Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Doctor Who
Nightmare of Eden


Starring: Tom Baker
RRP: £20.42
Certificate: PG
Available 02 April 2012

The luxury space liner Empress comes out of hyperspace, slightly off course and collides with the research ship Hecate, fusing the two together. When the Doctor and Romana arrive it looks like a simple case of separating the ships, until crew members start to act strangely, leading the Doctor to discover that someone aboard is smuggling the highly illegal drug Vraxoin...

Nightmare of Eden is a four episode story from Doctor Who's seventeenth season, starring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward. The story was written by Bob Baker and directed by Alan Bromly and Graham Williams, as Bromly left the show half way through. The show was originally transmitted between 24 November and 15 December 1979.

The story has, over time, been unfairly maligned. At its core it’s an entertaining anti-drugs tale, which is predominantly let down by some poor design choices. Baker and Ward are on top form and Lewis Fiander, playing the zoologist, Professor Tryst has the most outrageous German accent; the accent alone makes the show worth watching.

Who had many times dealt with issues, both political and moral throughout its history, but I cannot remember seeing a story where the stance and references are so barely blatant. There is nothing here coached in terms designed to obscure the underlying message. Yes kids, drugs are bad. Doctor Who says so.

So, the Doc and his time lady squeeze meet up with Tryst who has a travelling electronic menagerie, not dissimilar to the one in Carnival of Monsters. The machine is able to project its captured environments against the wall, like a movie. However, with the collision between the two ships, areas of instability are created, allowing Romana to actually enter the representation of Eden. The big question is, who is smuggling the drug and to what lengths will they go to cover their activities?

Inevitably, the good Doctor is implicated and must use his wits to discover the identity of the real smugglers before the local police cart him off to poky. Things become more complicated when Mandrels, furry creatures which look like they are holding a maxi pizza in their mouths, escape and start attacking both crew and passengers with their bell bottom legs.

Moralising and poor production decisions aside, there is much to enjoy in Eden. The leads are at the height of their easy relationship, no doubt helped by their off screen romance. The supporting actors are strong, especially Lewis Fiander, with his ludicrous accent.

The disc comes with a goodly set of extras including a full length audio commentary with Toby Hadoke, Lalla Ward; Bob Baker and visual effect director Colin Mapson, with contributions from Joan Stribling and Peter Craze. It’s a good natured piece, with the best stuff being offered by Lalla Ward.

The Nightmare of Television Centre (13 min, 24 sec) is the usual making of piece, which details the tribulations surrounding the making of the story, which saw the director sacked from the production as the whole thing spiralled out of control. Both Mapson, and AJ Mitchell discuss how the model shots turned out to look so poor as the decision was made to shoot the sequences on video, rather than the usual film stock. Assistant Floor Manager Val McCrimmon chips in with other criticisms around the decisions made by the director, which led to arguments between Baker and director.

Going Solo (7 min, 45 sec) has Bob Baker discussing his separation from his writing partner and his first foray into solo writing with Doctor Who. The Doctor’s Strange Love (15 min 44 sec) is a rather odd, if good natured discussion, regarding the story, between comedienne Josie Long and Torchwood writer Joseph Lidster. There is a small segment from Ask Aspel (11 min, 03 sec) Featuring the lovely Lalla Ward, being posh and polite, even when being asked stupid questions.

There is the Coming Soon (2 min) for two Ace stories, Dragonfire and The Happiness Patrol. The rest of the extras are the photo gallery the production subtitles, subtitles for the programme and the PDF materials.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£12.99 (
£12.99 (
£12.99 (
£14.97 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.