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Doctor Who: Black Orchid (Story 121) (2008)

Peter Davison , Sarah Sutton , Ron James  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, Janet Fielding
  • Directors: Ron James
  • Writers: Terence Dudley
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017XOFFK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,823 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: Black Orchid (Story 121)" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

--When the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) arrives in 1925 England with Nyssa, Tegan and Adric, he stumbles upon a series of murders at an old country house. After realizing that the slayings are related to the disappearance of a woman who is the spitting image of Nyssa, he races to figure out what is happening before the body count rises.-- Peter Davison stars. 49 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; audio commentary; deleted scenes; featurette; photo gallery.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whew! This TARDIS crew CAN get along!! June 5, 2008
If it weren't for this story, I would be left scratching my head and wondering why the hell these four individuals (they were barely a TARDIS team) would hang around each other for so long. Adric just becomes an obnoxious brat with the Fifth Doctor, Tegan just wants to go home, and Nyssa gets shunted to the sidelines every damn time. With the Sixth Doctor and Peri, there were moments in every story where you could tell they were close friends, which is absent with this team.

Except for this story.

Black Orchid, a two-parter that's a bit of a diversion, but it was needed, in my opinion, before the emotional-roller coaster known as Earthshock. A light-hearted adventure that you can sit down and relax to after doing a long shift of work, or even if you've come from a night about the town (like I did on the day I bought this.) The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, the best Fifth Doctor combination, both get to shine here, Nyssa with Sarah Sutton's double role with Ann, finally giving Nyssa something to do in a story, and the Fifth Doctor, who shows off his amazing cricket skills, bringing a team back from a pathetic score (though I don't think even the Fifth Doctor could help England against Australia!)

And where the TARDIS crew get along? The scenes at Cranleigh Manor are easily some of my favourite of the Fifth Doctor era, where Tegan shows Nyssa some of the Earth dances and cheering on the Doctor in cricket, and Nyssa just looks more amused than ever at these bizarre rituals. Not to mention where they both gently mock Adric about his constant eating (how large are Alzarian stomachs anyway?) Adric for once is actually likeable.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
In this short adventure with the fifth Doctor, the Doctor and his over full TARDIS end up in the Edwardian English country-side for this almost purely historical (the first story to due so possible since the 2nd Doctor meets the Highlander, please correct me if I'm wrong on that score).

The Doctor lands the TARDIS at an Edwardian train depot, where he is mysteriously expected by some local chaps for a game of cricket. Only happy to oblige, the Doctor tags along with Adric, the boy genius, Tegan, the walking mouth, and Nyssa, the smart & cute orphan from Traken. This case of mistaken identity leads the crew into a manor mystery Agatha Christie-style and a fancy-dress ball. Nyssa meets her Earth-twin and a twisted "monster" who may not have her best interests at heart.

As is the way of things in the 5th Doctor's era, the incidental companions end up learning of the Doctor's true origins or of the TARDIS. This plot device has been replaced in the new series by the Doctor's psychic paper, so he doesn't have to waste precious story-time with answering questions about "how he got there."

What keeps Black Orchid from being a neat historical adventure?
As is the way of things in the 5th Doctor's era, the incidental companions end up learning of the Doctor's true origins or of the TARDIS. This plot device has been replaced in the new series by the Doctor's psychic paper, so he doesn't have to waste precious story-time with answering questions about "how he got there." This nearly pointless visit to the TARDIS takes away from the mystery of the period. Another mistake is the overly ambitious make-up team that in the lack of an alien, they must compensate with latex.

What makes Black Orchid work?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well... the Price is Right May 28, 2010
By Oliver
Not one of the more fondly remembered stories of the series compounded by the fact you're only getting two episodes from a time when they had far less experience doing either hour-long or non sci-fi Who stories.

Thankfully, there are a few selling points to recommend this title. One of these is the remastering team once again doing an amazing job on restoring the visuals. The outdoor scenes almost look like they were shot on 35mm film now, as opposed to 16mm that was likely used for most of the series's outdoor moments. They could have easily done a cheap job just to get it out there for completionists, but they brought their A-Game to this story and it shows.

Extras include a rather amusing commentary track by the cast, who have less than fond memories of shooting the story (especially the gals, who had to wear some semi-revealing costumes outdoors during an English October), and manage to have a laugh at its expense looking back. Also is another chapter of the interesting "Stripped for Action" series focusing on the comic book/strip at the time when it changed over from Baker to Davison's doctor. Interesting of note here is the interview with Dave "The Other Guy Responsible for Watchmen" Gibbons, who had an impressive run as the artist, and who apparently had a great deal of trouble at first capturing the Doctor's likeness, as previous Doctor's were easily caricatured, where Davison's face required far more subtlety. Some Blue Peter, info-text, a look at the restoration process, Now and Then showing how the locations have changed, and a really odd but interesting addition where Barry Took reads angry fan letters over the shows rescheduling at the time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the Strangest Episodes of All...
An offbeat, unusually short (just two parts) period piece, "Black Orchid" is one of the strangest Dr. Who episodes of all, but not for the reasons you'd expect. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Shammy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story
The DVD looks great.The story turned out to better than I thought. Sarah Sutton plays to roles and does a great job on both roles.
Published 14 months ago by Pete
4.0 out of 5 stars Fair introduction for a fair Doctor.
I got this because it was cheap, & wasn't disappointed. I liked Peter Davison as the Doctor as well as his companions, & the story was good even though it was short. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Patrick Correa
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet
I had never seen this episode until recently. Peter Davidson is one of my favorite Doctors. This is a much debated story and show. It is short but I found it complete. Read more
Published on March 24, 2012 by Pulpman
5.0 out of 5 stars Share the love for the Doctor
Peter Davisons' run was way too short. Everytime I watch I miss his spin on the Doctor and his group of companions.
Published on January 7, 2012 by OJ
3.0 out of 5 stars Short Historic Episode of the 5th Doctor
Black Orchid is what Doctor Who fans knows as Historic episodes, as seen in previous Doctors ( 1 & 2). Read more
Published on June 16, 2009 by Jorge Dejesus Sanchez
5.0 out of 5 stars English Manor House Delight
Although only a short (2 part) episode, Black Orchid is a delightful "English Manor House" romp of a mystery/story. Read more
Published on May 7, 2009 by N. Chipman Hamblin II
5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor plays Criket! Need I say more?
Doctor Who - Black Orchid (Episode 121)
This is a rare short and historical episode of the long-running British Science Fiction TV show. Read more
Published on November 16, 2008 by James D. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A distilled, simplified Doctor Who
...with no monsters and just about the shortest length ever. It's a great historical romp with everyone getting to do something. Read more
Published on November 12, 2008 by Michael A. Duvernois
4.0 out of 5 stars AN INTERESTING TWO-PART "WHO" ADVENTURE.
"Black Orchid," a two-part adventure from Peter Davison's first season as the Doctor, is the first true "historical" adventure since the 1960's. Read more
Published on October 1, 2008 by Steven Hancock
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