Doctor Who - Pyramids Of Mars  [DVD] 
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The TARDIS materialises on Earth in the year 1911 inside an old priory owned by Egyptologist Marcus Scarman. Scarman has been possessed by Sutekh, last survivor of the god-like Osirans, who held prisoner inside a pyramid in Egypt by a signal trasnmitted from one on Mars. Sutekh desires his freedom and instructs Scarman to construct servicer robots - which look like Eygptian mummies - to build a missile with which to destroy the Martian pyramid
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In 1975 `Doctor Who' blended science fiction and Egyptology to create a pyramid-shaped high point in the series' legendary `Gothic' period which has stayed popular with fans ever since. An essential, 5* DVD for your `Doctor Who' collection.
The premise is terrifyingly simple: if Sutekh the Destroyer frees himself from his 7000 year old tomb, that's it. No second chances, no plan B, no sequel. He will destroy all life, everywhere and nobody will be able to stop him - "not even our lot" says the Time Lord. This lends an edge to Robert Holmes' terrific script; the Doctor is faced by an undefeatable enemy and he knows it. Tom Baker is at his very best, making the Doctor seem more alien, more brooding, even with flashes of anger, almost as if - it's so unusual that it takes a while to sink in - almost as if the Doctor is afraid.
Of course, he's still going to do whatever it takes to stop the servants of Sutekh before they can free their master. Three episodes of tense conflict with brilliant cliff-hangers then unfold against the verdant setting of a country estate in spring 1911, supported by very impressive interior sets, special effects, music and excellent character acting. The relationship between Marcus Scarman (Bernard Archard) and his brother Laurence (Michael Sheard) is both tragic and memorable. Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah has a good story and is right in the heart of the action, which for a U certificate feature has many surprisingly scary moments.
When all else fails, the Doctor is forced into the inevitable confrontation with Sutekh. The opening of episode four is as powerful as anything ever seen in `Doctor Who' with a famously chilling performance from Gabriel Woolf as the still trapped, masked, near-motionless Sutekh. It's after this that a few stones seem missing from the fourth side of the story's structure. Part of this fourth episode follows a pattern familiar from a previous `Doctor Who' (and in later years, elsewhere). It's a good enough segment in itself, but has the feel of a slight anti-climax after the high drama before it.
Fortunately, we're then back to full speed for the final minutes when the story takes the worst possible turn. Only the Doctor could save the day as he does; defeating the undefeatable enemy and without breaking the logic of the narrative. This is definitely a 5* tale even with the slight dip in episode four. Almost 40 years after first being broadcast, `Pyramids of Mars' is still found near the top of most favourites lists, including mine.
The DVD picture quality shows this was a very early release; it's good but not quite as crisp as later releases. Similarly, the commentary is interesting but lacks the technical quality of the sound on later commentaries, as here the feature audio does not fade in and out as the participants share their memories.
DVD Extras include the usual interesting `making of' documentary, a look at the locations 30 years later, a good Photo Gallery and `Serial Thrillers', a fascinating 40+ minute documentary about the era of producer Philip Hinchcliffe - to many, the golden age of the programme. Finally, if you know your classic `Doctor Who' and don't laugh at `Oh Mummy' - you're probably in a sarcophagus!
NOTE: The DVD menu shows clips from the programme as background, so if you don't know the story already, press `Play' ASAP.
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So glad that I bought this DVD now and one that I will never ever part with.Read more