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on 11 April 2006
The Underwater Menace is my first experience of the BBC missing adventures audio releases. As indicated above, only one episode of this story survives, and my experience of the adventure was based on listening to episodes one, two and four and catching episode three on the DVD box set Lost in Time.
Anneke Wills provides linking narration for the audio release of the story, and the first thing I noticed was how much like stage directions Wills' narration sounded, occasionally taking over and spelling out events that could easily have been inferred simply from listening attentively to the soundtrack. However, the level of narration settles down from episode two onwards as the level of dialogue increases and the story begins to hit its stride.
And the story? Well, it's all a bit silly, to be honest, with Professor Zaroff as the ultimate comic book / James Bond villain ("Nothing in the world can stop me now!") - but it's an enjoyable romp even in audio format. The companions are good fun even if Ben's Cockney accent grates, and there is a range of quirky supporting characters.
Most interesting, however, is the design on display in the surviving third episode, with good costumes and decent sets. Episode three also features an excellent and unusually populous party scene - although the long Fish People "dance" sequence feels somewhat over-long and redundant.
Overall I enjoyed listening to this missing adventure, and as a bonus feature, the CD features an interview with narrator Anneke Wills on the making of the story.
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on 2 June 2005
There are many evil masterminds in Doctor Who, but none quite like Professor Zaroff who is something out of a James Bond movie. He is just like a classic mad scientist, with an absolutely ridiculous plot. There are the mysterious fish people, who look awful, but are good fun, and there's Atlantis. And this is bad. No doubt about it, this is one bad story, but it is wonderfully bad, and very enjoyable. Absolutely unique, and enjoyable.
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on 18 October 2010
On January 18th, 1967, the first blockbuster spaghetti western 'A Fistful of Dollars' was finally released in the US. It's hard to credit that this coincided with, of all things, The Underwater Menace. Sergio Leone had succeeded in resurrecting the moribund format of The Western in a harsh modern light but, as if to exemplify the gulf of expectation, the BBC showed that in spite of producing near-miraculous TV in some adversity week after week, they could still come up with baffling flights of fancy that just didn't work.

As an audio experience, TUM starts well, with some sparkling dialogue and the now familiar old chestnut of a new companion doing the "gosh" and "golly" routine. Yet as soon as the need for a plot arises, the script degenerates into ponderous cliché. (Zaroff is of course "the greatest scientific genius since Leonardo". Forgive The Second Doctor's deliberate hyperbole but how many scientific geniuses does that ignore?) The regulars are superb; it's just that everyone else is not. As a one-off entertainment for youngsters, there was surely enough feeling for The Doctor and his chums (whom Ben describes as "our lot") to maintain interest and the single surviving episode is surprisingly watchable but as a whole, it's a duffer. Over the top and corny, though not without a certain retro-charm.

Dr Who's most obvious B-Movie.
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on 20 May 2011
Doctor Who - The Underwater Menace is the first full adventure for the quartet of the Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie. The Tardis lands on an island and the Doctor and his friends are quickly captured and taken underground to the lost city of Atlantis! There they find an ancient civilisation and a mad scientist.

This story works so well as an audio and I can't recommend it enough. Professor Zaroff, the villain of the piece, is ace, going over the top but not to the exstent of making the story silly. Patrick Troughton shows why he is one of the best Doctor's ever and my favorite line in the story is where Ben says to a guard "Well look at him. He's not normal is he?!". Both the regulars and guest cast are all very good and make you believe in the story.

Only 1 episode still exists as a television programme (See the DVD Soctor Who - Lost In Time) and how I wished all 4 still existed. The linking narration by Anneke Wills (Who played Polly in the story) is very good and really adds to the atmosphere. She projects both excitment and fear and there is the bonus with this 2 CD set of hearing her interviewed about her time on Doctor Who.

If you like classic Who then get this as it is excellent. Highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 December 2008
this is the soundtrack of a doctor who story from 1966. it has four twenty five minute episodes, spread over two discs. only the third episode still survives in the bbc archives, so unless the other three ever turn up, this is your only chance to hear them.

this was patrick troughton's third story as the doctor. it features his regular at that point companions ben and polly, and it's the first story to feature jamie as a regular, after he joined the tardis at the end of the last one.

the tardis lands on a beach, and the crew find an entrance that leads underground, to the sunken kingdom of atlantis. a rather fanatical scientist called professor zaroff has found his way there as well, and he plans to raise the continent back to ground level. his plan, unfortunately, will probably destroy the earth in the process. but he's too mad to care about that. can the doctor stop him?

Whilst not outstandingly terrible, this story was written in a hurry. and it shows. added to which troughton hasnt quite found the character of his doctor yet, and adding jamie to the tardis crew means it gets a bit crowded and ben and polly lose lines that would have gone to them.

we basically have three rather light hearted episodes before things get a bit grim in the last one.

not the worst doctor who story out there by a long chalk. but often they made episodes just so they wouldnt have twenty five minutes of blank tv screen on a saturday night, and these are four of them.

having said that the quality of the release is well up to the usual high standard of the bbc radio collection. the sound quality is excellent, and there is very good linking narration from anneke wills [who played polly] which lets you know whats happening when the soundtrack isnt descriptive enough. the cds are divided into tracks by scenes of the episodes, and the inlay in the box gives you a guide to these.

the final disc concludes with an interview with anneke wills, talking about her time on the show. it's a good little chat, as she's a very good interviewee.

not a great story, but a good package for it
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on 6 February 2006
This may well be the weakest storyline BBC handed poor Patrick Troughton, the very finest actor ever to portray the good Doctor, but, notwithstanding the loss of three of its four episodes on film, Troughton's skill and uniquely irresistable charm manages to save the day, just as the Doctor, Jamie, and the wonderful Polly manage to save the world, once again. The mad scientist with the German accent may go a bit over the top (or so Troughton and his sidekicks felt, as we are told in the excellent behind-the-scenes narration by Polly), and the Atlantean "fish people" may dangle a bit too crudely from their obvious cables (shown all-too-clearly in the restored surviving episode, available in the indispensible DVD set, "Lost in Time"), but this is really must-listen Doctor Who. Frazer Hines gives his usual excellent performance as Jamie, and the teaming of the Doctor, Jamie, and Polly, which shines so well in this adventure, really was one of the strongest in the series. (Polly's early departure from the show is something of a tragedy, as is the near-total loss of her fine work on film.) The plot, in a nutshell: mad scientist who has found Atlantis and set up shop there (converting some of the populace to "fish people" through gill-insertion operations - from which Polly is narrowly rescued) decides to create a fissure in the earth's crust, destroying the world in a gigantic magma flow, just to prove he could do it. Doctor blunders onto scene and stops him, in the nick of time, and mad scientist drowns rather than let go his grip on the detonator (rather spectacular, that). Actually, it's much better than it sounds, and with Troughton's rich voice (Polly calls it "chocolate" at one point, aptly), superb acting skills, and irresistable charm as the Doctor, it's well worth adding to your collection. This may be the solitary case in which the loss of the filmed version might actually boost the quality of the production, given BBC's cheesy special effects and criminally "thrifty" budgeting. Apparently, the regulars realized this would be something of a white elephant, but actually it comes out quite well, large thanks to the great Patrick Troughton. Glad I bought it!
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on 8 February 2005
What we have in "The Underwater Menace" is a fast paced, exciting and indeed entertaining adventure. Set in the lost city of Atlantis, the Doctor, Ben, Polly and new companion Jamie (This was only his second story) come up against the insane Professor Zaroff, possibly the most mentally unstable villian until Hindle in the 5th Doctor story "Kinda".
Sadly only one episode currently exists in the archieves (Episode 3) but that does not detract from the excitement of the story. In fact the episode is on the "Lost In Time" DVD.
All in all, we have a great 2nd Doctor adventure that can be enjoyed not only by die hard fans of the show, but anyone else as well.
And as Zaroff might say: "Nothing in the world can stop you from buying this!"
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on 30 September 2013
oh Boy what a good story line not as good as Fury from the deep but if you are a Patrick Troughton fan you will like it.
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on 8 October 2016
I bought this for my wife and she loves it Thank You
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