Doctor Who: Black Orchid (Story 121)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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?Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This offering is a little different. Instead of 4 episodes there are two parts (25 Minutes each) and Special Features on a single Disc
As we have come to expect there... Read more
Although there are only 2 episodes to the story, it is well done and doesn't feel rushed. Personally, I find this story one of Peter Davison's better appearances as the Doctor.Published 10 months ago by Malbus
Reasonably good story with good commentary, so-so extras except for the location visits, which I like.Published 11 months ago by VM370Guy
This story was an oddity but a refreshing one. Yeah, there were some problems and I can get why Peter Davison didn't get for it, but it's refreshing to see the TARDIS crew get a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Adam Graham, Superhero and Detective Fiction Author
I would hardly call the BLACK ORCHID a must own serial unless you are a serious collector. I have over 50 serials spanning the generations, and only one other rated less than four... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tinfoot