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on 30 November 2017
Arrived safely and on time exactly as described - excellent purchase.
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on 18 May 2017
Great addition to my collection.
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on 11 November 2017
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on 16 June 2015
Ok great
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HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 22 September 2010
...even if the BBC have padded their Kamelion Tales set out with another ill-advised abbreviated 'special edition' - in this case of Planet of Fire - that repeats all the mistakes they made with the special edition of Enlightenment: cutting far too much from the story, adding some not that good CGI effects and letterboxing the fullframe image to no good result. Still, at least the original cut is included, but it's hard not to feel that the two stories could have easily been included without the special edition at a much more reasonable price.

The stories themselves aren't that bad, however. The King's Demons, a rare two-parter, may be only have been intended to introduce proposed new companion Kamelion, a shape-shifting robot that was intended to be the new K-9, but it's a not bad little number that doesn't outstay its welcome. Following on directly from The Black Guardian trilogy, it sees the Doctor, Turlough and Tegan arriving on Earth in 1215 and interrupting a trial by combat watched by a gloating King John, who doesn't seem at all surprised to see his `Demons.' Naturally all is not what it seems and one of the Doctor's old enemies is lurking in disguise (not too difficult to penetrate despite the actor and make-up department's best efforts) to prevent the Magna Carta being signed and stop democracy in its tracks. It doesn't amount to much, but it's nice to see the Doctor back in an increasingly historical setting.

As for Kamelion... Well, things didn't work out too well for him at all thanks to the limited special effects technology of the day. Even today a shape-shifting convincingly humanoid robot would be a tall order, but in 1984 on a BBC budget it simply wasn't to be and, after lurking broken in the corner in the odd episode, it wouldn't be until a full season later that he would reappear properly in a story, and even in Planet of Fire his exit was overshadowed by the resolution of Turlough's journey from weak-willed selfish villain to one of the more substantial companions of the John Nathan-Turner era of the series - and, of course, the introduction of new companion Peri in that bikini. Tegan had already left for good in the previous story to be broadcast, Resurrection of the Daleks, and there is a bit of a feeling of the series clearing the decks for Colin Baker's new Doctor's arrival in the final story of that season, The Twin Dilemma.

It's quite a lavish production, filmed on location in Lanzarote and giving a thankless supporting role to Hammer veteran Barbara Shelley and, in an all-too-rare post-Jason King appearance, a much better one to Peter Wyngarde, whose floridly flamboyant gravitas is pitch perfect for a show like Doctor Who (sadly neither feature in the DVD extras). It's also a little bit on the slow side at first, with The Master taking control of Kamelion to send the TARDIS to an unstable planet where a colony of fire god worshippers are threatened with destruction by one of those volcanoes that won't be quietened by sacrificing the odd unbeliever from time to time. A decent, solid story rather than an inspired one, it does have its share of effective moments, especially in the last episode as two characters take their leave, but the weak direction often plays more to the script's formulaic weaknesses than its strengths.

As usual there's a good extras package. The King's Demons makes do with audio commentaries by Peter Davison, Isla Blair and Eric Saward and Tony Virgo, a short featurette on Kamelion where cast and crew made no bones about the technical disasters and another on the Magna Carta, while Planet of Fire gets a more substantial treatment with a commentary by Davison, Nicola Bryant, Mark Strickson and Fiona Cumming on the original version, some remarkably pointless `deleted and extended scenes' that turn out to be nothing more than 15 minutes of trims, a trio of featurettes shot on Lanzarote and continuity announcements, with the customary stills gallery and onscreen production notes on both titles. The special edition cut of Planet of Fire includes featurettes on 'Master' actor Anthony Ainley and director Fiona Cumming.
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K9 as a popular Doctor Who character and he got the show a lot of publicity. So come the mid 80's the production team took the chance offered to them to have a real robot as a character on the show. A real robot! How could it possibly go wrong?

Well it did. A humanoid figure who can walk and talk and act human is something, as peter davison says on these dvds, that can't even be done nowadays. So it was an ever taller order in the early 1980's. Kamelion was introduced in two part story the King's Demons and then rather forgotten about because he didn't work as well as hoped. A scene due to feature in subsequent story the awakening was cut for timing reasons. But several stories later, the four parter planet of fire had to wrap up all the loose ends from the Davison era. Kamelion was one of them.

His two stories are presented here in one box set.

The King's demons sees the TARDIS crew arrive in medieval england only to find an old enemy is there, using Kamelion in order to stop magna carta being signed. Can the Doctor stop history being changed?

Despite the usual excellent bbc production values for a period piece, there's not much else to this story. It starts well but it peters out in part two. The master is only seemingly doing this for the sake of it. The number of companions in the story means Turlough is completely sidelined. And part two lacks action and suspense. It's not a terrible story but it's a bit inconsequential.

Planet of fire sees the TARDIS on lanzarote. And then on volcanic planet sarn. The mysteries of Turlough's past and his heritage are about to come into play and several lives are changed as a result.

Planet of fire had to: write out turlough. Introduce new companion Peri. Get rid of Kamelion. Use Lanzarote for the locations. And possibly kill off the master. It does all of this, and makes Turlough a stronger character than he'd been written as on a few occasions, but it can't quite provide a great story to go with it also. The locations are great. Guest actor Peter Wyngarde delivers a great performance by virtue of sheer charisma - although the directing of his characters last scene is all wrong and robs it of the impact it should have - and the story revitalises the fifth doctor by wrapping up loose ends and letting him travel with just one companion. It's thus a bit of a shame that his next adventure was his last...

Both stories have the usual:

subtitles and language tracks in english.

English audio captioned.

Photo gallery of stills from the story and it's production.

Production information subtitles.

Commentary from various cast and crew members.

Rsdio times billings as pdf files.

Isolated score.

And trailer for the next dvd in this range.

The King's Demons also has a fifteen minute long feature about Kamelion. What they hoped he'd be able to do and what they did when they found he couldn't. Featuring some entertaining contributions and some of that deleted scene from that subsequent story it's very entertaining.

There's also a twenty five minute long feature about magna carta and the history of why it was signed and why it's so important even to this day. Full of great detail and absorbing viewing if you don't know the history although elements of the script do feel like first drafts.

Planet of Fire has a twenty five minute long making of documentary. The best of these for a little while it also has contributions from the late producer John Nathan Turner, by virtue of clips from his audio memoirs, and it's nice to hear these. Although it does duplicate some of the Kamelion documentary from King's demons.

Return to the planet of fire sees director and designer return to lanzarote. A nice change in style from the usual then and now look at locations this is good viewing. Be sure to watch to the very end of the credits.

Designs on sarn has the designer talking about some of the challenges he faced.

Deleted and extended scenes runs for fifteen minutes and is mostly extended versions of scenes showing people walking or running places. You have to watch them all at once and there's nothing majorly interesting here.

There's also a couple of minutes worth of bbc continuity announcements and trailers from the time of broadcast.

Disc two of planet of fire has a movie version of the story with it edited into a sixty six minute long feature and with cgi effects added. There's also a short introduction from the director. The cgi is rather obvious and the running time means a bit has been cut though, but this doesn't have to replace the original. Just offer a different version.

There's an eight minute long feature on disc two called calling the shots with the cast and crew talking about the challenges of tv production back in the 80's. It's illuminating stuff and worth a watch.

And there's remembering Anthony Ainley, a thirteen minute long look at the actor who played the master in the 1980's, mostly via clips from his stories and film of him at a convention. It's worth watching for that as he turns out to have been a very entertaining speaker.

For an easter egg watch planet of fire disc one on a computer and move the pointer over the first page of special features till you light up a hidden logo. In order to see a minute's worth of electronic test cards. So it's not really worth it.

This is another box set that does the best it can with two of the not quite top of the range old doctor who stories.
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on 20 November 2009
Two Peter Davison stories, both involving a shape-shifting android called Kamelion. The robot was apparently a prop for a film which was never made, but took so long to programme it was impossible to use as a full-time companion to the Doctor as had originally been intended.

Still, these are two fine stories. The first, The King's Demons, involves the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough arriving in England at the time of King John. They soon discover the Master is planning on using the shape-changing robot to alter history and prevent the signing of the Magna Karta. It might seem like small fry for him, but it makes sense when you realise she's just testing Kamelion's abilities for the much grander schemes he has planned. A short but very watchable and entertaining story.

In Planet of Fire, Kamelion is once more called into action by the Master. This story sees the arrival of Peri as a companion and the departure of Turlough. There's an interesting storyline, and the exotic locations mean it all looks great.

A good couple of stories, with the Master at his most sinister. The set also includes a short documentary about Anthony Ainley, a look at Kamelion and the usual "making of" documentaries. Well worth the money.
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on 21 June 2010
'Doctor Who: The Kamelion Collection' brings together both TV stories featuring the titular Kamelion, short-lived companion to Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor. Plans to incorporate the sophisticated robot into the series were drastically scaled back following the death of one of the key personnel behind its creation, and numerous technical difficulties with the unit itself during production of 'The King's Demons'. After this two-part introduction, Kamelion never reappeared until the following year's 'Planet of Fire', where he was written out of the series, alongside Mark Strickson's Turlough.

This two-story set kicks off with 'The King's Demons', a two-part adventure set against the backdrop of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. As with most of the classic series' two-part stories, it feels a rather slight and inconsequential tale, especially next to most of the other stories in the show's 20th anniversary season. Essentially, it's a rather basic tale of King John being an impostor (he's actually Kamelion, who has the ability to alter his appearance) being controlled by the Master in order to discredit the real King, alter history and prevent the signing of the Magna Carta. Even the Doctor comments this is small-time villainy by the Master's standards, and he's right. Having him associated with such a feeble and not hugely logical plan demeans the Master, as does the rather strange insistence on him spending the whole of the first episode disguised as Sir Gilles Estram, the King's champion (Estram being an anagram of Master), sporting both a dodgy false wig and beard, and an even dodgier false French accent. Anthony Ainley makes the ruse a lot of fun, as he always does when playing the Doctor's nemesis, but you are left wondering exactly what purpose it all serves. The best thing I can say about 'The King's Demons' is that it's relatively short and the production values are generally very good - the only real exception being the Kamelion robot, which might have been a technical marvel back in 1983, but which fails to impress today. Given the fact that his most interesting feature is his shape-shifting ability, it's perhaps surprising that the troublesome robot prop was considered so necessary that the character was simply dropped when it didn't measure up to expectations.

Kamelion did get a second and final appearance in 1984's 'Planet of Fire', though. It's one of those stories which shows 'Doctor Who' in a state of transition - it sees Peter Davison's Doctor in his penultimate adventure, losing two companions (Turlough and Kamelion), and gaining a new one (Peri Brown, played by Nicola Bryant) who would become more readily associated with Davison's successor Colin Baker. Despite all the comings and goings, this is a rare instance where a change in the show's cast is generally fairly well-handled. Unlike Janet Fielding's Tegan, unceremoniously sent off in a strop in the closing seconds of the previous adventure, 'Resurrection of the Daleks', both Kamelion and Turlough are given a good send-off. Kamelion in particular is integral to the story, with the Master seizing control of the robot once more and utilising him as part of his nefarious scheme to tap the powers of the Numismaton gas on the planet Sarn. Sarn also holds significance for Turlough, too - its inhabitants are his own people, in exile from their home planet of Trion. It's a fairly neat finale for both characters, only marred by the fact that the rest of the story is fairly unremarkable. The amusement value of the Master's predicament - which, to be honest, only serves to undermine the character further - and the good use of location filming in Lanzarote (doubling up as both itself and the sweeping exteriors of Sarn) are the only things which lift it above average.

Extras-wise, the most significant bonus feature is a 'Special Edition' version of 'Planet of Fire' - re-cut to improve pacing, and featuring new special effects and even a small amount of specially-shot material. Unfortunately, it's mainly significant because it's so poor - it feels more like the kind of thing an enthusiastic tinkerer would cobble together on YouTube rather than something which has any place on an official 'Doctor Who' DVD. I'm not against the idea of such Special Editions, but I'd say this was sub-release standard. 'Planet of Fire' also features a number of making-of featurettes, which offer relatively little in the way of real insight, and feel like a bit of a missed opportunity - 'Return to the Planet of Fire', for instance, takes director Fiona Cumming and designer Malcolm Thornton back to the story's Lanzarote locations, only to find most of them are pretty much the same as they were 25 years ago. More enjoyable is 'Remembering Anthony Ainley', a tribute to the actor who played the Master throughout the 1980s, although it's lacking the kind of insight one would have hoped for regarding such a colourful character. 'The King's Demons' fares slightly better in the extras department - there's less there, but the features are considerably better - namely a documentary on Kamelion (boasting some previously unaired deleted scenes featuring the character) and a piece examining the real-life historical background to the story. Both stories feature entertaining commentaries, led in each case by Peter Davison, and 'The King's Demons' features an additional commentary on one episode by director Tony Virgo, which is full of insight and makes up for the lack of a dedicated 'making of' featurette for the story.

So, is this worth your time and money? Well, neither of these stories represent high points of 1980s 'Doctor Who' - they're pretty standard tales - and the bulk of the bonus features are fairly unremarkable. Unlike some other releases, there's no particular item which sells the set on its own. But despite their shortcomings, I found I enjoyed both 'The King's Demons' and 'Planet of Fire' (the four part version, at least), and this is a good, solid package that few of the 'Doctor Who' faithful will be disappointed by. Just leave 'Planet of Fire: The Movie' unwatched...
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on 6 January 2011
2 decent enough stories but the Planet of Fire Special Edition has to be one of the single worst DVD inclusions of the last 10 years. It's terrible.

The new pre-title sequence looks like a 1990's fan video, the CGI effects are awful and the claim the story is now in widescreen is laughable as all they've done is zoom the picture which not only makes it considerably softer but means the top and bottom of the picture are chopped off.

There's been some cuts to the story but remarkably scenes still drag. It's just terrible and they should have left well alone.

What next, colourised Hartnell episodes edited to 15 minutes with 1990's CGI effects? If Curse of Fenric SE was the peak of Special Editions, then this is truly the depths.
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on 23 September 2014
Kamelion makes his appearance in the King's Demons, a historical with the Master plotting to cause a rebellion. Kamelion leaves, Turlough goes home, and Peri joins the Doctor in Planet of Fire.
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