An attempt to return Tegan to Heathrow Airport fails, and the Doctor (Peter Davison) and his companions arrive in 1666 England in the darkest days of the Great Plague.DVD Features: — Audio Commentary — Deleted Scenes — Interv... more »iews
I suppose everyone has a title or two that they pop into the player for comfort. This is one of mine. I've tried to put my finger on why this one is uplifting to me and cannot figure it out. Perhaps it is the excellent writing? There does seem to be more dialogue, more quips, more quality to this story. Some archaic terminology. The characterizations are fully realized. A nice smattering of historical references. The tone is very even with a satisfying, tangible atmosphere permeating throughout. Something interesting is happening onscreen at any given moment.
The plot is a rather standard one. Grumpy criminal aliens (Terileptils) crash land, are green, want to take over the world, and exterminate the populace. The Doctor, of course, successfully defeats their brutish attempts to subvert history and in the action itself ends up creating history. It's somewhat amusing how quickly the Doctor and friends all bug out at the end.
The Special Edition of this show has a superior and sharper remastered print. The colorization has been brightened and deepened. And more extras than the original release. The novelization is worth reading if you enjoy this, as it fleshes things out a bit more with extra details. The audiobook version is read by Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), who bumbles things as usual. His interpretation of the Terileptils sounds more like Zygons. And as for Richard Mace, some sort of atypical buffoon. The audiobook is worth a laugh though.
One of the most average historical period D.W.'s ever.
Matthew D. Cornelius | stockton, ca United States | 05/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If someone were to ask you to show them not the very best historical Doctor Who and also not the worst historical Doctor Who but the most average you could think of I'd recommend showing them this one. In fact it's not just average for historical Doctor Who is average for any type of Doctor Who story.
Not that average is bad mind you it's just that with with so few Peter Davison era Doctor Who episodes avalible on DVD I wonder why they picked this one. So far all the episodes on DVD of the Davison era have been important episodes. For example Earthshock with the Cybermen and death of Adric or Caves of Androzani not only featuring Davison's finial apearence but also one of the best written, best acted,best written episodes ever.But who knows maybe that was the point to show something average.
The plot the Tardis lands on Earth in 1666 during the plague. There are aliens trapped on Earth they decide to wipe out all humanity so all three of them can have Earth to themselves. The Doctor offers to help them go some place else but they reject his offer.The doctor must stop the aliens evil plan to wipe out humanity with a geneticaly altered plague virus before it's too late! We've seen this sort of thing before in fact it remined me a bit of the Time Warrior from the Pertwee era but it's not as good. If this story suffers from something it's from being too simple and the writter of the episode Eric Saward agrees that it is a simple story in an excellent interview on the DVD extras.
Now on to the extras and on that score the disk gets a 5 star rating the stand out features are.A funny and very informative audio comentary track with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Matthew Waterhouse and director Peter Moffat. An interview with Peter Moffat about directing Doctor Who over the years. A interview with the episode writer Eric Saward. As well as an interview with the episodes composer. Honestly I really don't feel you can ask for much more BBC really went to town on this disk and I only mentioned some of what I think are the more interesting features. The episode may be average but the extras are far above average even by the high standards the BBC has set with other D.W. disks.
In conclusion this is a solid if not truely great episode. It's a good time but just not the best of the Davison era it is in a word average.
Black Orchid Review
Matthew D. Cornelius | 03/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The most charming Davison adventure. a 2-part historical(do we have to mention the last "true" historical?) where the Doctor and his companions are mistaken for a friend of the Cranlieghs filling in at a Cricket match. Davison is a delight as well as the regulars having loads of fun. The story is devoid of padding, which helps the pace of the story where a strange figure stalks Cranliegh Hall. Sarah Sutton gives a great performance as Ann. A breath of fresh air!"
Humans are so parochial....and sometimes... so are stories.
Kevin J. Loria | New Orleans, LA USA | 01/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Doctor arrives at Heathrow Airport, only it's a few centuries too early, have the TARDIS and crew materializing just as the Plague is ravaging England. As the mystery unfolds, we learn that stranded reptilian-aliens, who are also escaped convicts, are accelerating the Plague in a typical half-baked fashion. As the newly regenerated 5th Doctor, played here by young Peter Davison, joins forces with Richard Mace, an actor turned highwayman. Keeping in the classic mold of the series, there is lots of running, capture, escape and escaping again, but very little story to tie up the historical elements.
Significant story points: THE DEATH of the SONIC SCREWDRIVER (don't worry kids, it'll be back, check out the new season one DVDs in July)
With so many companions in the TARDIS a common flaw with the first Davison season is trying to find something for everyone to do, this is partly why Nyssa ends up in the TARDIS on a superfluous tech detail. Inspite of this I am still disappointed when Michael Robbins's Richard Mace remains behind, rather than add another mouth the feed (in the dialogue sense). The costumes are awkward, but performances bridge the gap. Locations are ok here and Peter Davison is so charming on screen that this below average concept becomes a very watchable piece of Dr. Who history. Unfortunately, Davison is less charismatic on the DVD commentary, filled with pauses and no real revelations, making for a is a less than interesting extra. "
"I feel a definite chill about me shoulders..."
Kevin J. Loria | 03/24/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A marvelous psuedo-historical! One of Eric Saward's best scripts. Michael Robbins as Richard Mace shines with Davison, making a delightful pairing. Even the rest of the TARDIS crew have their part to play. The setting, the location, and even studio bound sets all help this one rise above. It's just a shame that Saward didn't give names to the Terileptils. Even the android(with cricket gloves that didn't bother me) comes across pretty good. A typical lyrical Davison story puncuated by a straightforward script and great timing by all involved."
Two excellent examples from 1980's Doctor Who
C. Christopher Hart | Salt Lake City, UT | 01/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Visitation" A first rate adventure for the TARDIS crew finds the Doctor (portrayed with excellence by Peter Davison)discovering an alien presence at a sensitive time in English history. Will our favorite Time Lord, along with his compantions and an open-minded actor/highwayman, be able to stop this menace? Collector's Note: This story features the last use of the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver until the 1996 TV Movie! "Black Orchid" The Doctor remains in England, only travelling to the 1920's. While the Doctor enjoys a game of cricket, there are strange goings-on at Cranleigh House. A murder mystery ensues and the Doctor is the prime suspect!Both of these episodes show the range of the Doctor Who series. While both utilize historical background, they have radically different approaches. One includes sci-fi elements, while another is a period costume drama. Neither suffers from these limitations and are suitable for the whole family. The acting in the Doctor Who series is typically very good. The producers had to hire talented actors in order to detract from the occasionally rough special effects. Peter Davison brought an enthusiam and joy to the role of the Doctor that had been missing for a few years. Sarah Sutton is an excellent addition to the cast, playing a young scientist who is the last survivor of her world. She shows great range in "Black Orchid" where she takes on a second role. Janet Fielding offers her role of Tegan with great gusto, demonstrating a strength that is missing from many women's roles in family drama of the 80's. Matthew Waterhouse as the much-maligned Adric shows improvement, though he is certainly not adding much to the procedings. Watch for his amusing turn at the buffet in "Black Orchid."These were two of my favorites growing up. I am glad to call them part of my home video collection. - CCH"