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Doctor Who - Terror of the Zygons [DVD]
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Another adventure for everyone's favourite time-traveller. Answering the Brigadier's space/time telegraph, the Doctor (Tom Baker), Sarah (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry (Ian Marter) arrive in the village of Tulloch, near Loch Ness. A series of attacks have taken place on local oil rigs, and many are blaming the legendary monster. The Doctor discovers the creature to be the Skarasen - cyborg pet of invading aliens the Zygons. Their own planet having been destroyed and their spaceship crippled, these deadly shape-shifters are now intent upon taking control of the planet Earth.
Loch Ness is the setting of this very traditional 1975 Doctor Who monster story, even though it was actually filmed in southern England with local atmosphere provided by Scottish character actor Angus Lennie (The Great Escape). The Doctor (Tom Baker) is called in to investigate a mystery involving the destruction of several oil rigs and it's not too long before the Loch Ness Monster is revealed as the culprit. But it's actually just a biomechanical weapon being manipulated by the evil Zygons who have been living at the bottom of the Loch plotting world domination. The organically designed sets and monsters are very striking, as are the visual effects with one notable exception: Really Big Creatures have always been a bane for the series with its limited budget to pull off and this story's reliance on an obvious puppet monster, especially during the climax, diminishes its impact. But there is still much to relish, particularly the dialogue of writer Robert Banks Stewart (who would go on to create the long-running BBC series Bergerac) that provides a number of gems including the Doctor admonishing the Zygons that if they succeed in their plans, "you'll have to come out on the balcony sometimes and wave a tentacle". With much derring-do, the Doctor saves the day as usual but not before four exciting episodes of fun and action. --Ryan K. Johnson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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In this wonderful tartan-clad Highland fling, we have the Doctor, Sarah-Jane, The Brigadier, Harry and Mr Benton (wondered why they called him that throughout but he's been newly promoted to Warrant Officer!) up against the Zygons at Tulloch Moor and nearby Loch Ness with their secret weapon - the Skarasen, known to the locals as Nessie!! To be fair it's not the most convincing of monsters but then this is a 1975 low budget family show. However the location filming (even though not shot in Scotland), the story and the acting more than make-up for that.
A very enjoyable - repeat watchable - story.
Obviously the overall production and sfx quality can't match the modern Dr Who, yet there is a quality about story-development, cliffhangers and atmosphere that is nicer about many of these old ones. They seem to mix humour and Doctor-authority better than now. New ones have too much reliance on the Sonic Screwdriver/gun/tricorder. Probably me getting old and sentimental...
Anyway, certainly a good one for the collection - though I'm not too sure about using Chivers jelly for a spaceship control panel :)
This story features the welcome return of Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, after a long abscence, and lots of men in kilts. The Zygons are classic Dr Who monsters, and there is a splendidly unconvincing Loch Ness monster. What more could anyone want?
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