Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Doctor Who Delta and the Bannermen |
Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Bonnie Langford
Director: Chris Clough
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/01/2009 Run time: 73 minutes
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Me? I love it
Nathan Redmond | Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | 05/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Delta and the Bannermen is definitely one of the most polarizing Doctor Who serials; either you love it or hate it. Its bad reputation probably comes from being sandwiched in the middle of Sylvester McCoy's first season in the lead role, which is universally written off as 14 episodes of childish, gaudy faffing about offset by hideous dialogue, cheap production values, and, of course, the rightly infamous "demo mode on Casio keyboard" music of Keff McCulloch used for all but one of the season's episodes.
Well, Delta is probably the best episode of the otherwise calamitous 24th season of the show. The first two serials of the McCoy era did not paint the character with a good quality brush; in Time and the Rani, the Doctor went way beyond his regular eccentricity and became just plain weird and often facetious; I submit the mixed metaphors he regularly spouts throughout that episode ("Time and tide melts the snowman," "Two wrongs don't make a left turn," et al.) as evidence. Paradise Towers was probably even more silly than the preceding serial, where the acting was at its absolute worst and Keff's music was channeling Speak and Spell-era Depeche Mode by way of Madonna.
Delta is different from those two. The Doctor doesn't act overly silly here (aside from the accidental sneeze that leads into part one's cliffhanger); McCoy's performance here is great, beginning to plan out the darker, moodier Seventh Doctor of the final two seasons. There's a great character moment for him towards the end, where he is seen cradling a Stratocaster and commenting, "Love has never been known for its rationality."
And the script? For a comedic episode, it's not bad. Doctor Who has always raised ire when trying to do comedy (see the late 70's disasterpiece of BBC Christmas pantomime, The Horns of Nimon, for more information), but the comedy is offset by a great deal of character scenes and some great production values for the period (this episode was almost entirely shot on location, which probably contributes to the polished look).
But the biggest subject of debate is the massive amount of 1950's rock music used throughout all three episodes, albeit in cover versions. I don't mind it so much as others; Keff's attempts at rock are better than the actual synthesized, non-diegetic music used for most of the episode, but not by much (on a side note, Keff himself makes an onscreen appearance in part one).
You've probably heard a lot of bad things about this one if you're a fan, but I suggest you give it a chance. As I said, you either love this episode or hate it; it's Doctor Who trying to be radically different, and whether it succeeds or not is entirely your perception. However, if you're someone who longs for the "good ol' days" of Jon Pertwee, complete with horrible CSO and rubber suit monsters, then go back to The Green Death and stay far, far away from this one.
As for the DVD, it includes an early edit of part one, with extended and rearranged scenes (and lacking music and sound effects), a documentary about Doctor Who comic strips, continuities from the original 1987 transmission, and the obligatory audio commentary, among other things; typical of the excellent DVD releases you've come to expect from the BBC."
The 7th Doctor Finally Comes Into His Own
Wes Saylors Jr. | Boone, North Carolina | 09/18/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Much like the first two James Bond movies after Roger Moore took over the roll, the first couple of Sylvetster McCoy episodes of Doctor Who are hit and miss affairs. There are times when you can see consistency trying to emerge, but basically all concerned with the 7th incarnation of the Doctor are trying to see what fits. However, 'Delta and the Bannermen' is probably the first real glimpse of the Doctor we are going to enjoy until 1989. The story (concerning an Enlish holiday camp in the 1950s and an invading alien race) walks the fine line between slapstick and genuine adventure. Most of the McCoy episodes did this, mixing Sylvester McCoy's talent for physical comedy and machine-gun speech patterns with his sympathetic nature and concern for his travelling companion (which would later be perfected by the arrival of Ace, an almost perfect pairing of a Doctor with a companion). There is a lot of physical comedy in any McCoy episode, but the scripts also contain genuine wit and intelligence. McCoy himself is highly likeable and the imagery contained in much of his run as the Doctor is the most arresting to be seen on television since 'The Prisoner.' And all done with a miniscule budget. Dr Who has always been a great example of script and intelligence over budget and special effects, and the McCoy run of shows is no exception. 'Delta and the Bannermen' (as well as many of the other episodes) offer funny, exciting and well-acted television. The McCoy years are filled with high-energy, and this has sometimes been confused with mere slapstick. This is not the case, though. Sylvester McCoy combined his physical comedic skills faster paced productions (these episodes can actually be called exciting)and top-notch scripts to deliver two memorable seasons. I agree, he took some time finding his feet, but once they landed firmly on 'Delta and the Bannermen', there was no looking back for the 7th Doctor."
"Love has never been known for its rationality"
Jason A. Miller | New York, New York USA | 09/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Right in the middle of "Delta and the Bannermen" is a dotty old Welshman named Goronwy: beekeeper, collector of honey, student of human nature. Everything Goronwy says reflects directly on the story unfolding around him. It's he who tells us that, just as an ugly pupa becomes a beautiful butterfly, so will Delta's hideous green baby become the new Chimeron queen. It's he who tells us that a newborn bee can become queen just by the right diet. Those two sentences are the plot. On the other hand, we also get two bumbling CIA agents. Contrary to Goronwy, absolutely nothing they say advances the story at all. In fact, the story stops dead whenever they're on screen. And that's "Delta and the Bannermen" for you. Sublime and the ridiculous aggressively sewn up in the same package.
This most small-scale "Doctor Who" story -- twelve black-clad soldiers menace a Welsh holiday camp in 1959 -- is also the most hyper and frenetic the show ever got. Here we have more spaceships and motorcycles and buses and cars and other vehicles all in one place for the first time since "Planet of the Spiders". If you thought all those Season 11 chase scenes were too much to handle, try this caper on for size -- and it's half the length!
The guest cast is variable. CIA agent Weismuller is played by Stubby Kaye, the New York-born Broadway star (Guys and Dolls). Not only does he wear a Yankees jacket, but he wears the cap, too, just in case we missed the point. In 1959, the Yankees only finished in third place, and Kaye looks as tired and over the hill as Casey Stengel. But he's charming in the role and it's nice to add him to the "Who" legacy. His partner Hawk, on the other hand, has the worst American accents this side of "Dalek", and is played by someone named Morgan Deare who, if the Internet Movie Database is anything to go by, was most certainly not from New York.
The rest of "Delta" can be boiled down to vignettes that are interesting, and vignettes that are not. Ken Dodd's appearance has no impact for the American audience. Mel wears four different outfits, and that's just in the first thirty-five minutes. Much better is the rock-and-roll themed incidental music, and would-be companion Ray, who's such a cute breath of fresh air. I love how she keeps explaining to everyone that Keillor, an ill-fated bounty hunter in blue suede shoes, was "ionized".
Sylvester McCoy is also terrific. You can tell they still weren't sure where to go with his Doctor yet -- witness all those misquotes ("A stitch in time fills up space!" that were never again a staple of his character). And yet, he's gentle with Ray, and avuncular with Billy ("For a primitive piece of technology, it certainly delivers the decibels!"). His Part Two confrontation with the Bannermen leader Gavrok, staged on a rickety staircase, features great line after great line (a few minutes later, he's back to discussing honey with Goronwy).
The story wraps up about five minutes before the end of the final episode, leaving time for an extended denouement where all the (surviving) characters get something amusing to do. It ends with Goronwy telling us that, in the end, the new queen bee creates "a new hive, and a new life", and then he winks at the disappearing TARDIS.
The story's an episode shorter than most four-parters so there's more room on the DVD for vintage on-location footage; a nostalgic interview with British TV veteran Hugh Lloyd (Goronwy) taped shortly before the actor's death in 2008; and, from an ongoing 2-Entertain series, an overview of the 7th Doctor comic strip. An excellent commentary track joins the Doctor and Ray with director Chris Clough and script editor Andrew Cartmel; there are solid anecdotes from all. Also interesting is the original 30-minute edit of Part One, giving the story more room to breathe; this is untreated with visual or sound effects so a dinner gong is signified by a PA quietly saying: "Dong!". Come to think of it, they could have left the "Dong!" in the finished product and the story wouldn't have suffered one bit."
Dr who different style
Cara Wallace | Tucson, AZ | 06/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm one of those people who love Delta and the Bannerman. Yes there are sappy parts, but they are more than made up for by the good parts. The beginning with the purple aliens and the bus ride..not so good. Everything at the summer camp, Mel, Delta, Ray, Billie & the Bee-Keeper are all good. The actual Bannermen are horrible. The investigators, the navarino's and the background music is what gives this episode a bad name. So if you want to see an episode where the doctor dances to 50's music and rides a motorcycle, Mel is tolerable, and the doctor plays eccentric with a real eccentric, please join in. It has a different flavor than any other 7th doctor episode. If you are looking for a tight, action_packed story you probably need to move along. Best line: "I think I took that a little too farrrr.""