Monday, 5 March 2012

Doctor Who: U.N.I.T. Files Box Set

This box set has a slightly less tenuous connection when compared to, say, the Earth Story box set from 2011.

The set consists of two classic series stories: Invasion Of The Dinosaurs from 1974 with Jon Pertwee and Lis Sladen, and The Android Invasion from 1975 with Tom Baker as the Doctor with Lis Sladen again.

Invasion Of The Dinosaurs is quite a fun story, the effects are a little bit wobbly in places, but the plot has some neat twists.

This is Elisabeth Sladen's second story, and she seems very assured in the role of Sarah Jane Smith.

It also features our first glimpse of the third Doctor's new car, the Whomobile. He has obviously decided that Bessie was a little incongruous while driving around the streets of London, and therefore decided to drive something a little more low key!

Mike Yates and Sergeant Benton get their opportunity to be a little more centre stage in this story compared to most U.N.I.T. episodes, this being Richard Franklin's almost swan song, before returning one last time in Jon Pertwee's final adventure Planet Of The Spiders.

This DVD release features a version of episode 1 with the option to view it with colour restoration, this however, isn't quite up to the very high standards set by the restoration team on Planet Of The Daleks, but if you really can't stand black and white programmes this option is for you.

In terms of extras, it's pretty well served: There is a commentary with Richard Franklin, Peter Miles, Richard Morris, Terrance Dicks and Paddy Russell, moderated by Toby Hadoke. And John Levene does a 10 minute mini commentary on his own.

There is a very entertaining making of documentary, an interview with Elisabeth Sladen, a clip from Billy Smart's Circus featuring Jon Pertwee and the Whomobile, deleted scenes, Now And Then revisiting the locations used during filming, Radio Times listings, info text, a photo gallery and an Easter egg.

Although I much prefer Tom Baker's take on the role of the Doctor, The Android Invasion is, in my opinion, the weaker of the two stories, that's not to say there is nothing to enjoy about it.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep you guessing, for me what lets it down a little, are the Kraals, who I don't think were particularly well realised, coupled with one or two notable plot holes. But Tom and Lis are on good form which helps to bring the viewer back on side.

In terms of VAM (value added material) this DVD has a commentary featuring Milton Johns, Martin Friend, Marion McDougal and Philip Hinchcliffe, again moderated by the erstwhile Toby Hadoke.

The Village That Came To Life is a very interesting making of documentary presented by the voice of the Daleks from the new series, Nicholas Briggs. Life After Who is a look back at the career of producer Philip Hinchcliffe, featuring clips from many classic British television programmes.

There is a TV advert for Weetabix breakfast cereal, featuring collectable Doctor Who games, which I have vague childhood memories of. There are Radio Times listings, info text, a photo gallery and an Easter egg.

Both stories have their issues, but dedicated Doctor Who fans will be able to see past them and enjoy these two memorable tales from the U.N.I.T. Files.

No comments:

Post a Comment