It's always good to get more stories from the second Doctor. With only 6 of the 21 serials that Patrick
Troughton made during his run on Doctor
Who surviving in complete form, these adventures are fairly rare,
more Troughton did a great job. The
latest release from the BBC, The Dominators, isn't the best installment
Doctor Who, but its strengths more than make up for the story's
when all is said and done it's a wonderful romp.
Landing on the planet Dulkis for a relaxing break, The
Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe have no idea that they've landed on an abandoned
and that the Dominators, the rulers of 10 galaxies, have just arrived
too. The Dominators are a warrior race
exists to conquer and they're in need of fuel for their space fleet. A single Dominator ship arrives to survey the
planet and make it ready for the fleet, but that's all that is needed. With a group of Quarks, small but powerful
robots, they start surveying the area and prepare to drill five bore
will allow them to make the planet ready to feed the Dominator fleet.
The only people on the uninhabited island are a professor and
his two students who are studying the land and Cully, a man who has
up with the Dulcians lack of imagination and sense of adventure. It turns out that the people of Dulkis are
all pacifists, and when their aggression died out so did they will to
anything but talk and endlessly debate minutia.
Even when Cully discovers that the Dominators have landed and
intend to rape the planet, the leaders don't seem to care.
The Doctor is intrigued by these alien visitors however, and
is curious about what they're looking for.
The planet has no minerals or alloys of value, what could they
be after? When Zoe gets captured and
forced to work
clearing a drill site along with some of the other Dulcians, it's up to
Cully, and a distracted Doctor to rescue her and save the docile
a terrible fate.
There's a lot I enjoyed about this serial, but it has its
share of problems too. The writers, Mervyn
Haisman and Henry Lincoln, envisioned this story as a critique of the
movement, illustrating the horrors of planetary peace.
The result, especially in the first three
episodes, is a lot of exposition with people talking about peace or the
curiosity on Dulkis. These scenes really
bring the action to a halt and make the story drag.
The story editor realized that the script had a lot of problems
and sent it back for numerous rewrites.
The writers baulked at cutting too much of their grand idea and
eventually took their names off of the production.
The original six-part story was shortened to
five episodes (which accounts for the rather abrupt ending) and the
scripts were rewritten without the original authors input.
It's curious that these are the best episodes
in the adventure.
The Quarks, the Dominators diminutive robots, were created
for the sole purpose of coming up with a replacement for the Daleks. Terry Nation, the Dalek's creator and the
person who owned the rights to them, was trying to get a Dalek series
on TV in the US
and wouldn't let the BBC use his creatures, so the scramble was on to
replacement. There are some things about
the Quarks that work quite well, the voice in particular, a
girl's screech, created an interesting contrast to the fact that the
were deadly. The design was pretty poor
though. Short squat boxes on minuscule
legs, the machines could barely walk, much less move at a good pace,
arms which protruded from their front at different levels seemed silly. The Quarks failed to inspire fear or even
Aside from the talky beginning and the rather non-menacing
menace, this adventure has a lot going for it.
Troughton is excellent, as usual, coming across as
scatterbrained and a bit
incompetent, though ultimately in control and brilliant.
Zoe is a nice addition to the group, having
first appeared in the previous serial, and her calm collected
personality is a
nice counterpart to Troughton's Doctor. Frazer
Hines plays Jamie, the tough and
pragmatic Highlander, to perfection. His
character really brings the story together and makes the show. When he and Cully are out harassing the
Quarks and Dominators he's in his element, leaping from behind a bolder
some damage then scampering away before he can be caught.
He loves the thrill and his attitude is
This show comes with the original mono soundtrack that fits the
fine. The dynamic range is nothing to write home about, but the
generally crisp and clear and there is no background noise, tape hiss,
distortion or dropouts. There are optional subtitles in English.
The full frame B&W image is very good, impressive even.
Restoration Team did their usual fine job and these stories, really
most of what they had to work with (which wasn't a lot.) The
nicely balanced and the definition and level of detail is very good.
contrast has been adjusted too to create a very pleasing image.
This disc has some great extras included, as is the standard for Doctor
releases. There is a commentary track for all of the episodes
Hines (Jamie) and Wendy Padbury (Zoe), along with fellow actors Giles
and Arthur Cox (Cully), along with make-up artist Sylvia James and
Toby Hadoke. It's a very nice track,
with Hines and Padbury's comments being especially interesting. They obviously have fond memories of their
time with the show and reveal some interesting anecdotes.
Other featurettes include Recharge and Equalise (23 minutes)
behind the scenes at the troubled production of the serial, and Tomorrow's
Times--The Second Doctor (13
minutes), a very interesting piece (not to mention being a very
clever idea) that presents published news pieces and reviews of the
back when the series originally aired.
This time Caroline John (Liz Shaw) presents a look back at
In addition there is a pop-up informational text option which is very
informative as always. It does give some dry statistics,
many people viewed each episode, but there are also some interesting
as script changes that were made and background information on the
characters. The extras are rounded off with, a couple of photo
and the listings from the Radio Times in .pdf format.
When all is said and done, this is a good adventure.
Not the best, but still very enjoyable in
large part due to Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines strong
performances. Yeah, it's a bit talky and
yes the Quarks
aren't as imposing as they could be, but the last half makes up for