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Attack of the alien plant creatures
on 15 November 2010
The final story of Tom Baker's second season as Doctor Who comes to dvd. This six episode long story sees the Doctor dealing with both alien and human monsters. He and Sarah Jane are called to an arctic research base to investigate something found in the Ice. Which turns out to be a Krynoid. An alien plant creature that could infect the world.
But the human monster, obsessive millionaire and plant lover Harrison Chase, would like the Krynoid for himself. And after he gets a Krynoid pod back to his manor house in England, the Doctor and Sarah have a fight on their hands. With the future of the entire planet at stake....
The Seeds of Doom comes from a time when the show was absolutely at the top of it's game. The programme and it's star were hugely popular with the public. The producers were giving the viewers gripping tales of gothic terror. And there were very talented people involved from the acting to the writing to the producing and directing departments.
All of which leads to six classic episodes. It stretches itself to six parts by concentrating on the arctic situation for the first two and then what happens back in Britain afterwards. This approach never makes it feel padded. And coupled with a memorable array of supporting characters - Tony Beckley as Harrison Chase exudes menace and is never over the top. John Challis makes his henchman Scorby a fully rounded character with some depth rather than just a thug. And you have to like man from the ministry Sir Colin, an astute individual worlds away from the self serving buffoons of the third doctor's years - this becomes good strong adult drama.
The Doctor does get a bit violent at times, but that's because he understands how high the stakes are. There's some rather gruesome alien possession as the Krynoid takes over people. And it is a bit of a weak exit from the series for UNIT, as their last appearance in a 1970s story sees none of the regular shows. But you can't really criticise. This is classic Doctor Who. Well made and acted and superb entertainment all round.
This is a two disc edition. All six episodes of the story are on disc one.
It has the following language options:
English audio captions.
A commentary from Tom Baker and several members of cast and crew plus the son of the late Douglas Camfield, who directed it.
Disc two has the following extras:
Photo gallery of shots from the story and it's production.
Production information subtitles.
Radio times billings for the story and the director's paper edit as PDF Files that can be viewed by putting the disc into a computer.
'Podshock': A thirty seven minute long documentary about the making of the story.
'Playing the green cathedral', a ten minute long interview with composer of the incidental music for the story. Even if you're not musically minded this is quite interesting viewing as he's a good interviewee.
'Stripped for action: fourth doctor', another in the series that has spread across this range looking at the Doctor's time in comic strips this covers the fourth doctor's era and runs for twenty minutes. Possibly only of interest to comic fans but even so it's an interesting look at how the monthly doctor who magazine began and changed the landscape of the form in many ways.
'Now and then', runs for nine minutes and looks round Athelhampton House in Dorset which was used for a lot of the location filming. Showing off some very lovely scenery this is well worth a watch.
'So what do you do exactly?' has production assistant and later director of other doctor who stories Graeme Harper explain, in a six minute feature, what some of the jobs you always see on tv show credits entail. If you're curious about that then this is very good viewing,
Isolated score gives you the chance to listen to the music from the story on it's own.
There's a trailer for the next release in this range of dvds.
And there are two easter eggs which can be found by watching the second disc on a computer and moving the pointer over the special feature screens till they light up a hidden doctor who logo. There's one on each of the two pages of special features on this disc. The first shows a very funny outake. And the second has actor John Challis [Scorby] tell of the time when Doctor Who met another famous BBC character. It's a funny little anecdote.
The story alone makes this worth five stars, but there's a pretty good batch of extras to go with it.