My first encounter with Peter Davison as The Doctor was when
his episodes were first shown in the States, not too long after they
broadcast in the UK. It was hard to like him after having grown
used to Tom Baker for the better part of a decade.
Davison was too calm and the opposite of the
flamboyant Baker. Eventually I did grow
to like him, and while I'm not sure exactly where the tipping point
was, I was
certainly a fan by the end of Resurrection of the Daleks.
An exciting and dynamic story filled with
enough to make it a six-part story (which they wisely did not do)
was first released on DVD in R1 in 2003.
This special edition includes all of the bonus material from
original disc (plus a lot more) and presents the adventure for the
on home video as it was originally broadcast:
as two 50-minute episodes. Fans
who are used to the more standard four 25-minute episodes version
to worry though, because that's included also.
Altogether this is a fine package.
The Doctor, Turlough, and Tegan are dragged to 20th
when the TARDIS is caught in a time corridor created by the Daleks. There they discover Stein, a scared and timid
man who is the only member of a group of prisoners that escaped from
to survive, and some members of the British Bomb Disposal Squad who
discovered something odd: a group of
buried cylinders that can't be opened by any means.
At the other end of the corridor, the Daleks attack a space
station that's serving as a prison to a single prisoner.
The station is old, and in poor repair, and
the attack is totally unexpected. The
station launches its fighters, but they're quickly defeated, as are the
troops that try to stop the Daleks and their human soldiers from
boarding. After a brief but fierce battle
people are left alive on the station:
Dr. Styles, Lt. Mercer, two guards, the prisoner - Davros.
The Daleks are in trouble and once again they turn to their
creator. It seems that the Moldavians
(last seen in Destiny of the Daleks,
where they had fought the metal creatures to a centuries-long
finally won their war. They did it by
creating a virus that would attack the living tissue inside of a
casing. Though they had tried, they
cannot find a cure to the disease and so they've broken Davros out of
where he's been frozen for the past 90 years.
That's all well and good, but Davros isn't just going to
follow orders, he has a plan of his own.
Refusing to leave the station, he pretends to work on a cure
actually recruiting humans to his cause, with the help of a hypodermic
in his chair.
Meanwhile Turlough discovers the Time Corridor and travels
to the Dalek ship, only to be captured by the four remaining guards. They're trying to make their way to the
center of the station so they can activate the self destruct device and
both Davors and the Daleks.
Back on Earth, The Doctor and Tegan have to worry about a
Dalek that's arrived. But even after his
casing has been destroyed the creature is still a formidable monster.
The thing that immediately strikes viewers today is how this
story has aged so well. It feels fresh
due to the action-packed script and the high body count.
Yes, people did die in the classic Doctor Who,
sometimes at the Doctor's
hand even, but when it happened it usually wasn't on screen and it was
important plot point more times than not:
The criminal getting his comeuppance, an example of just how
villain was, someone heroically sacrificing themselves to make up for
past transgressions. In this story
people just die. Guards die fighting the
Daleks. Daleks die fighting the
guards. Prisoners are mowed down by
machine gun fire while running away from their captors.
This story actually shows the consequences to
violence, which isn't always the case in some of the classic shows.
Peter Davison is in fine form in this adventure, even
shooting a Dalek (outside of its casing) with a handgun.
Even so, he struggles, much as his
predecessor did, with the morality of killing someone who is evil and,
allowed to live, will cause the deaths of countless others. He doesn't take killing lightly, but he's not
a total pacifist either.
There's a lot going on in this story, and that makes for a
fun show. The narrative quickly gets
split up into four story lines, with The Doctor and each of the
being featured in one thread and Davros in the fourth.
That sounds like it would be muddled and
confusing but it isn't. It keeps the
pace going at a quick clip as something is always happening in one of
subplots. The whole thing comes to an
abrupt conclusion that works quite well.
It's a great story.
This two-disc set present this story in two versions.
Disc one has it as two 50-minute episodes as
it was originally broadcast and disc two present the show as four
episodes as it was written. There's not
a lot of difference between the two.
Viewers have the choice of the original mono soundtrack or a
DD 5.1 mix, which is nice, though the audio menu seems to have been
left off of
the first disc with the two-part version of this adventure. The DD 5.1 track is there, you just have to
access it via your remote. The mono is
the default track. In any case, both
audio options are clean and clear with no hiss or background noise to
from the story. The dialog is easy to
discern and the background music and effects are never overpowering. The 5.1 track throws some nice effects to the
rears every now and again and I enjoyed it a bit more than the mono
which isn't too surprising.
The full frame video has been cleaned up by the Restoration
Team and looks fine. Some scenes are a
bit soft, but generally the image is clean and the colors are solid. If you've seen the other restored Davison era
stories, then you'll know what to expect.
There's a lot of bonus material included with this set
(including everything that was on the earlier DVD release). First off there's not one but two commentary
tracks. The two-episode version includes
comments by actor Terry Malloy (Davros), writer Eric Saward, and
effects and Dalek operator Peter Wragg.
It is moderated by Nicholas Pegg.
This is a new commentary track and it's pretty interesting and
listen to. The four-part version
includes the track that appeared on the old release.
It features Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and
director Matthew Robinson.
The video features start with a new bonus, Casting Far and
Wide (32 minutes) in
which Toby Hadoke interviews five supporting actors who appear in this
and discuss their time on Doctor Who
and how it effected their carriers.
Probably more interesting to UK viewers who may have seen some
people on other TV shows (or have actually heard of the shows that
talking about...) there were some nice anecdotes included that made it
worthwhile. On Location is look back at the filming of the adventure
writer Eric Saward, director Matthew Robinson and producer John
Nathan-Turner. I was especially
interested to hear JNT's version of how things went.
There's also an eight-minute clip from the BBC show Breakfast
Time where John Nathan-Turner
and Janet Fielding talk about Tegan and the Doctor's companions, seven
worth of extended and deleted scenes, and a commercial for the show
An eight-minute black & white silent 8mm home movie that
was taken the day of the shooting is all that remains of
the final Dalek battle scenes from The Evil of the
Daleks. That's included as well and is
treat. Fans who have been enjoying the
minute-long CGI reels of The Doctor's vehicle will appreciate TARDIS
The best extra is Come
in Number Five, a look at the drama behind the scenes during Peter
Davison's tenure as The Doctor. It runs
nearly an hour long and has interviews with several of the key players
time and looks at what JNT was trying to do with (and to) the show. It's very interesting and explains a lot of
what happen with the show during that time.
The story also comes with an optional pop up trivia tracks
that's filled with information. Some of
it is minutia, the date the episodes were filmed and ever the time that
shoots wrapped, but also background info on the supporting and
characters and it points out on screen gaffs.
These are wonderful. There's also
a photo gallery, the Radio Times listings (in .pdf format) and an
One of the better shows from Peter Davison's tenure, Resurrection
of the Daleks gets the
deluxe treatment with this reissue.
Presented in its two-episode broadcast format for the first time
video, this set also includes copious extras including an excellent
overview of the behind-the-scenes events during Davison's time in the
role. If you have the earlier release,
fans should at least consider upgrading.
For those of you who haven't picked up this adventure yet, this
comes Highly Recommended.