I have never been a fan of "The Reign of Terror", it has always in my eyes been 2 episodes too long and really could have been shot better, the Hartnell historicals have the distinction of being less popular than the future serials, well, thats utter tosh as serials like "Marco Polo", "The Aztecs" and "The Myth Makers" are timeless classics. I will admit that some historicals are poorer than others, like "The Reign of Terror", "The Crusade" and The Gunfighters". Overall The Reign of Terror is one of the poorer ones in my eyes. The story suffers from what 90% of 6 part Doctor Who serials suffered from, filler material, running around and overall time wasting. At least the 4 part serials are quick and sharp, but the 6 part "Reign" really is not.
It is a shame because the plot is great, the actors are fine, but the performance dire. It is a marathon sitting through all 6 parts of this serial. I usually watch this story 3 episodes over 2 nights. On a quick note the costumes are fantastic and even I must admit and this certainly had a lot of effort put in to it. The future DVD release will show this serial in a better light for me I hope, with missing episodes 4 + 5 being reconstructed via animation, it will be interesting to view the story with a fresh opinion, but until that day the DVD release is released, my opinion will remain stern of this historical piece.
many doctor who stories from the 1960's no longer survive in complete and unedited form. a lot are completely lost to time. some have a handful of surviving episodes. this is all because the bbc junked lots of tv at the time because they didn't think anyone would ever want to watch this stuff ever again.
Oh for the benefits of hindsight.
However, thanks to fans of the time who recorded the soundtrack to all the stories off the tv with good old fashioned tape recorders, the soundtracks to all the lost episodes still exist. As a result, cleaned up and with linking narration supplied by an actor who appeared in the tv story, this and all the other lost stories survive on audio.
The reign of terror is a six part story from the end of the very first season of the show with william hartnell as the doctor. episodes one to three and episode six still survive and are available on video [long since deleted and very expensive to track down]but not yet on dvd.
Worry not because now, thanks to bbc audio and linking narration from carole ann ford - doctor's granddaughter susan in the story - you hear it all.
the tardis crew arrive in france during the revolution. and as typical for stories of the time are quickly separated and spend the remaining episodes trying to find each other and leave and not interfere with history.
This is not a fast paced story and it's a bit of a runaround, but the acting is good, william hartnell is superb, and the hunt for a british secret agent whom ian has to get a message to provides a good dramatic hook.
It's a fairly decent old story, not a bad listen, and worth getting. the sound quality is fine considering the age of the recording, only a few moments in episode four sounding a bit off key.
The disc also comes with two short interviews at the end of episodes three and six with carole ann ford, sharing her memories of making the story. these are worth listening to as she has good anecdotes to tell