Yes, it’s time for a look at another of last year’s Doctor Who DVD releases. Like Robot, this is what I think of as a transition story. This time, it’s not a new Doctor, but a new companion that’s being introduced. It’s also the first story of Jon Pertwee’s last year as the Doctor, and was shown in December 1973 and January 1974.
Leading scientists have been disappearing. As this is considered a Bad Thing, an assortment of other scientists are gathered together by UNIT for their protection, and the Doctor joins the group to investigate. One of the scientists seems a little too young to have written a paper that the Doctor has written, and it turns out that she is really a young journalist called Sarah Jane Smith, who is impersonating her aunt. The Doctor seems amused by her presence, and agrees not to expose her.
When another scientist disappears, the Doctor realises that he’s been taken back in time, and follows in the Tardis, with Sarah Jane stowing away. They arrive near a delightfully stereotypical medieval castle, where Bad Things are happening. Of course, it takes a while for Sarah to realise that she’s actually gone back in time rather than having met a bunch of unusually enthusiastic historical re-enactment nutters.
The Bad Things are being carried out by Lynx, a Sontaran warrior whose ship has crashed on Earth. He’s persuaded a local warlord to provide him with facilities in exchange for weapons, and he’s using the kidnapped scientists to repair his damaged ship.
Lots of the usual fun follows. Sarah is revealed to be inquisitive, resourceful and more than willing to stand up for herself.
Best line – when Sarah says “you’re serious, aren’t you?”, the Doctor replies
About what I do, yes. Not necessarily about the way I do it.
And that is a good summary of why the Doctor is my kind of hero.
Extras on this DVD, apart from the usual commentary, production subtitles, picture gallery and so on are:
- Beginning the end – members of the cast and crew look back at making the story
- CGI effects – the option to watch the story with some of the slightly shaky 1970s effects replaced by fancy new ones. Worth a look, anyway.
 I really need to get these done before this year’s releases start flooding in