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Doctor Who: The Visitation- Special Edition DVD Review

Doctor Who- The Visitation- Special Edition DVD

“The Visitation” is a typically average Fifth Doctor era episode.

After planning on returning to work at Heathrow, Tegan gets a rude awakening when the TARDIS arrives in 1666 England. To no surprise, Tegan, the Doctor, Nyssa, and Adric become immediately involved in troublesome local affairs that are far from normal for the time period. Without giving away too many story details, let’s just say the Doctor investigates a questionable plague, murder, mind controlled villagers, and an alleged comet while coming face to face with a supposed Grim Reaper and a member of the alien species known as the Terileptils. How do all of these storylines connect? You’ll have to see for yourself, Whovians!  

It’s no secret that the Fifth Doctor era had its fair share of problems. Between the abundance of love them or hate them companions and the inconsistent writing (to say the least), it’s a wonder that Peter Davison became so popular. Still, as with any Doctor era, the lead actor (in this case Davison) definitely makes the best of their time by giving it their all in every episode. “The Visitation” is no exception as Peter Davison carries the episode (in terms of the lead cast). Thankfully, he gets some help for a change in the way of guest star Michael Robbins who portrays the highwayman Richard Mace. While some may find Robbins to be a bit hammy and over-the-top, his humor and larger than life character undeniably livens up the story. Not only is he more interesting than ANY of the companions in the Fifth Doctor era, but his scenes with Davison are the most memorable aspects of the entire serial adventure.

As for the story itself, it’s a pretty average pseudo historical as writer Eric Saward describes it. It’s got an alien (a rubber fish Terileptil) with a half baked evil plan, companions getting in trouble (or being captured), multiple mysteries, etc. It’s all pretty routine stuff with only one truly notable moment involving the Sonic Screwdriver.


“The Visitation,” which is presented in 4:3 fullscreen, looks about as good as a classic DW episode can on DVD.

The Dolby Digital Mono track is lively for a Mono track thanks to the crisp sounding dialogue and sound f/x.

* Trailers for “Doctor Who” series 7 Part 1 and “Inferno,” info text, photo gallery, isolated music score, Radio Times Listings (DVD-ROM), and BBC Sales Sheets (DVD-ROM).
* “Film Trims”- Different takes from various scenes (some without sound).
* “Scoring The Visitation”- An interview with composer Paddy Kingsland in which he discusses the style, themes, etc.
* “Writing A Final Visitation”- Eric Saward talks about writing “The Visitation,” historical inclusions, characters, the Sonic Screwdriver, etc.
* “Directing Who- Peter Moffatt”- Moffatt talks about his DW directorial gigs, Peter Davison, lighting, Colin Baker, etc. Worth a watch.
* Commentary by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Peter Moffatt, and Matthew Waterhouse. The talkative group chats about f/x, location shooting, Michael Robbins, Adric falling, Tegan, etc. A highly entertaining track that is better than the 4 part episode.
* “Doctor Forever- The Apocalypse Element”- Another superb “Doctor Forever” installment. This one tackles the early DW albums, Bernice Summerfield audio dramas, Audiogo, and, more importantly, the “Doctor Who” Big Finish audio dramas. Interviews with everyone from Colin Baker and RTD to Mark Gatiss and Nicholas Briggs are included.
* “Grim Tales”- The standard making of that contains cast and crew interviews, set stories, episode clips, script discussions, Michael Robbins, etc. A lot of this has been touched upon in the commentary and featurettes, but there’s still plenty of new material here.
* “The Television Centre Of The Universe- Part One”- Peter Davison, Mark Strickson, and Janet Fielding reunite at the BBC Television Centre and share stories of the past. This is a fun little extra. I’m glad this appears to be a new series of extras for future releases.

Summary: “The Visitation” may not be a DW masterpiece, but this new special edition set is loaded with wonderful extras that warrant a purchase.

August 10, 2013 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , ,

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