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Silver Jubilee Week

Reviewed by Richard Scheib

TVNZ's 25th Anniversary Doctor Who celebration was most welcome, a chance to see some new and some old stories never before seen.

First up Worlds' End, more commonly known under its novelisation title, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, was my pick of the bunch. Although the sets and effects were on a par with some of the worst B-SF movies of the fifties, it had a story that shone through the dross like gold. I really enjoyed this for its intelligent plotting, excellent characterisation for both series regulars and guests and its picture of a grim London, surviving from the ashes, written full of tough, hard-nosed characters. This was really one of the best stories I've seen in the series. Wish they'd had a larger budget though.

The Seeds of Death from the Troughton era was a fairly predictable item of no real distinction. A script that gave much evidence of padding, which could have been divested of at least two of its six episodes. Regular series characters disappointingly used. Again very poor sets and effects. It also made some rather laughably absurd notions about interstellar radio navigation.

Having been recently screened the Pertwee and Tom Baker eras were circumvented and the next story being The Five Doctors, reuniting at least three of the original Doctors in the Davison era. (Would love to see a 'Seven Doctors' - although this could prove a little difficult now that Troughton has passed away - he'd be difficult to find a substitute for. Gone too is the Hartnell substitute - Richard Hurndall). This was the other highlight of the season. The story was only so-so, but the real fun of the show was in watching the number of characters brought back together again. Production values were at a real series high point. The absence of Tom Baker was worked around quite well. Hurndall made a good Hartnell substitute, even if he did tend to overdo the "young man"s at times. I would have quite liked it here if it was actually the Hurndall Doctor Who ended up appearing the youngster and the Davison Doctor the elder, rather than the other way round. Did rather feel that the Master, the Daleks, Cybermen and Yeti were thrown in as a "well, we've gotten everyone else back together, why not the villains too", although it was good to see the inside of a Dalek. Minor logistics points - what was Sarah doing with K9, when the Doctor gave it to Leela? How come the first Doctor never knew who the Master was - they were supposed to be companions from schooldays. Also did feel the lethal menace of the Kill Zone was never shown up for what it was said to be, although the silver android was a particularly neat invention.

The screening of the 1965 Amicus movie Dr Who and the Daleks, a re-write of The Daleks, was the real lowpoint of the season. The perception of the programme by the film's producers seems to have been that it is only a children's programme as this is certainly what this has been designed and the juvenility is quite mind-crippling. Peter Cushing's portrayal of the Doctor is a daffily absent-minded irritation. Jennie Linden's Barbara is wooden, although Roberta Tovey's Susan comes across surprisingly intelligently.

But worst of all is Roy Castle's Ian whose wretched mugging is truly embarrassing to sit through. The story follows Terry Nation's original fairly faithfully, but issues like the Thals battle between pacifism and survival are treated with an indifferent lightness. It seems at times that there is a battle going on between two elements in the script - the serious drama of the original against the desire to send it all up into self-parody. The budget is a little larger than the original would have had (but not much) but unfortunately this translates into the multi-coloured lights and hanging curtains type of sets to represent alien worlds of Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea et al. The Daleks have been given absurd gas weapons - I can't really think of anything more ridiculous than somebody using a weapon that can have more destructive influence on ones self than the intended victim.

Revelation of the Daleks was the first of the Colin Baker episodes to make its way to our screens. From what else I've seen of this Baker I don't really like him as a Doctor with his silly petulance and roaring. Peri proved a better companion than I thought. This episode was mediocrely interesting. Liked one or two bits - the glass Dalek and the discovery of what Davros was up to, the character of Orsini, when it seemed like the Doctor had walked into a preview of his own death. There was a lot I didn't like - an incredibly silly performance from Alexei Sayle, far too many subplots and characters that left the Doctor almost entirely uninvolved throughout.

Reviewed by Ken Tod

Well, it was great to have the TVNZ Silver Jubilee week, a most unexpected treat! The Dalek Invasion of Earth was just a bit too drawn out to maintain my interest, but at least an opportunity to get a copy of rare Doctor Who on video.

Of existing Patrick Troughton stories, I thought The Seeds of Death was a good one to show, especially as it's the first time it's been screened in NZ.

I enjoyed The Five Doctors, it was interesting to see that some minor cuts have been made before it was put on BBC video.

I did not enjoy the Dr Who and the Daleks movie, it could have been replaced by a Pertwee story, such as The Daemons.

Revelation of the Daleks was brilliant. Apart from the Tasambeker character, who got on my nerves, everyone else was superb especially Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor (why the programme was suspended and he was eventually fired remains a mystery to me!) and Terry Molloy's Davros.

Reviewed by Adam Schwarz

The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Seeds of Death: very interesting. I am quite oblivious to most of the early stuff from the sixties.

The Feeble Excuse For A Movie: Even more ghastly than expected. Peter Cushing was appalling, and with him actually being addressed as "Doctor Who", I cringed so much I nearly had a haemorrhage in my neck!

Revelation of the Daleks: I thought Colin Baker was excellent; an impressive Doctor, in the Tom Baker mould, and one I would like to have seen enjoy a much longer stay ("Must be the curly hair," remarked a colleague with curly hair). The production was awful, though, with the incidental music blaring over and obliterating from earshot most of the dialogue. Pathetic Peri was only slightly less dizzy than in The Two Doctors

Reviewed by Graham Howard

The Dalek Invasion of Earth was a treat, as I don't have any memories of Hartnell stories when they were first shown, although dated, it was still an excellent story.

The Seeds of Death has been on video for a few years now, but I still enjoyed watching it again, as did the non-fans I watched it with.

Although The Five Doctors is a very enjoyable story, I couldn't help wishing they had played two Hartnells on Saturday, and two Troughtons on Sunday. The only two things that mar The Five Doctors for me are the absence of the Fourth Doctor, and the relative ease with which the Cybermen are destroyed.

Revelation of the Daleks was my first glimpse of the Sixth Doctor, and even from only one story I found Baker to be quite believable in the role of the Doctor. Apparently this story was selected because "the BBC considered it was Colin Baker's best performance as the Doctor" (TSV 10). Although there were a number of things about the story I thought were unnecessary - such as Sayle's D.J. - it was still a very enjoyable story.