The Doctor brings Leela to Victorian London to meet her ancestors (though Agincourt might have been more her style). The TARDIS materializes in the darkest heart of the city, where life - and death - is anything but dull. ... more »A hapless cabbie is slain by agents of a secret Chinese cult. Young women are disappearing at an alarming rate, and Li H'sen Chang, the Palace Theatre's celebrated magician, may know more about that than he admits. Li H'sen's ventriloquist dummy, Mr. Sin, appears to have a life of its own, and the rat problem in the sewers is bigger than anyone can imagine.DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Commentary by producer Philip Hinchcliffe, director David Maloney and actors Louise Jameson, John Bennett and Christopher Benjamin
Documentary:Whose Doctor Who - 59-minute documentary presented by Melvyn Bragg
1975, Michael Moorcock, the finest fantasist in the English-speaking world, sat Harlan Ellison down in front of his TV set in London, and said, "Now be quiet and just watch." That was his first exposure to this amazing conceit of being a life-long Doctor Who fan. Later on at the World Science Fiction Convention, Harlan sent the crowd into animal hysterics: "Star Wars is adolescent nonsense; Close Encounters is obscurist drivel; Star Trek can turn your brains into puree of bat guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one or all in a bunch to back it up!" Well, this was one of the tales he was talking about.
Robert Holmes once again chalks up some of the best dialogue ever written here and conquers the pseudo-historical genre with a peerless script. When the history of television drama is catalogued, he won't be remembered at all because he only wrote this sort of genre stuff. Talons has a fair share of gruesome and disturbing material, along with megafauna rats. Jago and Litefoot are quite the amusing characters, and later went on to record 14 series of audio dramas with Big Finish.
Nelda D. (Peaches) from CHARLESTON, IL Reviewed on 5/16/2015...
One of my very favorite! This story is so well written and well executed that it is pleasure to watch every single time. I enjoy Doctor WHo period stories if they are done well and this one is done very well. The characterizations of the Chinese people are accurate without being sterotypical. Mr. Chang's "dummy" is suitably creepy. And we have a baddie who is expectantly selfish about preserving his existence no matter the cost to lowly humans.
I also found the Doctor's turn as a Sherlock Holmes type figure to be very fun and quite beleivable. But my favorite characters were CAsey and Jago. Fun counterpoint to the Doctor and Leela.
Doctor Who in London
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are those who consider Doctor Who to be at its very best when the errant Time Lord is visiting Earth and dealing with alien threats that are Earthbound. Doctor #3 himself, the late Jon Pertwee, often stated this story genre to be his favorite, and judging by the number of Earthbound stories from the show's lengthy history, many agreed. The latest two releases on DVD from the BBC archives are united in their "Earth invasion" theme, but both have taken an interesting and indeed unique slant on the alien invasion of London twist. The "Dalek invasion of Earth" was the last adventure made in the first season production block, way back in 1964, albeit held over and broadcast as the second story in season two. The adventure is significant for many reasons, mainly because it featured the departure of one of the original Tardis crew, and also because it was the first "sequel" to feature in the show, featuring the return of the enormously popular Daleks, created by Terry Nation. Set almost 200 years in the future, the adventure mainly takes place in central London, allowing for much location filming around familiar sights, which adds to the realism of the story. It was the first real use of extensive location filming in the show's history and was well worth the effort to take the show out of the studio and bring a more epic quality to the production. The closing sequence featuring the Doctor (as played by William Hartnell) bidding farewell to his granddaughter Susan, played by Carole Ann Ford, may also be one of the entire series most poignant scenes.All six of the original black and white episodes have been painstakingly restored to almost their original broadcast quality, with many enhancements to some of the laughable special effects added as an option. Potentially, it's the other bonus material that may prove the most interesting to fans and casual viewers alike. The commentary from the surviving cast (Carole Ann Ford and William Russell) together with the producer and director is first class. The on-screen captions also go a long way to fleshing out the background to the production. Almost the entire guest cast appear in newly shot interviews airing their reminiscences, plus there are all sorts of behind the scenes programme's, trailers and other goodies gathered onto a 2nd disc.The same is true of the companion release, "The Talons of Weng-Chiang." Made twelve years later, in glorious colour, this six part series took another twist on the Earth invader theme by taking the Doctor, this time played by Tom Baker, and his companion Leela back into Victorian London to deal with a sinister alien menace. For many, this story is often regarded as one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) story of the Doctor Who canon. And I'm not going to disagree. The production values alone would be enough to set it apart, but the wonderful script, incredible design and superlative acting by the entire cast adds a special magic to the show that few other Who adventures have ever matched. Like the earlier Dalek story, it also marks the end of an era, since this was the last adventure produced by Philip Hinchcliffe. Quite honestly - the show was never the same again!Again, there are all sorts of goodies available on a 2nd disc to accompany the restored six-part adventure. A documentary on the history of Doctor Who televised at the conclusion of the serial is just one bonus worth having; the commentary from the cast and crew is another. It's great to hear Louise Jameson (Leela) making her DVD debut, and it's a real shame Tom Baker himself did not take part. Both stories are excellent additions to the growing Doctor Who library, clearly demonstrating the changing production values and story making not only of this particular show, but also British TV drama in general. I'd highly recommend them and look forward to the next two releases in 2004."
Should be six stars!
Rick Lundeen | Western Springs, Il USA | 06/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you went through the 26 years of Doctor Who, the longest running sci-fi show in history and you needed to pick the top 5 or maybe even the top 3 adventures, I feel comfortable saying that 99% of the fans would easily place The Talons of Weng-Chiang" in that group. The show comes from the pen of Robert Holmes and was the final show under the helm of producer Phillip Hinchcliffe, who had produced the greatest group of adventures ever for the Doctor. This, combined with the most popular Doctor of them all, Tom Baker and a wildly popular companion, Leela, makes for a grand adventure.
Taking place in Victorian London, this is one of the richest adventures in the history of the show and one of the most well written with some fantastic characterization. Magnus Greel and the Homonculous creature as well as Li Sen Chang are magnificent villains in this thriller. Yes, the giant rat is cheesy but it's all part of the fun of '70's Doctor Who. I can't recommend the adventure highly enough and there are a lot of great extras as well. I think it's also a great homage to Robert Holmes that, of the Who adventures that are out on DVD or are about to come out, there are quite a few Holmes stories amongst the few out so far, including "Carnival of Monsters", "Spearhead from Space", "The Power of Kroll", "The Ribos Operation", "The Ark in Space", "The Two Doctors", "The Talons of Weng Chiang" and "The Caves of Andozani". So, in essence, of the 158 adventures in 26 years, so far, 23 have come out on DVD. Of those 23, 8 have been written by Robert Holmes! And I believe Pyramids of Mars is coming out next, also from Holmes. Can there be any doubt that this man has done some of if not THE best "Who"?"
A Who Masterpeice
Savar Nesbin | New Jersey | 07/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't buy this dvd here, but I do own it and my God this should have been an earlier release! I understand the Five Doctors being released first on DVD, but Talons here is a Doctor Who master piece! It's six parts and each part holds your interest, some awesome cliffhangers, like with the deck of cards and Li'Sang Chang... (Not wanting to spoil anything for new Whovians!) The comentary and the doccumentries are incredible! I just love the BBC Who DVDs I just wish they were released in sort of order... Like more box sets or something the like... -Doc "
One of the best Doctor Who stories ever!
Braden Jeunesse | Minneapolis, MN | 07/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After recently viewing this story, I am reminded how fascinating the story line is. The combination of mystery, science fiction, and the macabre is brilliant. I felt I was twelve years old seeing it for the first time again and it was wonderful. I was still at the edge of my seat. This story engages your attention from beginning to end. This story also further reinforces Tom Baker's portrayal of the Doctor as being one of our favorites. This is a "must have" for any true Whovian......
A Victorian Adventure!!
C. J. Hormann | Wellington, New Zealand | 07/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This episode of Doctor Who is seen by many Whovians as one of the best, and with good reason. The Doctor and Leela (wearing the most clothes for any time in the series) land in Victorian London in the midst of strange goings on at a Chinese Magician Show. As with all DW adventures, they quickly get drawn into these myterious shenanigans, are put in danger and escape by the skin of their teeth.
What makes this different is the characterisations of the supporting characters, especially Litefoot and Jago who both inject great humour into the story. The villains are very creepy, especially Mr Sin, truly a creature of children's nightmares. The giant rats are probably the only mistake in an otherwise flawless story.
You have to see this to understand why Tom Baker is probably the most loved of the Doctors and also to view the series at one of its peaks."