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Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday (Story 118)
Doctor Who Four to Doomsday
Story 118
Actors: Peter Davison, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding
Director: John Black
Genres: Television, Cult Movies
NR     2009     1hr 40min

In "Four to Doomsday," Peter Davison's recently regenerated Fifth Doctor is burdened by the most irritating trio of companions in the history of the show (Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan) when the Tardis materializes inside a vast...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Peter Davison, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding
Director: John Black
Genres: Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/06/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 18
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Samuel K. (Solvanda)
Reviewed on 10/18/2018...
The TARDIS materializes on an immense interstellar ship 4 days out from Earth. Onboard we meet Monarch, ruler of Urbanka, his home planet, which he strip-mined and destroyed in a quest for minerals to improve the ship they are currently on. Monarch has identical plans for Earth. Monarch believes that if he can move the ship faster than the speed of light, he can pilot it back to the beginning of time and discover himself as God. There are many other revelations along the way in this quite busy tale. (Urbankans, by the way, look like large green skinned frog people.)

Four to Doomsday is a real visual treat. The Urbankan ship is a quintessent work of art, both outside in model work, and inside set-wise. For an underfunded scifi show made in 1981, the props appear sophisticated and technologically advanced. And it still does today. There are some deleted and extended scenes on the dvd which feature even more of these scenes, which I quite enjoyed. The costumes and makeup are also very effective here, as the story required a diverse ensemble of Terran cultures represented.

Many great one liners sweeten the pot, and, if you're paying attention, there's quite the abundance of double entendres. The roles are well characterized, excellent clarity of ideas, and well, this one has something I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps charm? There's also a brilliant scene demonstrating some spacial physics via The Doctor utilizing a cricket ball.

Movie Reviews

"Conformity is the only Freedom" says the Frog-man.
Kevin J. Loria | New Orleans, LA USA | 11/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"First let me qualify that I loved the Peter Davison years (1981-84). The potentially disastrous transition from Tom Baker's longest running a 4th incarnation to Davison's Fifth. From the Doctor Who writer Terence Dudley who brought us such 80's plot train wrecks as the Black Orchid and the original Xmas special K9 & Co., we now welcome "Four to Doomsday" to DVD. Dudley's writing is the least of this episode's problems, as it happens this was the first story arc that the "new" Doctor would film, although it would follow the excellent season premiere of Castrovalva, it was truly the story Davison would explore how he was intending to portray the character. For this reason, "Four to Doomsday" is weaker, but for the very same reason it is worth owning to watch this awkward transition period. For his charter season, Davison's Doctor is very much like William Hartnell's 1st Doctor, not to mention the entourage of companions that both Doctor's were afflicted. The show's design and effects are quite neat, like the Doctor's spacewalk, the retro-pseudo-science helmets and the Monopitcon camera-critters.

The plot, if you can follow it between the Rave/World Music dance-offs, is something about a frogman Monarch, who has visited Earth 4 times, collecting people to make android replicas to distract him on his millennia-road trips. The Urbankans' leader, Monarch, is aided by his ministers Persuasion and Enlightenment. They are engaged in a overly-complex plan to loot raw materials needed to enable him to travel back in time confirming his belief in his own status as "creator of the universe." He intends to poison humanity, allowing him to use his androids as replacements on Earth. The Doctor ultimately uses this poison against the Monarch himself. Ultimately, the baddies plan never becomes clear, in spite of all the exposition.

The episode endings are weaker than the usual fare, the first part wraps with the appearance of android embodiments of companion Tegan's highly proficient "new wave" Earthling renderings, surprising, but hardly the point to wrap the show until next week! Counter to "Who" cliffhanger tradition, the Doctor actually doesn't any immediate threat until little over an hour in (crazy long by Who standards), and then it gets very BOND as the villain invites them to dine. But as if the apologize for this weakness, the closing moments of the story have Nyssa collapsing upon returning to the TARDIS, a cliffhanger leading to Nyssa being largely absent from the next story arc KINDA.

"Four to Doomsday" Drinking game...drink each time .....

...the Doctor loses his Companions, Sonic ScrewDriver...his way.

...the dialogue unleashes some amazing double entendres Adric's gem, "He (The Doctor) knows I'm no good with my hands!" and several from the Urbankans, like "How can Earthlings have penetrated us?" or "Nyssa, relieve him" and "Is this one of your dropping times, Doctor?"

..the dialogue turns to heavy self-referencing exposition like Adric's non-stop rambling about the Timelords, TARDIS and anything else the Urbankans "Wanted to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask."

...the cameras cut back to a musical number.

...the action breaks for some Greco-Roman wrestling.
Not one of Davisons' best...
Rick Lundeen | Western Springs, Il USA | 01/29/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Four to Doomsday was the very first episode that Davison filmed for the series. It was felt that they wanted him to be more at ease in the role when he shot Castrovalva so they mixed things up a bit and shot Four to Doomsday first. Nice idea but F.T.D. is an average Davison adventure at best. Worth getting to complete the collection but that's about it. I myself will be picking it up used as Amazon, in it's wisdom (?) decided to raise the price on the new disc while it sat in my saved section in the cart. Economic times being what they are, I deleted it and the War Machines for the same reason. I guess it really doesn't pay to keep things in the saved section of the cart! They just get more expensive and for a substandard ep like this or War Machines, it's just not even worth full price, ans especially not a raised one."
Good Peter Davison Episode.
Jero Briggs | 02/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Not good enough to get five stars, but still pretty damn good. I think Peter Davison's Doctor was even better in this one than in a lot of his other stories. Don't get me wrong. I liked Davison's Doctor, but in this one in particular, he's just great. Better than in his premiere story. I think the reason why I like him better in this one is because he reminds me of a younger and more energetic Tom Baker. Much as he did in "Kinda", "The Visitation", "Earthshock", and "The Caves of Androzani". The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver more in this one, which is a nice thing to see considering that not long from now we won't see it again until the 1996 TV movie. And when they started using it in the new series, they used it way too much.

I haven't seen this one in a while, but that's just because I watched it so much when I first got it on VHS. It is a good one. The story is great. So are all the cliffhangers in it. The special effects are reasonably good, the spaceship was nice looking - both inside and out, lots of excitement, the music was great, and so was the acting. I recommend this one to anyone who has an interest in "Doctor Who". Oh, and by the way, Nyssa collapses at the end leaving you hanging. Let me tell you why she collapsed so you won't have to see the next story, which is not yet on DVD. She was just suffering from extreme exhaustion. She'll be fine."