on 5 May 2013
Adventures in time and space with the Tenth Doctor and his companion Donna Noble.
Partners in Crime: Donna and the Doctor reunite and must save the lives of millions.
The Fires of Pompeii: It's Volcano Day in Pompeii... Can Donna dare the Doctor to change history?
Planet of the Ood: On her first alien world, Donna finds the human race has developed dark secrets...
05 - 19 Apr 2008
on 7 February 2009
The first `vanilla' release from Series four of the revived Doctor Who series stars David Tennant as the nomadic Timelord and features Catherine Tate as his companion, Donna Noble. We last saw Donna in the 2006 Christmas Special; The Runaway Bride; and she reappears here investigating the mysterious `Adipose Industries', a company that claims to have produced a fat-busting pill that leaves the user transformed - literally. Donna is clearly hoping to re-encounter The Doctor, after she rejected his previous offer to travel in time and space with him; and this she does, as it seems that the Timelord is also extremely interested in what Adipose Industries are up to. The two eventually meet in one of the series' great moments so far, and quickly prove that they are a great combination - Donna is quick to eschew any romance between them and the Doctor courteously (but clearly relieved!) concurs. `Partners in Crime' is a worthy start to the new series; although the Adipose themselves are far too bland and cuddly to make interesting aliens. The real `monster' is intergalactic super-nanny Miss Foster; played with relish by Sarah Lancashire. As a way of kicking off the new series and reminding the viewer of the state of things, this does the job perfectly; as a stand alone episode it is slightly above average.
Donna's first excursion-proper in the TARDIS takes the travellers to Rome at the height of its powers; however it isn't Rome but actually Pompeii - circa AD 79 - the day before Vesuvius erupts with devastating consequences. The lava creatures `The Pyrovile' are hiding under the volcano and using the `Sybilline Sisterhood' to convert people to Pyroviles. The sumptuous scenery (on location in Italy) and the many colourful characters, make this one of the outstanding stories filmed for Doctor Who. The new series' ability to attract great guest stars remains undiminished, with Peter Capaldi and Phil Davis appearing as local marble dealer and sinister town soothsayer respectively. The Pyrovile are also great value and the creepy sisterhood reminded me of 70s Gothic Doctor Who - specifically `The Brain of Morbius'. Apparently this was one of the least critically-acclaimed episodes in the series; but I have to confess that I enjoyed it immensely; the cringeworthy deification of The Doctor at the end notwithstanding. Visual nods to previous serials - such as the aforementioned Brain of Morbius and 1979 story `City of Death' are subtle, but great for long-term fans. Writer James Moran also incorporated several references from the first three series, such as `The Shadow Proclamation' and `The Medusa Cascade'. The central premise - that The Timelord needs an earthly companion to `humanise' him, was well-worked and not to pushy; as R.T. Davies' ideas occasionally are.
The third and final story on this disc sees the TARDIS crew travel to a `proper' alien planet, where they find themselves on the `Ood-Sphere' with the servile Ood; a race that the Ninth Doctor encountered back in the first series in 2005. The year is 4126 and The Ood are being exploited as servants for wealthy humans; Tim McInnerney's oily owner of Ood Operations, Klineman Halpen, is chief villain here; whilst Roger Griffiths plays one-dimensional sadistic Head of Security `Commander Kess'. The episode's central theme of slavery remains true to the show's original tenets to be educational and issue-based, and the central pairing of Tennant and Tate is growing into a great partnership. It's truly exciting to see such a well-realised alien world - if only The Trial of a Timelord had been able to boast such impressive CGI! The story is gripping throughout, whilst the grotesque ending is classic Doctor Who.
on 21 May 2009
'Doctor Who' returned to TV in 2008 with the prospect of featuring what might have been one of its greatest enemies - audience familiarity. With the novelty of new Who having worn off, could the series continue to attract viewers and keep them happy? Remarkably, Series Four seems to have taken the show to new heights of public popularity, and its first three episodes are present on this DVD.
'Partners in Crime' is, on the face of it, a lightweight opening episode, concerning diet pills that literally make fat walk away, in the form of baby alien creatures called Adipose. It's the kind of dubious plot that has the potential to veer into the ridiculous, and to some extent it does - but surprisingly, in a good way. It's helped by not taking itself too seriously, and of course, by Catherine Tate returning as Donna Noble, the titular Runaway Bride of the 2006 Christmas special. Russell T Davies' sparky script provides the kind of breezy breackneck pace regular viewers will be well used to, imbued with a real sense of fun. Also, the Adipose are a triumph, marking a first for the show in providing alien monsters that are genuinely rather cute. 'Partners in Crime' isn't the best the series has to offer by a long way, but it did manage to defy all my expectations and pull something entertaining out of a not-especially promising idea.
Bringing back the Ood must have seemed like a bit of a no-brainer for the production team, as they are one of the few original monsters encountered in the revived series that can properly stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the Doctor's classic adversaries. Unfortunately, 'Planet of the Ood' is a bit of a disappointment. Visually, it's very impressive with its creation of a sprawling, snowy alien environment, but in attempting to give greater depth to the Ood, the script does them a disservice. It takes away some of the fun, leaving us with a run-of-the-mill 'Doctor Who' adventure, albeit one with one or two entertaining and somewhat macabre twists along the way.
But if you buy this DVD for one episode, make it 'The Fires of Pompeii'. Partly filmed in Italy, on standing sets from the TV series 'Rome', this story manages to cram in more incident and spectacle in 45 minutes than many Hollywood movies manage in more than twice the time. Tightly plotted, and with a collection of interesting and engaging characters, it's so much more than just an effects-filled extravaganza. Particularly noteworthy are the scenes where the Doctor and Donna find themselves at loggerheads over the rights and wrongs of altering history, and whether it is the Time Lord's place to interfere in such matters. David Tennant and Catherine Tate play these scenes beautifully, Tate in particular establishing Donna as so much more than the mouthy, self-centred figure she may have first appeared in 'The Runaway Bride'. It boasts a fine guest cast too, including Peter Capaldi and Phil Davis. If there's an episode that proves 'Doctor Who' still has much to offer, this is it.
So, a solid start to the fourth series, although only one of these episodes is absolutely essential viewing. They're all worthy of your attention to some extent, though, and the scale of their ambition has to be applauded.
on 20 April 2008
This year, I promised myself that I'd only buy the complete series in November, but having watched the first three on TV, I've realised that I lied to myself. This DVD includes the first three episodes of series 4; "PARTNERS IN CRIME", "THE FIRES OF POMPEI", and "PLANET OF THE OOD". I'll have to say the best of the three is "PLANET OF THE OOD".
Series four features the return of; Donna Noble (who met the Doctor in 2006's Christmas special, "THE RUNAWAY BRIDE"), Martha Jones ( Series three's companion), Rose Tyler (Series 1 and 2's companion), and last but by no means the least; The Sontaran race, who featured in such classic Doctor Who stories as; "THE TIME WARRIOR", "THE SONTARAN EXPERIMENT", and "THE INVASION OF TIME". So, enjoy the new series;and come back for Volume 2!
on 5 May 2008
PARTNERS IN CRIME...
Well Doctor Who is back for the fourth installment of the action packed adventure and its better then ever. In this episode we see the return of the loud mouth bride. which translates as Donna Noble, whom the doctor has met before on Christmas 2006. Donnas character has now become a more confident and less loud companion, who seems to make sure that her views are carried out to any species of alien. Catherine's performance in the episode is light lifting and she represents the human reaction to seeing any alien creature. The main story line for this episode shows Donna trying to track down the Doctor, who himself is investing the Adipose Industries, ran by the ruthless Miss. Foster.. ( I wont give the whole story line away) The special effects for the Adipose was really an achievement for the Doctor Who production, giving the show a fresh new edge. One of the things that really touch you in this episode is the relationship between Donna and her Granddad ( Wilf) who's relationship seems really real and even heart touching... Unlike Rose and Martha, there is no love status between Donna and the Doctor, just a long lasting friendship..... With the return of a previous companion and even a glimpse of a lost one, walking fast tissue, and amazing special effects, i think that this episode deserves a 4 out 5.
FIRES OF POMPEII...
Its Donna first trip in the TARDIS, and where better place to be then Pompeii on the eve of the eruption of a Volcano! Every doctor who episode, there is a new element that we see to the Doctor, in this we see the darker side of his beliefs for how Time should be kept... and when Donna questions him about having to warn the residents of Pompeii, we see eruptions between Donna and the Doctor. This episode has breath taking effects including the Volcano eruption and the alien monsters. This is how a true doctor who episode should be, plenty of fire and explosions, tears, death and amazing monsters. Overall the episode should have a 5 out of 5!!
PLANET OF THE ODD
The odd are back! and still as evil as before.... or are they?! the last time we saw the odd was back in 2006 with Rose and the Doctor on the barren planet being sucked in by a black hole... back then we didn't find out much about the ood, and Russell T Davies was always keen to show more about the history of the Ood. In this episode we dig much deeper into the darker side of the human race, and find out what enslaved the Ood. This episode is full of emotion from all characters and is full of action from start to finish.... 4 out of 5!
WELL DONE DOCTOR WHO TEAM!