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on 18 October 2016
Wow! Repeat this ad infinitum, and you'll appreciate how good this old favourite is. It features our favourite Brigadier Leftbridge-Stewart (complete with eyepatch - to distinguish him from the 'real', this-world person), in a rather nasty, dystopian version of alternative reality. A bit over-the-top in places, but a good old stalwart, and a fitting monument to one, alas, now passed beyond the grave.
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on 9 December 2006
I've recently watched a lot of Jon Pertwee stories and Inferno definitely stands out as being the best. From the eerie background music and the droning of the drill to the excellent writing. It's a long story but unlike a lot of stories this length, it isn't padded and there's no dodgy effects. In episode 3 the doctor is transported to a parallel world where he meets an evil brigade leader and Liz Shaw. Nick Courtney is excellent as the brigade leader. From here the story really kicks off. The Doctor is locked in a cell next to a sick man who transforms into a monster. He escapes but is too late from stopping them and disaster strikes when they hit the earth's crust. The brigade leader helps the Doctor restore power to his tardis console but only so he can force the Doctor to take him back with him. The Doctor refuses and escapes just in time before lava arrupts and presumably engulfs everyone. It's a shame that the people in the parallel world had to die, but when he gets back to the real world he manages to stop the drilling in the nick of time and the characters have a happy ending. This story is loads better than anything from the new series, however I can see why they don't make 7 parters now, as i doubt anyone would have the patience to sit through a story for 7 weeks! I also have to say the restoration team have done a great job cleaning up the picture. The colour is great and not a crackle in sight.

The extras on the DVD are good as usual. There's an interesting programme on the making of Inferno, which includes interviews with Barry Letts, Caroline John and Nick Courtney. My how Nick Courtney has aged! There's also a programme called The UNIT Family Part 1 about UNIT from their debut in the 60s through to their first Jon Pertwee season up to Inferno. I presume there will be a Part 2 once more Pertwee stories are finally released.
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on 29 June 2006
I always thought that the first Pertwee season was the best of the five years he did, as the stories in it were pitched at a higher, more intelligent level. Caroline John as Liz Shaw made a great companion, not only for the fact that she was nice to look at (!) but as a sidekick to the Doctor and a member of Unit she was quite rightly very intelligent, and this made for an intelligent show with grown up dialogue, serious stories, and acting and a 'proper' approach to science fiction.

Why they ever replaced her with the awful Jo Grant in the following season is beyond me, as Doctor Who then started to appear that little bit cheesy....

However, here, all is well.

The plot revolves around a scientific experiment to drill through the Earths core, and involves a parallel world where things are familiar but not quite the same.

The regulars are on good form as themselves, and Nicholas Courtney is excellent as the Brigadier and his alter ego, the sadistic braggart Brigade Leader Lethbridge Stewart who leads by fear and intimidation. Tyhe contrast between the two Lethbridge Stewarts could not be more pronounced and for the viewer, is great fun.

Caroline John is convincing as ever as Liz Shaw, and also as her counterpart Elizabeth Shaw, and Jon Pertwee excels himself here as the Doctor desperately trying to save not one, but two worlds. The power of his acting is pronounced and you can tell that he is throwing himself into the part, not just coasting as was apparrent toward the end of his time as the Doctor.

For my money, one of the best performances has to be that of Derek Newark as the heroic Greg Sutton, who in both worlds tries to do his best to be a good guy. His acting is brilliant and helps to convince the audience that there is a real sense of drama evoked here; a real sense of horror at what is happening is transmitted to the viewer.

The argumnets with Professor Stahlman (Olaf Pooley)are particularly notable for realism.

The traditional Doctor Who monster is here too in the form of the Primords, and as people dehumanised by the side effects of technology they are all the scarier, added to by some clever direction.

This story could teach the production team of the new series exactly how great Doctor Who should be made, so they don't repeat the disaster of episodes like the Peter Kay one....

To sum up, the best Pertwee story ever made, and should probably rank in the all time top ten best Who stories ever made, due to realism, a serious approach to the sci-fi, a mature attitude to the stroytelling, higher than average production values, vibrant direction, and just the sheer ability this story has of invloving the viewer in it, possibly because of the ecological message that is rammed home here.

Simply excellent.
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1970's Inferno is yet another classic Jon Pertwee serial, it concerns a certain Professor Stahlman penetrating the crust of the earth and unleashing the natural gas that is located there. Unfortunately for the good prof, his plans are hampered somewhat by the Doctor and UNIT, as well as the primitive primords that have been created through exposure to some kind of green super gunk. Overall, the 7 part story holds itself together rather well and does not drag in places like other serials of said length. I would even go so far as to say that this story could do with an extra couple of episodes to pan out events further.

Jon Pertwee is as ever on fine form here, playing the Doctor with such ferocious seriousness that he upstages everyone surrounding him. The story's villain, Professor Stahlman is wonderfully brought to life by actor Olaf Pooley, his scenes with Jon Pertwee's Doctor are priceless and some of the more genuinely funny moments of the series. Nick Courtney's Brigadier is also a charming aspect to this classic yarn, by now the Doctor and the Brig have settled in to their roles wonderfully and bounce off each other beautifully. Also of note is Caroline John, this being her final adventure in Doctor Who. Liz brings a much needed woman's touch to the concrete and steel setting of this cold story. It was a shame that she never got to appear in another series alongside Pertwee as the two of them work wonderfully on screen together and right from the start she was portrayed as a strong and intelligent woman. Barry Letts felt that the character did not work alongside the Third Doctor and so for the start of season 8, Katy Manning assumed the role of the dolly bird and dependent Jo Grant. I can see now this was the right choice. How could you not love Katy.

The bleak setting for this adventure is the main reason why it works so well, the cold atmosphere of 1970's commercial manufacturing is a brilliant setting for such a serious adventure. Some of the best scenes are set up on top of the cooling towers, the Doctor fighting with the infected humans / Primords makes for some thrilling viewing. As for the design work done for the story, its very apt, the creepy studio sets are just as enthralling as the sublime location work. Director Douglas Camfield is no newby to the demands that as show like Doctor Who requires to sustain its imaginative flow, having been associated with the show as far back as the early Hartnell years he was no doubt one of the greatest directors the programme ever boasted in its arsenal. His flair with the camerawork is unique, as is the performances he gets out of his actors. A man with every little detail explored and no stone unturned. Needless to say this is some of his finest work on the series. When Barry Letts took over in episode 3, there was a distinct change in direction, no worst at all as I love Barry's direction, but the two men were different in their approach.

The BBC DVD release of this classic story boasts the 7 part serial in fully remastered and restored fashion, having been "cleaned up" by the Doctor Who Restoration Team, its never looked better. The documentaries are informing but more importantly entertaining, special note must go to the UNIT family doco. Lovely stuff.

All in all then, this masterpiece of the 1970's is a sure enough welcome to the ever expanding range of Doctor Who DVD's that we are currently drowning in. Highly recommended.

Many thanks for your time, its greatly appreciated.

M.B.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2006
I recall seeing the first transmission of this superb series and always believed it to be one of the very best of Doctor Who. Now, thanks to the wonders of DVD, it can be seen by a wider audience and a new generation of Doctor Who fans. A drilling operation is being conducted on a research centre which goes horribly wrong. The Doctor, wonderfully played by the late Jon Pertwee, finds himself in an alternative Universe struggling to convince the scientists that what they are doing could destroy the earth. The alternative universe is run by the military, brash and uncompromising, unwilling to listen to the doctors warnings. The scenes here have to be seen to be believed. Both Nicholas Courtney and the lovely Caroline John play their respective counter parts wonderfully well. It is only when the doctor emerges back in the normal Universe that the action really excites to a brilliant ending. A great series all around. And to make it much better for viewers, numerous extras abound on disc 2 which will keep not only fans, but television historians glued to the screen for hours. Sadly, it was Caroline John's last appearance in Doctor Who, so its one to treasure. During her interview, she reveals the reasons why she left the series, and it was not difficult to notice that her leaving did have an emotional effect on her.

As for the Picture, it is good, but not brilliant, although sound in a Home Cinema system is more than adequate.

One of those great Doctor Who series you should not miss.
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on 12 March 2014
The original DVD of Inferno suffered from a rather ugly transfer which was the best that could be achieved an the time of release. This version goes a different route by VidFiring the film prints and adding colour.. As such the results can only be seen as a massive improvement. Its a great story let down by a few joke shop vampire teeth towards the end, but if you can rise above that aspect (OK I'll allow you one titter) then you are in for a treat. The seventh season of Doctor Who was amazing. This is a superb climax to that run.

Some newly created extras round off the package and all in all its one of the best the series has to offer. Highly recommended
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on 13 July 2006
Professor Stahlman is in charge of a project to drill through the Earth's crust in the hope of locating a cheap new source of energy. His American assistant has misgivings, as do UNIT, who are on site to provide security, but Stahlman will allow nothing and no one to get in his way, even when project workers become infected and go berserk. Meanwhile, the Doctor is using power from the drilling project to try to repair his TARDIS. One of his attempts at travel sends him into a parallel dimension, a fascist state in which the project is further advanced. Falling into the hands of the Brigade Leader, the Doctor is forced to watch helplessly as this alternative Earth is plunged into destruction.

Inferno was the fourth and last story in Doctor Who's seventh season, when the Doctor was exiled to Earth and forced to work with the military, in the form of UNIT. Already chafing against what they saw as an extremely awkward situation, incoming production team Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks, solved the problem by creating a parallel Earth which was slightly ahead of its real-world counterpart. The story, centred as it is on the idea of the blind exploitation of the planet, was an early flowering of a narrative strand which was to become ever-more important during the Pertwee years of the early 1970's. The device of the alternative world helps to improve the pacing of the story, which is noticeably less padded than some other stories of the time.

The performances of the cast are uniformly excellent, with Pertwee on fine form, and the UNIT regulars clearly relishing the opportunity to portray more vicious versions of their usual characters in the fascist alternative world. In particular, Nicholas Courtney revels in his new characterisation, the Brigadier's humanity replaced by the Brigade Leader's barely-concealed panic and cruelty. The stunt team, Havoc, provide plenty of excitement as soldiers and workers are infected by the slime welling up out of the ground and go on the rampage.

The extras on this two-disc set are up to the level we have come to expect. The commentary from Letts and Dicks is informative, though the contributions from John Levene, who played Sergeant Benton, quickly become irritating. For no adequately-explained reason, he insisted on recording his commentary separately, and his comments are dropped in from time to time. There are two documentaries, one on the making of the story, and another as the first part of a history of UNIT. This latter is the more interesting, and features Havoc, the group of stuntmen employed full-time by Doctor Who.

This is a first-rate presentation of an excellent story.
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on 11 March 2013
I really enjoyed watching Dr Who - Inferno, as I found both acting and the story line very gripping. It is also a fitting tribute to the great Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor), Nicholas Courtney (Brigader Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart), Caroline John (Dr Liz Shaw), Shelia Dunn (Petra Williams), Derek Newark (Greg Sutton), and producer Barry Letts and Shelia Dunn's husband the Director Douglas Camfield who sadly became ill during the filming of this epic adventure. This was adventure is fabulous as Nicholas Courtney, Caroline John and new 1970s regular John Levene (Sargeant John Benton) portrays two facets of their characters from the two different demisions of planet 'Earth' with great passion.

It is sad to see how many good actors and actresses cope with a story that deals with one man obsession on drilling through the earth's curst can brings one an environment and global disaster that could destroy planet earth. The doctor has faced both the Daleks and the Cybermen, but of his greatest enemies is always an arrogant, ignorant and dark side of humanity itself, and this is excellently captured in the characterisation of Professor Eric Stalhman who is excellently acted by Olaf Pooley. Olaf Pooley's character Professor Stalhman has always been my favourite number one Dr Who human villians (Tony Beckley's Harrison Chase from the 1976 Dr Who adventure 'The Seeds of Doom' coming a close second), and it is fantastic as he arrogantly dismisses and ignores both the Third Doctor's (Pertwee), Sir Keith Gold's (Christopher Benjamin), Greg Sutton's (Newark), Bridader Lethbridge-Stewart's (Courtney) and eventally Petra William's(Dunn)fears, concerns and warnings about the drilling Project:Inferno.

I think the parallel universe was a brilliant idea showing two side of evil earth were the disaster become real and frighting especially the transformation of Stalhman, Sargeant Benton and group of scientist into the monstrous Primiods caused by green bubbling hot slim from the earth core. This is a fabulous Dr Who adventure and it is scarier than the re-launched series with its CGI monsters. I am really looking forward to the final Jon Pertwee 1971 adventure 'The Mind of Evil' in full colour for the first time in June 2013, and Tom Baker's final epic 'Terror of the Zygons' coming out in September 2013.
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on 22 April 2007
"Inferno", by Don Houghton, is another popular candidate for "best Doctor Who story ever made". It would certainly appear to be the best entry in the "gritty realism" phase that characterised the show's seventh season, and features Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor at his proud, judgemental and occasionally petulant best.

The initial premise of "Inferno" - that of a dangerous drilling project delving deep into the Earth's primal core at great risk, driven by the determined and egotistical Professor Stahlman (Olaf Pooley) who is determined to accelerate the drilling process to the greatest extent possible despite the concerns of the project's computer and, subsequently, the dire warnings of the bolshy oil rig man Greg Sutton (Derek Newark) and the Doctor - sounds interesting enough: but where "Inferno" really becomes an inspired piece of work is in the introduction of a parallel universe storyline (clichéd now, perhaps, but much less so in 1970). In the parallel Earth that the Doctor is catapulted into after an accident involving the TARDIS console, England is a fascist state and the Inferno project is a prison labour camp, where drilling is much more advanced. In the parallel word, the Doctor is even less able to make his fears heard (even his companion Liz Shaw is now a hard-nosed security officer), and must watch as Stahlman's project accelerates and unleashes forces that threaten to tear the planet apart. In both universes, what nobody realises is that Stahlman has been contaminated by the toxic fluids escaping from the drill head and is suffering rapid and physical mental degeneration, and his survival depends upon the completion of the drilling at the earliest moment possible. The Doctor, against steep odds and bearing witness to the disaster that threatens to engulf the parallel earth, must convince the people of the alternative Earth to help him return to his own universe and save the lifes of their compatriots.

Although "Inferno", as a seven-parter, is not fast-paced, the plot still never loses momentum due to the meatiness of the parallel universe storyline. Aided in a large part by the creepy incidental "music", the atmospheric industrial location where much of the story is filmed and the omnipresent sound of the ever-accelerating drill, the action and dialogue of "Inferno" brings with it a sense of ever-increasing danger and desparation, culminating in the shocking ending to episode six. The cast clearly enjoy playing the horrible alternate universe versions of themselves, and it shows both on-screen and in the DVD's special features (the well-equipped package includes a commentary with actor Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart), producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks, with interludes from actor John Levene (Sergeant Benton), plus an hour's worth of excellent newly produced documentary material and several excerpts from the archives), helping "Inferno" to live well and truly up to its reputation as the best story of an era, if not the whole series.
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on 27 June 2006
The final story from Jon Pertwees first season Infernon continues and concludes with the seasons more adult feel with a convincing backdrop of science horror.

The seven epsodes build up effectivly to perhaps the most effective

cliff hanger in the shows history at the end of part six.

In my opnion Pertwee worked best when he had something of force or consqunce to react to here he plays off well aginst the brigade leader and the obseasivly driven Profesor .

There are however some dated elements the romance element feels tacked on for a lighter feel to the storys prodomintly dark feel.

More effective then the recent Cyberman story where there was a contrived sense of sentamatality and speacticle .
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