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DVD Review

DVD cover

Doctor Who
Terror of the Zygons


Starring: Tom Baker
Distributor: BBC DVD
RRP: £20.42
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 30 September 2013

Called back to investigate missing oil rigs, the Doctor soon discovers that these are not random events. Eventually, the Doctor discovers that the Zygons, whose ship has crashed on Earth, have decided to use their control over a cyborg sea monster to take the Earth for themselves...

For those of you not willing to fork out sixty quid for the The Fourth Doctor Time Capsule, we now have the expected normal release of the restored Terror of the Zygons, sans the interview with Tom Baker, but containing the usual impressive list of extras.

Terror of the Zygons was the first story in the show's thirteenth season. Originally running between 30 August and 20 September 1975, the four part story was written by Robert Banks Stewart and directed by Douglas Camfield. The companions were Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter).

The show is held in high regard among sections of the fan community, so much so that the rumour is that the Zygons are to be resurrected for the show's fiftieth anniversary - we shall have to wait and see. There is much to commend the story, the writing is intelligent, the model of the Zygons ship is believable and the Zygons themselves are well realised villains, except for their cyborg, which is really quite pants - about as realistic as the real Loch Ness monster. Were it not for the monster, this story would still be viable for transmission today. Add to that, this is a UNIT story, so we have the delight of watching Nicholas Courtney strutting around as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

The disc comes with audio options for either the original mono track or a newly created 5.1, both with optional subtitles. You may well be missing twenty-five minutes of Tom, but this release is no slouch and in fact allows you to watch a director’s cut which includes a previously deleted scene.

The story is presented on a two disc DVD set, with disc one containing the optional Directors cut and the full length commentary with Philip Hinchcliffe, writer Robert Banks Stewart, production manager George Gallaccio, make-up designer Sylvia James and special sounds designer Dick Mills, moderated by Mark Ayres.

Disc two holds the bulk of the extras which kicks off with Scotch Mist in Sussex (31 min, 25 sec), the usual mash together of reminiscence and making of.

Remembering Douglas Camfield (30 min, 04 sec) takes a retrospective look at the work of one of the directors who worked on the show. He worked from the early days of William Hartnell before branching out to direct some of the most iconic shows of the time. As these things go, the contributors are universally complementary about him as a person, as well as a director.

The UNIT Family: Part Three (26 min, 28 sec) continues the televisual history of UNIT’s history within Doctor Who. This concentrates on the latter part of Pertwee’s time as the Doctor and into Tom Baker's time, where, with the TARDIS’s mobility restored, the inclusion of UNIT, whilst it never really went away, significantly diminished.

Doctor Who Stories – Tom Baker (22 min, 56 sec) is an interview from 2003, so we do get to have Tom after all. It’s Tom so it’s erudite and witty, well worth watching, recounting stories from his time as the Doctor.

Doctor Who Stories – Elisabeth Sladen (19 min, 46 sec) is a companion piece to Tom Baker’s piece, probably one of the favourite companions, she became the perfect foil for the new Doctor, a partnership which pushed the show to a new level of success.

South Today (3 min, 11 sec) is a small television magazine piece, filmed at the time of the Zygons outdoor filming. Tom does well to answer the interviewer’s inane questions.

Merry-go-round – The Fuel Fishers (19 min, 40 sec) is presumably included as is it presented by Elisabeth Sladen. The show looks at how oil is extracted from the North Sea. The last small extra is the Coming Soon (1 min, 04 sec) for Troughton’s The Moonbase.

Certainly if you didn’t fork out for the expensive last outing of this story, it’s worth picking up. It’s cheaper with more extras.


Charles Packer

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