Search - Doctor Who: The Armageddon Factor (Story 103) (The Key to Time Series, Part 6) on DVD

Doctor Who: The Armageddon Factor (Story 103) (The Key to Time Series, Part 6)
Doctor Who The Armageddon Factor
Story 103
Actors: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
UR     2002     2hr 28min

The search for the Sixth (and last) Segment of the Key to Time bring the Doctor, Romana and K9 to the planet Atrios, where they encounter a pesky interplanetary war and Princess Astra, who is linked to the sixth segment in...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison
Creators: Peter Bryant, Sydney Newman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Drama, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/01/2002
Original Release Date: 09/29/1975
Theatrical Release Date: 09/29/1975
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 2hr 28min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

Get this video! | Worchester, Peru | 08/26/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the finest episodes of Doctor Who I have ever seen. The story is wonderful. It starts off on a planet that has been at war with another planet for hundreds of years. They have a "no prisoners" attitude and that provides for an extremely interesting plot twist later on in the film. THIS STORY ROCKS!!! END"
Last story to the Key To Time is also the weakest
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 02/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In their search to the final segment to the Key To Time, the Doctor and Romana land on war-torn Atrios, which has been fighting a war of attrition against its twin Zeos. As there's variable radiation counts even 140 meters beneath the surface, one can imagine what it's like on the surface. The Doctor jokingly says of the high radiation reading that it might not necessarily be nuclear war, that someone might be holding a huge breakfast party.Things begin bad, as usual. The Marshall, the military leader conducting the war, mistakes the Doctor and Romana as Zeon spies, yet he does a volte-face and welcomes the Doctor as "the one to head us to victory." However, he's not all he seems. One, he makes his decisions by meditating and mumbling in front of a black reflective surface. Two, he has a tiny black object around his neck. Three, he and Princess Astra, a figurehead in charge of people's morale and comfort, are at odds what with her pacifist stance.Astra and her lover, the surgeon Merak, are trying to contact Zeos to try to negotiate a peace, but something is jamming their communications. The same jamming that is blocking the navigation system of the Marshall's fleet, perhaps? First Astra, then the TARDIS, and then the Doctor vanishes, kidnapped by sinister masked figures in black robes. On Zeos, he meets his nemesis the Shadow, who's working for the Black Guardian in the same way the Doctor's working for the White Guardian.The Doctor's condemnation of a war fought by machines is given when he describes the commandant of the Zeon side as a "passionless lump of mineral and circuitry, highly efficient, doing very well, giving Atrios a beating, killing millions without a flicker, just doing it's job, and it's totally invincible." Yet it's programmed to not accept defeat, and as the Doctor says, "there'll be a rather large bang, big enough to take Zeos, take Atrios with with it, and make the whole thing end in a sort of draw. That's the way these military minds work-the armageddon factor." But the story condemns war period; even the lamely romantic patriotic drama in the beginning is a satire on propaganda movies.I agree with K-9's definition of optimism: "belief that everything will work out well. Irrational, bordering on insanity." And the Doctor lectures Romana on optimism, but doing an about face as he goes on: "Listen Romana, whenever you go into a new situation, you must always believe the best until you find out exactly what the situation's all about, then believe the worst." Romana: "Ah, but what happens if it turns out not to be the worst after all?" Doctor: "Don't be ridiculous. It always is." Classic Tom Baker comedy right there.John Woodvine does an portrayal of the Marshall as a ruthless leader fanatical on victory. "You don't beg for peace... you win it!" he tells Astra. He's someone who'd use the ultimate deterrent, and when the Doctor ironically congratulates him on having a typical military mind, he takes it as a compliment, missing the irony. His patriotic speeches bear in mind Churchill's morale speeches during WW2, but with a more rabid edge. And Lalla Ward (Astra) would regularly appear as Romana in the next two seasons, replacing Mary Tamm.But in Episode 5, we meet Drax, a renegade Time Lord who picked up a chirpy Cockney accent, and Barry Jackson's presence lightens things up when the story plods along.As the final story to the Key To Time season, The Armageddon Factor draws it to a conclusion, but leaving with it an atmosphere of "Is that what it's all been about?" It also suffers from weak characters and continuity errors, such as Merak knowing things about the Key To Time though not told about it, and bad acting, such as the Shadow's diabolical laughter. The weakest of the six stories, although redeemed by the themes of the follies of war, especially total war. Rating: 3.5, rounded to 4."
Lukewarm DVD material
Jason A. Miller | New York, New York USA | 08/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The Armageddon Factor" is a mostly funny representative of "Doctor Who"s late-1970s over-the-top years. It's the final episode of "Who"'s first experiment with what's now known as the "season-long story arc" -- the search for the Key to Time -- and shows the Doctor and Romana's completion of their task, and final confrontation with the Black Guardian, who it turns out has been opposing their move at every step. It comes from a time when Tom Baker, the Doctor, was reportedly hijacking the show with wacky ideas and random ad-libs.The episode is pretty funny, if also silly. The plot is a little reminiscent of something you might find in a Douglas Adams' book, with two neighboring planets (the alphabetically opposed Atrios and Zeos) at war, only neither side has ever seen the other... and it turns out that nobody lives on Zeos, anyway. And then you find out that Douglas Adams actually worked on the story, so everything comes full circle.The DVD was released in North America only, and lacks a lot of the special features you'd find on other "Who" DVDs released worlwide. Other discs in the "Key to Time" box set have a more impressive set of features, but "Armageddon Factor" is basically bare bones. The text commentary is more useful than usual, providing the original story breakdown by episode writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin. It's fun to see how the story was improved by the producers and script editors, although I like the notion that the 6th segment of the Key To Time was the shadow... of a character called The Shadow. Less useful is how the text spends minutes at a time listing the UK film and TV credits of all the guest actors. This is a North America-only release, remember?The audio commentary can only charitably be described as "strained". There's a funny story from director Michael Hayes about how a typo in the original script led to the inadvertent creation of a race of alien creatures known as "The Gurads". The rest of it is tame bantering by actors John Woodvine (who was only in half the story) and Mary Tamm, appearing for the 3rd or 4th time in this box set."Armageddon Factor" is mostly enjoyable, and the text commentary alone makes it a step up from the VHS purchase."
Key to Time is the key to the Baker years
Robert Gil | Aurora, IL United States | 07/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The tug of war that goes on between the two warring planets of Zeos and Atrios is just the backdrop for an intriguing end to the Key to Time landmark episodes. For the first time, the Doctor Who series carries a single mission throughout six distinct stories. The brilliant end to the series forces the Doctor to choose between the life of Princess Astra and time itself. This moral dilema is best outlined in the famed mantra of Spock in Star Trek II, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one." The subplot of the Doctor reunited with his old college chum is hilarious. The Troy-like ending with a brainwashed K-9 playing the trojan horse makes the ending even more fun. The tongue in cheek soap opera is quite humorous from the opening scene to the end. A lot of criticism is pointed at this show due to the rash ending, but hey, you cannot have the light without the dark! Oddly enough, the actress playing Princess Astra returns the following season as a regenerated Romanavoratrelunder."