Showing posts with label terror of the zygons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label terror of the zygons. Show all posts

Monday, September 23, 2013

DVD REVIEW: Terror of the Zygons

Starring Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter

2 Disc: details HERE

UK: Sep 30
Aus & NZ: Oct 2
N. America: Oct 8

This was very much Tom's perfect season, and what an amazing way to kick it off. Terror of the Zygons is oft spake extremely highly of and it's no wonder - this four-parter from 1975 has everything you could possibly want. It's creepy as hell, shot beautifully, has one of the very best Doctor Who soundtracks (not to mention monsters) and it's got Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter gelling like never before (and never again, sadly).

As an adventure, it's a simple and traditional alien invasion yarn, but it's everything else that makes Terror such a top notch tale. For starters, the cast are sensational. As mentioned, Baker is exquisite playing his Time Lord in a rather grumpy alien fashion at times (his reaction to the Brigadier and UNIT, for example) and his outburst at human need for oil is apposite. But there's delightfully fun moments too with comments like, "sounds like the Brigadier," when explosions begin and his classic, "Social call?" when chatting with Broton.

Likewise Elisabeth "Hellooo, Fox Inn" Sladen and Ian Marter are gifted with much variety but it's the latter who really gets to show off his skills as the actor plays the rather horrific Zygon version of Harry. And what a scene that is in Episode Two, the barn scene. The lighting and direction are sublime, coming together to produce a real moment of horror that is still genuinely chilling. Director Douglas Camfield, like so many involved with this production, is on top form and is helped hugely by the location work and the substantial use of film (as opposed to video).

The filmic look adds to the alien atmosphere of the piece (despite its earthbound setting), which is bolstered by the extraordinary soundtrack from Geoffrey Burgon. Unlike any other Who score, the use of acoustic and sparse instrumentation marks it from any other  (well, apart from The Seeds of Doom, which he also composed - DVD review HERE). It's a thoughtful and fascinating listen and, thankfully, is available as an Isolated Score to drink in, in all its odd, ethereal goodness elsewhere on the DVD.

Of course, any look at Terror of the Zygons would not be complete without mention of the incredible model work, set design and the titular monsters themselves - all beautiful works of art. Again, it's Camfield's use of each of these that accentuates their qualities, with particular reference to the spectacularly lit Zygon's lair and the slow reveal of their appearance. There's few Doctor Who aliens that were perfect on their first outing, but these guys most definitely are; the Zygons, and their surroundings, are so intensely foreign and alien - it's incredible we've had to wait so long for their return.

A traditional, old-fashioned story with killer performances, all round, and a look and a feel, not to mention a sound, quite unlike what had come before (or, indeed, since), Terror of the Zygons is a stone-cold must watch for any Who fan.

And, as it's the last of Tom Baker's stories to get a DVD release (and the last "complete" Doctor Who story, for the time being anyway), Zygons gets a suitably fabulous makeover. There's two discs here and they are both packed with Who~goodness. Heading the set, if you like, is the remarkable deleted scene from the adventure. It's only about a minute or so but seeing "new" footage of Baker, Sladen and Marter is like hearing a new song from The Beatles - an unearthed gem.

It's a damn fine scene too with Harry and Sarah as brilliant as ever, as an invisible TARDIS lands in Scotland. Without a doubt, this is one of the most extraordinary and exciting extras ever to be included on a Doctor Who DVD - my heartfelt congrats to the team for uncovering it, and so tenderly put it back together for the world to enjoy (you can see the raw footage they had to deal with elsewhere on the disc, in a secret squirrel hiding place). The scene is included as part of the "Director's Cut" version of the story. Worth the DVD price alone? Darn straight.

Thankfully, though, there's more! Another treat included here is an on-set report from television show, South Today. Tom Baker is interviewed and, in a where-was-branding-when-he-said-that moment of candour, admits that due to "keeping in shape" for Doctor Who he can't go on his "bachelor benders" any more. Blimey. Guess someone wasn't thinking of the children there.

We're treated with the "usual" making-of documentary, Scotch Mist in Sussex, which sees valuable contributions from Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Banks Stewart. Though there's no comments from the likes of Tom Baker and co., there is some excellent archival footage of John Woodnut (Duke of Forgill/Zygon) who chats warmly about the experience and some colourful remarks from John Levene (as well as using the phrase "when ego is that big" when referring to Tom). Likewise, the commentary is somewhat dry with no actors or actresses to liven up proceedings but it's great to hear Hinchliffe and Stewart enthusing and reminiscing.

Director Douglas Camfield is honoured in Remembering Douglas Camfield, a wonderful tribute to his career lead by his son, Joggs. He had a fascinating televisual life and worked on a number of very high profile projects and, most of all, seems to have genuinely touched the lives of all those he worked with. Watch out for other various Who legends such as Graeme Harper (director of The Caves of Androazni, Utopia, et al), Peter Purves (companion Steven Taylor) and Hinchcliffe as well as memories from Celia Imrie (The Bells of Saint John) and a surprise appearance from Terry "The Gov'nor" Wogan...

The UNIT Family series comes to end with Part Three as the gang discuss the end of their time on the show, with some interesting remarks regarding Tom Baker and the changeover from The Third and Fourth Doctor eras. Doctor Who Stories pops up again with two delightful installments; one featuring Baker, the other Elisabeth Sladen. Both interviewees give much to chew over and enjoy as they remember their time on the show (with the latter even chatting about K9 & Company). Sladen also takes front seat in the rather amusing episode of Merry-Go-Round entitled The Fuel Fishers - Lis takes a trip (somewhat nervous-looking, it has to be said) to an oil rig back in 1977 and explains how it all works. You maybe won't watch it again, but it's so lovely to see Lis having a bit of presenting fun.

Rounding off this hugely impressive array of extras are: the Radio Times listings (with some gorgeous Terror of the Zygons artwork); a couple of Easter Eggs (I won't spoil them for you, but they are well worth checking out); informative but very playful Production Subtitles; a juicy trailer for The Moonbase DVD; and the aforementioned, and very welcome, addition of "Isolated Score" - allowing the viewer to watch the four episodes purely with the gorgeous soundtrack.

Terror of the Zygons doesn't need selling, it's simply astonishing. And simply astonishing sums up the collection of extras to complement its feature. If you've never seen the story, do NOT delay - buy now. And if you are a fan of it already (of course you are), then you'll want to drink it in in all its remastered, extended and extra-laden DVD glory. The perfect way to end the Tom Baker DVD releases.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide

Check out more Doctor Who DVD reviews HERE.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Terror of the Zygons - DVD cover art & details

Click for a bigger version
BBC Worldwide have released details and cover art for Terror of the Zygons on DVD, due for release on Sept 30 in the UK and Oct 8 in North America. Check out the details below on the two-disc set and click on the image for a bigger, Zygonnier version Pre~order HERE.

• Director’s Cut - An option to watch the "Director’s Cut" including a scene deleted before transmission

• Digitally remastered and available with optional Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack

• Commentary by producer Philip Hinchcliffe, writer Robert Banks Stewart, production unit manager George Gallaccio, make-up artist Sylvia James and sound effect producer Dick Mills, moderated by Mark Ayres.    

Scotch Mist in Sussex - Cast and crew look back at the making of this story. With actors John Levene and John Woodnutt, Philip Hinchcliffe, Robert Banks Stewart, designer Nigel Curzon, costume designer James Acheson, visual effects assistant Steve Bowman, writer and historian Simon Farquar and the director’s son, Joggs Camfield.    

Remembering Douglas Camfield - The life and work of respected director Douglas Camfield is remembered in this documentary. With actors Celia Imrie, Peter Purves, Jonathan Newth and John Levene, Philip Hinchcliffe, Robert Banks Stewart, director Graeme Harper and Joggs Camfield. Narrated by Glen Allen.

The UNIT Family Part 3 - The concluding part of the series looking at the stories featuring the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. With actors Tom Baker, Nicholas Courtney, Katy Manning, John Levene and Richard Franklin, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks.

Doctor Who Stories: Tom Baker - Tom Baker talks about his work on the series in this interview originally recorded for 2003’s The Story of Doctor Who.    

Doctor Who Stories: Elisabeth Sladen - Elisabeth Sladen remembers her time as Sarah Jane Smith in this interview recorded for The Story of Doctor Who.    

Merry-Go-Round: The Fuel Fishers - Elisabeth Sladen flies out to visit North Sea oil rigs and learn about the process of oil exploration in this schools programme from 1977.    

South Today - Tom Baker interviewed on location in Sussex during the Terror of the Zygons filming by the BBC’s regional news programme South Today.    

•  And Isolated Score, Photo Gallery, Radio Times Billings, Coming Soon trailer and Production Subtitles.
is released on Sep 30 in the UK

Thanks to BBC Worldwide

Monday, July 29, 2013

REVIEW: Fourth Doctor Time Capsule

Starring Tom Baker

Out Now (UK Only) - Buy HERE

Full boxset details HERE

Review by Cameron K McEwan

A special boxset treat for the middle of summer for Who fans, specifically those of the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. Arguably the most loved and the "best" (I should point, however, he is not my favourite), this tribute to the longest-serving (in proper, real terms) is a superb collection of collectibles which includes the first DVD outing for the truly classic story, Terror of the Zygons.

The Zygons have long been a favourite of fans due to their incredible realisation on screen and their brilliant one-time appearance (at the time of writing - the sucker-clad bad boys are due to make an appearance later this year in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special), and now their debut gets a digital release. I shan't go on too much about the story itself, as I will review it in more depth for its DVD release later this year, but Zygons is most definitely one of my favourite Tom Baker stories.

Apart from the Skarasen (still mind-bogglingly awful after all these years and not CGd up for this release), it's a perfect tale with Baker, Sladen et al in top, top form and some mighty fine direction from one of Who's best, Douglas "The Guv'nor" Camfield. Also worthy of a mention is the sublime soundtrack from Geoffrey Burgon - a work of outstanding delicate and evocative beauty.

Terror of the Zygons is presented here on one disc with no extras and in a special case (see above) with its own special DVD menu too. Strangely, but most welcome, Terror is also available with a 5.1 soundtrack which is a nice treat for audio lovers. One awaits its own DVD release later this year with trouser-tightening anticipation.

The other DVD included, An Interview with the Time Lord, is a twenty-five minute interview with the man himself, Tom Baker. Captured in what looks like a local pub, Tom is engaging as ever with some new stories and some made-up (as only Tom can do). Hearing the former Time Lord chat about his colleagues and, specifically, the regeneration scenes, is a sad affair; Pertwee, by Baker's account, wasn't "very affectionate" towards his successor.

It's a tad odd on the production front as it's heavily edited and takes more the form of a Q&A as opposed to a more fuller interview, with answers quite short and sometimes bereft of a fuller answer. Oddly, despite Baker discussing his career as The Doctor, all the clips shown during the interview are from the accompanying story, Terror of the Zygons (and more than not, the clips have nothing to do with what Tom is discussing and inserted at unrelated moments).

On the audio front there's the excellent Genesis of the Daleks, first released on vinyl back in 1979. A cracking piece of archive material featuring the television soundtrack along with Tom's linking narration. There's even a book, Tomb of Valdemar by Simon Messingham, included for page-turning lovers. Set during the Fourth Doctor’s search for the Key to Time, the novel was released as part of the "past Doctors" range in 2000. I have to admit that it's inclusion is perhaps questionable, with perhaps a classic Target novelisation more appropriate to celebrate the Tom Baker era.

For toy fans there's the neat post-regeneration Fourth Doctor action figure, featuring Tom Baker's Doctor in the costume of his predecessor, Jon Pertwee (pictured right). A wonderful addition to anyone's collection - and very rare too as it is exclusive to this set. There's also a Fourth Doctor sonic screwdriver and a lovely, lovely letter written by Baker to his fans. It's such a nice touch and delightful to know that Tommy B cares so much for the millions of people whose lives he touched over the years.

The set is beautifully presented in a rather swish box, very stylish and very Doctor Who - as are the specially presented discs and book inside, truly Gallifreyan. Also incredibly stylish are the companion art cards included, all good enough to be framed and mounted on a wall, stunning eloquent in their monochrome glory. The Fourth Doctor Time Capsule is a glorious item and, at only five thousand copies, very limited and extremely collectible. Definitely for the more hardcore of fans but most assuredly a brilliant gift for any Who fan. Buy now and then wait until Christmas to give!
Thanks to BBC Worldwide 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fourth Doctor Time Capsule DVD boxset

BBC Worldwide have announced details of a fab-looking Doctor Who DVD boxset celebrating The Fourth Doctor and featuring the first release of Terror of the Zygons on DVD. Full details below.

The Fourth Doctor Time Capsule is an individually numbered deluxe box-set, containing exclusive content and memorabilia from Tom Baker’s era on Doctor Who, including a newly-commissioned interview with the man himself -  An Interview with the Time Lord.

Alongside the interview package, the set contains an advance vanilla release of the restored Terror of the Zygons, set to be released in full later this year. Telling the tale of shape-shifting aliens attempting to colonize the Earth, Terror of the Zygons introduces the titular monsters, who are set to return in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. With a limited run of 5,000 units, the Time Capsule also includes:

• An exclusive post-regenerative Fourth Doctor action figure, wearing Jon Pertwee’s trademark frill-fronted shirt.
• A Fourth Doctor sonic screwdriver
• An audio version of classic Tom Baker story Genesis of the Daleks
• Novel Tomb of Valdemar by Simon Messingham, set during the Fourth Doctor’s search for the Key to Time.
• Art cards of all the Fourth Doctor’s companions.
• And a letter from Tom Baker himself.

The Fourth Doctor Time Capsule will be released on July 29 in the UK only.

Thanks to BBC Worldwide