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Customer Review

on 19 February 2012
This 4 disc BBC DVD boxed set is a fine addition to the ever expanding range of Doctor Who serials available to buy nowadays. I have looked forward to this release for quite some time and when I received it in the post, I was not disappointed in the slightest. The first two stories in this release "Doctor Who and the Silurians" and "The Sea Devils" are timeless Pertwee classics, I cannot say the same about Peter Davison's "Warriors from the Deep", but still, its quite enjoyable.

The first Jon Pertwee story I ever saw was The Silurians and even though that was a UK Gold repeat in the late 90's, it started my love for the series. Jon Pertwee will forever be my favourite Doctor, I love all the rest but Jon stands out for me as something quite special. I have to admit that The Silurians is one of my all time personal favourites and along with a few other Pertwee serials are the pinnacle of Doctor Who's creative genius. Malcolm Hulke's 7 part script is brilliant, no doubt some of the best writing for the series. The Silurians is so adult in nature, that it really stands out as the start of a trend of mature Doctor Who serials and of course in a few years time, Doctor Who would descend into Gothic horror and much more adult themes. So I salute The Silurians as being the first ever Doctor Who serial that appeals more to adults than the kids.

Another point worth shouting about is the performances from the regulars and quest cast alike, by now Jon Pertwee's Doctor and Nic Courtney's Brigadier have settled down beautifully into their roles. The way in which the two bounce off one another is amusing and at times {like at the end of events} emotionally charged. Caroline John enjoys a great story here, Hulke using her as the audience relay to good effect, her role is much more substantial here than in her debut story "Spearhead from Space". Peter Miles puts in as ever a fantastically entertaining and sometimes over the top performance as the Director, his death scene was very charged and thrilling. Long time British acting talent Geoffrey Palmer puts in a very straight faced performance as Masters, the doomed permanent undersecretary from the Ministry. Doctor Who pop up Norman Jones appears as Major Baker, the security hot head who goes insane at the traitorous Doctor and ends up nearly destroying the world with the Silurians special killer virus. Overall then, the fine caliber of quest cast combined with the series regulars makes for impulsive viewing.

The BBC's Doctor Who Restoration Team have done a wonderful job in cleaning up, recolouring and remastering these episodes for a DVD release, the picture and sound is a massive improvement from the 1993 VHS release. The documentaries are both entertaining and informative, with some great voice work from Palmer, these special features ensure that this DVD of Doctor Who and the Silurians is one of the best released thus far. Highly recommended.

1972's The Sea Devils is a more improved version of the previous lizard outing "The Silurians", I have always had a fondness for this truly classic story, it is no doubt the Master's best serial and enters the top 10 Doctor Who serials ever for me. Everything about "The Sea Devils" exudes expense, the location filming is some of the best shot for the show and Malcolm Clarke's incidental music is thrilling, I know his music was not well received by some of the production team back in the day but still, his use of electronic music is used perfectly here on the Sea Devils.

As stated above, I believe this to be the Master's greatest story, here he is utterly charming when imprisoned and devilishly ruthless when in control of the situation, perhaps in a different time, a different world, he could have been quite an alright sort of bloke. But here, he is The Master, at the centre of a plot to start a war between the Sea Devils and Man, his characteristic control over Trenchard is not so characteristic, Trenchard is not under The Master's hypnotic control, he is however under the control of his pride and patriotism, which I think is rather sweetly portrayed by the bumbling prison warden that is Clive Morton. Another great performance comes from Edwin Richfield's Captain Hart, he serves as the Brigadier's replacement for this 6 part tale and does quite an effective job. Edwin's performance is very humorous at times as he bounces off the Doctor's alienism nicely.

Yet again, the BBC DVD release boasts this 6 episode tale fully remastered and packed with special bonus content, the Hello Sailor documentary is very nice, it shows the production team with the actors on location at Portsmouth and interviews some of the minor extras that appeared in the serial, along with of course the usual Doctor Who DVD suspects of Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks, Katy Manning etc etc. The disc is then rounded off with some little tid bits of interest to the fans and curious.

Overall a fantastic addition to the range and a brilliant Jon Pertwee classic finally on DVD.

Highly Recommended.

Many thanks for reading this review, its greatly appreciated,

M.B.

{P.S. I shall review "Warriors of the Deep" when I get round to watching the DVD again}
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