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The Doctor and Leela find themselves aboard a huge mining vessel, but something more lethal than Margaret Thatcher is killing off the miners one by one. It might be time for The Doctor to put away his Deerstalker and start charging up his little grey cells to find out exactly whodunnit on the sandminer, as the finger of suspicion falls squarely on the two travellers.

Robots of Death is one of those particular Doctor Who adventures which both holds up and is held up by fans as a damn good stories. Sure, we start with The Doctor and his companion landing in the wrong place at just the wrong time, but there is more to it that our favourite Time Lord being blamed for killing one of the Yud-Dud tribe, just as the Yong-Tongs are about to end to centuries of hostilities between them. No, it seems that a robotic revolution is in the air, and the murder of meteorologist Chub sees first blood drawn, with the list of suspects masterminding the mayhem diminishing rapidly. How’s that for a rock-solid premise?

"Last night, the Missus did me with a bolt-on!"
This illustrious production almost plays as though written by Quentin Tarantino, drawing upon elements from a number of other projects and throwing them all together into a well-rounded whole.  The most obvious is that of the essential framework, coming from classic Agatha Christie’s Ten Little N-Words (released with increasing political correctness as Ten Little Indians or And Then There Were None) which was the grandmother of the slasher genre. Take a group of assorted characters, put them in a confined environment, start killing them one-by-one, and have a protagonist finally reveal the surprise identity of the killer.  It’s classic, and has never been done better on Doctor Who than in this particular story.

With us being big fans of Italian Giallo movies, the signature detective murder-mystery staple during typified by Dario Argento during the sixties and seventies, we’ve always been rather stoked that there seems to be some influence from this particular genre. Firstly we have an eccentric finding himself an exile in an unfamiliar land, accompanied by a sexy, mysterious woman he hasn’t known for long, and they find themselves in the middle of people getting bumped-off and the finger of suspicion is pointed squarely at them. The protagonists take it upon themselves to find out who the killer is before they end up the next ones dead. If you need any more convincing of the influences, then listen to the very specific hoarse whisper used by the villain when the robots are ordered to kill, as it’s exactly the same as those in the Giallo movies so popular at the time.

Seventies man was a funny animal, finding itself in the decade of decadence, where sexual freedom fed their machismo, and we’re convinced that this led to excess testosterone, causing the outbreak of facial hair at the time. Burt Reynolds and his moustache was a Playgirl sensation, and guys everywhere were envious of his all-over fur. Men (to quote Douglas Adams) were real men, and this is reflected in Robots of Death, but in a way which might not be understood by subsequent generations. There are displays of such rampant machismo that it might even make the late Randy Savage look like he just finished croqueting a particularly nice tablecloth. As such, macho posturing is rife in this tale, but it’s balanced out when Leela can best every one of the testosterone-fuelled guys and still come out looking feminine. You could argue that all this is offset by how the robots go out after Chub, prompting us to ask the obvious: does that make them Chub-Chasers?

The design of the titular robots might be easily dismissed as seventies camp, with their Mr Davenport-like bouffant and quilted attire, but aside from the creepily-calm voices they possess, it’s the eyes which really set them off as being rather unnerving, belying the potential evil under the surface. Their peepers really are empty, and although this might have been a matter of convenience for the prop-builders, it overall combination of elements makes for a terrifically eerie enemy. A line from Jaws perfectly sums up the look, that of: “…lifeless eyes, like a… doll’s eyes”.  It makes it all such a shame that when the rather natty line of Classic-Who figures was brought out not long ago, the Vox Robot became the biggest peg-warmer of the bunch.

Robots of Death gives the best-remembered and most digestible explanation to the oft-pondered “how can the TARDIS be bigger on the inside than the outside” question, and one which parents still use to answer their Nu-Who kids, that being something large and far away can fit into another area which is closer but smaller. It’s perfect for the kids to get their heads around, letting them get on with the wacky adventures of Rocky Dennis, Amy Pond and Rory without worrying about the big question. This is not to be confused with the “Small/far-away” piece from Father Ted, though.

Giggidy...giggidy...
There are only the little things which undo the good work in just about every other department, and it’s the special effects which occasionally let the side down. We all cringe or chuckle when the TARDIS is captured whilst its occupants are off exploring, as a mechanical clamp seizes the time-machine and lifts it aloft. OK, we’ve butched-up the description there, but it helps to show how it might have looked with a little better planning. Instead, it just looks like a common claw-machine attempting to pick up a piece of Doctor Who merchandise from the pile of prizes. You almost expect to see a fiver stuck to it with an elastic band in a bid to make it more enticing.

Baker comes out of the whole experience rather well, as it allows him to play various angles and segue effortlessly between them without it seem laboured or forced. There are times when either the writing or direction on the show almost has “let Tom do his angry/self-righteous/funny/mock-baffled bit” stamped onto it, with little done to ensure a smooth transition, but Robots of Death manages to smooth over such things. The humour Baker works with is less broad and more integrated than often is, with a favourite of being his exchange in the face of interrogation: “I suppose it’s also a coincidence that as soon as you two arrive, three of our people are killed… [Baker smiles and looks at his shoes] …Well???” “Oh, sorry I thought it was a rhetorical… well, yes, it is a coincidence.”

We’ve always liked the character of Leela, and not in the same way which dads across the country took to her after the football had finished all those years ago. Baker has stated on many occasions that he just “didn’t get” the character, but it’s this which helps to keep her from becoming a uniform companion, with any characteristics being tossed aside in the name of conformity.  In this, her second story, Louise Jameson firmly establishes Leela as that of a member of a savage race, but not lacking in either intelligence of adaptability. Victoria could be a bit of penis when placed into a more technologically advanced environment than her own, but Leela not only takes it in her stride, but asks questions in a way which are her own words, and not those of the young viewers watching. Jameson shines brightly in almost all of her stories, except for Invasion of Time, but just about everyone was crap in that one.  A new companion is proven in Robots of Death.

She looks like cock in that. The bird variety, we mean!
There is a combination of both worthy and entertaining performances among the entire cast, with Russell Hunter’s Uvanov being an utter revelation for the many only familiar with his work alongside Edward Woodward in Callum. Pam Salem also impresses with essentially the “token totty” role in the story, with a decent bit of spine written into the character - and the she can get away with wearing a crown is owes as much to talent as it does to looks. When you also factor in the work of thespians like David Collings, you have a line-up which transcends any of the few problems inherent in Robots of Death. We might even go so far as to say that this is one of the strongest group of actors assembled in the original Doctor Who.

You can discuss it among yourselves as to if the caste system used for the robots themselves is in any way dubious. Never thought about it? Of course you have! The lowest order of the ‘bots are the Dums, which do all the menial work, and are ordered around by those of a lighter colour hue. They do not speak, bringing to mind the slaves brought over from Africa and set to work in plantation fields, unable to converse and there purely to work. Of course, you can say that we are reading too much into it, but with Doctor Who traditionally rich in social commentary, it isn’t too much of a reach.

Another minor caveat is that some of the costumes might put off some of the more casual viewers, due to certain garments uncannily like the cast of Starlight Express, or Cats, or any musical with lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. Indeed, Russell Hunter looks rather like seventies rock icon Roy Wood, which makes you wonder if he will burst into chorus of a certain perennial Christmas classic.  Any questions you might have about such extravagant costumes and production design are handily answered in the documentary The Sandmine Murders, which is listed and reviewed below.

"Guess which flight I'm catching tonight?"
One fairly pertinent wrinkle ( not a consequence of structure, we stress) in and otherwise first-rate piece of writing is that the constant stream of put-downs which are written for certain characters start to wear you down after a while. Whist can be construed as “gritty”, “earthy” or “reflecting reality” to do so, there is cumulative effect which permeates into the final product, and is almost like being sat next to a disaffected teenager for a couple of hours, or watching four recent episodes of Family Guy. With a script as inventive and ambitious as this, it’s a forgivable oversight, though, as the story really hold the attention, whilst shifting easily and convincingly between events, without the obvious signs of papering over cracks.

Should we have a gun put to our heads to pick out another one problem with Robots of Death, it is that the identity of the puppeteer isn’t as mysterious as it really should have been. It’s hard to pin down if this comes about through a lack of misdirection in the script, or through other means, but it’s not going to have many over a certain age slapping their foreheads in disbelief as to whom was behind the whole murderous machinations.

Not wanting to end this look at the story on anything close to a sour note, we have to praise the work of Dudley Simpson, who really came up with the goods for this one. After suffering many awful electronic scores during the Pertwee era, most sounding like a cat trying to shit-out a Stylophone it had swallowed, Simpson lays those ghosts to rest, and gives Robots of Death a soundtrack which pushes all the right buttons, but keeps the balance between incidental and manipulating perfect. This is certainly one of his top-drawer pieces of work for the show, and many would probably agree.

"It's Hinchcliffe's final revenge, I know it!!!"
As the penultimate story to be produced by Phillip Hinchcliffe, it forms a terrific one-two punch with the following Talons of Weng-Chiang, and a suitable end to one of Doctor Who’s most successful eras. It was also a fitting conclusion to the work of Michael Briant on the show, a man whom could turn as decent script into something wonderful, and turn utter dreck into a show you could at least sit though - we all know what that one is, right, kids?  Sure, there were great stories to come from Doctor Who, but they never had the same batting average as they did under Hinchcliffe.  Is it any wonder that this story was successfully released in Japan? They sure love their robots there…

With all that out the way, the big question is: how does it look?

This certainly is Beyond Westworld!

Video


OK, it’s confession time: we haven’t watched the original DVD of Robots of Death, so we can’t really judge how big the differences are. We suspect that there have been improvements, as the technology for improving and brushing-up the material is constantly evolving. In any case, for the era it was made, there are no surprises, as it looks as clean and nice as any of its surrounding stories. As a matter of fact, the studio-bound nature of the production means that it isn’t at the mercy of missing 16mm location footage. We certainly have no complaints about the image, and Robots of Death was certainly a very pleasing visual experience.

Audio


As with the image, the era it was made means that there are no surprises or disappointments, so you’ll get a nicely-presented version of the original mono elements. Why mess with perfection anyway?

Extras


Audio Commentary 1: Part of the original DVD release, this commentary features producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and writer Chris Boucher as they watch the show again after quite a long time  Whilst it’s not as dynamic, polished and “fun” as later tracks, it’s still worth a listen, if only for it being one of the very few attended by Boucher.

Hinchcliffe always has had a polarised viewpoint whenever he sits down for a commentary, as he clearly likes what he was personally able to get right when putting it the show together, but is haunted by everything rendered awkward through the combination of time and money. Those with the good taste to have seen the documentary about him on The Android Invasion will know that he regards Doctor Who as something moderately successful in a very diverse career of many plaudits, and it comes through here.

The origins of Leela are certainly discussed, with Hinchcliffe asserting that her creation came about because women in TV shows were getting stronger, in light of sexual equality. The Avengers had their Emma Peel, so Doctor Who had to step up to the plate, because: “…the days of the dependant screamer [as a companion] had almost passed”. It might speak volumes about Baker that although the original concept of Leela was so strong, yet he really didn’t get the character at all. Maybe if she had worn a fetching schoolfgirl outfit and been blonde, he might have gravitated more towards her…

Boucher discloses one of the great loopholes when writing Doctor Who, in that the recap at the start of each show is work the writer doesn’t have to undertake. “One of the great advantages about serials like this is that you get paid twice for about two minutes of it, as you play in…the last part of the previous episode.” Naturally, Hinchcliffe is rather surprised at the revelation, and counters by saying that they [the producers] where clearly overpaying the writers for their services.

Both are happy with the end result, as even the rather reserved Hinchcliffe is very open about how it turned out. “There are some pretty good ideas in the heart of this story,” states the producer, “…and I think this is one of the better Who stories… in the better Who stories we did, anyway. There were some good concepts [which] meant that you weren’t just rehashing an old plot, an old invasion-of-Earth story”. OK, it was slightly reserved, but it was still quite a complement from the producer.

Like we said, it isn’t new, but just as fascinating as those commentaries with wet paint still on them. It’s almost like listening to the concept of a Doctor Who commentary hatching from an egg, witnessing it taking the first baby-steps towards the highly-polished variety which fans make a bee-line for every time. Find ninety minutes of your time for this engaging experience.

Audio Commentary 2: This a commentary track recorded specially for this release, featuring the participation of actors Tom Baker, Louise Jameson and Pamela Salem (Toos), along with director Michael E Briant as they stick Robots of Death into the ol’ DVD player, light the blue touch-paper and retire to a safe distance from the explosive Baker.  

This is more what folks have come to expect when selecting a Doctor Who commentary track, especially when you have the barking madness of Baker unfurling in front of you like a flag for the country “Mad-donia”. When asked by Salem if he can still sit cross-legged [as he did in the episode they are watching] these days, he exhales bizarrely and replies: “No, darling… I can’t even cross my legs. I can only, of course, worship God standing up now, because my knees have gone. I can’t go on the stage anymore, as my knees click as I am going…”

The very practical and confident Briant makes a very interesting statement about current television, equating the finished product to the amount of time the actors spent together in preparation. “I think it’s a shame,” the Franophile director explains, ”I think actors bring an individuality to roles which is not possible if you haven’t tried it with your other actor colleagues, and haven’t heard what they’re saying. I think that why so much of television drama is so bland and boring today”.

Pam Salem is pretty happy with the whole experience, and has pretty good recall of things, with the exception of just what year the show was recorded. Baker tries to recall the era, but isn’t particularly helpful. “Uh… it was about… err… I know Waterloo had happened, so it must have been after 1815”. Briant settles the argument with a definitive: “Do you know, I think it was actually 6.20 in 1977 - on the 29th of January. I just have one of those memories“. Ms Salem, also tells a story of a time when she ran into Baker, whom claimed to be working as a tea-boy on a building site. Asking how he was, she was told that he had a possible job coming up, and that he wouldn’t know anything until the coming Friday. The job in question turned out to be Doctor Who, naturally.

The subject of doing public events comes up, with Baker bemoaning the fact that “’elf and safety” committees charge a lot for insuring him to turn up at these things. Jameson is always a tonic when it comes to commentaries, and details one of her experiences: “There was a time I was asked to find a Doctor to open a village fete, and I couldn’t. None of you were free or willing or available, so I rang the special effects department and they lent me a Dalek… and [it] arrived in pieces. I couldn’t work out how to put this Dalek together, but the kids did”.

There a lots of laughs, and some wonderful tales to be heard - including Jameson making the heavy decision not to let his nephew inside the TARDIS prop for fear ruining the fantasy for him - and you’ll have a ball listening to the gang looking back at times past. Jesus, Baker really on another planet, and we don’t mean Gallifrey.

She looks like cock in that. The bird variety, we mean!
The Sandmine Murders: Another reassuringly decent look back at a Doctor Who story is yours to enjoy, as the cast and crew delve into just whodunnit aboard the interstellar mining vessel. Knowing that Bob Holmes had a major dislike for “robot” stories, Phillip Hinchcliffe details how by he got around the problem by creating a premise which showed androids breaking away from Asimov’s laws of robotics, and setting is all in an environment inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune.

Michael Briant rattles off a really amusing anecdote where Baker and Jameson were rehearsing a scene to be filmed, when and Briant noticed the incumbent producer (Graham Williams) of Doctor Who entering the room. Dropping Baker in the shit, he asked for Baker’s true feelings on the script, which was answered with a tremendous volley of scathing criticism. Once finished, Briant introduced ol’ Tom to the new producer and the actor quickly started spouting how wonderful the writing of the particular story was.

Once again, Baker demonstrates his knack for retrofitting humility and playing down the more questionable behaviour at the time, particularly towards directors and producers. “…I knew they were indulging me, really… the leading actors have to be mollycoddled a little bit. You have to play to their vanity a bit.” There are certain producers whom would take him up on that, but age finds a way to change events to shape the individual.

Everyone has good things to say about Michael Briant, from his ability to direct tricky material, to the happy atmosphere he could generate on a stressful set, to the point where the was one occasion where everyone found themselves corpsing uncontrollably. After all attempts to keep his cast straight-faced, the ever-resourceful Briant came up with the idea that a prize would be awarded for the one person whom could make him laugh the most. Naturally, the reverse-psychology gambit worked beautifully, and there wasn’t a single titter to be heard from then on.

Whilst there are many whom have vented their dislike for the elaborate threads and the jarring sets (for a mining vessel) costume designer Elizabeth Waller is on hand to explain the choices made at the time. It was suggested that if you are going to be stuck on a ship like that, why not be surrounded by luxury rather that grot?  Taking inspiration from Art-Deco designer Chiparus, the costumes were made to match the interiors, which although logical, might have been a step too far for most. Pamela Salem confesses that, in retrospect, she likes the wardrobe she wore when she played Toos, including the crown. Oh, and actor David Collings notes that it was difficult to “move like a hunter when clad in chiffon from top to bottom”.

One of the biggest laughs comes when discussing the design of the titular robots, as Waller recalls the trouble getting the look just right, from making the masks not look too big, to finding the right sculptress to take on the project. The amusing bit hits when talking of the inspiration for the hair: the Wella company’s logo, with the wavy locks windswept behind the head! If you compare the two, it’s pretty damned hilarious. Speaking of which, you have to admire the ingenuity of Waller for making the excellent costumes from shower curtains.

The cast bonded really well, and all got on with each other, with all of them telling tales of just how totally different Russell Hunter was from his famous character “Lonely” in the TV series Callum, with Baker stating that Hunter had trouble shaking the identification with his previous show in the same way he had with The Doctor. Louise Jameson tells of how she almost killed a cameraman through a careless knife-throw, the awfulness of the robots’ feet is dealt with (and essentially apologised for) and another fun time is had by all, including everyone whom watches another in the continual line of excellent retrospectives in the name of Doctor Who.

Robophobia: Not a look at the hatred generated by the sequels to Peter Weller’s biggest hit, but an examination of the general prejudice against automatons seen throughout the history of both Doctor Who and the world itself. Tobe Hadoke once again throws himself in harms way to look at just why anything made by man is automatically a threat to everyone’s favourite Timelord, not to mention the human race.

This is short, but definitely not lacking in the sweetness department, as our man trawls his way through the archives of Doctor Who and Tomorrow’s World to illustrate the rise of the machines in the worlds of both fiction and reality. Asimov’s three laws of robotics are explored, utilising some very welcome footage of the writer himself, along with some pretty amusing skits from Hadoke and his personal Dum, all set around a husband trying to get said robot to bump-off his wife.

The actual phenomenon of Robophobia is looked at, under the more scientific name of The Uncanny Valley, which says that the closer something gets to becoming human, mankind will proportionally hate it more. You know, just like certain religious groups hate apes in the same way, the direct links to man providing irrefutable proof of evolution. There are lots of chuckles to be had, with a look at mechanical folks right the way through the show, including a mention of the legal row about the Quarks, and the application of “ The Stripper” to a revealing piece from Four to Doomsday.  Oh, and timecoded footage of K9 going haywire.

The balance of fun, information and nostalgia is a tricky one to get right, but Hadoke comes through once more, with his characteristic hosting style working for the material beautifully. Provided you don’t have a stick up your arse you could hang a flag from, you’ll get a lot out of this excellently-produced little gem. Special mention should go to that rather lovely looking lady with the husky voice whom never appears when Hadoke is on screen. If she wants to be invited to any barbeques we might be throwing this summer, I’m sure she could give us a hand with organising a spit-roast…

Shouldn't dress that way if they don't want the attention...
Studio Sound: It’s short, but pretty damned sweet. The magical quality of sound is aptly demonstrated here as we get to see just how much of a difference it makes to the end product. We get to see a scene from the first episode with the raw studio sound of the murderous machines before it spent time in the dubbing department.   Whilst the untreated audio might come across as mildly humorous for some, it is a perfect example of just how important the correct choices can be, particularly as the looping of the voices gives them an unnerving disconnected quality. There are some whom complain that the robot voices are a little too effeminate, but this was the intention, as they take on a more unnerving quality once the mayhem starts. To demonstrate how perfectly they got it, just imagine the ’droids with the tones of John Inman.

Model Shots: Even thought it’s a port-over, for anyone even remotely interested in special effects, this is a very welcome addition. Presented in monochromatic, timecoded glory is the original model footage, this eight minutes worth of goodness allows a better look at the work which went into them. As anyone in the biz will tell you, usually good miniatures work is undone by how it is filmed, be it lenses, lighting, editing, etc, and any chance to see things where more blame can be duly assigned is terrific.

Studio Floor Plan: Sitting proudly alongside The Sensorites’ reproduction of the prop blueprints in the “really cool extras“ stakes, this interactive look at original floor plan drawings gives you an interactive tour of the studio. It brought back very pleasant memories of the Blue Peter Annual where you could build your own model of the studio floor, including bookcases and TV cameras! We never built it, though, as cutting up books was right up there with burning them in our house…

PDF Radio Times listings: Yay! It’s always fun to click “explore” on the DVD icon and take a gander at the listings from back in the day, almost like a portal to times past, before the internet blew every plot and spoiler out there. It seems almost unthinkable that fans would get their first taste of an episode this way, but you can’t put a price on nostalgia. Well, yes you can: you know as well as us how much they charge in those damned “collectables” shops. You get to see all the potted plot-outlines, and who doesn’t feel just that tiny bit giddy inside to read that The Talons of Weng-Chiang starts the following week…?

"Tell me more again about this man Houdini..."
Production Information Subtitles: There are those whom say print is dead, and that words are merely the ghosts of attitudes past with little relevancy in present times. Then there are those whom say that this is bollocks, and we are in the latter camp. What about the internet? The content it provides isn’t beamed directly into the skull, is it? History’s most pertinent resource of facts relies on the use of those little marks which form a written language, and so does another cracking set of information subtitles, once more so rich in its bounty of relevant minutia and essential information.

For the purposes of being thoroughly taken out of the story by trying to pick out just where you have seen certain actors before, we get potted biographies of the supporting cast, presented in the usual pithy style to keep it a world away from being merely dry facts. Accurate and concise, they’ll be there for every time you spout things like: “Oh, that’s him from…”, or “he’s the one that was in…”. It’s another treasure trove of information: did you know that costume designer Elizabeth Waller tailored the cast of For Your Eyes Only? You will now!

It’s easy to become complacent about expecting all of the changes which occurred during the transition from typed page to final edit, but we are spoiled yet again, as there is so much material carefully collated into this track, you would have expected some of it to have been obtained from an anonymous source in an underground car-park.  Changes in dialogue, improvisations from the cast, unused concepts, deleted material, it’s all contained within, and engrossing it is too.

With the robots so iconic and damned cool, it’s neither a surprise or an unwelcome one that just about everything you ever wanted to know about them is studiously researched for your edification, and this includes their little slip-ups which reveal them to be maybe too human. You know, when the silver on the boots flaps around just that little too much to be substantial, as well as thing much less obvious.

One of the most intriguing bits comes when transcribing part of an interview Baker gave on the radio show Woman’s Hour, only a few days before Robots of Death was broadcast. In a very rare instance of his hinting at his true feelings about Doctor Who, he states that “Frequently, most of the plots wouldn’t bear serious examination”. His bombshell is countered by a good-natured swipe at Mary Whitehouse, so at least Baker wasn’t being entirely downbeat about the show at that point in time.

The matter of Baker’s prickly nature is addressed, particularly in the way that his artistic nature meant that he found it difficult to bond with a lot of people. It diplomatically puts that he “wasn’t as welcoming as he should have been…” to Louise Jameson, and that Robots of Death (not to mention Pirates of the Caribbean) actor David Ballie felt that Baker had he had been “cut dead throughout the production”. We have to remember that this is the same guy whom told Mathew Waterhouse to “piss off” the first time the two met, so his first impressions of other actors seems to be all over the place.

Louise Jameson’s contact-lens slip is dutifully noted, as is Baker’s difficulty to get some tape off of his fingers, as a matter of fact, all the fan-favourite gaffs are here, and a load you probably didn’t even notice. This superb accompaniment to a beloved story is the icing on the cake, and unshakable proof that there is life after death in the print world, because when there’s no more room in Hell, production subtitles will walk the Earth. Superb - but did you ever doubt it?

Continuity Trails: Originally planned to be an Easter-egg for the first DVD release, but accidentally missed off of the UK version, this is a continuity-announcement for the first episode of Robots of Death, played over that curious yellow/blue shot of the globe as the map scrolls along behind it. It’s followed by a mute “slide” used for links, with that rather nice shot of Baker alongside Jameson - you’ll know the one when you see it.

Photo gallery: With the show being so popular, images from it were plastered all over Doctor Who Monthly, so there is no doubt that many of the them will give you one Hell of a charge, akin to mainlining hot chocolate and marshmallows. As well as the one of Baker wielding the big syringe, there are plenty of cast-photos, with many of Louise Jameson, but this is hardly a surprise, as publicity for the new scantily-clad companion was a priority. There is a generous selection of pictures of the various sets, with a lovely one of the secondary console-room, complete with Baker’s scarf draped over the railings. With many shots, the quality is such that it’s a crying shame it wasn’t made on film, as it might have been easily edited into a feature and shown theatrically, just as many TV shows were at that time. An excellent selection, set to the spooky electronic sounds of Dick Mills.

Coming soon trailer: In a rather arse-about-face way of planning, Leela’s debut - Face of Evil - is being released right after her second story. It’s a nice way to get the appetites whetted, and should attract casual viewers as well as Whovians eager to replace their VHS and UK Gold copies with the best materials available.

"We're all crazy now!"

Overall


Robots of Death really holds its own, with an ingenious, intriguing script, game performances, excellent direction and some of the most unsettling “baddies” in the history of the show. The new DVD easily comes out on top, with some terrific new features to sit proudly alongside the previous extras. Opinions of Tomb of the Cybermen are polarized, and The Three Doctors has numerous problems, but there is no doubt that this is the highlight of the new Revisitations box, and worth the purchase price alone.

Smash the piggy-bank open right now!


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