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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Series With Action, Humor and an Alternate Earth!, April 13, 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
"Inferno" is a 7-parter with a lot of great action, so it's hard to make a brief synopsis. It starts with Harry Slocum, cheerful mechanic, arriving at a bunker control room. He reports to Sir Keith Gold, Executive Director of the government-funded project, nicknamed "Inferno", to drill through the Earth's crust. The No. 2 coolant pipe for the drill-head needs servicing, and Slocum gets to work. The sarcastic Professor Stahlman arrives, and takes Sir Keith to task for taking No. 2 off-line. This project is his baby and nothing, and he means nothing, should slow its progress.

In the meanwhile, poor Slocum is at No. 2 when green goo starts bubbling up through the grid. When he touches it, it burns. Then his whole hand turns green. The next we see Slocum, walking with unfocused gaze and stilted gait, he makes his way unnoticed out of the bunker. To kill the first man he meets.

Fortunately, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Sergeant Benton are there, because UNIT is in charge of project security. Even more fortunately, the Doctor and Liz Shaw have just arrived as a consultants, though the real reason the Doctor has finagled his position is so that he can tap into the drill's dedicated nuclear reactor to fix his TARDIS console.

By the time they catch up with Slocum, his fingers have turned to hairy claws, his whole skin is green and he's sprouted wild hair and fangs. Two bullets to the heart slow him down, but it's a fire extinguisher which finally kills him. The Doctor tells the Brigadier that he recognizes the sounds Slocum was making, "Krakatoa... the volcanic eruption of 1883." The Doctor explains that what happened to Slocum's body, as he turned into a Primord, was "retrogression of the body cells".

Now it gets really interesting. The Doctor starts the TARDIS and he and the console disappear. From then on, we see alternating scenes of Liz et al trying to stop Stalhman's drilling in the real world (Warp 1), and the Doctor trying to survive in a parallel world where England is a fascist state (Warp 2).

Curiously, they are also drilling through the crust in Warp 2, though they are hours ahead of the drilling back home. Twelve seconds from breakthrough in Warp 2, the earth starts to shake and a terrible sound comes from the drilling rig. "Listen to that!" the Doctor cries, "It's the sound of this planet screaming out its rage."

Can planet Earth be saved in either universe?

"Inferno" first aired in May/June 1970. This review is for the 2013 Special Edition DVD release. "Inferno" has already been released on DVD on a 2-disc set in 2006. Both sound and picture have been digitally remastered for the Special Edition. An upgrade in sound will be welcome. Lots of the action takes place in the bunker with the drilling, and the background noise, though appropriate, does sometimes interfere with the dialogue.

For a 7 part series, there is little down time in the plot, and the action and humor, too, keeps going. There's lots of varied characters, all well-drawn, and it is a hoot to see the Warp 2 Brigadier with a dashing scar and eyepatch, not to mention a sneer.

Though I do like this series, the main plot-point is not resolved to my satisfaction. That is, if drilling down through the crust lets loose a green goo, then if they stop drilling, the green goo is still there - and it's unexplained. Is it alien? Is it Mother Earth? Is it destroyed at the same time as the planet when the crust bursts open and lava flows over all that man has made? Or, after the surface is cleansed by the lava, does the goo start all over again in creating life on this planet? Perhaps the inconclusiveness is deliberate.

Extras for the 2013 2-disc set, some of which carry forward from the 2006 DVD release:

1. Commentary Track (2006) Commentators are Barry Letts (producer), Nicholas Courtney (plays Brigadier), Terrance Dicks (script editor) and John Levene (plays Benton).
Courtney calls "Inferno" a "cracking good story". He's said many times before that it's his favorite serial because it was such fun playing a bad guy. "I love curling a lip."
Levene, who has a lovely velvety voice and is a notoriously nice person, says, "Trying to look tough when you're not is actually quite a stretch." At the time, he was trying to limit his smoking, and, regarding the scenes where he's in Primord make-up, "I told my children that's what would happen to them if they smoked cigarettes."
2. "Can You Hear the Earth Scream?" (2006, 45 minutes) This is a Making-Of featurette, narrated by David Harley. Commentators include Terrance Dicks, Barry Letts, Caroline John (plays Liz Shaw), John Levene, Nicholas Courtney, Derek Ware (plays private Wyatt, and is a founder of Havoc, the stuntman company used), Ian Fairbairn (plays Bromley) and Alan Chuntz (stuntman, from a 1970 feature).
Terrance Dicks says, "Derek was a very good stunt man. He had a very good team working for him. So we just quite ruthlessly, with the writer, put in all kinds of things on the assumption they'd be able to cope."
3. "Hadoke versus HAVOC" (new, 27 minutes) Toby Hadoke, who has moderated several commentaries on Dr. Who DVD releases, gets together with Derek Ware, Roy Scammell, Derek Martin and Stuart Fell. They were all members of HAVOC, the stunt company that worked on "Inferno". These experts try to train Hadoke so he can perform a stunt himself. That will make him an honorary HAVOC-er.
4. "Doctor Forever! Lost in the Dark Dimension" (new, 27 minutes) Fourth of a the five-part "Doctor Forever!" documentary. This part look at how the spirit of Doctor Who was kept alive in the years between the end of the classic series and the beginning of the new. In this episode, they look at several attempts to bring the show back during that period. Commentators include Tom Spilsbury, John Freeman & Gary Russell (current and former Doctor Who Magazine editors), Steve Cole (former BBC range editor), David Burton (actor), Adrian Rigelsford (writer), Graeme Harper (director) and new series executive producer Russell T Davies. Narration by Zeb Soanes.
[In a comment to this review, I've added where you can find the other parts of the Doctor Forever series.]
5. "The UNIT Family - Part 1" (2006) Commentators include Terrance Dicks, Derrick Sherwin (script editor/producer 1967-69), Nicholas Courtney, Derek Ware, John Levene, Caroline John and Barry Letts. This feature looks at the now Earthbound Doctor's 'family' during his exile to Earth.
Levene's first job on Dr. Who was an extra playing a Yeti!
Caroline John had been working in National Theatre under the direction of Laurence Olivier for 4 years, and wanted to break into TV. She couldn't even get an interview. "So I went and got a photograph taken of me in a bikini", sent it around, and got the job.
3. "Visual Effects in Television: An Introduction to the Devices, Techniques and Operational Methods of the Visual Effects Department of BBC TV" (2006, 6 minutes) This covers a few things, such as the space module models in Dr. Who's "Ambassadors of Death" and other BBC TV shows.
4. Deleted Scene (2006, 2 minutes) From episode 5 of "The Inferno".
5. Pertwee Years Intro (2006, 4 minutes) Jon Pertwee introduces and narrates several clips.
6. Photo Gallery (2006, 6 minutes)
7. PDF: "Doctor Who Annual 1971" and "Radio Times Listing" (2006) View DVD-Rom on your computer.
8. Production Notes Subtitles (2006) Sometimes called information Text. I enjoy the tidbits of information, such as how, in episode 2, it was problematic when the Doctor climbs up on high towers. Pertwee was afraid of heights.
More notes: " `Inferno' was partially inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story, `When the World Screamed' (1928), in which... Professor Challenger tunnels through the crust of the Earth.... His theory is that Earth is a living organism, with a protective outer shell, the crust."
9. Three Easter Eggs: #1 (2006, 1 minute) Shows clean opening title backgrounds including the special 'volcano' graphics used for this story.
#2 (2006, 40 seconds) Shows VT countdown clock for episode 7.
#3 "Being David Burton" (new, 5.5 minutes) Actor David Burton talks about Doctor Who. In 1988, a private company filmed a TV pilot, "Doctor Who and the Monsters of Ness" and Burton played the Doctor.
10. Coming soon trailer
11. Subtitles available in English

As for WHY is the BBC doing a Special Edition, I read this on a blog: "Inferno was one of the stories that had Reverse Standard Conversion applied to the existing NTSC version. This remastering can now be done much more successfully and the quality of the episodes will be much better than the original."

Happy Reader
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classic Doctor Who / digitally remastered, April 18, 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
Inferno is a 7-part miniseries that runs nearly 3 hours.
thankfully, there are plenty of twists & turns and action to capture and hold the viewer's imagination throughout.

this is solid and well-executed science fiction that stands the test of time.
even 40+ years later.

John Pertwee was the third Doctor Who from 1970 - 1974.
Inferno was arguably the best story during his tenure.

includes commentary, production notes, and over 2.5 additional hours of special features.

What's New in the special edition (vs. the 2006 release):
- digitally remastered picture and sound
- Hadoke versus HAVOC (27 mins, 33 secs)
- Doctor Forever - Lost in the Dark Dimension (27 mins, 26 secs): the fourth installment of a five part series looking at how Doctor Who was kept alive in the years between the end of the classic series and the beginning of the new series
- Coming Soon - a trailer for a forthcoming DVD release
- Easter Egg 3 (5 mins, 20 secs) - Being David Burton

if you like Doctor Who or classic science fiction, Inferno is a good bet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily my favorite from the Pertwee Years, November 25, 2013
By 
Scott Nossek (Payson, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
There is no denying that season 7, Jon Pertwee's first season, was amazing in almost every single way. "Spearhead from Space" was a very good opener, "Doctor Who and the Silurians" was an excellent story, if a bit too long, and "The Ambassadors of Death" was brilliant. "Inferno" not only ranks as the best of that season, but in my opinion, as the best of the era.

The story has an incredibly dark feel to it, and the script by Don Houghton is marvelous. Pertwee is at his very best, and I actually happen to like Liz Shaw, played by the late Caroline John. Nicholas Courtney does a wonderful job playing both the Brigadier and the Brigade Leader in the parallel universe. The entirety of the supporting cast is just excellent. The story itself conveys a powerful message, and it is impossible to not be compelled while watching. In fact, I had tears welling up in my eyes by the end of episode 6. This story is a masterpiece.

Being a special edition release, this DVD is packed with special features. There's a commentary by Nicholas Courtney, John Levene, Barry Letts, and Terrance Dicks. There is also a really fascinating documentary on the making of the story called "Can You Hear the Earth Scream?" And many other assorted documentaries and special features, including a coming soon trailer for "The Mind of Evil".

So, in conclusion, "Inferno" is a brilliant story that every Whovian must watch. It's complemented by a great special edition release, with some excellent features. Definitely pick this one up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Doctor Who!, July 6, 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
This is my favorite Doctor Who story ever. I mean, you've got it all here... UNIT, Parrallel Universes, and the great Jon Pertwee, my personal favorite Doctor.

The special features include:
- Audio Commentary by actors Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier), John Levene (Benton), producer Barry Letts and Script Editor Terrance Dicks
- Making of documentary
- The UNIT Family - Part 1
- Hadoke vs. Havoc: presenter Toby Hadoke reunites members of the Havoc stunt team and trains to perform a stunt himself.
- Doctor Forever! - Lost in the Dark Dimension: part four of a 5-part documentary mini-series looking at how Doctor Who was kept alive in the years between the end of the classic series and the beginning of the new.
- Visual Effects Promo Film
- Deleted Scenes
- The Pertwee Years Intro
- Photo Gallery

This is also the final story of Caroline John, who played Liz Shaw. Nic Courtney does a great job at playing the Brigade Leader. A good commentary, and with all these special features, how can one resist?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Seven Part Serial that Holds Up Far Better than Many Six Parters in the Coming Decade - and Fun Commentary Too!, January 15, 2015
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
As I opened and began watching the INFERNO for the first time, I will admit I kept thinking that the phrase "Burn with me" would make an appearance at some point... heh. No, it doesn't, but still fun watch. Quite neat to see this early serial's first episode directed by the esteemed Douglas Camfield, whom I only knew from later Baker serials before his untimely passing.

Although producer Barry Letts took over for the remainder of the direction due to Camfield's incipient illness, the overall tautness of the plot and pacing in spite of the dreaded 7 part format holds up extraordinarily well, especially considering how some of the 6 part serials in the decade to come suffered horribly from the extended length in spite of the 4-2 plot arrangement. Of course, legendary Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts did work in the additional content padding of the alternate universe (not originally in the script), and one can readily see why this production team from Pertwee's tenure are held is such high esteem.

The audio commentary is a hoot - I can't say John Levine's solo laudatory commentary during episode three kept my interest much, yet Nicholas Courtney does come in on his big "Alternate Brigade Leader" reveal, and the rest of the episodes' commentary, usually featuring Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks, Nicholas Courtney and a mix of Caroline John and members from the stuntmen squad, Havoc, adds quite a bit of background and anecdotal fun.

One side note, during episode two, Nicholas Courtney makes the comment that he was never good with the fisticuffs action sequences. I only make note of this as I had noticed the ... lack... in the previous serial, AMBASSADORS OF DEATH. It did make me rather grin to have my impression upheld by the man himself.

It's this kind of audio commentary I truly and dearly miss having in the modern Doctor Who releases... having technical comments by a director and some assistant something-or-the-other is nice and all, but I want gossip, stories, and the real stuff that went on that helped shaped the story before me. :T
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Pertwee's Best, May 23, 2014
By 
Zanriel (NW Arkansas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
This story was a real treat. I had never seen it before, but I have seen most of the 3rd Doctor's stories, so I have a pretty good idea of how the series developed during the early 70's. This one just might be my favorite so far. The acting is very strong, with distinctive personality differences between the characters in our Earth, as well as the parallel Earth featured in the story. You can tell Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) had fun making this, as he plays a hilariously rascally villain on the alternate Earth. One of the strongest performances, however, was by Derek Newark for the character of Greg Sutton, an engineer who had been called in to assist with the drilling project. The intensity and dynamism of his delivery really took you into the story.

I won't go into the special features here, because other reviewers have probably done that already, and they're easy to look up for anyone curious. However, I will mention that the overall quality of this release was most excellent.

I can't really find anything to complain about on this one. Easy 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Special Edition Worth Buying, December 29, 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
Hailing from Jon Pertwee's amazing first season, Inferno is a true classic. As a governmental instillation seeks to dig through the Earth's crust, a green goo bubbles forth turing men into beasts. When a crucial experiment fails, The Third Doctor is transported to an alternate universe, one where the project is far more advanced and a doomed world is about to die screaming.

Even at 7 episodes, the story doesn't feel that padded. It is partially directed by Douglas Camfield, the best of Who's early directors.

While most special editions offer extra special features, this one is worth buying for the improved picture quality. Compared to the 2006 release it is like night and day, thanks to advances in restoration techniques.

Some Doctor Who special editions seem like a double dip, but this is well worth the upgrade
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT'S THE DOCTOR! WHAT COULD BE BETTER!, April 27, 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
IT'S THE DOCTOR! WHAT COULD BE BETTER!

Another fine addition to my Doctor Who collection!

KEEP THESE OLD & LOST EPISODES COMMING!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite episode of my favorite doctor!, June 25, 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
When I 1st became aware there was a Doctor Who T.V. show, & not just the 2 Peter Cushing movies, this was my favorite episode! I think that's why Pertwee is still my favorite Doctor almost 40 years later. It was sometimes cheesy, sometimes hilarious, always cool, as I remember it. If you just know the new show, this would be a good intro to the old show. Check it out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If I could give it six stars I would., June 22, 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition (DVD)
Inferno is one of my all time favorite Doctor Who stories. Possibly Jon Pertwee's very best. I hadn't planned on buying the Special edition but my original DVD became damaged. I glad I got it, because it is the restoration teams very best effort to date. The picture is 10 times better than before. If your Who fan, and especially if you're a Pertwee era fan, GET THIS NOW!
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Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition
Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54) Special Edition by Douglas Camfield (DVD - 2013)
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