for the first three episodes Briers gives a very amusing and entertaining performance as the Chief Caretaker (the manner in which he converses with Kroagnon in the basement is especially hilarious). I will admit that Briers goes over the top when portraying Kroagnon in the body of the Chief Caretaker in the last episode, but this is nowhere near as bad as some would have you believe. Clive Merrison gives a good performance as the Deputy Chief Caretaker.

Howard Cooke may be a poor physical fit for the character of Pex (who was supposed to be really muscular) but he gives a strong performance.
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I realise that I am probably a lone voice in the wilderness that is 80s Dr Who, but I love this. Sure th acting is dodgy, the script is worse, the set is clearly BBC TV centre, and McCoy chews the scenery with every line (until Richard Briers gets going!) but then again, loads of Dr Who stories can have the same criticism levelled at them. I watched this when I was a kid, loved it then. Watched it as an adult, and still love it. Now off to complete my collection of McCoy's seasons.
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What a jolly good script; bleak, dystopian, dark, and all set in a nightmare block of flats. What could go wrong?

Well, not the set design, that's for sure; it's a great set. murky, dirty, horrible. With some moody lighting, it'd look tip-top, but the lighting, mindful of the cameras being used, isn't moody, it's really quite bright.

Strong cast though; Richard Briers, Clive Merrison, Brenda Bruce, Elizabeth Spriggs, Judy Cornwell; mouthwateringly good actors, let's get them all into some really super frocks, um.

The costumes are a bit, well, panto. Nothing wrong with that if it is a panto, like a show for children, but isn't Dr Who supposed to be for grown ups too? Um.

The cleaning robots too are on the panto side of naturalism, and so is the thing in the basement, add to that the desperately unfunny foot-sticking-out-of-the-bin motif to indicate death - and Tabby vanishing feet last down the waste disposal (blowed if I can see how they fitted Elizabeth Spriggs through there), and the whole atmosphere of seeping menace goes out of the window.

The girl gangs could have been so good if they'd been allowed to be scary, grimy, feral (oh, and sexy - Andrew Cartmel admits a fetish for just such girls in The Making Of, and I fully sympathise) but they're not - all a bit too clean, too pretty, too anodyne. Even Pex, with stubble, a rangy eye (possibly just one), sweat stained combats and knackered body armour (and a cheroot) could have been interesting - like an Aliens marine - but he's too clean cut.

And, as The Making Of points out, the caretakers should all have been played by old, somewhat mis-shapen men, not the tall, clean-limbed toughs they are here. Mr Briers' performance could have been toned down a notch too.
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