Another DVD collection of Doctor Who stories that 2 | entertain see fit to revise, freshly polish and produce additional extras for, Revisitations 2 is perhaps not as 'must-have' as the first set simply because the stories are not solid, bona fide classics and you could argue that the original DVD editions weren't that bad.

Here, the argument for making a purchase of stories you already own is going to be based on the quality of the extra material. Again, some of it is great and some of it is clearly material that didn't have a home elsewhere. On with the DVD reviews then...
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The Seeds of Death
January - March 1969

Brian Hayles's The Seeds of Death is a very typical example of late 1960s Doctor Who. While it has pretensions to be regarded as a close relative to many of the more superior stories in the previous 'Monster' themed Season 5, including its predecessor The Ice Warriors, it doesn't quite achieve this. This is probably by dint of its six episode length and some rather contrived plotting which may well have been the result of Terrance Dicks salvaging the last half of the story with his rewrites and, by the end, a descent into foam machine frolics. The welcome return of the Ice Warriors can't disguise the shortccomings of a serial that would clearly work better as a four parter. A couple of episodes of treading water in terms of advancing the plot slow the pace here despite Michael Ferguson's rather impressive direction.
"You can't kill me...I'm a genius!"
The regular cast of Troughton, Hines and Padbury are good value and at this stage, prior to the end of the Troughton era, demonstrate on screen their well-developed camaraderie as actors. With the extended chase between the Doctor and the Ice Warriors, Troughton comes across as a child bunking off from school, his version of the Doctor having evolved within a perceived comedic subtext. His incarnation has often been codified as ‘Chaplinesque’ or described by the makers of the show as a ‘cosmic hobo’.

This is partly due to Troughton’s own physicality in the role (the journey to the Moon by rocket exemplifies his use of this), his use of facial expressions and body language, and also the way that writers latched onto the idea of Troughton as the symbolic figure of the Fool where he expertly provides the Doctor with a childish persona to shield his hidden intellect, here summarised in that iconic statement, "You can't kill me...I'm a genius!" He is often seen entering each story with a degree of carefree innocence, a spirit in search of experience but with a childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the universe.

Ferguson also gets some impressive performances from the supporting cast. Terry Scully's twitchy, nervous turn as Fewsham is genuinely moving and worthy of praise as Ice Lord Slaar manipulates him into an uneasy collaboration that allows the invasion of Earth via T-Mat to take place. Christopher Coll is also excellent as the rebellious Phipps. Louise Pajo makes a great impression as Miss Kelly, the efficient T-Mat controller and its good to see such a strong female character in the series. Ronald Leigh-Hunt is perfect casting in the role of Radnor, the redoubtable Earth-based Commander.

The Seeds of Death postulates an instantaneous form of travel with the matter transmitting T-Mat service, that can get you from Hong Kong to Helsinki or from Earth to the Moon in the blink of an eye, and control of the weather at the touch of a button, either the one marked 'Dry' or 'Wet' in this case.

And in the year that saw Neil Armstrong and his mates hauling their rocketship to the moon, it had the temerity to suggest that rockets would become a bit old hat when faced with the march of technological progress. Even the TARDIS's Astral Map and a Dominator drilling rig are consigned to Professor Eldred's museum of space antiques in favour of achieving instant connections, globally and universally.
... the global village
Beyond the replay of the ‘base under siege’ formula in The Seeds of Death, it’s interesting to note that T-Mat is perhaps an iteration of McLuhan's notion of the ‘global village’. McLuhan’s The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), describes how sophisticated satellite telecommunications networks (the offshoot of the epic space race between the Cold War superpowers) had now enveloped the world in a vast "cosmic membrane." With time and distance as no hindrance, the emergence of the "information age" fostered a new global consciousness. "We can now live, not just amphibiously in divided and distinguished worlds," McLuhan wrote, "but pluralistically in many worlds and cultures simultaneously". The experience of history itself was revolutionised through telecommunications and international events could be experienced locally, and they could be experienced there and then.

The idea of instantaneous communication is one that permeates much of the Troughton era of Doctor Who, reaching an apotheosis in The Seeds Of Death. T-Mat, weather control and the threat from the the Ice Warriors and their seed pods also touch on the tried and trusted critical science fiction tropes of the relationship between man and machines. Fears about automation, cybernetics and machines fuelled concerned debate in the 1960s and the divisions between machine and organism, and the nature of human intelligence in the light of such developments were all on the agenda. The human condition was now being measured within the context of computers, systems theory, cybernetics, electronic battlefields, hydrogen bombs and man-made threats to the environment. Eldred and his outmoded rocket is almost a repetition of Hayles's other resistance figure, Penley, in The Ice Warriors.

Penley represents the human need for instinct and the ability to leap beyond machine logic to find a solution to the dual problems of controlling the ice floes and defeating the Ice Warriors. Eldred and the Doctor have to find a way to circumvent the narrow strategies of T-Mat control and get to the Moon to investigate the crisis. It is telling, even if it is a plot loop-hole, that the advocates of T-Mat have no back-up plans, including other modes of travel, to enable them to troubleshoot problems with the system such is their ideological conditioning and belief in the virtues of T-Mat. Even the Ice Warriors are slaves to their technologies, their fleet easily hoodwinked into plunging into the sun simply because the Doctor changes their homing signal.
... their underpants outside their long johns
Hayles uses The Seeds of Death to develop the Ice Warriors' culture, expanding their ranks with Ice Lord Slaar (superbly played by Alan Bennion) and a Grand Marshall, who seems to be enjoying an on board disco considering his appearance in video messages from the fleet to the moonbase. The original Warrior design remains impressive and director Ferguson makes a virtue of the location shooting in Hampstead with a Warrior impressively imposing when silhouetted against the sun. The Ice Lord design is a good addition too, allowing Bennion physical flexibility and an opportunity to emote through his make up. Bobi Bartlett's designs for the operators of T- Mat radically avoids figure-hugging sexiness and the costumes are actually rather unflattering, particularly for the male characters where they all look like they're wearing their underpants outside their long johns, even though they do use modern materials like jersey, latex, vinyl and PVC.

These designs reflect the space age realm of fashion futurologists such as Cardin, Rabanne and Courrèges, all trained either as engineers or architects, and their use of new materials like vinyl and PVC, geometrical forms and mathematical precision, and sculptural qualities and motifs such as circles, targets, lightning bolts. The influence of Courrèges can also bee seen in the militarism of these costumes and in the somewhat overwrought Perspex helmets, PVC and vacuum cleaner attachments that are worn by the Earth security forces and that reflect media guru Marshall McLuhan’s ideas about technology becoming prosthetic extensions to the human form.

It's only when seed pods start bursting and the foam machine starts spewing soap suds all over the set that The Seeds of Death gets slightly farcical. Visual effects and design have their virtues and their flaws here. The set designs by Paul Allen are really quite impressive despite the use of the foam machine that saw active service in Fury From The Deep and they add great scale to the storytelling. Some of the model shots are pretty good too. Ferguson makes good use of them and gets some extraordinary shots of characters by looking through sections of wall or by shooting the imposing Ice Warriors from below or high above. There's also that great moment where the countdown is projected onto Louise Pajo's face and where Troughton, chased down a corridor, is comically reflected in their mirrored surfaces. It's a visual flair that is rarely seen in the series and helps to keep an overlong story interesting.

Special Features:

Disc 1
Commentary - with actors Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury, director Michael Ferguson and script editor Terrance Dicks.
Audio Trailer (dur. 0' 45") - an off-air amateur recording of the original BBC1 trailer for the story.
Coming Soon (dur. approx 1' 00") - a trail for Planet of the Spiders
Subtitles and production notes

Disc 2
Lords of the Red Planet (dur. 28' 31") - an enjoyable look back at the creation of the Ice Warriors and their re-appearance in the The Seeds of Death. With anecdotes from actors Wendy Padbury, Frazer Hines and script editor Terrance Dicks and with perhaps the most interesting background material provided by director Michael Ferguson and costume designer Bobi Bartlett. Hosted by TV historian Richard Bignell and narrated by Katherine Mount.
Sssowing the Ssseedsss - (dur. 24' 05") - Ice Warrior Sonny Caldinez, Ice Lord Alan Bennion and make-up designer Sylvia James recall their experiences of bringing the Martian warriors to life.
Monster Masterclass (dur. 3' 44") - director Michael Ferguson talks about his experiences directing some of Doctor Who's most famous monster stories. Far too short and never really allowing Ferguson, one of Who's best directors of the period, to fully explore his subject.
Monsters Who Came Back For More! (dur. 16' 26") - Nick 'Voice of the Daleks' Briggs and Doctor Who Magazine's assistant editor Peter Ware take a look at the reasons why monsters often return for further adventures. A piece of fluff that could appear on any Doctor Who DVD and akin to the sort of conversation you'd have in a pub. If you were a desperate, sad fan-boy. 
Photo Gallery (dur. 4' 30") - a selection of design and production photographs from the story.
TARDIS Cam no.6 (dur. 0' 57") - a model vignette created for the BBC's Doctor Who website.
PDF material - Radio Times listings in PDF format.
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Carnival of Monsters
January - February 1973

Carnival of Monsters is a quintessential Jon Pertwee story and, even though it was hampered by low budgets, poor make-up and unconvincing sets depicting the surface of Inter Minor, it could be argued that it is one of the first stories to embrace a self-aware postmodernism that would eventually inspire the series to explore some very creative directions under the later Holmes/Hinchcliffe and Williams/Adams producer and script-editor partnerships.

It's a bizarre mixture of Top Of The Pops, Robert Sheckley and an insightful glimpse into the Britain of 1973 where, as historian Dominic Sandbrook reflects, "Britain stood on the brink of a profound transformation. Caught between past and present, its political consensus fragmenting under the pressure of social change, its economy struggling to cope with overseas competitors, its culture torn between the comforts of nostalgia and the excitement of change, its leaders groping to understand a landscape that had been transformed by consumerism and social mobility. An old world was dying, a new was struggling to be born."
... a Robert Holmes treatise on Doctor Who itself  
With backwater planet Inter Minor the backdrop to political unrest and a prospective governmental coup, the sun is metaphorically setting on Empire and the old world and the new world meet in a clash between conservatism and liberalism when the Doctor and Jo materialise on the S.S. Berenice in 1926. They soon find themselves trapped inside a futuristic peepshow, the Miniscope, belonging to space theatricals Vorg and Shirna, where old time variety and new fangled modern media come to blows, as a grey haired dandy and a wide eyed Chelsea girl fight off a bunch of puppet monsters.

Putting aside the plot itself, what actually strikes you about Carnival of Monsters is that it's a Robert Holmes treatise on Doctor Who itself - the production and the transmission of it. It's almost a show within a show. Pertwee and Manning are directly parodied by the Vorg and Shirna characters - a theatrical dandy with a nice line in sleight of hand and polari and a blonde showgirl in a spangly costume and platform boots are the visual parallel to Pertwee's bouffant, frilled shirts and velvet smoking jackets and Jo's feather cut, false eyelashes and coulottes. Vorg's peep-show Miniscope could justifiably be the TARDIS especially as Jo and the Doctor get miniaturised on arrival and are thus entrapped in a machine that's bigger on the inside than outside.

The various environments and monsters we see on the scope could very well be the sets of adventures viewers have become familiar with as they watch Doctor Who itself on their television sets. Therefore we get a wry swipe at Cybermen ("a blob in a snowstorm" could aptly describe their introduction in The Tenth Planet) and then a parade of Ogrons, mentions of Daleks and all new monsters with the appearance of the Drashigs. The great thing that Holmes does is to allow the monsters to escape from their environments, further underlining that the scope is not just a TARDIS but it's also a television set, thus allowing one reality to overlap another as monsters emerge from screens within screens and into your living room.
... BBC White City in miniature
Within the scope, as well as the monsters from Doctor Who you've also got BBC White City in miniature as the Indian Ocean BBC costume drama of S.S. Berenice is in perpetual re-run like so many repeats of The Onedin Line and Jo and the Doctor clamber endlessly over an abstract, modernist set that looks like that week's Top Of The Pops studio. You half expect The Sweet or David Bowie to pop up and give us a rendition of their latest chart hit.

On Inter Minor, very grey looking politicians are planning to overthrow their President but are clearly not very good at doing it. Besides, they've got to deal with an immigration crisis and the illegal presence of Vorg and Shirna, the Doctor and Jo. It'll muck up the paper work and that'll keep them tied up for ages. Could that be BBC management and its myopic view of a little show that they have running at Saturday tea-time? Petty bureauracy, bungling politicians, strikes by the lower classes, crap technology all synthesised through daily ritual and the proper way of doing things. From the S.S. Berenice to Inter Minor, it's clearly a very British coup, don't you know.

As a production, even back in 1973, this was looking a bit cheap. Rampant CSO, bad make-ups (even to the extent that producer Barry Letts edited one of the episodes for its 1981 repeat to remove some of the embarrassment), and terrible sets depicting Inter Minor itself. In a strangely poetic way, the roughness of the production wasn't in any way deliberate but it's penny-pinching shabiness adds an interesting dimension to these themes in a Britain where, as Sandbrook suggests, we struggled with "an economy that for two decades had been living on borrowed time." 
... a pot-shot at Edward Heath's own increasing ineptitude
Performances are uniformly good. Pertwee is back to being a galaxy wandering Doctor and the role fits him like a glove. Manning is at her kooky best. One of my favourite scenes is when the Doctor and Jo have escaped onto the marshlands and face the Drashigs. It's a pure example of the 1970s Who cliffhanger when at the end of the episode Jo screams to camera and she's intercut with a big close up of Drashig popping up out of the swamp and giving a huge grin back into the camera.

Leslie Dwyer and Cheryl Hall as Vorg and Shirna could quite easily have swapped places with the Pertwee/Manning partnership at this stage. They are broader, vaudevillian characters but the banter is symmetrical, the costumes just as outrageous and the casual Britishness in outer space is spot on. Holmes's wry script also allows some witty observations of British class divisions when Orum, one of the grey Lurmans, sneers at the lower grade Functionaries with "They've no sense of responsibility. Give them a hygiene chamber and they store fossil fuel in it."

The Barry Letts repertory company of Michael Wisher, Peter Halliday and Terence Lodge are superb as the literally grey men of government Kalik, Pletrac and Orum, all arched eyebrows and clipped mutterings and a fine example of Holmes's character writing. They paint a vivid picture of this society and the offscreen muddlings of President Zarb (perhaps in itself a pot-shot at Edward Heath's own increasing ineptitude while in power).

So Carnival of the Monsters not only plays with the physical making of television programmes, the nature of Doctor Who itself but also plugs into the zeitgeist of the time in a very surreal and satirical way. Perhaps as traditional Doctor Who it does suffer from those accusations of poor production values that were forever heaped upon the show but it can win you over with its ideas and cleverness rather than with its visuals and that's why we still love it now. Probably why it generated a sequel of sorts with the 2010 arena show Doctor Who Live featuring Vorg's son, Vorgenson, and the Minimiser, a device similar to the Miniscope. The more things change the more they stay the same it seems.

Special Features

Disc 1
Commentary 1 - with actress Katy Manning and director Barry Letts.
Commentary 2 - with actors Peter Halliday, Cheryl Hall and Jenny McCracken, script editor Terrance Dicks, sound effects designer Brian Hodgson. A lovely commentary moderated by Toby Hadoke.
Episode Two - Early Edit (dur. 29' 44") - a longer early edit of the second episode, featuring the subsequently rejected 'Delaware' version of the theme music. It is presented here for the first time and is completely un-restored.
Behind the Scenes (dur 1' 48") - on the studio floor and inside the gallery during production of the story, courtesy of a film crew from the BBC's 'Looking In' documentary.
Visual Effects Models (dur. 8' 41") - an expanded version of this feature, including unused model shots, trims and tests.
'Five Faces of Doctor Who' Trailer (dur. 4' 10") - a trail for the 1981's repeat season, which saw many of Doctor Who's classic stories - including Carnival of Monsters - repeated for the first time in many years.
Director's Amended Ending (dur. 1' 18") - for the 'Five Faces' repeat of the story, director Barry Letts took the opportunity to re-edit the ending to remove a shot of a very obvious 'bald cap' which he had always felt spoiled the show.
CSO Demo (dur. 3' 07") - director Barry Letts was very keen on the possibilities offered by the use of Colour Separation Overlay to place actors into fantastical model sets. In this BBC training film, he demonstrates the technique for fellow directors.
TARDIS Cam no.2 (dur. 0' 45") - a CGI model vignette created for the BBC's Doctor Who website.
Coming Soon (dur. approx 1' 00") - a trail for Planet of the Spiders... again
PDF material - Radio Times listings in PDF format.
Programme Subtitles

Disc 2
Destroy All Monsters! (dur. 23' 11") - cast and crew look back at the making of the story. With actors Katy Manning (complete with chicken impression), Cheryl Hall and Peter Halliday, director Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks, assistant floor manager Karilyn Collier and visual effects assistant Colin Mapson. A tongue in cheek look back at the story in the style of 1950s monster movies and narrated by Marc Silk.
On Target with Ian Marter (dur. 16' 08") - actor Ian Marter played Andrews in this story before more famously playing companion Harry Sullivan in Tom Baker's first stories. He was also a writer and novelised many previous Doctor Who adventures for the Target book range. A heartfelt tribute with contributions from actors Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Nicholas Courtney and Nigel Plaskitt, script editors Terrance Dicks and Gary Russell.
The A-Z of Gadgets and Gizmos (dur. 11' 22") - a bit of mindless fluff about gadgets and gizmos in Doctor Who over the years. Narrated by Paul Jones.
Mary Celeste (dur. 18' 01") - just as the SS Bernice disappeared from the Indian Ocean in the story, many real-life ships have mysteriously disappeared too. A trio of maritime experts discuss some of these events, including perhaps the most famous maritime mystery of all time, the strange case of the Mary Celeste. With the University of London's Prof. Roger Luckhurst, Merseyside Maritime Museum's Ian Murphy and the National Maritime Museum's John McAleer. Great little documentary but its tone is decidely different from the rest of the features bar the one on Ian Marter.
Photo Gallery (dur. 2' 55") - a selection of design and production photographs from the story, plus photos from the commentary session and Frank Bellamy's Radio Times artwork.
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Resurrection of the Daleks
February 1984

Broadcast in two 45 minute episodes because of the Winter Olympics coverage that year, the structure and tone of Resurrection of the Daleks reflected the change of format of the following season's episodes, from 25 minute to 45 minute long episodes (a decision that had already been made in May 1983 prior to the transmission of this season I am now informed), and much of Saward's attitude towards the Doctor as the heroic figure.

This thematic structure and attitude to the central character would then continue to thread through the rest of Season 21 and have a significant influence on Season 22. Here, a questionable aspect of Resurrection of the Daleks is the way it treats, and almost rejects, the romantic hero, particularly as symbolised by the Doctor. For the majority of the series's run the Doctor has more or less been the mysterious hero of the narrative - whether by being directly proactive in situations of jeopardy or, by proxy, in influencing those around him to have courage to take action. By and large things turn out well in most stories and perhaps only in the early Hartnell stories could the Doctor be described as an amoral figure. Here, by and large, they don't turn out well. Depressingly the Doctor finds himself caught in an amoral universe and he fails and lots of innocent people die, some of them very horribly, over and over again through shootings, gassing, explosions and mutant attacks. This bleak story is about the absence of the heroic and if you examine it carefully Saward deliberately ensures that the Doctor is neither the central character here and nor is he the moral centre of the story.
"... raw masculism"
In many ways this stylistically echoes some of the changes in genre and aesthetics that took place in mainstream cinema of the 1980s. As well as tapping into the visual tropes of 1980s science fiction cinema, particularly the darker aspects of the films of James Cameron and Ridley Scott, Resurrection of the Daleks is perhaps Saward's articulation of the post-apocalyptic thriller in which, as Yvonne Tasker explains, "the hero stands out from and to one side of the establishment of which he is a part."

Perhaps here the Doctor is emblematic of the tension between the 'real' male action hero (the vigilante figure of Rambo for example) and the more sensitive noir-hero (Deckard in Blade Runner). Saward attempts to lump the Doctor in with what Douglas Kellner regards as "the raw masculism which is at the bottom of conservative socialisation and ideology" and that reflects the Reaganite and Thatcherite penchant for aestheticised glory and anti-intellectualism and that, in turn, rejects rationalism and liberalism.

In fact, the Doctor abdicates his morality and appears to have no qualms in using weapons - either guns or viruses - to kill or attempt to kill Davros and the Daleks. Dalek clones gun down people indiscriminately and the Daleks storm the station holding Davros with an army of butch, uniformed men who proceed to shoot down everyone left alive. When Davros labels the Doctor a coward does this really have an effect on the Doctor's moral duty? It's interesting to contrast this with the scene in Parting of the Ways in 2005 in which the Doctor completely acknowledges that he is a coward and would never use a weapon of mass destruction to wipe out the Daleks or the rest of the human population.

You can see in comparison to the similar scene in Resurrection of the Daleks how the morale (and moral certainty) of the hero is eroded by Davros' small talk whereas in Parting of the Ways the Doctor's assumption of the coward's role actually reconstructs him as the truly heroic. In Resurrection of the Daleks he picks up a gun to finally assassinate Davros and releases the Movellan virus to kill the Daleks in a very dispassionate way. If this was Saward's point then it is clearly something he carried through to stories such as The Caves Of Androzani (but at least Bob Holmes recognises the heroic symbol that the Doctor represents amidst all the mercenaries and gun-runners that litter the story) and beyond to Revelation of the Daleks (where the Doctor is almost completely absent and when he is present is operating more as a subordinate character to the rest of Saward's creations).

For half of the story, the Doctor is not only merely passive (and aggressive) but also on the very fringes of the narrative. It's only at the half way point that he actually comes face to face with the Daleks.

His story function is activated only after being interrogated and, by extension, in learning about Davros' presence on the sttation. He then picks up a gun to go and kill him. However, instead of doing the dirty deed he opts to release the Dalek-killing virus. Somewhere in the middle of the explosions, burnt corpses and machismo there should be a Doctor offering a clear, indisputable alternative to acts of carnage. Saward fails to find him and instead presents at best an amoral, or at worst an immoral, figure.
"changing my ways"
Only Tegan seems to notice the difference by the story's conclusion and only by dint of Janet Fielding's desire to leave at that point do we get a genuine questioning from her character of why this violence has happened. "A lot of good people have died today. I'm sick of it" in turn becomes our own view of Saward's story. His feathers ruffled by her viewpoint, the Doctor's "You think I wanted it this way?" ending is too a meek an apology for Saward's indulgent, high death count. This coda would have been more fitting if it served less than an afterthought and more clearly as the main theme of the piece.

There are some hand-wringing mutterings from the Doctor at the end of the story about "changing my ways" but the classic series rarely picks these notions up and explores or navigates through them. With the following season we just get more of the same and Saward's dysfunctional hero is writ even larger in Baker's Sixth Doctor and where a lack of moral ingenuity implies violent corruption.

The trajectory of the heroic is followed by the most unheroic character of all - Davros. Let's face it, he's the only one with any moral certainty here. Davros can see clearly what the problem is and does something about it. He starts to create a new race. He starts again. He couldn't be bothered about the Daleks' plan to clone the Doctor and attack Gallifrey. His only slip up is not immunising himself from the virus but, as we know, he lives to fight another day.

The Daleks are a spent force - spectacularly blasting their way into the station only to bump into each other and cry "Withdraw!" when station personnel blow a number of them up. Had we ever heard a Dalek utter a word like "Withdraw" before in such a state of panic? They're pushed out of windows, blown up, killed by virus. Saward rewards them with the creeping ineffectualness and corsetted continuity he inflicted on the Cybermen. They are not exactly overcoming all opposition here. Even Lytton belittles and sneers at them.

The Dalek plan is so convoluted you'd think they'd consulted with the Cybermen featured in Earthshock. The plot is so woefully constructed that you can almost see Saward, like Gromit rapidly laying down train tracks, adding bits on for the sheer hell of it as the story progresses to the ultimate in crass resolutions when the Supreme Dalek pops up on the TARDIS scanner and rants about yet another bit of their plan just after the Doctor has laid waste to the Daleks with the virus.
...a pretty hollow experience
Suitably, the production matches the moral dysfunction at the heart of the story. It's a bleak dystopian future with broken down space stations, demoralised crew members and brainwashed Dalek acolytes. The location filming at Shad Thames is highly appropriate - an area once thriving with trade from all over the world now a spent, dilapidated part of the city awaiting the regeneration of the Conservative boom years - and Matthew Robinson directs the studio work with a feverish impatience where cameras are constantly moving and unveiling hidden spaces and figures as they go. The lighting is effective and the sets, all steel greys, blacks and whites picked out with the occasional bold red or blue light, reflect the cold, grim nature of the story. Visual effects are handled very well with plenty of very good floor effects - the Daleks blasting their way into the station being a highlight - and the first use of motion control for the model work.

Even though he's not that prominently placed in the story, Davison does his best with the material. Fielding ends up sitting most of this out with a silly big plaster on her head until the end, which even given its hurried nature is actually an emotionally effective scene and elicits some good work from her. Mark Strickson, as Turlough, skulks about various sets, making various sardonic comments, perhaps looking for inspiration. Terry Molloy is good as Davros, even if his tendency here is to overplay it where his later performances tend to offer more subtle areas of character creation. Again, as a fitting reflection of much of the show's design in the period, the Davros mask is an over-stylised sculpt and it doesn't really allow for subtlety of facial movements which may account for the broadness of Molloy's performance.

Rodney Bewes as Stien, the Dalek agent, is often good and rather bad in equal measure with "I can't stand the confusion in my mind" as much a statement about his performance as it is about the character he's playing. Ditto Chloe Ashcroft. It's a blessing she was mown down along with the other supporting artists (yes, even you Rula, deserve your fate). Of all the guest actors, only Maurice Colbourne makes a real impression as Lytton and it was no surprise that his take on an anti-Doctor galactic mercenary was shoehorned into Saward's Attack Of The Cybermen.

It's a slick production, very well directed. But it is a pretty hollow experience, often depressing in fact, and leaves you feeling rather sullied even though you may have enjoyed the aestheticisation of violence (very much in vogue in the mid-1980s) with the glorification of guns and explosions as a smokescreen to the real violence being inflicted on the moral core of the series.

Special Features

Disc 1
'Winter Olympics' format of 2 x 45 min colour episodes with original mono audio and optional Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.The first time this transmitted variant of the story has been made available on DVD.
New commentary with actor Terry Molloy, writer Eric Saward and visual effects designer Peter Wragg, moderated by Nick Pegg.
Casting Far and Wide (New to this release) (dur. 32' 16") - A smashing little extra which explores acting careers and their accompanying successes and frustrations with actor and comedian Toby Hadoke interviewing five jobbing actors who worked on the story: Roger Davenport, Del Henney, Leslie Grantham, Jim Findlay and William Sleigh.
On Location (dur. 18' 32") - producer John Nathan-Turner, director Matthew Robinson and writer Eric Saward return to London's Shad Thames to reminisce about the story in its major filming location.
Extended and Deleted Scenes (dur. 7' 03") - extra material from early edits of the episodes.
Breakfast Time (dur. 7' 56") - Janet Fielding and John Nathan-Turner interviewed on the BBC's breakfast show, including an item about the show's music and sound effects featuring Malcolm Clarke and Brian Hodgson.
Trailer (dur. 0' 31") - a BBC1 trailer for the original transmission.
The Last Dalek (dur. 8' 33") - a behind-the-scenes look at the Ealing studios filming for 1967's epic Dalek story, 'The Evil of the Daleks', courtesy of an 8mm film shot by BBC designer Tony Cornell. With narration by BBC visual effects designers Michealjohn Harris and Peter Day.
TARDIS Cam no.4 (dur. 0' 41") - a model vignette created for the BBC's Doctor Who website.
Isolated Music - option to view the episodes with Malcolm Clarke's isolated music score.
Coming Soon (dur. approx 1' 00") - oh, let me guess... Planet of the Spiders?
PDF material - Radio Times listings in PDF format.
Subtitles

Disc 2
Original format of 4 x 25 min colour episodes with original mono audio and optional Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
Commentary with actors Peter Davison and Janet Fielding, director Matthew Robinson.
Come In Number Five (New to this release - dur. 56' 27") - a retrospective of Peter Davison's tenure as the fifth Doctor. With actors Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson, producer John Nathan-Turner, executive producer Barry Letts, director Fiona Cumming, script editors Christopher H Bidmead, Eric Saward and Antony Root, BBC Head of Series and Serials David Reid and new series head writer Steven Moffat. Presented by David Tennant. Something of a let down, this tends to be more of an excuse to pick over John Nathan-Turner's inadequacies as a producer rather than provide a nostalgia filled celebration of the era. It starts out well by establishing how Davison and Nathan-Turner's Doctor Who careers began at the BBC but rather than analyse Davison's interpretation of the role or the themes and ideas in the stories or why the era was indeed the success it was, the makers take the all too obvious aforementioned route. We know JNT was a flawed man and often made calamitous mistakes with Doctor Who but is it really necessary to have cast and crew stick the boot in yet again? It doesn't sufficiently provide the evidence as to why the fifth Doctor is claimed as "my Doctor" by Tennant himself.
Tomorrow's Times - The Fifth Doctor (New to this release - dur. 12' 17") - the ongoing "What the Papers Say" style series looks at the press reaction to the fifth Doctor's era. Presented by Frazer Hines.
Walrus (New to this release - dur. 1' 21") - a real oddity from the BBC's archives. A Welsh woman comes face to face with a Dalek, who is determined to make her speak in a monotone...
Photo Gallery (dur. 5' 16") - a selection of design and production photographs from the story.
Subtitles and new production notes specifically for this release.

Doctor Who - Revisitations 2 
BBC 1969 - 1984
2 | entertain / Released 28th March 2011 / BBCDVD2956 / Six disc DVD set / Duration: 340 mins approx


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6 Responses to “CLASSIC DOCTOR WHO: Revisitations 2 - The Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks / DVD Review”
  1. "If you were a desperate, sad fan-boy."

    I think we all are in the end though aren't we?

  2. I'd like, if I may, to offer a few points of correction concerning the review of Resurrection of the Daleks.

    The story did not influence the change of format for the following season. The decision to produce the 1985 season as 13x45 minute episodes was made in May 1983, several months before Resurrection was recorded. The edict from Programme Planning to recut the story as a "long-version" two-parter came in November 1983, so if anything, it could be suggested that the following season's format conversely had an influence on Resurrection of the Daleks.

    The Daleks do not use the word "Retreat" when they are attacked in the station airlock. The words used in this scene are "Withdraw" and "Regroup".

    Lastly, contrary to information presented in the DVD insert booklet, there are no Production Notes subtitles included on Disc 1. The Production Notes, a completely new set written by myself, appear on Disc 2 accompanying the four-part version of the story.

  3. FRANK says:

    Of course we are, Stuart, of course we are!

  4. FRANK says:

    Paul, I stand corrected! I have to say the presence of Production Notes on Disc 1 was also indicated by 2|entertain's press release and the list of extras is more or less guide by that document.

    I guess my sad fan boy credentials are now in tatters. :(

  5. rwhannah says:

    The Lurmans in this story are Vorg and Shirna, not the three gray faced Inter-Minorans. Sorry, just had to point that out.

    Also, hello Paul! Been a hell of a long time since the old days of Dr Who video marathons and gatherings!

  6. FRANK says:

    I clearly had a very rubbish time last week trying to review that box set.

    I was suffering with a painful back with Daleks, Lurmans and Ice Warriors rushing around in my head and it really does bear witness that the review was constructed through a haze of pain-killers.

    Anyway, I've corrected that now.

    Think I need a lie down.

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