Doctor Who – The Visitation (Special Edition)

Now that we’re back in the “waiting for new Doctor Who” period, it’s as good a time as any for me to start catching up on the pile of classic Who DVDs that has been growing over the last few months. In the usual way, I’m not watching them in any particular order. I started with this one, first shown in February 1982, and previously released on DVD in 2004, before I started muttering about such things on this site.

The Doctor (Peter Davison) is trying to get Tegan (Janet Fielding) back to Heathrow so she can resume the job that was interrupted when she wandered into the Tardis. In the usual way, he gets the location right, but the time out by over 300 years, which conveniently gets him in place to deal with yet another alien invasion. The invaders this time are a bunch of Terileptils, reptillian aliens assisted by a singularly shiny android. Like most such aliens, they have a Cunning Plan, which ends up not quite working, but it does lead to a small fire. In London. In 1666. Oh dear.

It’s still a watchable thing, with Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) being clever and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) getting into trouble, which is about normal for the time. Michael Robbins, familiar to most of the audience at the time for his role in the long-running On the Buses sitcom does a fine job of playing the actor/highwayman Richard Mace, and Tegan tries to convince the Terileptil leader that the Doctor is, in fact, form Guildford…

Quite apart from being remastered, the new edition includes a better selection of extras, including:

  • Grim Tales Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton are joined by Mark Strickson (later to play Turlough) for a visit to the locations used in the story, intercut with the usual cast and crew reminiscences.
  • The Television Centre of the Universe – Part One Former Blue Peter presenter Yvette Fielding joins Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson for a wander around BBC Television Centre where memories are shared…
  • Doctor Forever – The Apocalypse Element Another in the series about Doctor Who in other media, this time looking at the audio productions of Big Finish and AudioGO. Interesting bit of history, including Russell T Davies mentioning how he allegedly saved Big Finish from losing their licence when the TV show returned

The first disc includes the extras from the original release, which include interviews with writer Eric Saward, director Peter Moffat and composer Paddy Kingsland.

Worth watching for the continuity issue which has Tegan mispronouncing “Mara”, caused by the stories being made out of order.