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on 30 March 2012
Fan legend has it that Dr Who was given a new lease of life in 1980 when a new production team took over, and that the camp and pantomime that went before was replaced by a golden age. What actually happened was that Dr Who became po-faced, obsessed with continuity and full of bad science which was supposed to be clever but which just irritated the casual viewer and patronised anyone who could understand it and could see the flaws in it. Say what you like about Season 17, its stories all at least had a sense of fun. Though the 1980s did return to creative story-telling, most of Season 18 is "flawed open university modules" at its worst. The Doctor no longer wears the sort of clothes you could pick up anywhere, is now clad in a superhero's uniform complete with silly question marks. Several of his companions over the next two years would also don specially-designed costumes.

Full Circle is a 'homage' to Creature From The Black Lagoon concerning a spacecraft and a people who live in fear of the 'mists' which bring with them the dreaded marshmen. This story introduces us to new companion Adric. He was envisaged as an artful dodger. Perhaps someone should have told that to the script-writers. He comes across as arrogant, whiney and downright irritating. He is easily the least likeable of the teenaged gang, when surely he should be the one our sympathies lies with. Child genuises never work because it's impossible for the viewer to identify with them. Nice to see George Baker make a guest appearance, but otherwise this story is just a jumble of scientific twaddle and rubber spiders.

Warrior's Gate? It's the story where Romana and K9 leave. There are lion-faced aliens, pocket universes in mirrors and paper landscapes. It manages to be mildly entertaining.

By far the best of these three stories is State Of Decay, Dr Who's homage to vampires. There's an intriguing plot, some memorable villains and probably more blood than you've ever seen in Dr Who.
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on 16 August 2012
For many, Tom Baker is the best of the Doctors, although David Tennant has probably taken that honour away from him. He had a wonderful style that mixed comedy and serious acting. In these stories we see the more serious, less comic side to his Doctor. Lalla Ward as Romana is seriously under-rated as a companion who is not just gorgeous (#1 requirement in the 1970s), but also as intelligent as the Doctor and able to hold her own with him as she shows in these adventures, without falling into the standard "woman in peril" stereotype that even Sarah Jane Smith got pushed into at times. K-9 is not appreciated by all Doctor Who fans, but I always loved his personality and Spock-like ability to take things far too literally at times; K-9 has some good lines and his blind logic has a wonderful ability to be both spot-on and totally irrelevant at different moments, in execatly the same way the Mr Spock was. Whereas the Doctor is unquestionably the master when treating with K-9, Romana has to impose herself on him and this leads to some excellent by-play between the two. These adventures brought us Adric and his joining the crew by accident, in the end replacing Romana. There are all the elements for some good, if probably not classic stories, with some well-loved characters. I had not seen these particular adventures, but did enjoy them.

Typical of Doctor Who in the '70s, some of the special effects struggle a bit when translated to a high-resolution format, but that does not detract from three interlinked adventures that show plenty of imagination and some clever twists and turns as well as the moral issues that the Doctor and his companions face at times. This was an excellent purchase.
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on 22 March 2014
I remember watching these when I was a tiny little kid and was just starting to watch Dr. Who. I then relived them on UK Gold some years later.

Full Circle was written by a teenager and introduces Adric - who really used to get on my nerves. Basically the TARDIS gets sucked into a new universe called E-space and they land on Alzariius where the locals face attack from monsters. It is a passable adventure, not the best but not the worst either. The Marshmen are rip-offs of the Creature from the Black Lagoon (which I think was admitted by the BBC!).

State of Decay is my favourite of the 3 DVDs. I read the Target novelisation some years ago and it is creepy and atmospheric. I really hope some day we get to see the Great Time War between the Time Lords and the Vampires. The story concerns the vampires who are planning on reviving the Great One - with dire consequences for everyone else.

Warrior's Gate introduced the Tharills the Lionesque warriors. This was one that I thought was better when I was younger - but it bored me a tad when I watched it again. It was also almost incomprehensible. And yes, I was gutted when Romana and K-9 left. As someone else said, things would never be the same again.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 March 2010
The E-Space trilogy is one of the last consistent spurts of imagination in Dr Who's run before the troubled reign of controversial producer John Nathan Turner set the show on its long and lingering road to cancellation. While it has stronger plotlines than most of the stories that would follow, they're not always as successfully executed as the ideas - but they are generally ideas-led and one at least makes a serious attempt to break new ground in the way the show would look and feel.

Full Circle finds the Doctor and Romana tapped in the alternate universe of E-Space, and they're not the only ones looking for a way out. On the first planet they land on they discover the descendants of the survivors of a crash who have been spending generations in attempts to repair their craft without ever actually leaving the planet, and finding themselves at odds with an indigenous lifeform that periodically evolves - or possibly devolves - to threaten the survivors. State of Decay is a throwback to the classic gothic Dr Who stories that sees them on another planet where another spaceship has crashed - only this time its inhabitants have not only become medieval-style rulers of the local population, but vampires as well. Both are stronger stories than you might expect with some neat twists, but the standout - and a genuine oddity - remains the final story, which continues the ongoing theme of entropy in increasingly unexpected ways.

Warriors' Gate is perhaps the most troubled and certainly the most contentious Dr Who story of Tom Baker's era (or any other Doctor in all probability). Trapping the Doctor and his companions in an exponentially contracting limbo at the intersection of two incompatible universes with a spaceship full of slavers and their leonine time-sensitive cargo who aren't so morally innocent themselves, it's not one of the best, but it's certainly one of the most ambitious. Novelist Stephen Gallagher's treatment took inspiration from Cocteau's La Belle et La Bete and Orphee while director Paul Joyce took his from Kubrick (who he would later make several documentaries about) and Last Year at Marienbad, setting much of the drama in a white void or using half-plate black and white stills of a country house to stand in for time corridors. In many ways it was a deliberate attempt to make a feature film within the existing TV technology of 1981, trying to stretch the envelope technically with long takes, hand-held camera work and moments of moody fatalism that went violently against the BBC culture of the day, with philosophical undertones and alternating timeframes that marked a more adult shift from the previous season's more kiddie-friendly approach. Unfortunately Joyce was saddled with a famously unsympathetic producer who hadn't read all the scripts and couldn't understand the final cut, a worried BBC management, a difficult star who wouldn't even make eye contact with his leading lady (and ex-girlfriend and future wife) and an unsupportive crew who all seemed agreed he was incompetent, though his own ego may have played into a situation that eventually saw him fired and rehired when no-one else could work out how to put it all together (telling the executive producer "You're the past, I'm the future" wasn't the best way to kick things off).

It's a story that repays a second viewing even if, as Joyce admits, it veers more towards glorious failure than success, and the documentary on the DVD is typically frank: while it goes into details of the difficult production, at times it allows Ken Livingston soundalike Joyce to hang himself with his own words.
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on 11 December 2017
Full Circle is pretty enjoyable , so is warriors gate if a bit odd ( this works to its advantage ) however the dull panto that is state of decay is an outstandingly overrated bore , still worth getting for the other 2 adventures , Tom Baker is on particular form on full circle , minor classics indeed ,well 2 of the three anyway
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on 16 June 2013
50 years of Doctor Who. What stories do you recommend to new viewers? The first story "An Unearthly Child"? At any rate it is the beginning, but new viewers might dislike it, saying it's tedious, monologue driven, "IT'S BLACK&WHITE!" and such. . Then I probably would recommend "The Time Meddler" to learn a little bit of the Time Lords. Maybe "The Time Warrior"; First story feauturing Sarah Jane. There are others too. One of them being "The New Beginnings" box. And perhaps a new viewer, like me, start thinking after those stories: "What is E-Space??" Then you have to buy this! Another three great stories with Tom Baker as the fourth, brilliant Doctor. The stories are very good too. "Full circle" is a great science fiction story and it's dawning on me right now (as I'm watching re-runs of "Christine) that I can't give decent reviews of each episodes. . "State of Decay" is fantastic. Hilarious moments, another great story written by Terrance Dicks. "Warrior's Gate" is, in my opinion, the best story of this trilogy. Wonderful science fiction. Brilliant ideas and great acting. To watch the dvd extras after each story is a must!
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on 23 February 2018
Very good would recommend it to anyone
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on 18 March 2014
Another favourite. Especially the State of Decay - Goodness that is wonderful Costumes, acting, music. Definitely recommended for one of the best stories and companions. I am a big Romana 2 fan.
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on 19 April 2016
These BBC productions never fail to please. Bought to replace the VHS versions, the Dr Who chronology is a glimpse into the growth and development of the BBC broadcast.
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on 30 October 2016
A trio of quite good tales.Adric makes his debut and Romana and K9 say farewell.
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