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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 2 September 2008
While not quite deserving of classic status, Four to Doomsday is still a very admirable story from a period where the show was trying to re-establish itself as a more serious, science fiction series and improvements in technology help make this story look far more sophisticated than anything the series had previously presented. The special effects are well above average for the time, and the storyline is intriguing if a little muddled. This was actually the first story that Peter Davison recorded (not the first broadcast) and he does seem a little uneasy at first but quickly finds his feet. So, not an essential story, but well worth a look, it's a visual treat and desrves more recognition than it usually gets from fandom.
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on 17 August 2007
some stories of doc who have great storylines and acting but obvious limitations of budget, like in the sun makers and underworld, and some stories have great storylines and great designing, and here is one of the best for its overall look on the eye.

not just the impressive and massive looking sets, but also the cultures developed and shown throughout. and monarch is a great central moron if ever there was one. Peter Davison is a great doctor, here in his debut performance as the time lord. And the crew of the TARDIS are all different and all get a decent amount of things to do.

this is doctor who at its most imaginative and fun.
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on 25 September 2015
This is awful!!
I must have deleted this series of episodes from my childhood-memory addiction of Davidson's Who.
Buy it, watch it, then let it gather dust!!
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on 24 August 2012
Great story highly underated.

Peter Davison - The Doctor
Janet Fielding - Tegan
Sarah Sutton - Nyssa
Matthew Waterhouse - Adric
(Ranked 173rd in 2009 in Doctor Who Magazine's, Mighty 200 pol)

A definate Highlight of this episode is Tegan knockig annoying Adric out. Possibly buy this release for that alone!
This one is not held high among fans of Doctor Who, I LIKE IT! Peter Davison is my all-time favorite Doctor and Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton play my all-time favorite companions. RECOMMENDED!
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VINE VOICEon 27 September 2008
Barcode: 5014503243128

I have always liked Peter Davison's Doctor so to go back and see where it all began for him was certainly an interesting experience. Four To Doomsday is most definitely a mixed bag, but I found much to enjoy in this story, even if it did come in inconsistent bursts.

In terms of the look and feel of the episode, with a new Doctor and a new season, the BBC was obviously keen to impress and as a result we are treated to some very nicely designed sets. Four To Doomsday sees the show at its most Sci-Fi, ideas of technology and intelligence forming a crucial part of the story. But as nice as these elements are, certainly from the first part of this serial you get an overriding feeling that there's just something slightly lacking when compared to other stories of the era.

For starters - and this isn't necessarily a bad thing - but this is a very wordy serial. There is a lot of dialogue, some of it getting pretty deep and at times the story can feel more like a lesson in morality, philosophy and science than an episode of Doctor Who. There are moments when this is done well and it is here that this episode really succeeds, but equally there is a lot of filler too.

The whole thing flows along nicely but nothing much really happens in episode 1 and for much of episode 2. Then we get episode 3 which shows real potential, the tension and drama of the story suddenly being turned right up as all the plot elements slide into place. We get treated to some wonderful bits of dialogue here and for a while it looks like everything is building to an epic finale but then sadly things drop off again in episode 4. So, episode 3 is without a doubt the best of the four, if anything, worth it alone for when Tegan gets angry at Adric and knocks him out.

The companions are interesting in this story, growing into their roles - I've always loved Davison's classic `TARDIS team' as I think it gave a real element of youthful energy to the show. As is standard with the three companions, because of the complexities of giving them all parts to play in the story, all three get sidelined at various moments - Nyssa getting hypnotised, Adric being knocked out and Tegan trying to figure out how to fly the TARDIS. Equally though, all get their chance to shine too, oh, and who knew Tegan could draw so well?

In terms of the villains, the costumes of the Urbankans isn't the best, coming across like a mix between a cabbage and a frog, but Stratford Johns is fantastic with his charming yet egotistical Monarch and his self indulgent banter is a delight to listen to, and along with his creepy assistants Enlightenment and Persuasion, this trio inject much needed gravitas into this story.

Their bizarre fascination with the failings of `flesh' beings is quite unnerving and adds to an overall sinister feel to this story - a sense of sterile conditions populated by `androids' who have settled into a mindless monotony lasting thousands of years. It sent a chill down my spine as the Greek philosopher reveals his true form, holding up the computer chip and declaring `This is me' - great cliffhanger.

Without a doubt the worst element of this story is the ridiculous 'entertainment' room/variety show thing. It's used to pad out a fair bit of the story and ultimately just looks and sounds a bit of a mess and doesn't really mesh fully with the feel of the rest of the serial. In regards to the whole space-walk sequence, again, a nice idea but sadly the effects just don't cut it. Another disappointment was the way the ending comes around far too suddenly, before you know it Monarch is defeated in a flash and everything is resolved.

In terms of extras, as well as the standard commentary you also get some raw studio footage and an interview with Peter Davison but is quite lacking compared to what's on offer on other Doctor Who DVD releases. I'd really like to give this story five stars as there are some really nice elements to it, moments that just remind you why you love Doctor Who so much, but these are scattered in with a lot of filler and ultimately this story's inconsistency lets it down a lot it, and as a whole it just isn't strong enough to warrant a top rating. That said, it's still worth a watch, just maybe see some of Davison's other stories first.
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on 14 September 2008
2Entertain are releasing all the Doctor Who stories currently available.The key word there is "all".As in "all".Everyone of.That includes the good,the bad and the occasional ugly.Four To Doomsday may indeed fall into that category but it has to be released at some point.There are a limited number of Hartnell/Troughton episodes available and they need more restoration,so they are obviously going to be released less frequently than the later stories.Buy or don't buy.That is the question....

Four To Doomsday is a decent story,let down by the inadequacy both of FX available,and of the people in charge at the time of production.But the story is better than the criticism usually aimed at it would have you believe.Peter Davison's Doctor is clearly still finding his feet in his predecessor's somewhat sizeable shoes.Which is entirely understandable.The tale seems burdened by the presence of the three companions,which is two too many,at times events seemingly occuring just to provide them with something to do(Tegan attempting to steal the Tardis most obviously)which,as much as anything,distract from the plot.

Speaking of the plot,it's not hugely original,and reminds me in places of The Ark,a early William Hartnell story,which has yet to reach the shelves on DVD(hint hint).Alien invasion of Earth is nothing new,yet Four to Doomsday puts it's own spin on the premise,which while never ingenius,gives enough original moments to stand out on it's own,for better or for worse!.Monarch may not have become an icon such as Daleks or Cybermen,but i'm not going to forget Stratford Johns as a life-size frog!

They tried,and did at times fail.But they tried.And at the end of the day,thats why i love the show.And it's also why i like Four To Doomsday.It's one of those stories that reminds me why i love the show.Because even when it's not great,it's good.What more can you ask for?
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on 11 October 2015
Great underrated story! An interesting script, quality sets and well defined characters make this one of Peter Davison eras' finest. Oh, and great to see [a sadly underused] Burt Kwouk-it's amazing how many old shows he pops up in. Buy, and enjoy!
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on 1 October 2015
Excellent smooth transaction - prompt & efficient - one to recommend to all A++
Prompt delivery, good value and required to complete collection
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on 18 September 2008
I saw this story for the first time yesterday on DVD. I was expecting something truly awful but I was very pleasantly surprised. The sets, design,lighting and direction are very effective, especially considering the financial and time restraints put on the progamme in the 80s. Well done crew!! The acting isn't too bad either - The TARDIS crew are fine. I found Persuasion's and Enlightenment's human forms chilling - I've always favoured humanoid aliens as more threatening, especially glamorous ones, you know, how does the quote go : '..so beautiful as to be evil..'? These two, with the excellent Stratford Johns hold the story up. Pity the plot unravels feebly by the middle of Episode 3 but the trio above could have had their roles expanded with the theme of political corruption and surveillance states brought more to the surface etc... Still not too sure about what to make of the recreational dances & fights - they feel like a crowded Blue Peter studio outtake! The commentary by the cast and director is cracking, engaging, funny and insightful - well worth a listen! Basically, not as bad as it's made out to be and there are some interesting concepts floating around there too. Five stars for being an underdog for so long! BTW, I watched 'Revenge of the Cybermen' last month and nearly died of boredom!! Oh, but I'm not allowed to say that because his Holiness Tom Baker's in it and all his stories are EXCELLENT..apparently! LOL!
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on 1 September 2013
Pleasantly surprised by this - in 1982 I thought it was rubbish; looking back, I think it was more this story's place in the batting order - just after the gently paced Castrovalva - that damned it for me.

It is not, let's be honest, an action packed adventure yarn; the first two episodes are much more about talk than action, and I think it's fair to say that the story could be an episode shorter without hurt, but the writing is of a high quality, and it's genuinely easy to listen to, and the story's intelligent and it all holds together, which can't be said for some tales with more pizzazz.

It looks very good too; that staircase seems to be doing multiple service, as I suspect that the multiple rooms are the same set cleverly re-dressed, but I do get a sense of a very big space ship indeed (the model really is good too), and the bridge looks very impressive. The ethnically exotic crew are really rather wonderful, though I can't quite understand why they dance so much - but it's all very pretty to watch - why the Greeks have to fight, when they could be doing Zorba's Dance I don't understand either (Oh yes, it's so one can appear mortally wounded, it's the plot...).

In terms of effects, it's all of its time - there's some fairly obvious Chromakey in the space walk scene, and the bit where Bigon takes his face off doesn't quite work (not nearly as well as in the Android Invasion six years earlier), but his producing the electronic gizmo from his chest and saying 'This is me' makes for a very good cliffhanger.

And it's generally well acted. Peter Davison, in his first outing as the Dr is very good indeed, and Matthew Waterhouse does well at being very stupid and annoying as Adric (the moment when the Dr finally calls him a 'young idiot' is really very enjoyable), and Janet Fielding makes Tegan's anxiety really very real (and irritating), and the bit where she tries to pilot the TARDIS is very convincing. (I wish she wasn't so stuck with the Thunderbird uniform).

Burt Kwouk is wasted, but the guy playing the Australian native earns his money (as do his three chums), and if the lady playing the Mayan princess has taken a vow of silence (handy that) she dances very nicely. Phillip Locke is very good as Bigon - the Greek philosopher, who's been thinking for thousands and thousands of years, and Monarch's greatest antagonist. Which brings us to the aliens.

Annie Lambert is excellent - lovely and poisonously sinister - but Paul Shelley doesn't seem at all on form (he was so good in Secret Army and Blake's 7), maybe it's the wig they've put him in. Stratford Johns is wonderfully magisterial, and carries much of the show - at least those bits that Mr Davison isn't already carrying himself - let's hear it for the fat green frog! At least Mr Shelley's death is remarkable - the only Dr Who character to expire in a pose from Saturday Night Fever.

Just a couple of questions about a story that I've enjoyed far more now than I ever did back in the day; one - How come only Tegan can understand Kurkutji? What about the Time Lord translator thing? Two - Why's the Greek philosopher named Bigon? Should be something like Bigonocles, surely? Or soddit - why not make him Plato and have done?

I don't know enough about Physics to comment on the cricket ball.
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