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TOP 1000 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 28 April 2017
Yes this was the one with a highway robber in the 17th century played by Michael Robbins best known as Arthur in On the buses, he done the part so well it is worth watching for that.
The show ends with the Great Fire of London.
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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 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 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 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 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 23 December 2017
one of the most underrated story's in the Davison era love the story the terillepitalls are a great 80s villain hoping big finish choices to reuse them eventually.
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on 26 January 2018
Love Dr Who so Happy with this item
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