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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 22 October 2014
What's the USP of this review? Well, it's by someone who is not a McCoy fan and who until now was quite dismissive of the whole McCoy era. That is until 'Ghost Light'. Like many a fan, I've selectively bought those DVDs from the so-called Classic era of the programme featuring my favourite portrayals of the Timelord (Troughton, Pertwee, Baker - yeah, I'm 46, can you tell?) before considering others. I never caught much of the McCoy era on original broadcast having being put off by the first episodes of 'Time and the Rani' (now there is a complete dog of a show) and McCoy's clowning around. Yeah, I got all the hype about the later Dark Doctor portrayal but much of this was primarily in the New Adventures novels rather than on screen.

Anyway...'Ghost Light'. I'd caught snatches of this over the years but nothing prepared me for the experienced of watching the complete story. 'Ghost Light' has to be one of the very best stories in the entire 1963-1989 run of the original series. I'd put it up there with many of the Pertwee/Baker classics No, really. A wonderfully intelligent script which doesn't spoon-feed the viewer with heaps of exposition whilst still being easy to follow (I have no idea why people, including some of the cast on the DVD extras, say it's difficult to follow). In that respect it is rather similar to PJ Hammond's 'Sapphire and Steel' with which it shares an eerie atmosphere. The cast and design are of an exceptionally high standard with the only misfires being some of the special effects (late 80s special effects see more dated than mid 70s for some reason) and the music. Don't get me wrong - Mark Ayres incidental music is atmospheric and acts as a great cue for the action but for some reason has been dubbed SO LOUDLY THAT IT DROWNS OUT THE CAST'S LINES AT SOME POINTS (something which in fairness Ayres himself acknowledges in one of the DVD extras).

So if like me you also have avoided buying a McCoy for whatever reason, think again and buy 'Ghost Light'. It is an absolute classic of very high quality indeed representing the best of the original series.
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on 27 April 2012
I can honestly say the video version i had was better .Be aware of the picture quality on this dvd its worse than VCR standard.
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on 15 December 2000
Sylvester McCoy's portrayal of the Doctor was better than Colin Baker's but the stories were generally poorer. 'Dragonfire' is an example. It is not one of the best stories from the McCoy era but it isn't the worst either. Bonnie Langford leaves, Sophie Aldred replaces her, Tony Selby makes his last appearance in the series. You should also look out for Edward Peel as Kane (better known for Juliet Bravo and Emmerdale) and a brief appearance at the beginning by one of the former stars of London's Burning. A story for Doctor Who completists but not an example of the series at its best.
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on 8 July 2007
To be honest I am not an avid fan of the Sylvester McCoy era but this story, Remembrance and Survival are the only exceptions.

Before I even watched this I had high hopes for it because it oversees the introduction of Ace, one of my fave companions. This story gives her a good introduction and by the time of Survival it's nice to see how much she has matured from here.

The story itself is actually quite good and has plenty of twists and a cast of strong guest characters.

Sylvester McCoy puts on a pretty average performance as the good Doctor (then again to be fair it is the end of only his first season). However Bonnie Langford is diabolical as Mel and makes me releived that this is her final story. Tony Selby mainly steals the show however as the lovable space crook Glitz.

Overall Dragonfire isn't the best and yet isn't the worst story in the entire history of Doctor Who. It stand shoulder to shoulder with stories such as Logopolis, The Keeper of Traken and Twin Dillema.
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on 17 January 2001
Great acting abounds on this Doctor Who from 1989. This was the story that convinced me that Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred were two terrific actors and that they were more than capable of being one of the series' great partnerships. The sets depicting a Victorian mansion are excellent and the guest cast of Ian Hogg, Sylvia Syms and John Hallam is good without being too much of a showbiz line-up (although Frank Windsor is a bit typecast as a policeman).
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on 27 June 2000
I think that Glitz would make a really good person for the Doctor to meet up with in the possibl future stories(please make them BBC!) I was glad that Mel left in this story because all she ever did was scream at the monsters were as Ace through Nitro 9 at them. I really like Sylvester McCoy as the doctor although my favourite is Peter Davidson. A good story!
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on 12 May 2013
One of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever, with a fascinating plot and a script where every line is a joy. This story perfectly demonstrates the genius of the McCoy Doctor, his manipulation and his wit. The image quality on this DVD is not so good but it somehow adds to the ambiance. The score is FANTASTIC. I can't believe the laziness of people who claim this story is confusing or not understandable; the story may suffer from being cut into just three episodes but it's all there you just have to make sure you hear and understand every line of dialogue. This story provides key Ace backstory and the performances are terrific.
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on 27 April 2010
When Slyvester McCoy took over the role of Doctor Who (No'7), I wasn't overly keen on him or the stories that we're being produced at that time in the 80's, too much humour, too many high profile actors mis-cast, silly monsters, etc, etc.

However turning out Slyvester's 3rd season (Season 26 of Who) as the Doctor, the stories were returning to the old days of intesity, drama, thought provoking & complicated scripts. This was one at the time that seemed rather confusing.

Now looking back upon review, it shows how Slyvester was becoming a very darker, yet interesting Doctor, the assistant in this case (Ace) becoming the main focus of the stories worked rather well & more dynamic. Yet making the 7th Doctor more heroic in a clever but darker way. Also the BBC were great at doing costume dramas, so making use of a historic setting and using previous BBC custome drama stage sets, makes for a cracking saving on the Who budget, thus spending the who budget to bruce it up more, making the whole set feel confined, atmospheric, isolated & really like an old country mansion estate.

What is interesting that nearly two decades later, we see where exactly Doctor Who was going & on review becoming a more interesting show again, like it is today. Life was returning, so was great scripts, great characterisation, & brilliant drama.

This should have been really been a 4-part story, then it may not have been so complicated. However being a 3 parter does have it's pluses, you are totally glued to it until the end & wonder afterwards "Why the hell was the show pulled?" then, when it was just starting to get brilliant again.

This story does shine out for Slyvester & Sophie & is by far one of the best from the 7th Doctors era (which are mostly season 26, this, The Curse and Survival stories anyway), a must buy for fans & can be watched again & again.
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on 14 September 2011
Ghostlight was the last Classic doctor Who story to be produced, ( Although Survival was screened later) and it is also one of the seventh Doctor's best stories.
The main stumbling block that gets in people's enjoyment of the serial, is that it is abit hard to follow! I would say that you need to watch it, then preferably read a synopsis of the plot somewhere, and then watch it agian to really get it.

To be honest, it should have been a 4-parter, maybe starting with a flash-back sequence showing the alien attack on the house. Or maybe a 13-year-old Ace being spooked out by its apparitions, as a teaser.
It is certainly a contender for the title of weirdest Doctor Who story ever, but there is a method behind the madness, and the story does make sense, though does also make considerable demands on the viewer.

The period setting is top-notch, as is the casting, with veteran actors such as Sylvia Siims and Frank Windsor on top form.

However, this is really Ace's story, andSophie aldred gives a believable and emotional performance in a story that sees her character manipulated by the Doctor and made to face ehr fears.
McCoy in the most part is great, though there is oe scene that spoils it all, when he does that ridiculous gurning at Light.
He's so much better playing the mysterious, quizical doctor, always a case of more is less with him. When he's good he's very,very good. When he's bad he's awful. But thankfully 98% of the time he's good, and so is "Ghostlight"
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on 7 January 2001
This is a rather good Sylvester McCoy and Ace story. All nicely done, nice mystery as to what is going on till the end. Worthwile!
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