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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 14 November 2007
This story when first transmitted was watched by one in five people in Britain - pretty impressive. What they saw was the Doc and Sarah landing on a lurid planet (on the commentary Baker says it reminded him of the inside of his mind!) where they're immediately suspected of having something to do with the murders that are going on there. And this blaming takes up too much time - it bogs the story down. It's the sort of thing that the marvellous new series doesn't bother with, wisely. Other negative points: Sarah has very little to do; it's a slow starter. Good points: Tom Baker is great; the cliffhangers are all good ones; and some of the set design looks suitably weird.
If it wasn't for the extras I would say this definitely wasn't worth the price tag. Baker's commentary is predictably hilarious, and Philip Hinchcliffe is adept at shedding more light on the production, at some length. Elisabeth Sladen also contributes, and it's always nice to hear her.
I would like to see more 'update the special effects yourself' on these DVDs, as was the case with The Time Warrior. I'd also like to see more great stories that haven't been released on the format yet - the prospect of stories like The Time Meddler isn't a very exciting one.
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on 10 November 2011
Doctor Who's original 26 year history has such diversity that in most stories there is something that really stands out. In Planet of Evil the set designer excels himself in producing a convincing film-like alien landscape which is far removed from what it actually is, a BBC jungle. The filming is highly innovative, particularly when a flying ocular device is tracking the Doctor as there is wonderful atmospheric music to accompany it.

The story is good and suitably dramatic with nice performances from the guest cast. Elizabeth Sladen's costume is very contemporary looking and could probably be worn today. Naturally Baker and Sladen are a wonderful double act and Planet of Evil is positioned in the middle of Baker's finest three years when Hinchcliffe and Holmes were producing and script editing respectively.

The story borrows from other sources, and much of these seasons did, and ironically, are much better for it. A very good overall product from a great era of resourceful and talented people. Perhaps closer to 4.5 stars than 4.0.
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on 11 November 2010
When The Doctor and Sarah Jane respond to a distress signal, the TARDIS materialises on the planet Zeta Minor at the very edge of the Universe. They find a couple of mummified bodies and no sign of life. Meanwhile a Morestran ship sends a rescue party down to the surface of Zeta Minor to find out what has happened to Professor Sorenson's expedition party. Sorenson is alive and he believes he has found the solution to Morestra's problem. Their sun is dying and Sorenson has discovered an alternative crystalline energy source. The Doctor and Sarah immediately come under suspicion for the deaths, but there is a deadly force on Zeta Minor, one that is determined to stop anybody leaving the planet alive....
This little gem is often the forgotten story in the terrific Season Thirteen. It is in fact a rather excellent, with a great storyline involving the perils of messing with the balance of nature. It is helped no end by the wonderful jungle sets, a very evocative realisation of an alien planet, one of the 'classic' series' finest. Both Prentis Hancock and Ewen Solon excel as members of the Morestran crew, and Fredrick Jaeger is great as the mentally tortured Sorenson, a man of science who has been blinded to the dangers of his discoveries. Tom Baker and Liz Sladen were in their second season together and it shows as they are so comfortable with eachother. Companion Harry Sullivan had been left on Earth at the end of the last story, 'Terror Of The Zygons'. Finally, the scenes where the Anti-Matter creature attacks various crew members are very tense and the wizened corpses look great.
In a season full of stories with big horror influences, this one which owes a debt to 'Forbidden Planet' is a very fine tale indeed. Nice extras too. 5 out of 5
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Not the strongest Tom Baker story - he was still finding his feet - but it marked the cusp of the programme's golden era, which would see an unbroken run of classic stories ensue over the next four years.
The Doctor and his companion, journalist Sarah-Jane Smith, arrive on creepy jungle planet, where a rescue party of humanoids has landed in search of the crew of a crashed spaceship. The time travellers quickly find themselves accused of murder, in true Doctor Who style. However, The Doctor soon discovers that there is anti-matter on the planet (Zeta Minor) and that one of the crew has become infected by it, resulting in a Jekyll and Hyde mutation which has led him to murder his compatriots.
The performances from Baker and Sladen, plus the story's effects (dated now but impressive then given the paltry budget) are what lifts this fairly ordinary story, which borrowed heavily from early cult sci-fi movie 'The Forbidden Planet'.
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on 8 November 2010
When I was a teenager I sort of fell in love (is that the right noun?) with Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. This may mean that my reviews of this period of Dr Who may be a little biased. I do think, though, that the Hinchcliffe period was one of the show's strongest and this story doesn't disappoint.

The story is a rather weird conflation of "Jekyll and Hyde" and "Forbidden Planet" that doesn't really address the core idea of either. That sounds like it shouldn't work, but it does because the two precursors are simply influences on what has become a new and original tale. The script is taut and the characters are well-drawn and sub-plots like the antipathy between Salamar and Veshinsky, are allowed to play out believably.

Tom Baker is beginning to get into his stride as the Doctor. He is still evidently more comfortable when the character is in "dynamic" mode, but he is still a joy to watch. Elisabeth Sladen is well-established in her role and she delivers a confident performance that I could watch again and again. Frederick Jaeger and Ewen Solon were, at this time, established actors and their performances do not disappoint. Neither does that of Prentis Hancock.

Special mention should be made of the set design, which is top-notch, and the "monster".

Why not 5 stars? Only two real weaknesses. Firstly it was probably a mistake to make the "parallel universe" one of antimatter. Too much is widely known about antimatter to make the idea of being "infected" by it entirely believable. Secondly, there should have been a better way of presenting the "infected" Sorensen than going caveman. These are minor points, though. Enjoy.
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on 14 December 2014
Following Doctor Who's 12th season opening serial Terror of the Zygons, companion Harry Sullivan departed the show, leaving Sara Jane Smith and The Doctor and thankfully the two of them have such great chemistry that the result is one of the best Doctor/Companion duos in the history of the show. While Planet of the Evil may not be one of the strongest stories in the history of the show, it's still a very entertaining serial with great pefromances all around including from Elisabethn Sladen as Sara Jane and Tim Baker as The Doctor.
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on 26 July 2000
A scary episode where DrWho lands on a living jungle-planet, with monsters of pure energy who can walk through walls. Need I say more? A great DrWho setting with a mad professor, mysterious forces at work and a couple of 'horrible murders'. Yep a good episode :-)
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on 27 March 2005
Doctor Who was one of my favourite TV programmes as a child. Every Saturday night I watched it without fail with my dad and older brothers and was terrified of the monsters. Tom Baker played the Doctor as I grew up, so he is the definitive one to me. When Tom Baker left the series, Doctor Who lost its magic for me, (probably also because I was growing up), but my childhood memories always remained.
I never really looked back on Doctor Who, in the sense of buying videos or DVDs to watch the episodes again. Instead I left it all to sit in my misty memories.
That's until a coupe of weeks ago. I accidentally caught a BBC documentary of Doctor Who, which interviewed the actors and showed numerous clips from the series. When Tom Baker's era was covered, a profound burst of nostalgia hit me. The vivid imagery, the sounds, the title music - the whole 'Who aura' - made me almost weep. I felt like I'd been teleported back to my childhood. "Oh my God", I thought. "I need to buy some of those videos!"
So I ordered six Doctor Who videos from Amazon. I was half expecting to be disappointed, I must admit. Everybody knows about the low budget sets, and the fact that the series was aimed at kids. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the episodes were great viewing. Most of the story lines are classic science fiction. Baker's eccentricity is engaging, and the dialogue - including the Doctor's quirky one-liners - are excellent and witty. The simplicity of the sets add to the overall vivid imagery in my view, and didn't really diminish anything. I think 'the Who' expresses a simple but hearty spirit, which captures the child in us all. ("They don't make 'em like they used to", is so true when comparing today's TV with Doctor Who. But I'm sure they couldn't make 'em like they used to even if they tried.) To top it all off, the nostalgic value is profound.
"The Creature from the Pit" was the first video from the batch that I watched. When I ordered it, I was looking for "Planet of Evil" without knowing it. One of the earliest, most vivid childhood memories I have from Doctor Who is of a white, wire-framed-like monster rising from a big hole in the ground. When ordering the videos, I didn't know which series this was from, and assumed that a title like "The Creature from the Pit" would be the one. I later saw a review for "Planet of Evil" on Amazon.co.uk, and the reviewer wrote: "I had childhood memories of this story involving a wire-frame luminescent monster arising from a hole in the ground."
I thought, "There's a man of my own heart!", and quickly ordered it. And I wasn't disappointed. This story is surprisingly creepy and atmospheric even now. When I saw that particular scene, I was hit by a deep sense of nostalgia - it was exactly as I'd remembered. (I've since learned that I was only three and a half years old when I last saw this episode. Talk about the impact of vivid imagery!)
All in all, the depth and pathos of Doctor Who is profound. This stuff is fantastic, and Doctor Who needs to stay up there with the all-time TV classics.
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on 1 February 2014
For some reason this story never seems to rate that highly in fan polls possibly because it is overshadowed by the preceding and suceeding stories ("Terror of the Zygons" and "Pyramids of Mars" respectively). And yet this is fantastic stuff. Creepy, menacing with a real sense of threat the new series seldom matches. The way the monster dehydrates and sucks the life out of the spaceship crew scared the crap out of me in 1975 and still disturbs today. If you ever hear anyone complaining that Who had creaky sets then just get them to watch the jungle scenes here - as alien and convincing as anything you will see in any Sci-Fi film or series. Get this and get creeped out.
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on 22 December 2000
I had childhood memories of this story involving a wire-frame luminescent monster arising from a hole in the ground. It's an entertaing WHO story with some good acting, the doctor and Sarah being accused of murder and them struggling to get off the hook. Nice plot. I liked this video. Roland.
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