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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Although the Doctor is still attempting to return Tegan to Heathrow in 1982, the TARDIS is proving less than co-operative. Instead, the time-travellers find themselves in 1666. The fear of plague still haunts the land, but the Doctor is more interested in the wrecked remains of a spacecraft's escape pod.

When he discovers that the alien survivors intend to unleash a virus to destroy the human race, the Doctor faces a race against time to avoid a final visitation.

Eric Saward's debut script for the series clearly impressed producer John Nathan-Turner, as he offered Saward the script-editor's job shortly after.

It's interesting that during Saward's tenure as script editor you sometimes come away with the impression that he was less interested in the Doctor and more interested in his own creations, such as Lytton and Orcini. This seems to start here, as the most compelling character in The Visitation is the roguish actor and highwayman, Richard Mace (a nice guest turn by Michael Robbins).

So whilst Michael Robbins is good value and there's some nice location filming, The Visitation does feel a bit derivative of earlier stories such as The Time Meddler and The Time Warrior. It's therefore a solid, if unremarkable story from Peter Davison's debut season.

This special edition carries over all the bonus features from the original DVD. In addition to this there's three new documentaries, the first of which is another edition of Doctor Forever, this one covers the Audio releases and is an interesting watch.

Grim Tales reunites Davison, Fielding and Sutton, and they, along with Mark Strickson, take a stroll around the locations used in the story, for an informal chat about making The Visitation. This interview footage in intercut with talking heads footage from the likes of Eric Saward. Having the TARDIS crew together is a definite plus, and makes this a cut above the normal making of documentaries.

Davison, Strickson and Fielding are together again for the final documentary, The Television Centre of the Universe. This sees them, along with Yvette Fielding, back at Television Centre to chat about their memories of working there. As with Grim Tales, their interview footage is intercut with talking heads such as costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux and AFM Sue Hedden amongst others. This is another good documentary that explores some of the magic of Television Centre. A second part will appear on a forthcoming release.

As with all these Special Editions. if you have the original DVD then a decision to rebuy rests on any improvement to the picture as well as the new special features.

This release has used the original film elements, so the PQ of those sections does look better than the original DVD. Although I'd say that this isn't enough to justify a new purchase. The two new documentaries featuring Davison and co are entertaining, particularly if you're a fan of this era. So whilst this won't be an essential purchase for many, overall it's a good package.
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on 2 March 2014
As hard as it may be to believe, at the time 'The Visitation' was the first proper historical Doctor Who story since the (outstanding) 1977 story 'Horror of Fang Rock' more than four years previously. It was a most welcome return and the story really makes the best of its 17th century setting.

Eric Saward's script is simple but very effective; there are only a small number of proper characters but they are mostly well written. It's also pleasing that Saward's habit of sidelining the Doctor isn't in evidence here; the Doctor is a central character throughout. I was pleased that the sonic screwdriver was written out in this story as I was never keen on it. The trouble is Saward struggles to find things for all three companions to do. It doesn't help that Richard Mace almost becomes a companion for this story.

Peter Davison gives his usual superb performance here; watching him it's easy to forget that this was only his second story to be filmed. Michael Robbins is magnificent as highwayman and actor Richard Mace. Michael Melia does a good job of playing the Tereleptil leader, it couldn't have been pleasant for him in that costume. John Savident, of Coronation Street fame, puts in an appearance in the first episode sans distinctive Lancashire accent.

The story is very well executed by director Peter Moffatt; the large amount of location filming is splendid. The sequences of the android wandering through the forest disguised as the grim reaper are particularly effective. The Tereleptil costumes are very impressive, the mouth even moves. Paddy Kingsland's incidental music is very good indeed. The scenes towards the end, set in London are nicely done. The Tereleptil leader meets a suitably grim end, burning to death. The conclusion of the story, with it being revealed that the Doctor started the great fire of London, is genius.

'The Visitation' is not quite one of the series' all time classics but it is a very enjoyable adventure nonetheless.

All of the special features from the original 2004 DVD release are also included on this special edition. These include 'Directing Who Peter Moffatt' A very nice 26 minute feature which looks at Moffatt's directorial contributions to Doctor Who. It's composed of footage from an interview with Moffatt interspersed with clips from the stories he directed. Moffatt comes across as very likeable.

There is also 'Writing a final visitation' which is an interview with Eric Saward in which he talks about the writing process of 'The Visitation'. It's quite good and it lasts for approximately 12 minutes. The other extra from the original DVD release is 'Scoring the Visitation' in which incidental music composer Paddy Kingsland discusses with Mark Ayres the music he composed for the story. It's very detailed and it lasts for 16 minutes.

While there were some pleasing extras on the original DVD, they have gone to town for this special edition. 'Grim tales' is a 45 minute 'making of' documentary. However it breaks the formula of the usual 'making of' documentaries; Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Mark Strickson explore the locations used for the story. They've clearly gone to some effort to make this documentary.

'Television Centre of the Universe part one' is a very engaging feature about (yes!) BBC television centre. It's presented by Yvette Fielding who is joined by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson. Together they go on a tour of the centre and share their memories of working there. There are some very funny anecdotes and plenty of banter between the four.

'Doctor forever- the apocalypse experiment' is about Doctor Who on audio. It almost exclusively focuses on Big finish. This is likely to be a love it or hate it feature.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 February 2014
England's green and pleasant land, spoiled only by rats, plague, the Grim Reaper and a giant alien fish lizard with attitude problems. Welcome to 1666!

`Heathrow airport' never looked better. So what if the Doctor did arrive 300 years early, you can't please some people! Attractively filmed around leafy parkland and a manor house west of London, `The Visitation' is a good-looking `history meets the alien' outing for Peter Davison's Doctor in his second story (in filming order), he brought a welcome freshness and energy to the series. The interior sets and effects set a high standard and the animatronic `monster' design is unforgettable. Michael Melia performs a convincing alien even under several inches of latex.

For once this is not a deliberate invasion; the three fugitive Terraleptils have crashed on Earth and have nowhere else to go. So, naturally, they decide to wipe out humanity and take the planet. No Terraleptil is going to win a galactic beauty contest but they do have a love of art (so the Doctor tells us), which must explain why their android looks like a glam-rock / disco art installation on legs! Like all the design work, it conveys high quality and adds to the very distinctive, glossy look of the story.

`The Visitation' gives the Doctor more companions than you can waggle a gill-flap at (if you're a Terraleptil), no less than four. The fourth `companion' is the wonderful creation of Richard Mace, out of work 17th century "ac-tor" and part time highwayman, played with zest, flamboyance and a rich, rolling delivery by Michael Robbins. Mace has obviously spent so long treading the boards of Restoration England's temples of theatrical tradition (as he might say) that for him, "All the world's a stage" is literally true. Even when he's up a tree or faced with a bad-tempered extraterrestrial, the curtain never falls. ("You jest, Sir!") Brilliant, and an example of how comedy in `Doctor Who' can add to a story when it appears to come naturally from the character's own life.

Three companions plus one does sometimes feel like too many roles with not enough action to go round, but the different characters play off each other well and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) has a good story with something properly scientific to do and gets the result. Attractive as the woods and country settings are, a longer section in plague-ridden London would have added to the story, the sets are excellent and deserved more time on screen.

`The Visitation' is a very enjoyable history plus monsters story with a memorable final twist and well worth a visitation of your own, I'll visit four stars upon it, plus a bonus star for the quality of the special edition extras. The special edition picture quality is sharp and colourful, displaying the fine location filming and sets.

Best of the many extra features on the two special edition DVDs:
The commentary is very entertaining, full of cheerful memories and anecdotes and a good deal of fun at their own characters' expense.
`Grim Tales' where Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton go for a light-hearted celebratory trip (pun alert) in the woods. Mark Strickson guides them round the locations and leads them to find the site of The Chemical Toilet (I'm not making this up) then it's off to the manor for tea. It's obvious that all concerned enjoyed the experience then and now and this sense of enjoyment comes across for us to share.
`The Television Centre of the Universe - Part One' is a similarly jolly stroll through a day in the life of classic `Doctor Who' at the now deserted TV Centre.
`The Apocalypse Element' - the story of `Doctor Who' on audio.

NOTE: The DVD menu shows clips from the programme as background, so if you don't know the story already, press `Play' ASAP. And leave the PDF materials for later unless you want to know the whole plot!
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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 28 November 2015
Not a great story, but the extra features make its purchase worthwhile. Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton & Mark Strickson (no Matthew Waterhouse for some reason) are great fun in the various featurettes.
One thing I've noticed - the Doctor seems to have a soft spot for Liver Birds! Troughton's Doctor was very keen on a character played by Pauline Collins in "The Faceless Ones" and Davison gets rather spoony with both Nerys Hughes and (here) Polly James!
Perhaps Elizabeth Estensen could be released from "Emmerdale" to appear in the next series!
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on 22 March 2016
Well I enjoyed this. Another one to add to my increasing Dr Who collection. This, to my mind, is one of Peter Davidson's best. Peter, Janet, and Matthew work well together. I particularly like the ending, when the Doctor accidently starts the Great Fire of Pudding Lane. Subtitles very helpful. Quality of picture-excellent.
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on 18 June 2013
A surprisingly good episode fromthe classic Dr's. No its not the best ever but you cant judge everything on the best, its got good characters both good and bad and rips along at a good pace. Well placed in any Dr Who collection.
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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 23 December 2000
Both these adventures are set in history and both are from the Peter Davison era. In 'The Visitation', the Terileptils have arrived in 17th century England and plan to wipe out the human race. These are really rubbery monsters and are not remembered very fondly, but this is still an enjoyable yarn. The second adventure, 'Black Orchid', is similar to a Miss Marple episode. The Doctor arrives with his companions in 1920s England and they acquaint themselves with an upper crust family. During their stay at the family's luxurious mansion, a murderer strikes and the Doctor and his companions are held responsible.
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on 6 May 2013
This story may not rate as highly amongst many devoted fans unlike The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Earthshock or The Caves Of Androzani, but it's one of my favourite Davison stories nonetheless and because I consider it to be the first really good story of his three-year tenure as the Doctor.

It's quite obvious from the start that this was not the first story of Davisons' first season to be recorded and transmitted - it was recorded second and shown fourth - with his debut Castrovalva yet to go before the cameras at the time of this one being made. And yet here he seems to have fully become accustomed to the role of the Doctor in what in theory is only his second outing.

The Visitation has plenty of location filming throughout its four episodes, and is probably some of the best ever seen during the classic series as it serves as an effective period backdrop to the story. Michael Robbins plays the out-of-work actor and highwayman Richard Mace superbly, especially as he is the only other supporting character alongside the four regulars. The Terileptils are excellent monsters - albeit there are just three of them - and in many ways it's a pity they were never to appear in another future story.

This was script editor Eric Sawards' debut Doctor Who story as a writer, and the end result is very near faultless. As well as the story there is as always several special features included, the main one here being Grim Tales - a new 45-minute documentary where the original regular cast (minus Matthew Waterhouse - why, I don't know) revisit the storys' locations 32 years on and have plenty of anecdotes to share with the viewer. Nice though it is to watch these retrospective docs they can become wearisome after a while if they are too long.

So all in all a Davison classic, and one to enjoy again and again in that it's four episodes of pure drama and suspense.
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