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on 23 June 2009
At the end of the review is a note on the special edition. A good debut for Eric Saward as writer. This is his most traditional Who tale with its aliens land on Earth and the Tardis crew arrive to sort it out story but without a mega body count.
The Doctor offers to help the stranded aliens al la' Russell T. Davies giving Peter Davison a good scene as he says "What does it matter if you've been in prison?" In particular Davison is great in scenes with Michael Robbins' marvellous actor cum highwayman Richard Mace.
There are too many companions and Nyssa is stuck in the Tardis doing tech stuff but at least she gets a nice moment reacting sadly to the destruction of an impressive creation that the Terilpetils were using against them.
Adric and Tegan get most of the companion action and for once the tension is there for a reason, Tegan's frustration at the Doctor's failure to return her to home. Janet Fielding is great as she vents "call yourself a Timelord? A broken clock keeps better time than you!"
The Terileptils are interesting but lack development. A hit & miss mask some animatronics E.G. the gills, still stand up but the mouth does not move properly with speech and the body suit is woeful. Michael Melia as the leader still gives a great performance though. Good andriod design.

The remaining guest cast do great work with small roles, esp John Savident as the Squire.

Direction is good but never quite great.

Nice to see it tied into a specific timeline, between the Great Plague and Fire of London.

The extras are quite good, had they been slightly better I would have given a 4 for the whole package. There's no making of but in "Writing a Final Visitation" Eric Saward talks us through the script's development and shares some intriguing lost concepts for the Terileptils.
"Scoring the Visitation" sees Paddy Kingsland discussing the story's musical requirements, a little dry unless you're very interested in that area.
There's an extended scene, some continuity announcement stuff as an easter egg and in "Directing Who" Peter Moffat charmingly discusses his work on the show and shares with us how difficult Tom could be at the end of his time, his thoughts on working for JNT who he had been senior to on other shows amongst other things.
The Commentary is like the Earthshock one with Jan, Pete, Sarah and Matthew Waterhouse on funny form. There's less mickey taking for Matthew and he makes the funniest comment about how rich it was to hear Michael Robbins complain about the show after he spent years in On the Buses! Peter Moffat doesn't really fit into it, coming across like an old boy who popped in with the tea and wouldn't leave.

A good package but really more for fans of this era than generally.

The special edition which has sharply dropped in price recently offers a more satisfying package. Grim Tales tells us the making of this story. Davison, Miss Fielding and Miss Sutton are taken on a tour of locations from the original shoot by Mark Strickson and clearly have a great time. They have plenty of anecdotes e.g. frequent stops for planes as they were on a flight path and insights e.g. Janet Fielding points outy the moving gill etc on the terileptil mask were early animatronics. ther are also interjections from writer Eric Award ("I was more than happy to ditch Invasion of the Plague Men as a title", the make up lady who remembers "Michael Robbins had a party going on his head" and Michael Melia who seems delighted to have done a who monster.

Who Forever looks at audio Who nodding at such fare as Pescatons but concentrating on Big Finish. Interviews with Colin Baker, Gary Russell and Rob Sherman tell a story of success but make a plea not to pirate their stories. There's no word about the 60's radio pilot that Peter Cushing recorded but what could they have said beyond "shame no one has a copy "? An enjoyable bow for the 2nd makers of current new Who.

There's also a look at the making of Who as it was in their time at TV centre "the Television Centre of the Universe" where the same gang are led round by Blue Peter girl and Ghost hunter Yvette Feilding. Anecdotal in nature some of these are well known e.g Janet Fielding's boob tube accident for which Yvette jokes she let down the name of Fielding. quite fun and it ends with a promise of a part 2 which now may never happen. I have warmed to the special editions lately. It's not like other companies don't do this. And it is a shame some other stories might not get the special treatment e.g. imagine the Two doctors with an all new making of doc!

Great features and this is worth 4 stars.
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on 21 August 2014
Just truely fantastic, this is now one of my all time faviourtes
Peter Davison is my faviourte doctor of all time and i personally love everyone of his stories and peter davison always give a truely fanastic performance, in this story we have the companions Adric, Nyssa and Tegan and also a character who used to be a star from on the buses his name is michael robbins, i personally thought he was great i think he would of made a great companion to travel around with the doctor but oh well,
wish i could rate it more stars, the special dvd it self is great and has a lot of great extras 5 stars for them as well
Buy this today!!!!!!!!!!
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on 29 October 2014
One of the best stories from Peter Davison's tenure as the Doctor, led by a delightfully over-the-top performance by Michael Robbins as "resting" thespian and temporary highwayman Richard Mace. I hadn't seen this story for years, but it has lost none of its charm, with Robbins's scenes alone making this story worth watching. What came as a pleasant surprise was discovering John Savident lurking under a long wig (I had completely forgotten his brief appearance in episode 1). This makes a close encounter of two actors who would later appear in rival soaps, Coronation Street (Savident, as garrulous butcher Fred Elliott) and EastEnders (Michael Melia, who played ill-fated publican Eddie Royle), completely unrecognizable here in his rubber Terileptil costume. The biggest deficit, as always in Doctor Who stories from this period in time, is the bungling, whining, and ineffectual Adric, who mercifully is kept well out of the way by Eric Saward's script and Peter Moffat's direction.

The "extras" on disc 2 of this Special Edition are a bit disappointing compared with some other recent "Classic Who" releases, though there are some nice moments in the 45-minute "Revisitation" reminiscence, presented by Mark Strickson (looking more prosperous today than when he played the emaciated, aging schoolboy Turlough, at a somewhat later point than this story), and featuring cast members Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, Michael Melia, and Peter Van Dissel, as well as director Peter Moffatt.
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on 6 March 2013
I love this Davison story, the twist at the end is very clever and I'm glad it's getting a Special Edition. It was released 9 years ago and now has been newly restored with more extras which is fantastic. In response to the 'BBC screwing fans' comments -If you don't like the Special Edition releases don't buy them, simple, no one is making you buy them!
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on 15 March 2013
I will get a bit of flack for my views on this era of Doctor Who as it seems to be popular amongst the people involved in the new series.
My argumets are the same as peter davisons in as much as 1) There were too many companions. 2) Davison wasn't allowed to add any of his own subtleties to his portrayal as we can see frm the extras on Castrovalva.
However this story is well crafted and has some nice ideas. Also the characters we meet are fun and interesting. Its just a pity the companions get in the way with the usual "But Doctor!" lines and the usual poor acting of Mathew Waterhouse!
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on 4 October 2000
As Peter Davision is one of my favourite Doctor who, it was a welecome to me to finally be able to watch this at home! It is a great little package and has a four episode story and a two. It keeps you on the edge of your eat and has the usual wit of the Doctor!
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on 22 February 2013
The Visitation is a good story from Peter Davison's first season as the Doctor. There are lots of good points to this story which makes it an excellent view. We also get to have an adventure in history which had gotten quite uncommon during the Baker era. It is probably one of the best from the 5th Doctor, and introduces an interesting monster, the Tereleptils, although this, to date, has been their only appearance, i find this a shame and there was more to be explored with these galactic criminals. The story ends with the intriguing twist of the Doctor starting the Great Fire of London, which I thought was a nice touch. As for the DVD itself this story is one of the last that was crying out for a Special Edition. The original had only very brief and quite uninteresting extras that focused only on small specific areas, this new release is crammed with new and fantastic looking special features, which I look forward to watching, we get a making of, where Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton are taken back to the locations used by Mark Strickson (Turlough, introduced the following year), and we get the next in the series of The Doctor Forever! Which, although none of it's parts has been released yet, promises to be a very interesting series of special features. Even if you have the original (as I do), I highly recommend picking this up at some stage for the wealth of Special Features on the two discs.
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on 24 February 2013
It is difficult to write a review on a history on The Visitation, after having seen more than 100 adventures of the First, Second, Third, Fourth and FIfth Doctors (without considering the modern ninth, tenth and eleventh Doctors).

One could say that this story will never be the most remembered adventure of all times... But even in that case, it is a correct history. There is the monster-of-the-week embedded in the 17th century in the middle of the great plague... As usual, the cause of the plague is the intent of the Tereptils (monster-of-the-week) to erase all life forms from planet earth (quite typical).

Anyway, the Fifth Doctor along with Nyssa, Adric and Tegan, will find the usual friend and foes that will help them amuse us along the four episodes.

And the final suprise will let us discover yet another historical disastrous event in planet earth that was caused directly or indirectly by our beloved friend, the Doctor.

The extras on the DVD are the usual. Nothing outstanding. Nothing missing.
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on 15 July 2006
Story: 4/5 - Extras: 4/5

"The Visitation", by Eric Saward, is an old school "Doctor Who" story. Relatively sedately paced with lots of location filming in damp-looking woodlands, and conforming to the classic pseudo-historical formula of an alien force invading superstitious pre-industrial Earth, "The Visitation" hardly pushes the boundaries of 1980s television, but it does provide a relatively moody tale that takes advantage of the major event of the era (the Great Plague) in true historical style, and even offers a cheeky explanation for the Great Fire of London.
For the four episodes that constitute "The Visitation", the regular crew of the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric (as if the TARDIS wasn't crowded enough already) are joined by gentleman of the road and sometime thespian Richard Mace, played in true OTT style by actor Michael Robbins, and as a result the story is positively bloated with foreground characters. However, given this challenge, writer Eric Saward manages remarkably well to give them all something to do. Much as in "Earthshock", Nyssa spends a certain amount of time hanging around in the TARDIS towards the end of the story, but at least this time it's for a reason.
The principal monsters of the piece - the reptilian Terileptils and their jewel-encrusted android - are pretty well realised given the era and the budget, there's a nice introductory sequence to set the scene, a distinctive score and a whimsical closing shot that doesn't quite make you cringe. Overall, "The Visitation" is an enjoyable little story.
On the DVD, there's a raucous commentary with the full TARDIS crew plus director Peter Moffatt. It's fun, although they do get a little carried away from time to time in slagging off actor Michael Robbins. Beyond the commentary and the usual on-screen production notes, a few original featurettes are thrown in to make up a reasonable DVD package.
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on 12 June 2017
Sadly Davison's era is filled with a majority of beige episodes, and this is one of them. It's a nice one to get for the demise of the Sonic screwdriver but apart from that it's average. It's annoying because Davison does have some fantastic episodes (Earthshock, Androzani, Frontios, Kinda etc) it's just that they are a bit too few and far between with a lot of episodes missing their potential a little, like this one
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