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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 January 2014
"You just happened to be passing?" asks Commander Salamar sarcastically. He's got a point. The Doctor was aiming for London (from Scotland), overshot by the length of the universe and landed on Zeta Minor instead. Here our universe of matter intersects with a neighbouring anti-matter universe, here (and we assume only here) matter and anti-matter can co-exist without instantly annihilating. There's plenty of annihilation but it's slower and much more alarming!

`Planet of Evil' is sometimes criticised for drawing on both `Forbidden Planet' and `Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', but those two classics owe debts to `The Tempest' and werewolf legends respectively. There is nothing totally new under the sun - not even the sun that shines on Zeta Minor.

`Planet of Evil' is totally, convincingly alien. Nobody would want to spend time in that steaming, haunted jungle lit by the savage red light of a strange sun. Nobody except Professor Sorenson, last survivor of a lost expedition.

The design work is outstanding; the jungle sets are very popular and highly praised and the monsters still look very good, but the interior of the Morestran spaceship attracts some criticism as `low-budget'. True, it was all done on a tiny budget but the spaceship is bleakly functional and military and makes a very sharp contrast with the hideously alive jungle world it has landed on.

Beyond the well-written story, the sets and the eerie soundtrack, the strength of `Planet of Evil' lies in three excellent double acts. Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen look so at home in their roles it's no surprise to learn from the DVD documentary that this was Elisabeth Sladen's favourite story. A poignant moment comes late in the narrative as the Doctor effectively says what might be his final goodbye to Sarah, with the famous quote from Captain Oates, a hero from another, real lost expedition. Trademark touches of humour are shared between them amid the danger; the Doctor quotes Shakespeare at one point and casually comments "charming fellow"!

Prentis Hancock (playing Commander Salamar) and Ewen Solon (playing Vishinsky) bring depth to the uneasy relationship between their characters. It's obvious right from their initial scene that the youthful Salamar has been promoted over the older, wiser and far more experienced First Officer. Salamar radiates insecurity and the need to prove himself as Commander; you just know it won't end well.

Finally, Professor Sorenson (a wonderful, edgy performance from Frederick Jaeger) is becoming lost, deep in a double act with himself. The scene where the Doctor reminds him of the moral responsibility of science is one you'll remember.

DVD extras include a very entertaining commentary and two excellent documentaries. One focuses mostly on the famous design elements of the show, the other is from the actors' perspective, both are interesting and help explain how such great shows were made with such small budgets - in a word, skill.

5*

NOTE: The DVD menu shows clips from the programme as background, so if you don't know the story already, press `Play' ASAP. Hunt for the `Easter Egg', it's a good one.
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on 21 February 2016
This is a decent homage to the Forbidden Planet which I know well along with The Tempest but darker and it is great fun to watch. There are some quite dark/horror ideas in here, but is more who noir than hammer horror IMO. The filmed sections in the jungle are really good and I suspect the actors enjoyed the production values and this worked to build the sense of horror.
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on 12 July 2012
According to many critics, the Tom Baker years of Doctor Who were THE BEST, and I must say that as far as my three viewings (hitherto) are concerned, they are simply superb. This particular movie has a very strong story, and the acting (esp. the tension aboard the ship) is superb for every major & minor character. I would not try to summarise the story, since that had been attempted by many. Highly RECOMMENDED for family viewing, even for those who are somewhat averse towards science-fiction.
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on 19 April 2016
These BBC productions never fail to please. Bought to replace the VHS versions, the Dr Who chronology is a glimpse into the growth and development of the BBC broadcast.
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on 8 June 2012
I decided to purchase this Dr Who episode thanks to a 'coming soon' on another Dr DVD. The trailer had lead me to believe this would be the BEST Dr Who episode Tom Baker did - and it wasn't wrong! Others who have also reviewed this thought it good for production values, costumes, sets and story - and they weren't wrong! All in all I was expecting to be disappointed (films are rarely as good as trailers make out) but in this case I really enjoyed the episode. Not going to tell you what happens because I don't like spoilers myself, but if you like Tom Baker, the late Elizabeth Sladen and Dr Who generally, I think you'll enjoy this story.
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on 7 February 2012
it has drama on a swampy planet and then drama on a space ship .. the story is good , the doctor is on form and the special effects are quite good (if a bit stolen from forbidden planet). enjoyable but not a classic , clear picture and sound in 4:3 aspect with some good extras as you would expect from BBC .
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on 23 April 2015
Good value for price paid
Excellent smooth transaction - prompt & efficient - one to recommend to all A++
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on 11 March 2016
One of the better Tom Baker stories.
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on 11 January 2014
The ultimate Doctor (Tom Baker) and the ultimate companion (Elisabeth Sladen) bring vintage "Who" to life in this tale of an alien world with an amazing jungle set indoors in a studio set (not obvious) for once !!.
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on 16 March 2014
Perfect service and delivery. No issues or problems, fast dispatch. A classic Doctor Who, a must for fans (First episode with Lelia!}
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