The Time Warrior is unique for several reasons. Firstly, it introduces us to Sarah Jane Smith superbly played by Elisabeth Sladen. Sarah Jane is one of the best of the Doctors companions and has also appeared in the new Doctor Who series (School Reunion) and now has her own spin of series The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Secondly, this story marks the first appearance of the Sontarans. Linx the Sontaran is played by the late Kevin Lindsey who gives an excellent performance. Kevin would reprise his role as a Sontaran in the Tom Baker story The Sontaran Experiment. The Sontarans would also go on to appear in The Invasion Of Time and The Two Doctors as well as numerous comic strips and novels.
Thirdly, this is the first time the story has been released in an unedited form. The picture looks superb so you can now get rid of your old edited video version.
So, all in all a great package with the usual entertaining commentary track - this time by Elizabeth Sladen, Terrence Dicks and Barry Letts who give a thoughtfull insight to the making of the story. It seems an age since the last Jon Pertwee dvd was released. I hope that next year more Pertwee stories will be released. How about Terror Of The Autons or The Silurians? Fingers crossed.
A right merrie tale of robber rogues and stout yeomen, a fiery damsel never in distress, a toad-faced warrior fallen from the stars, and "a long-shanked rascal with a mighty nose" questing through Time - from Gallifrey! 5*
What Sir Walter Scott did with `Ivanhoe', Robert Holmes did here with `Doctor Who' - created an exhilarating medieval adventure with archetypal characters in an exciting new story. To add science fiction to the mix, he created the ultra-militaristic Sontaran commander Linx, crash-landed in England around 1200 A.D., a terrific costume, makeup, and performance by Kevin Lindsay. With his damaged spacecraft needing repair, Linx uses his `osmic projector' to kidnap scientists from the 20th century and offers alliance to Irongron, the local robber baron, to use his (stolen) castle as a base in exchange for new weapons. Linx simply wants to return to his war with the Rutans, he is recklessly unconcerned about changing Earth history - but the Doctor is determined to stop him. This story is also famous for containing the first ever mention of Gallifrey - just one of many facts about the Time Lords originally introduced by Robert Holmes in his various stories.
`The Time Warrior' has a brilliant script which is both exciting and often very funny, a great cast of actors giving it their all, reels of quality location filming in the greenwood and castles of olde England and superb sets and costumes. It was a marvellous opening story for Jon Pertwee's final season and he is on top form (with some help from his stuntman), playing our hero at his most dashing. He fights hand-to-hand with the Sontaran and Irongron, hob-nobs with the local earl "a courtly rogue!" and fights off an assault on his castle by using "superior stink-bombs", swings a broadsword and even swings from a chandelier in the best Errol Flynn manner.
Elizabeth Sladen is perfect as Sarah Jane Smith from her very first scene, a clever, independent character in probably the best storyline she was ever given. From being a stowaway on the TARDIS, convinced the Doctor is the villain!, she is right at the centre of the action throughout, shaping events and gradually coming to trust the Doctor completely - a new companion has arrived. There's a fun scene early on where she explodes when the Doctor says she can be useful by making the coffee! It's sometimes suggested this is the Doctor being sexist - but in fact he's deliberately winding Sarah Jane up because he knows she has gatecrashed UNIT H.Q. by impersonating her aunt Lavinia, a scientist whose work the Doctor respects. On the DVD commentary Elizabeth Sladen talks movingly about what a welcoming and generous actor Jon Pertwee was towards not only his new `companion' but to all the guest actors.
Equality is a running theme in this story, handled with Robert Holmes' trademark wit. We see it again with Edward of Wessex, an honest but rather `wet' nobleman (Alan Rowe) and his determined wife Eleanor (June Brown). He seems to despair too easily at his lack of knights, all gone to the Crusades except for Hal the bowman (Jeremy Bulloch). Eleanor is all for direct action against Irongron by any means: "Will you mix a magic potion and poison the dog?" she asks the Doctor hopefully.
David Daker and John Carney play Irongron and his henchman Bloodaxe with splendidly larger than life, sword-swinging shoutiness. Both scoundrels firmly believe that Irongron is a military genius, they're both wrong. Bloodaxe will never be mistaken for any kind of genius, a dim sidekick he is and like another dim sidekick of the future he even uses the phrase "a cunning plan"! The two human villains combine medieval menace and humour, with excellent writing and performances. The Doctor gets a second, temporary companion for this story in the shape of Professor Rubeish (Donald Pelmear), who seems remarkably unfazed about being kidnapped by a time-travelling Sontaran!
The only failings in this story when first broadcast were some of the special effects. There aren't many, it's a costume drama, but the arrival of Linx's spaceship and the final big bang were a tennis ball on a wire and stock footage of a quarrying explosion - and they looked it. I certainly didn't notice in 1973 but on the VHS they were all too obvious. Happily, the DVD production team have created excellent new special effects that give these key moments in the story the impact they deserve, and enhance the few other effects as well, mostly shots from Linx's energy weapon. Turn the new effects on from `Special Features'. The DVD restored picture quality is also much better than the VHS.
Verily, `tis a noble DVD and I bestow upon it the five stars of chivalry!
DVD Special Features:
The commentary is excellent, with Elizabeth Sladen, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks, full of memories not only of this story but of the Jon Pertwee years and how the team prepared for the end of an era.
`Beginning the End' - a really good `making of' feature, filmed partly back on location and with a great set of contributors.
CGI Effects - some are subtle, some are major improvements, very well done.
Photo Gallery - an especially good photo gallery is provided on this release with many `behind the scenes' pictures.
Two `Easter eggs', both are enjoyable.
The Time Warrior is the first story of Jon Pertwee's final season as Doctor Who, it is also the best story of that year's worth of episodes.
The story is noteable for featuring a number of 'firsts', such as the appearance of the Doctor's companion Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen. Sarah would go on to become the most popular assistant for the Doctor ever, a viewpoint that still stands today. In many ways this is perhaps her most intense performance, here is a woman that is a firm believer in Women's Lib and independence and comes across as the strongest female character the show has ever seen, I've always detected parallels of Sarah in Rose Tyler and it's interesting that when they meet in 'School Reunion' Sarah wins the battle between them and puts Rose in her place.
Elisabeth Sladen's portrayal drives the story in many ways and sets the pattern of what was to come, although she mellowed slightly from the next story onwards. From a fiction point of view the adventure is told through the eyes of Sarah, she as a new character is the focal point with the various plot strands all coming together as a result of her actions.
This is also the first appearance of the Sontarans, the only top five enemy of the Doctor to be created in the 70's, joining the likes of the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Ice Warriors etc. This is also the best portrayal of the creatures in the series, Kevin Lindsay the actor is quite simply wonderful in the part and it's no surprise that he was asked back the following season to play another character in the Sontaran race.
The Time Warrior has the destinction of being the first story to actually give a name to the Doctor's home planet, Gallifrey and while this does not have any bearing on the plot it's a lovely little touch and would have a massive influence on the series from then on.
The use of historical settings in Doctor Who had been phased out during the Patrick Troughton days and here it makes a return after several years, it looks as if some money was actually spent on the show as the location work compliments the story and gives the feel of the 1300's by being shot in real castles and surrounding woodland.
Jon Pertwee was always excellent as the Doctor and here we see a new side to him, he is more quiet, reserved and moody then he ever was before. He knew that this was the beginning of his last season as the Doctor and the death of his friend Roger Delgado and the departure of most of his co-stars must have convinced him to reluctantly move on, but he used this reluctant attitude in his playing of the Doctor to create a new facet to his character, there is a genuine feeling of doom and sadness which is refreshing, change was on the way.
The special features include a commentary track by Elisabeth Sladen, Barry Letts, the producer and Terrance Dicks who served as script editor. There is a documentary entitled 'Beginning the End' that is essential a making off... shot at the original location, there are original BBC Trails and continuities and the usual photo gallery. The whole story as been treated to a substantial amount of CGI, replacing the 1970's special effects with more modern versions, this is an optional alternative of the story, the original being played by the automatic default.
All in all this is a solid well made story that will never top any 'Best of...' polls but is simply good entertainment and drama and has put this DVD range back on track after the rather lame previous release of Doctor Who DVD's.
on 7 March 2012
The Time Warrior, like Death to the Daleks is not a fan favourite and yet it is along with the aforementioned Death to the Daleks one of my favourite Doctor Who serials of all time. To start with, Robert Holmes writes one of his best pieces of work for Who here, his understanding of the programme and the brilliant work done on this story led to him being offered the role as Doctor Who's script editor for 4 years, thusly leading us into the greatest time of the show, the Tom Baker / Philip Hinchcliffe era. Secondly, Robert Holmes created what we know today of Time Lord mythology, he named the planet of the Time Lords, Gallifrey, and on top of that pretty much wrote the law of regeneration and Time Lord society.
What makes The Time Warrior so successful for me is the design work, Linx the Sontaran's costume in-particular. Along with other memorable monsters from the show, the Sontaran's design is simple, but very effective. As well as a great costume for Linx is a great actor to play him, Australian born Kevin Lindsay is one of Doctor Who's unsung hero's, his portrayal of Field Marshal Linx is inspiring. He plays Linx with such conviction as to make other actors portrayals of Sontaran's look terrible in comparison.
Elizabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane Smith has a brilliant introduction to the series. Liz plays Sarah with such charisma as to leave Jon Pertwee's Doctor confused as to who he has allowed stow away aboard his TARDIS. The Doctor, up until this point has never had such a strong and independent companion, this is why I believe that Sarah became so popular and in actual fact, probably the most popular companion ever.
The DVD release has done this serial justice, after only being able to watch this story as a VHS movie that was edited, its lovely to finally see this story out on DVD, remastered and lovingly restored by the Doctor Who Restoration Team. The documentary is fascinating to say the least, Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks, Liz Sladen and other quest cast from this story come back to the location where the serial was show 30 years on. Their evident love of the programme shinning through. Its always a treat to watch these documentaries that the BBC put together these days for Doctor Who, they always manage to inform and entertain and this half-hour feature certainly doesn't disappoint.
Overall, a very good story finally released in full for the first time in nearly 20 years. Highly enjoyable romp with the Third Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and of course Kevin Lindsay's Linx. Highly recommended by this avid viewer.
Thank you for your time in reading this review, its greatly appreciated.
This is my absolute favourite Third Doctor adventure and indeed it is the one I always reach for whenever I want to see why my ex-wife had such a crush on Jon Pertwee. Not that I am torturing myself in any way, far from it. In fact I can quite see the attraction myself. I'm more interested in Linx actually, given the fact that he was the character from this story that I myself was more often compared to. And not very favourably either. The guy has no neck, no personality and looks like someone who might be out drumming up business for the Potato Council. And I'm sure I've been insulted.
The writing of this four-part story is excellent. Most of the action takes place in the middle ages where our rather handsome Sontaran friend has managed to crash land and from where he is intent on growing his collection of 20th century scientists and equipment. He manages to sweet-talk Irongron (a local troublemaker and obviously an ancestor of Michael Elphick's mate Harry in 'Boon') into allowing him a place in which to repair his ship unhindered in return for weapons and the secrets of his skincare regime. Or something like that. Every scene with Irongron is a delight, even if his sidekick Bloodaxe is rather a wooden one. Irongron is supposed to be one of the bad guys yet, given that he is infinitely more likeable than Linx, not to mention the fact that his main earthbound protagonist is a rather miserable pre-Dot Cotton June Brown, I think he's rather misunderstood. He's got Boba Fett out there intent on killing him for one thing, as well as the very real threat of getting splinters from his mate Bloodaxe.
The Brigadier makes a brief appearance in episode one, and he's as suave as ever. There's a scientist called Rubeish who is brilliantly entertaining in his own right as well as having a surname Jon Pertwee consistently manages to make sound funny. Mr Pertwee himself is on fine form throughout, no doubt down to the immense amount of humour that can be found throughout the story. He isn't playing it for laughs, not by a long stretch. Maybe he was more relaxed in this series, knowing it was to be his last and perhaps allowing himself to actually enjoy the role without feeling too much responsibility. His hairstyle seems to have doubled in size since 'The Green Death' and he wears in this story a pair of incredibly clicky shoes which, for some reason, I find amusing. Tell me I don't at least have a better sense of humour than Linx...?
Last but not least of course, 'The Time Warrior' is a wonderful introductory episode for the very feisty Sarah Jane Smith. Right from the off, it's clear that this lady is taking no nonsense. You half expect her to start singing karaoke to Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' on numerous occasions. Elisabath Sladen was a superb choice to play her and really does contribute a massive amount to the appeal of this story.
Linx himself is 'nasty, brutish and short', according to the Doctor, who is in turn described by Irongron as 'a long-shanked fellow with a mighty nose'. As I said, this is some great writing. This story is hugely entertaining and is a worthy addition to any DVD collection.
The only Jon Pertwee series up to now not represented on DVD, Time Warrior was the debut story of season 11. In 1974 it was announced that Jon Pertwee would be leaving his role as The Doctor. During Pertwee's time in the programme, viewing figures had increased considerably since the latter part of Patrick Troughton's era when the show had faced cancellation. The format of the programme had also been radically changed, as well as the Pertwee era being the first to be shown in colour, the show had also become largely Earth bound with the now exiled Doctor becoming an advisor to the special army branch UNIT. After 4 years of The Doctor largely restricted to thwarting alien invasions on modern day Earth, the decision was made to return The Doctor to space. With his exile over, The Doctor would now be free to roam again in time and space, and the concept of UNIT would be gradually phased out. Although UNIT features briefly in this story, The Time Warrior is largely set in Medieval England, and is a welcome excursion into the past for the Third Doctor.
Scientists have been going missing and The Doctor is asked to investigate. He finds that the culprit is an alien called Linx, trapped in medieval England following an attack on his spaceship during a space battle. He now needs the scientists knowledge to escape, and he has used time technology to kidnap them. In the process Linx also supplies the local thugs with futuristic weaponry, not caring how this would change the course of mankind's history. The srory is written by the series best writer, Robert Holmes. In some ways it similar to the plot of The Time Meddler from the Hartnell era. Although the Time Meddler was a mischevioyus character, rather than evil like Linx.
The story features some significant changes to the programme. A brand new title sequence was introduced for Pertwee's final season, although it would be changed again when Tom Baker took over as The Doctor. Following the departure of long term assistant Jo Grant, this episode also introduces Sarah Jane Smirh, who was to become the most popular of the original series companions. Finally the popular monster race, the sontarans, are introduced, although we only see one of their kind, Linx. With such a terrific design, along with a good performance by the late actor Kevin Lindsey, it is easy to see why these aliens became a big success.
As well as Lindsey, other actors in this serial include familiar British actor David Daker as Irongron and Jeremy Bulloch, later to become famous as cult character Boba Fett in the Star Wars films, as the archer Hal. Eastenders viewers will also recognise June Brown in this story.
Jon Pertwee's final season is generally regarded as his weakest, and The Time Warrior is easily the best of the stories in this year.
on 10 January 2012
I would like to give Dr Who - The Time Warrior `5' stars to the welcome introduction to the Legendary Sarah Jane Smith played by Elizabeth Sladen. As in previous story, The Green Death we said goodbye to the wonderful and endearing Jo Grant (Katy Manning), and this was a touching moment for my joint number one Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and the guys from UNIT. Both Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith were always my joint number one companions, but in my opinion, I found that Katy Manning's character Jo Grant worked better with the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), and Elizabeth Sladen's character Sarah Jane Smith works better with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker).
Jon Pertwee's final five stories as the Third Doctor comes into full force in this story shows the change in direction to make way to my other joint number one Dr Who - Tom Baker. Both the supporting cast of Nicholas Courtney, David Daker, Donald Pelamer, June Brown (I hate Eastenders, and have not seen it when it started), John J Carney, Alan Rowe, and especially Aussie actor Kevin Lindsay who deserves all acting glory as the Sontaran Officer Linx. The 'Sontarans' along with 'The Ice Warriors' are the first humanoid alien menaces that the Doctor has regularly faced.
For all 1970s Doctor Who, please buy the Time Warrior as part of you collection as the start of the Sarah Jane Smith era with my two joint number one doctors - Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. Its a pity that you have to buy 'The Cyberman Boxset' to complete your 1970s collection, because you will be lumbed with the absolutely rubbish 3rd rate Slyvester McCoy Dr Who pantomine 'Silver Nemesis'.
on 7 September 2007
This is more like it! After the awful Timelash and Time Flight releases (from John Nathan Turner's woeful period when he was in charge of Doctor Who) this is a welcome release to the collection of BBC's Doctor Who dvds. The story is great fun, but the Special Features are of high standard and the interviews with Terence Dicks and Barry Letts really fleshes the backgound to the story out. The new CGI effects are good (esepcially in comparison to the 1973 special effects which as neither special or effective) and as purchase, it is a peach. The first episode is one of my earliers memories, and it has a special place in my list of fave Doctor Who stories. Highly recommended!
on 13 July 2012
When I bought this, it was mainly because of the price and I wanted another classic Doctor Who story to add to my collection. After watching this, I was shocked at how good this story actually was. There is a little over-acting in places but that can be over-looked as it proves how much the cast enjoyed what they were doing. The Sontaran Linx is easily the most convincing out of the classic stories. There is a good documentary about the new companion, everyones favourite Sarah Jane Smith and the introduction of the Sontarans.
Fans of the new series of Doctor Who will probably be able to slip quite easily into this story as it is fairly action packed and the Doctor is as usual quite amazing.
There are also new visual effects added to update the whole feel of it a bit more, and it does work to an extent.
5/5 because I found it thoroughly enjoyable and will no doubt enjoy watching it many more times in the future. Highly recommended.
From the start, the thing that marked this series apart from the preceding series was the newly imagined opening animated title; although in my humble opinion, I much preferred the liquid and flowing nature of the previous opening sequences.
The Time Warrior is the first serial of the 11th season of series of Doctor Who portrayed by Jon Pertwee, for me, the most important part about this season was the fact that Elisabeth Sladen had joined the Doctor as the new companion. The new companion was to be known as Sarah Jane Smith, a reporter by profession - who was certainly not around to make anybody's tea or coffee. For my part, I really liked the Sarah Jane character, played by Elizabeth Sladen. Sarah Jane would be part of the Doctor Who landscape from 1973 and on into 1976.
The other important thing about this particular series was the introduction of the Sontarans, who were humanoid extra-terrestrial beings who lived for war - they were warriors by nature and it appears by nurture too. The Sontarans can be characterised by their ruthlessness and fearlessness of death. The character of the Sontarans was created by the writer Robert Holmes. While approximating to humanoid shape, they had a stocky build, three-fingered hand, a neckless head and the chief characteristic being a domed head. Their complexion was a dark brown with some facial hair and hair protruding out of the ear. It is said that when the Linx character removes his helmet, it is perhaps the seventh scariest moment in Doctor Who history of the show. When I first saw this series, I was particularly perturbed by the nature and distinctiveness of the Sontaran named Linx. The domed head, the texture of the skin, the lack of a neck and the horsehair protruded out of both his face and ear were quite alarming, even viewing the show 2015 the SFX of the Sontaran is very well realised - and aptly nicknamed `toad face'. However, the 21st century version of the Sontarans seems tame if not at times domesticated, and in the most recent outing quite comical.
Essentially the narrative concerns the disappearance of leading scientists and the doctor, is called upon to find out what is happened to them, and to stop any more scientists from going missing. The initial meeting of the doctor and Sarah Jane is one of mistrust, particularly on Sarah Jane's part and this distrust follows through when she unwittingly stows away on the doctor's Time Machine/TARDIS and unwittingly believes that the doctor is conspiring with the Sontaran Linx. The Sontaran part of the story, deals with the fact that he is a lone Sontaran by the name of Linx who has made a crash landing on earth - because his spacecraft was attacked Rutan fighters. Linx finds himself on a primitive planet, with a damaged craft and no way to repair it, where electronics and electricity have yet to be invented. As he is alone on a strange and primitive planet, he allies himself with a local warlord - who is less than ideal as a working ally. Our Sontaran uses his technology to project himself into the future, abducting leading scientists, so that they can be brought back to his original historical point, to fix his spacecraft. Thus, the scene is set for stimulating narrative, where the Doctor needs to deal with the Sontaran threat.
The imagined mediaeval time setting is done very well and the attention to detail is done well too. The costumes and the set design really lend themselves to reproduce the historical period. Some people have been critical of this particular series and have found it somewhat implausible, whether the scientists are all too one-dimensional in their characterisation, or some scene is too comedic. For my part, I found the spooky Sontaran very intimidating, if not very scary. Although I was sad to see Joe Grant character leave the show, the qualities and the acting that was displayed by Elizabeth Sladen, for me, made her one of my all-time favourite Doctor Who companions.
At the end of the day, a combination of a new villain and new companion among other firsts - made this story stick in my mind and has made this particular series so enjoyable and memorable.