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Customer Review

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The other Ninth Doctor, 6 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who - Scream of the Shalka [DVD] (DVD)
To cut a long story short:

Just over ten years ago, with the fortieth anniversary of Doctor Who approaching, and the show long since off the air with no sign of returning, the BBC staff who ran the Doctor Who portion of their website set out to make a cartoon version of the show. Which would be broadcast on line. Tell an all new story. And feature a new Doctor.

Richard E. Grant was eventually cast in the lead. The road to production was a long and tricky one. But it went head. Would this be the launch of a new future for the show?

No. Because another part of the BBC then announced it was bringing the show back to television. Thus Scream of the Shalka, which had yet to air online when that announcement was made, ended up being nothing more than a one off curio.

It was denied a DVD release back at the time because the BBC felt it might confuse casual purchasers who had just gotten into the programme via the new series to have a totally different version of the Ninth Doctor. But since we're long past that now, here it is at last.

The story runs for six parts, and is complete on a single disc dvd. Most of the episodes run for fifteen minutes, but some are shorter.

It sees the TARDIS arrive in a small town in Lancashire. Where the Doctor is forced against his will to investigate why the townsfolk are living in fear of something hidden from sight. One resident, a barmaid called Alison, shows more resistance to what is going on than others. Can she and the Doctor deal with the deadly threat to the planet Earth that lies beneath the town? And will the Doctor, a man who is clearly recovering from trauma, rediscover himself in the process?

The animation here is basic but servicable, and reasonably eye catching at points. Although the figures aren't quite as good at showing emotion as is sometimes required. A six part story has always been traditionally very hard to pull off, but this manages it quite well, perhaps by virtue of the episode lengths. It zips along at a very decent pace and never feels overstretched or padded. Epileptics and those bothered by flashing lights beware some moments of that in part one.

The Ninth Doctor we meet here does grow on you. Richard E. Grant seemingly more suited to playing the man who does get involved than the morose figure he starts off as. The rest of the cast are pretty capable. In particular Derek Jacobi, s the Doctor's rather suprising travelling companion.

As a pilot story this works fine. Introducing things and characters and giving a decent story along with it. We will never know what or even if anything that would have followed on from this would have been like. It now ranks as nothing more than an interesting curio and footnote in the history of the show. But it's a very interesting one. And it's definitely worth a look.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

It's also English audio captioned.

Extras are as follows:

Production information subtitles.

Photo gallery.

A coming soon trailer for the next release in this range [which as ever is also something that might bother epileptics and those bothered by flashing lights thanks to fast editing].

A commentary from the writer, the director, and the producer.

Soundtrack album: all of the music from the story on it's own, played over a still image from part six. It runs for just over twenty minutes.

The screaming sessions: Seven minutes worth of interviews with cast members, plus some shots of them at work, recorded back in 2003. Worth a look not least to see how close the animation is at times to some of their likeness.

Plus two excellent twenty five minute long documentaries:

Carry on Screaming. Which tells the full, frank, and very interesting story of the making of this. How it got into production. And what happened when it did. Also in revealing an uncredited voice cameo in one part that you might otherwise not have registered.

Interweb of Fear. Which looks at the history of the BBC website and the BBC's various ventures into the online world. You meet the man who came up with the idea for the iplayer, and will see images of the late, lamented BBC online cult tv page. A reminder of the days when said website allowed more contributions than just people using pseudonyms to insult each other about football and politics, it's a fascinating watch.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Oct 2013, 16:04:14 BST
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2013, 16:05:22 BST
Paul Wilcox says:
Read your comments on a timelord007 review. I like to read reviews based on the product as much as the movie/programme. Small things like if a blu ray or dvd although listed as A/1 might actually really be Region Free or as you say languages of certain films are always helpful and Amazon listings don't always help. I like to give an overall view of a release (usually dvd/blu rays, sometimes other things) but generally giving someone an idea of an item that they may have dilerberations about buying - Motel Hell was a long time in the decision making. I'm not a big fan of reviewing something BEFORE it's been released on a format (There are a couple of exceptions but I hope I've justified my reasoning) but like to comment on the product as a whole.Take a look if ya like Timelord007 seems to like them. I have only scanned a couple of your reviews at this time after a comment from timelord007. Even though I don't quite emulate it, I quite like your style.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2013, 16:46:17 BST
Paul Tapner says:
A great example of small things being helpful. A review I did of a book nigh on three years ago, where I pointed out it was part two of a trilogy and thus not a good jumping on point. As the commentor makes clear, I was the only reviewer who did:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2L99DKTW2MJW7/ref=cm_aya_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0330507885#wasThisHelpful

Posted on 16 Oct 2013, 09:44:53 BST
I enjoyed this review as i never seen this adventure as ive only had wifi few months & this was originally,a webcast.
I thought it a decent adventure very Well paced.
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Paul Tapner
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: poole dorset england

Top Reviewer Ranking: 502