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4.2 out of 5 stars
68
4.2 out of 5 stars
Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden [DVD] [1979]
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on 30 September 2017
Excellent service and quality
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on 21 August 2017
Effects lacking by modern standards but story brilliant and still reflects greed and callous nature of drug dealers
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 April 2013
Season 17 has never been regarded as one of Doctor Who's strongest periods. At the time, Tom Baker had been playing the role for six years and not surprisingly, sometimes lacked the energy and commitment of his earlier time on the show.

But even average Tom Baker has something to recommend it, and whilst Nightmare of Eden does look cheap at times, feature monsters who are less than frightening (particularly from the waist down) and boasts a remarkable guest turn from Lewis Fiander and his amazing comedy accent, there are still many incidental pleasures which make this a rewarding watch.

David Daker was always a reliable performer, and his character's eventual demise, from a drink spiked with drugs, is unusually hard hitting and not what you'd expect from the series at this point in its history. The junglescape of Eden is well designed and lit sympathetically, in stark contrast to the brightly lit spaceships. Tom's in good form and his final scene with Tryst (Fiander) is a welcome reminder of the more spiky Doctor of earlier years. Lalla Ward, although bedecked in an unflattering dress, is, as always, a good foil for the Doctor.

The Nightmare of Eden was a troubled production, as director Alan Bronmley struggled with the demands of the story. The special features highlight this, both the production subtitles and the audio commentary, moderated by Toby Hadoke, are a must read/listen. Bob Baker, Peter Craze and Lalla Ward are amongst the commentary participants, and the commentary is notable for Lalla being in quite a good mood for once, with less of the Tom Baker bashing than usual.

So, to sum up, this is no classic but a decent way to spend 100 minutes or so.
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on 14 April 2015
I loved this Doctor who. Much better then l thought it would be!
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on 10 March 2012
Nightmare of Eden's Synopsis
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Two spacecraft fuse in a hyperspace collision, and with the dimensional instabilities threatening everyone aboard, it's fortunate the Doctor (Tom Baker), Romana (Lalla Ward) and K-9 arrive to help. But when a crew member is found clawed by a ferocious creature, it seems there's something even more frightening stalking the corridors. But what can this have to do with a zoologist, Professor Tryst, his CET projection machine, and a planet called Eden?

Review
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1979's Nightmare of Eden is not as bad as I once thought, the story is certainly above the standard of the day and really is quite a fun studio bound romp. As my title suggests, I believe Tom Baker's still got it, he and Lalla Ward definitely had a great Doctor-Companion relationship and an even better "relationship" outside of the show. Here, Tom is as ever on energetic form, playing the Doctor no differently to when he first showed up in 1974. One thing I always loved about Tom Baker is that even when he is handed a script that is by no means the quality of "Genesis of the Daleks", he still puts in a fantastically energetic performance, still reveling in all the fun and attention he's getting as the titular character.

As for the story itself, it ain't half bad, the whole theme of drug smuggling is a very adult subject, more you're Panorama than Doctor Who. The sets are pretty good and the Mandrels are very well realised, remembering that the budget was still miniscule this late in the series run. Lalla Ward puts in a fantastic performance as Romana, taking a more centre stage performance alongside Tom. John Leeson's K.9. is also very well used in this story, but it is the quest cast that rather steal the show for me, David Daker returns to Doctor Who after a 5 year absence, his last performance being in 1974's The Time Warrior. His acting is on top form here and his portrayal of Cap. Rigg is riveting. Lewis Fiander also characterizes the Professor excellently here, his character having more than one dimension. Overall the casting by director Alan Bromly {Ironically the director of Daker in The Time Warrior} is excellently done. I have no complaints as to the acting side of Nightmare of Eden.

The BBC DVD release looks interesting, the Doctor Who Restoration Team have no doubt done an excellent job in remastering these episodes for release on to DVD. The documentaries look fascinating and I believe we are beginning to see the end of the BBC's budget Doctor Who DVD releases. The upcoming DVD contains,

Commentary with actors Lalla Ward (Romana) and Peter Craze (Costa), writer Bob Baker, effects designer Colin Mapson and make-up designer Joan Stribling. Moderated by Toby Hadoke.

* The Nightmare of Television Centre - A look back at the somewhat troubled production of this story.
* Going Solo - Writer Bob Baker talks about The Nightmare of Eden.
* The Doctor's Strange Love with comedian Josie Long and writers Joe Lidster and Simon Guerrier.
* Ask Aspel - Lalla Ward's appearance on the popular BBC children's show.
* Radio Times Listings (DVD-ROM).
* Programme Subtitles.
* Production Information Subtitles.
* Photo Gallery.
* Coming Soon Trailer.

It's hotting up to be a fantastic year for Doctor Who on DVD, we have had the release of Jon Pertwee's Invasion of the Dinosaurs in full colour, the Revisitation 3 boxed set, the infamous "Daemons" finally seeing a DVD release, William Hartnell's The Reign of Terror's currently missing episodes 4 & 5 being animated for it's DVD release and the much awaited release of Shada, in the Legacy boxed set alongside the "More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS" documentary and a whole load of other special bonus features. We had all better start ordering them now,

Many thanks for your time in reading this review, it's greatly appreciated,

M.B.
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VINE VOICEon 2 February 2012
Okay, firstly: The Face of Evil is £12.99. Then The Daemons is £13.99 (as it's an episode longer?). Then Nightmare of Eden is £14.99? That's a bit of a cheeky hike in price over three consecutive releases...

Anyway, this story, like the two around it (The Creature from the Pit & The Horns of Nimon) gets a bad press - cheap production, silly humour, dodgy monsters - but I enjoy all three. There's something cosy about these three studio-based stories and I think the plots are enjoyable.

Eden is a good mix of conspiracy thriller, futuristic sci-fi on a budget, and monster movie. It's not perfect but it's fun and the plot keeps it zipping along, plus some great one-liners. If you can get past fluffy monsters with flares and a silly German accent there's lots to enjoy here.

I'm particularly interested in the extras on this one. Apparently the director and Tom Baker had such a falling out that said director walked out and soon retired altogether, and producer Graham Williams had to finish directing the story - one reason he decided to move on at the end of this troubled season. The extras here promise to discuss this, and often the weaker/troubled stories have the most interesting extras (Timelash & Trial of a Time Lord spring to mind)...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 May 2012
The fourth story from Tom Baker's sixth season as Doctor Who comes to dvd. This was originally shown in 1979, and all four episodes are here on one dvd.

The story also features Lalla Ward as the Doctor's companion Romana [the second one]. And K9.

It sees the TARDIS arrive onboard on a spaceship which has just collided with another one. In a manner that has left the two of them fused together. The time travellers soon find that the ships have other problems. There's murder onboard. Drugs. A strange machine. And deadly monsters. Both human and alien.

Can the Doctor save the two ships, and those onboard, from the monstrous Mandrels?

Back when this was made the Doctor Who production team would run out of budget as the season went on, and thus an entirely studio bound story with cheap special effects and costumes would always crop. Just to save money. This particular season of the show has a reputation with fandom for being silly and pantomime like at times. This story does have it's problems in that respect. Down to budget and production difficulties. The director departed halfway through and the producer had to take over.

The Mandrels look great when seen in the dark. But in brightly light scenes they're slow and not very menacing at all.

But like 1980's Doctor Who stories that suffered the same kind of production problems and have a bad rep as a result, there are interesting things lurking in the middle of this.

Tom Baker delivers one of his best performances of his later years on the show. Making the Doctor convincingly alien.

David Daker who plays one of the captains of the two ships deliver an excellent performance.

Lewis Fiander who plays a scientist called Tryst who is onboard one of the vessels adopts a weird accent for the character that sounds like a mixture of several european ones. But he never goes over the top in his performance and makes Tryst a memorable character as a result.

With superb chemistry between Lalla Ward and Tom Baker the two leads are a delight to watch.

And the perils of drug addiction do get shown in an uncompromising manner.

Some may find the anti drugs message of this hammered home a bit too much, but that's a manner of opinion.

Along with two great cliffhangers, there's a lot to like in this story. It's not the greatest one ever made but it's far better than it's reputation and it's well worth a watch.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

It's also English audio captioned.

There's a commentary from Lalla Ward plus the writer of the story, one other cast member and two of the production staff.

Other extras:

Radio times listings for the story. [As a PDF file viewable by opening the disc on a computer].

Production information subtitles that give information about the story and it's making.

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

A trailer for the next release in this dvd range.

Other extras:

The Nightmare of Television centre: A twelve minute long feature which sees three of the production staff talking about the problems that the making of this story faced. It's a somewhat one sided production as it only focuses on the negative aspects of the whole thing, but it's an interesting watch and very well paced at just twelve minutes.

Going solo: runs for eight minutes. It's an interview with Bob Baker who wrote the story. He had written several before with Dave Martin but around this time the two had gone their separate ways. This spends very little time on that and more on the commissioning and writing of this script. But he's a good interviewee so it's worth a watch. And it contains the one pitch that Doctor Who producers would be bound to commission every time they heard it.

The Doctor's strange love: this sees writers Simon Guerrier and Joseph Lidster [who have done a lot in the Doctor Who audio and novel field] and comedienne Josie Long sit around on the set of the Sarah Jane Adventures [for no apparent reason] and discuss Nightmare of Eden. For fifteen minutes. Some of the attempts at humour in this do fall a bit flat, but when they touch on the good points of the story they make some very interesting observations. So it's worth watching for that.

Ask Aspel: is a blast from the past. It's eleven minutes from the old BBC tv children's show where Michael Aspel would interview people and put questions from viewers to them. Here he interviews Lalla Ward. It's an ok interview, and it's also an interesting trip down memory lane. As seeing the title sequence of the show again should bring back memories for some. And there are a couple of tantalising clips from some shows of the 1970's in it.
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on 8 November 2014
'Nightmare of Eden' has a good script which features some good dialogue and smart ideas. Having said that some of the ideas aren't particularly original; the CET in this story is reminiscent of the Miniscope from 'Carnival of Monsters'. Really, it's the production that lets this story down.

The sets for the Empress are very badly overlit and as a result they look cheap and dull and fail to convince as the interior of a luxury cruise liner. The sets for the Hecate ship and the jungle on Eden actually feature rather good lighting and so there are some atmospheric and tense scenes set there.

The monsters in this story are the Mandrels and the costumes are very poor, they look more cuddly and endearing than threatening. When they are in the dimly lit Eden sets they don't look too bad, but seen in full in the harsh lighting of the Empress sets they just look comical. They aren't the only costume malfunction either, excise officers Fisk and Costa wear strange leather outfits adorned with sequins.

There are some funny lines of dialogue in the story but in other places the humour falls rather flat, often because it conflicts with the more serious themes of the story, such as the dangers of drugs. Lewis Fiander's performance as Tryst is very over the top, his comedy Germanic accent being a particular problem, and this undermines the serious nature of his character. He is supposed to be complex and ambiguous, misguided but not evil but he often seems more like a comedy character.

The scene in which the Doctor leads the Mandrels back into the CET is rather cartoonish. He walks off screen and the Mandrels follow, we then hear him crying out in pain as they attack him but he comes back seemingly unharmed but with his clothes torn to shreds. Aside from this though Tom Baker's performance is superb. He is eccentric and captivating, and he is deadly serious when the script requires it.

K-9 is quite prominent here, he is voiced by David Brierley who does a decent job but he's no John Leeson.

'Nightmare of Eden' is far from perfect but it is still fairly enjoyable.

The extras include 'The Nightmare of Television Centre' in which members of the crew on the story talk about their memories of it. The feature paints a very negative picture of the story as the interviewees mainly talk about how much they hated working on it and how poor they thought the finished product was.

They even had 'I'm relieved the nightmare is over' T shirts printed afterwards!

'Going Solo' is footage from an interview with the story's writer Bob Baker. He talks about his inspiration and research for the story and gives his opinions on the Mandrels and some of the performances.

'The Doctor's Strange Love' is a peculiar feature in which author Simon Guerrier, comedian Josie Long and writer Joseph Lidster have a discussion about various aspects of the story while, inexplicably, sitting on the set for Sarah Jane's attic from the Sarah Jane Adventures. It does have its moments.

'Ask Aspel' is footage of Michael Aspel interviewing Lalla Ward from around the time the story was originally broadcast.
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on 12 April 2012
I think Nightmare of Eden is fantastic. I could watch it all day. Yes, it has a few over-the-top moments. Yes, if you were introducing someone to classic Doctor Who, this would not be the story to start with. But when you remember this is firsty and foremostly a piece of entertainent then it scores on all levels.
However, some of the special features are hit and miss. "The Nightmare of TV Centre" essentially rehashes the info text, Lalla Ward's Aspel appearance is a bit wooden and overly mannered, and as for The Doctor's Strange Love... the biggest load of rubbish I've seen for ages, essentially a YouTube blog that has no right to be on a proper DVD, giving it a status it does not deserve. It's for this reason I deduct a star.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 30 November 2013
Nightmare of Eden is another 4th Doctor (Tom Baker as Dr Who) serial first broadcast in 1979. The Doctor, K9 and Romana find themselves materializing in unstable region of hyperspace, where two space craft have inadvertently melded together due to the instability of the area. What ensues is a narrative driven by monsters and drug addiction.

In terms of themes, this Fourth Doctor story has a strong moral message, in this case particular instance it's against drug abuse and the illicit drug trade. The drug in question is "vraxoin" - made up name and substance for the purposes of the narrative.
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