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Doctor Who: Battlefield (Story 156)

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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(May 05, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: Battlefield (DVD)

The Doctor and Ace join forces with UNIT and his old friend the Brigadier against Morgaine (Jean Marsh) and Mordred, Arthurian villains who recognize the Doctor as Merlin.


The Sylvester McCoy era of Doctor Who tends to get a rough ride from some, but Battlefield is proof that even in some of the darker days for the show, and with the budget seemingly vanishing into thin air, it could deliver a very good story. Penned by Ben Aaronovitch, who also scribed the underrated adventure Remembrance of the Daleks from the same era, Battlefield instantly wins favor by bringing back Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, played with his usual dignity and class by Nicholas Courtney. Along with companion Ace, they then find themselves caught up in an Arthurian adventure, with nods to Merlin, Excalibur, and the Lady in the Lake. It’s a good yarn, with an impressive monster waiting near the end. And while it does stretch the story a little thin, it’s one of the better adventures of the McCoy era. While Battlefield isn’t vintage Doctor Who, it is a whole lot better than the assorted naysayers would have you believe.

As usual, the DVD release is packed with many hours of extras to sort through. Battlefield benefits from a packed commentary track, and a host of behind-the-scenes extras (that recall, among other things, the moment when a water tank shattered with Sophie Aldred still inside it). And on disc 2 is an extended version of the feature. Well worth picking up. --Simon Brew

Special Features

  • Commentary by actors Sophie Allred (Ace), Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier), and Angela Bruce (Bambera), writer Ben Aaronovitch, and script editor Andrew Cartmel
  • Storm over Avallion making-of
  • Past and Future King: Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel discuss screenplay
  • Watertank: Recalling Sophie Allred's on-set accident
  • From Kingdom to Queen: Jean Marsh looks back on her three appearances in Doctor Who
  • Studio Recording: Behind-the-scenes footage from a VHS of the live studio output
  • Trails and Continuity
  • Photo gallery
  • Isolated music score
  • Production note option
  • Radio Times billings (DVD-ROM)
  • Disc 2: Exclusive new extended feature-length edit of Battlefield featuring Dolby 5.1 sound
  • Season 26 trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Nicholas Courtney, Jean Marsh
  • Directors: Michael Kerrigan
  • Writers: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 5, 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001P7YD96
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,819 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
Amazon dose not give the "RELEASES IN DETAIL's" like they should. So from website of the go to man on all Doctor Who DVD's (and hell, even VHS)Steve Manfred. Here are the detail's for "Battlefield".


Doctor Who: Battlefield starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace, and guest starring Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. 2 discs.

On Disc 1:

- All four 25-minute episodes (the original 1989 versions) with full restoration treatment.

- Graphical menus, episode and scene selection features, and subtitles for the hearing impaired.

- Optional commentary track with actors Sophie Aldred, Nicholas Courtney, and Angela Bruce(Brigadier Winifred Bambera), Writer Ben Aaronovitch, and Script Editor Andrew Cartmel.

- Information Text subtitles option. Displays pop-up production trivia throughout the story.

- Isolated Music option. Plays the story with only the music soundtrack playing by itself.

- "Storm Over Avallion" 23-minute featurette about the making of the story, featuring interviews with Actors Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Angela Bruce, Nicholas Courtney, and Jean Marsh (Morgaine), Writer Ben Aaronovitch, Script Editor Andrew Cartmel, and Director Michael Kerrigan.

- "Past and Future King" 12-minute featurette about the writing of this story, featuring interviews with Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Angela Bruce, and Michael Kerrigan.

- "Watertank" 7-minute featurette that goes into detail about the near-fatal accident that occurred during the scene of Ace trapped in the flooding spacecraft airlock when the glass in the tank she was in cracked open.

- Studio Recording.
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I never did much care for most of Sylvester McCoy's stories. The only ones I thought were any good were "Time and the Rani", "Remembrance of the Daleks", "Ghost Light", and "The Curse of Fenric". But I had never seen this one before until it was released on DVD, and I loved it. "Remembrance of the Daleks" is still my favorite one, but now this is my second favorite. Written by the same writer who wrote "Remembrance", this has a very good plot. Futuristic knights from another dimension come to Earth to claim the legendary sword of King Author himself. With this sword in their power, their queen will be able to conquer the universe. Now the Doctor (A.K.A. - Merlyn), Ace, and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (who has been recalled into UNIT) must stop them at all costs. Action-packed (like "Remembrance"), performances are good, and most of the special affects aren't that bad. The Destroyer was one of the most realistic creatures ever featured in the original series. Highly recommended!

This DVD includes both the original four-part version and a new extended feature-length version with new and better effects.
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I was rather intrigued when I first learned of Battlefield. Featuring my favorite Doctor Sylvester McCoy, the return of UNIT and tying into Arthurian legend (which I'm rather intrigued in) it was going to be an interesting story to view. While Battlefield turned out not to be a classic along the lines of say The Curse of Fenric or Ghost Light, Battlefield stills proves to be an exciting and ever watchable Doctor Who story.

At the heart of it all is Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as the seventh Doctor and Ace. Both show off their remarkable chemistry that made them one of the most successful TARDIS crews of the original series. McCoy in particular gets some fine acting moments such as the "there will be no battle here!" section of part three and the nuclear weapons speech in part four. Aldred also gives a nice performance as Ace though the character does come across as being downright immature at times. That said there are plenty of good things to say about Aldred's performance especially in the special edition's scenes with Brigadie Lethbridge-Stewart. As always the delight for watching a story from the McCoy era lies in the splendid work of its leading cast.

The story also features another one of the great things of the McCoy era: a fine supporting cast. Nicholas Courtney makes a welcomed return as UNIT's former commander Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart even if there are moments where he is pushing credibility at one or two moments. That said Courtney gets the best lines of the story including part four's classic "I just do the best I can!
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Of all of Sylvester McCoy's outings as Doctor Who, this is one of my favorites, right up there with Remembrance of the Daleks and Silver Nemesis. Now, in reality, the storyline for this one is not that great and rather corny at times. Knights from an alternate dimension do battle with swords against UNIT. COME ON! Plus, the villainess in this episode, Morgaine, is so campy that you want to laugh every time she appears on screen. She's like the Wicked Witch of the West meets the Bridge of Dracula! In the scene where she tries to scare Ace into giving her something she wants, I half expected her to say "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too! Ha, ha, ha!"

So why do I love this episode? Answer: THE BRIG IS BACK AND KICKING A--! The Brigadier was one of my all time favorite Doctor Who characters, and he had not been seen in Doctor Who since the Five Doctors six years earlier.

In many ways, the Brigadier is closer to the Doctor than any of his companions because he is one of the few that knew him through most of his regenerations. In a way, this gives him a special bond with the Doctor, and although they came into conflict with one another at times regarding the Brig's tendency to turn to the artillery a little too quickly, they genuinely like and respect each other. And it shows in this story. Nicholas Courtney and Sylvester McCoy play the relationship between the Brigadier and the Doctor so well, and trully reflect their shared history.

Ace's reaction to this relationship is also perfectly played out. She recognizes that even though she and the Doctor are close, these two men share a bond and history that she never will have with him, and this makes her jealous beyond belief. However, she and the Brig bond when they get to blow stuff up!
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Topic From this Discussion
Why is the price so high?
Because it went out of print a few months ago, along with several other original series releases. Presumably they'll come back into print eventually, but there's no word on when as of yet.
Jul 12, 2013 by Zaranyzerak |  See all 2 posts
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