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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 29 March 2017
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on 1 April 2017
a classic
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on 14 May 2009
I thought that the Pyramids of Mars DVD was a great DVD! Classic Tom Baker! The acting was amazing, the sets were amazing and the story was great. Well worth a look
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on 12 October 2004
This is a really classic Dr Who with both the Dr and Sarah Jane involved in the successful conclusion of the plot. The only serious problem I had was the final unveiling of Sutekh, who looked like he was constructed out of a particularly solid lump of overcooked kebab meat. Despite this, Sutekh is a suitably scary character, one who has the power to make the Doctor look impotent.
Despite this, this story has another uberclassic Who quote when Sarah Jane gets angry at him for not being overly concerned with Litefoot's death: "I'm a Time Lord... You don't understand the implications. I'm not a human being. I walk in eternity.".
We also get to look at the changing attitude that the Doctor has of the immutability of the Time stream when he takes Sarah Jane back to her present to find it a blasted wasteland.
The final denouement on Mars had its moments of tension too and the clues to the various doors were interesting enough to give moments of doubt.
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on 26 July 2004
The Pyramids of Mars contains all the classic Doctor Who qualities on which the programme built such a legendary reputation in the 1970s - fantastic plot, scary effects, great characters and a memorable atmosphere.
It is true to say that the special effects in the last episode are a little primitive from what we usually expect today but it doesn't diminish from the enthusiasm of the plot and the acting. There is also fairly unpleasant death at the end of the first episode which caused lots of controversy at the time. Philip Hinchcliffe as Producer managed the programme very well.
Tom Baker plays the doctor very well in this story (before he makes the character too lightweight and comic).
This story was the most requested by Doctor Who enthusiasts to be put onto DVD and with good reason.
The DVD extras are outstanding - these include new location documentaries as well as very interesting material from the BBC vaults. Hard to better.
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on 17 September 2014
While going through many of Tom Baker's serials, one that was brought up as being one of his best was Pyramids of Mars during his run with Sara Jane Smith, so of course I checked it out pretty quickly and thankfully it delivered on all counts. The chemistry between the Doctor and his companion is as strong as ever and the story is equally great with a strong villain and supporting characters along the way.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 January 2014
Stalking mummies, pyramid powered war missiles, a space-time tunnel, an ancient god rising from his tomb, a cryptic message beamed from Mars ...

In 1975 `Doctor Who' blended science fiction and Egyptology to create a pyramid-shaped high point in the series' legendary `Gothic' period which has stayed popular with fans ever since. An essential, 5* DVD for your `Doctor Who' collection.

The premise is terrifyingly simple: if Sutekh the Destroyer frees himself from his 7000 year old tomb, that's it. No second chances, no plan B, no sequel. He will destroy all life, everywhere and nobody will be able to stop him - "not even our lot" says the Time Lord. This lends an edge to Robert Holmes' terrific script; the Doctor is faced by an undefeatable enemy and he knows it. Tom Baker is at his very best, making the Doctor seem more alien, more brooding, even with flashes of anger, almost as if - it's so unusual that it takes a while to sink in - almost as if the Doctor is afraid.

Of course, he's still going to do whatever it takes to stop the servants of Sutekh before they can free their master. Three episodes of tense conflict with brilliant cliff-hangers then unfold against the verdant setting of a country estate in spring 1911, supported by very impressive interior sets, special effects, music and excellent character acting. The relationship between Marcus Scarman (Bernard Archard) and his brother Laurence (Michael Sheard) is both tragic and memorable. Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah has a good story and is right in the heart of the action, which for a U certificate feature has many surprisingly scary moments.

When all else fails, the Doctor is forced into the inevitable confrontation with Sutekh. The opening of episode four is as powerful as anything ever seen in `Doctor Who' with a famously chilling performance from Gabriel Woolf as the still trapped, masked, near-motionless Sutekh. It's after this that a few stones seem missing from the fourth side of the story's structure. Part of this fourth episode follows a pattern familiar from a previous `Doctor Who' (and in later years, elsewhere). It's a good enough segment in itself, but has the feel of a slight anti-climax after the high drama before it.

Fortunately, we're then back to full speed for the final minutes when the story takes the worst possible turn. Only the Doctor could save the day as he does; defeating the undefeatable enemy and without breaking the logic of the narrative. This is definitely a 5* tale even with the slight dip in episode four. Almost 40 years after first being broadcast, `Pyramids of Mars' is still found near the top of most favourites lists, including mine.

The DVD picture quality shows this was a very early release; it's good but not quite as crisp as later releases. Similarly, the commentary is interesting but lacks the technical quality of the sound on later commentaries, as here the feature audio does not fade in and out as the participants share their memories.

DVD Extras include the usual interesting `making of' documentary, a look at the locations 30 years later, a good Photo Gallery and `Serial Thrillers', a fascinating 40+ minute documentary about the era of producer Philip Hinchcliffe - to many, the golden age of the programme. Finally, if you know your classic `Doctor Who' and don't laugh at `Oh Mummy' - you're probably in a sarcophagus!

NOTE: The DVD menu shows clips from the programme as background, so if you don't know the story already, press `Play' ASAP.
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on 9 November 2014
'Pyramids of Mars' is widely considered to be one of the very best Doctor Who stories, and with good reason, it is superb. There is no cosiness to this story, the Doctor and Sarah are isolated and pitted against a malevolent being of vast power. There is only a very small cast of guest characters who all give good performances and Dudley Simpson's incidental music is very effective at building tension.

The first episode is dripping with atmosphere and suspense with organ music, deaths, mystery and mummies skulking around. The episode culminates with a smashing cliffhanger. The part two and part three cliffhangers are very nearly as effective.

The mummies, which are really robots, are a simple but effective and menacing monster. In a particularly memorable scene one man is crushed to death between two of them. Sutekh is a fabulous villain chillingly voiced by Gabriel Woolf. Woolf voices Sutekh in a subtle, subdued manner, but still full of contempt, which makes Sutekh far more threatening than, for instance, Omega in 'The Three Doctors' who had a very over the top voice.

The scene in episode two where the Doctor takes Sarah to 1980 Earth in the TARDIS and shows her the desolate wasteland that Sutekh will create if he is freed is clever as it accentuates Sutekh's threat and increases the stakes.

Tom Baker gives a fine performance here. There is less joking around than usual to reflect the seriousness of the threat posed by Sutekh. The Tom Baker Doctor also shows an unusual level of vulnerability as Sutekh inflicts excruciating pain on him, forces him to kneel and then possesses him. It's powerful stuff.

Bernard Archard is very good as the possessed Marcus Scarman, who is really little more than a zombie. Michael Sheard makes one of his many guest appearances in Doctor Who as Marcus' brother Laurence, and he gives a fine performance too.

On the downside, where did the mummies and the parts for the rocket come from? Surely the Osirans wouldn't have buried Sutekh with these things! It's also a shame that in the end the Doctor defeats Sutekh with some technobabble.

Nonetheless 'Pyramids of Mars' is a true classic and one of the strongest stories from one of Doctor Who's finest eras.

There are some fine extras on this DVD. 'Osirian Gothic' is a good 22 minute long 'making of' documentary. There are contributions from producer Philip Hinchcliffe, director Paddy Russell as well as many members of the cast.

'Serial Thrillers' is a detailed (nearly 42 minutes!) and interesting documentary about the Philip Hinchcliffe era of Doctor Who. They discuss the companions, directors, set designers, lighting, cliffhangers and many other aspects that all helped to make the era seem so special. They also discuss whether the era went too far with the horrific elements.

'Now and Then' revisits the filming locations used for the story, it is narrated by Michael Sheard. There are a few minutes of deleted scenes.

'Oh Mummy' is a very amusing 6 minute comedy feature. It'a mockumentary in which Sutekh gives an interview about his life. There's a good joke about Sutekh accidentally burning 'Fury from the Deep'. Gabriel Woolf returns to voice Sutekh.
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on 5 May 2017
Greatest ever doctor who story with tom baker and elizabeth sladen when doctor who was at its best
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on 29 July 2006
Story: 4/5 - Extras: 5/5

"Pyramids of Mars", by Stephen Harris, a.k.a. Lewis Greifer and Robert Holmes, is often hailed as a classic of the Tom Baker / Philip Hinchcliffe era of Doctor Who, and in many ways the reptuation is probably deserved. However, whilst I find the story to be a very enjoyable slice of Who, I don't consider it quite deserving of the full five stars.

What "Pyramids" does offer is an intelligent and witty script with strong performances from all concerned. Tom Baker puts in an intense performance here, Gabriel Woolf is chilling as the voice of Sutekh, and Bernard Archard is equally so as the possessed and occasionally conflicted Professor Marcus Scarman. The cast also features the likes of Peter Copley and Who veteran Michael Sheard.

The greatest strength of the first three episodes, however, is the moody location work in the wooded grounds of the old Victorian priory where much of the action takes place, coupled with an imaginative interior set riddled with Egyptian artefacts. Unfortunately, the action moves away from this atmospheric setting for the fourth and final peisode - which is one of my criticisms of "Pyramids", in that it seems to tail off rather than reach the exciting climax that it deserves, in a puzzle sequence a little too reminiscent of "Death to the Daleks" (a resemblance that Elisabeth Sladen even identifies in an astute ad-lib during the final episode).

Still, with a chilling central villain, an atmospheric location and creepy, silent mummies, "Pyramids" is definitely elevated above the lesser offerings of this era. The DVD is well-laden with special features, too, including a commentary by Sladen, producer Philip Hinchcliffe, director Paddy Russell and the late Michael Sheard, as well as lengthy documentaries on the Hinchcliffe era in general and the making of "Pyramids of Mars" itself, plus one or two other bits and bobs.
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