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Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin (Story 88) (2009)

Tom Baker , Angus Mackay , David Maloney  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin (Story 88) + Doctor Who: The Face of Evil (Story 89) + Doctor Who: The Hand of Fear (Story 87)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Angus Mackay, George Pravda, Bernard Horsfall, Peter Pratt
  • Directors: David Maloney
  • Writers: Robert Holmes
  • Producers: Philip Hinchcliffe
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • 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: September 1, 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001QCWQ58
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,257 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The Doctor (Tom Baker) becomes embroiled in a political assassination plot after returning to his home planet of Gallifrey in this gripping and historically significant 1976 serial from the venerable British science-fiction series Doctor Who. As Who scholars know, the Doctor had not returned to Gallifrey since the 1969 serial The War Games, but after receiving a summons in the previous story, The Hand of Fear (which saw Elisabeth Sladen's departure from the series), the Doctor again ventures home in time to see the retirement of the Time Lords' president; unfortunately, the leader is killed during the ceremony, and the murder pinned on the Doctor. The Master (Peter Pratt) is revealed as the mastermind behind the crime, and the Doctor must enter the virtual reality world of the planet's computer system, the Matrix, in order to find his archenemy. Though not a fan favorite at the time (die-hards found its depiction of the Gallifreyan government too close to more Earthly ones), The Deadly Assassin has found favor in the ensuing decades thanks to its many firsts in the Doctor Who universe (it's the first serial to feature the Doctor without a companion, the first to introduce the Matrix, and the first to expand on the workings of the Time Lords--and then there's that whole business about the Matrix 30 years before the big-screen epic), as well as its imaginative and suspenseful direction.

Fans will find a wealth of supplemental material on the conception and execution of Assassin on the DVD; Baker, producer Phillip Hinchcliffe, and costar Bernard Horsfeld (the formidable Chancellor Goth) provide a lively commentary track, and all three return for "The Matrix Revisited," a half-hour making-of featurette that traces the serial's inception from Sladen's departure through the controversy sparked over its violent fight scenes. The "Gallifreyan Candidate" featurette is a sluggish comparison of Assassin with its inspiration, The Manchurian Candidate, while "The Frighten Factor" utilizes a vast number of clips from all 10 Doctors' adventures to discuss the scarier aspects of the show. There's also the by-now standard subtitle production notes, photo gallery, and Radio Times listing in PDF format; the Easter Egg-savvy will find BBC 1's preview for Deadly Assassin, which followed the final episode of Hand of Fear. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

The Deadly Assassin: Gallifrey. Planet of the Time Lords. The Doctor has finally come home, but not by choice. Summoned by a vision from the Matrix, he is drawn into a web of political intrigue and assassination. Nothing is quite what it seems, and in the shadows lurks his oldest and deadliest enemy. Image of the Fendahl: A sonic scan draws the Tardis to the Fetch Priory on Earth. There the Doctor and Leela discover an impossibly old human skull that is the key to a nightmare from the Time Lords' past. A murderous monster stalks the priory grounds, and within, someone is intent on unleashing a malevolent creature that feeds on death itself. Delta and the Bannermen: The time: 1959. The place: the Shangri-La Holiday Camp. The Doctor and Mel want time out. The hedonistic alien Navarinos want to catch some vintage rock and roll. And two CIA agents want to know what happened to their country's missing satellite. When the beautiful Chimeron princess Delta shows up on the scene, the murderous Bannermen soon follow in hot pursuit. The stage is set for a fiery showdown that will decide the fate of an entire civilization.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who at its most controversial May 30, 2009
Format:DVD
What can be said about The Deadly Assassin? It's great. It's full of mystery and intrigue, action and suspense, and Tom Baker fortunately not having a companion to upstage him. I daren't talk about the story further; rather, I shall discuss both the DVD and the controversy the story created during transmission.

Ever hear of Mary Whitehouse? I suspect most Americans don't know her, but since this is a British show and she didn't really like it, I feel the need to talk about her. She was an ultra-conservative bint who complained from the 1960's through the 1990's about how so-called "depravity" in BBC programmes (that is, sex, violence and profanity) was culturally retarding the UK. Strangely, she never seemed to complain about anything on ITV (the other major UK broadcaster at the time); I guess it's because they aren't funded by the government, and therefore don't matter. Pink Floyd ripped on her in their album Animals in 1977 (and in America, Tipper Gore hilariously misinterpreted the line "Hey you, Whitehouse" from the album as anti-American).

She started to get her knickers in a twist about Doctor Who in the early 1970's (probably not long after Terror of the Autons was broadcast), but most people didn't listen to her. But then, after part three of this serial was broadcast, she unleashed a vicious attack. She was not very happy about the cliffhanger, where the Doctor's head is held underwater in a memorable freeze-frame shot. The BBC apologized and removed the shot from the master tape.

However, recordings made during the original broadcast exist with the original ending intact, and have been used to restore the ending for the DVD.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creep Solo September 3, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This episode is unique among all of Tom Baker's many outings as the Doctor because it is his only turn without a companion. Apparently it came off because following Liz Sladen's departure at the end of "Hand of Fear", Baker wanted to try a one-man show for fun and the prodcuers agreed - provided everybody understood it was a one-time-only thing. The result is "The Deadly Assassin" an entertaining and very revealing episode which takes the Doctor, all by his lonesome, back to his home planet of Galifrey to tangle with his oldest enemy, The Master.
"Assassin" has a lot of unusual qualities. In addition to the solo appearance of the Doc, it is an unusually physical and violent episode, and also sheds some light on the society of the Time Lords and on Doctor's (delinquent) youth on Galifrey.
In this episode, the Master has passed his twelfth and supposedly final regeneration, and is now basically a disgusting animated cadaver. He lures the Doctor back home by planting a vision in his mind of the assassination of the Lord President of Galifrey, but when the Doctor returns to foil the plot, he not only fails but becomes the prime suspect. Scheduled for execution ("Vaporization without representation is tyranny!") he has just twenty-four hours to expose not only the real assassin but discover who is pulling his strings.

Much of the episode takes place in a disturbing 'dream reality' in which the Doctor battles Garth, the Master's homidical power-grasping flunky, who stupidly believes serving the Master will lead to something other than a horrible death. The dream reality is more of a nightmare: part swamp, part quarry, part fog, and all ugly.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Upon a Time Lord... June 10, 2009
Format:DVD
Every once in a while a TV show decides to put out something different and special, perhaps for better ratings or to stir up the stagnant continuity. In many ways, this is Doctor Who's big moment, smack dab inbetween the two most memorable companions of the Fourth Doctor, and running during the show's midpoint, the 13th anniversary.

Many things make this story stand out from the others-- the Doctor has no companion; the journey to his homeworld for the first time since "The War Games"; the colorful High Council costumes; the unusual method by which the Doctor gets out of his death sentence; a decrepit and decaying foe from the past...

But even with these things, what will strike today's viewers the most is that this story contains the first ever mention of a virtual world called THE MATRIX, some 20+ years before it was shamelessly ripped off for a movie.

I wasn't bothered by the controversial "drowning" incident as much as by the unresolved plot holes that dot the story like singularities. I won't bother the reader with excruciating details, but they'll be easy enough to find. However, this story shines on its own just for being different and is a real treasure.

This is where Tom Baker gets his wish-- to appear in a story with no companions-- and as a result he is surrounded by them the rest of his scarfbearing days. He also gets to narrate, which he doesn't do again until "Shada".

I would recommend this story to anyone wanting to know more about the Doctor's homeworld. Of course, no single story contains everything you might need to know, so I would also recommend "The Invasion of Time" as a companion piece.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Doctor Who Classic!
The Deadly Assassin is a classic story of Doctor Who, in fact the years that Philip Hinchcliffe produced and Robert Holmes was script editor of the show appear to have had the most... Read more
Published 2 months ago by E. Borgman
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Life Of Peace And Ordered Calm." yeah, right.
this is hands-down my favorite episode (or perhaps i should say story) from the original series.
it's most (in)famous of course for quite another reason. Read more
Published 2 months ago by jude pepper
5.0 out of 5 stars Join the Doctor on the homeworld of the Time Lords.
My favorite Doctor (Tom Baker) back among his fellow Time Lords. Framed for the murder of the President, the Doctor must outwit the Castelan's guards while solving the crime and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nightwatcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Fourth Doctor Story
One of the best classic Who stories, it is an excellent representation of Time Lord society and canonizes some of the concepts such as number of regenerations. Read more
Published 3 months ago by David Good
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent adventure!
You get to see The Doctor (excellently portrayed by Tom Baker) on his own. He returns to his home planet of Gallifrey; It's a very cool look into Time Lord society and some of the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by BA_DeMaca
5.0 out of 5 stars Got to have all the Tom Barer episodes.
Got to have all the Tom Barer episodes. He is the best doctor of them all.
Will keep buying till I have them all.
Published 10 months ago by Papabear
5.0 out of 5 stars Who
Love the doctor, even the old one.. I recomend the doctor at any stage of his 50 years.. Go Tom baker
Published 10 months ago by Phil J
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gallifrian Candidate
I had heard through the grapevine that this serial was one of the best of the Tom Baker years, and I wasn't disapointed. Read more
Published 12 months ago by poor opera lover
4.0 out of 5 stars A look into the Time Lords
Oddly enough, it would take until the series 14th season of its original run to give a bit of back history into the Time Lord race the Doctor fled from so many years before (with a... Read more
Published 14 months ago by David S. ONeill
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad for a 1970's show
1st show to introduce matrix but the matrix scenes where slow and too long.The rest of the story was good.
Published 14 months ago by samiam
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