Doctor Who - The Visitation
By Ryan Crawford
, 21 Jul 2004
Doctor Who DVD release seems a tricky business for the BBC. They seem to choose a classic one to re-master, then a lesser known one, then a classic etc. etc. Well, they can't make everyone happy?but it does give a better representation of the series when it originally aired.
The Visitation?a less than obvious choice for re-mastering and release but turns out to be a fine story with plenty of merit.
Attempting to take Tegan back to her own time, the Doctor's fifth incarnation 'accidentally' (as per usual ;-) lands the TARDIS in England in the 1600s - at the time of the Great Plague. There he and his friends meet a former actor turned highwayman who tells them about odd events that have been occurring; strange lights in the sky, the locals acting strangely, and so on. Causing these phenominominominin are three so-called Terileptils, aliens that crash-landed on Earth and decided to kill off all human life (via the Great Plague) to set up shop in their place. As usual it?s up to the Doctor to save the day, and in the process make sure that the aliens don?t get their hands on his TARDIS; they are plunder-crazy, after all.
The story is written by Eric Saward who also wrote Earthshock and Resurrection of the Daleks, whether that's a good or bad thing is down to personal taste. The Visitation comes as a pleasant surprise though, being a simple, straightforward story told in a simple, straightforward manner ? in many ways, it reminds me of some of the earlier stories of the sixties in its simplicity. Some might say it is too simple ? there is quite a bit of padding around the middle episodes, there probably being enough plot for a packed two-part story, but this is told so engagingly that the time just flies by, and matters never seem to drag.
The Visitation is never going to win any awards for either originality or depth, but as standard WHO-runarounds go, it is one of the best, certainly from this period of the series? life. The look is good, there is occasional wit in the script and Davison is on fine form. There are a few flaws and it?s a shame that Adric is about, but overall it?s a good tale which doesn?t disappoint.
A generally clear print but there are quite a few cases of light flare and one noticeable case of microphone distortion (something that seems to affect quite a few of the Who DVDs). Not bad overall though. Only a mono track, but a very clean one which sounds good and does its job.
Although nowhere near being a classic, The Visitation is an entertaining example of early 80s-WHO, and has aged well. Either way, it?s another quality package from the BBC, who have yet to put out a disappointing disk, and is well worth renting at least.
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