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Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54)

70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: Inferno (Episode 54) (Dbl DVD)

An unsuccessful trial run with the Tardis console throws the Doctor into a parallel universe where his old friends are rather nasty characters.


An experiment gone awry sends the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) to a parallel universe where his friends and companions are members of a fascist regime in this thrilling and popular episode from the long-running British science fiction series Doctor Who. Inferno is the name of a project designed to drill into the Earth's core and release a powerful energy source called Stahlman's Gas; what's yielded instead is an insidious substance that transforms men into monsters. The resulting chaos interrupts the Doctor's travel in the TARDIS and knocks him into an alternate Earth run by a military dictatorship, and where Project Inferno's progress threatens to bring about an apocalypse. This seven-part story arc from 1970 is a high-water mark for the already superb Pertwee-era Doctor, a tense, imaginative adventure that evokes the U.K.'s chilling Quatermass TV productions and movies in its mix of science fiction and horror. Fans will particularly appreciate the opportunities afforded to longtime Who supporting players Nicholas Courtney (as the Brigadier) and Caroline John (as the Doctor's companion Liz) to step outside their usual roles and essay memorably villainous turns as their parallel-Earth selves.

The double-disc presentation of Inferno offers the by-now-standard wealth of extras, including commentary by Courtney, script editor Terrance Dicks, producer/director Barry Letts, and co-star John Levene (Sgt. Benton) and lengthy featurettes on the making of the story and the UNIT brigade during Pertwee's tenure (the latter featuring interviews with much of the supporting cast and crew). A short deleted scene from the episode (featuring Pertwee in a rare second turn as the voice of a radio announcer), a promo film for the BBC Visual Effects Department (which features clips from the Who stories Ambassadors of Death, Caves of Steel, and a missing episode from Doomwatch), and PDF files of the 1971 Doctor Who Annual and Radio Times round out the supplemental features. --Paul Gaita

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Pertwee, Caroline John, Nicholas Courtney, John Levene
  • Directors: Douglas Camfield
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 166 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,793 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: Inferno (Story 54)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. O'Sullivan on September 9, 2006
Format: DVD
Before VHS, before DVD, syndication was the only place to watch DOCTOR WHO and for years (decades even) INFERNO was in black and white. The color masters had either been wiped or lost, leaving us with a complete story - but sans the rainbow - and until a complete color copy had been found in Canada - it looked as if either the story would have to be colorized or remain forever in black and white.

When I picked up INFERNO on DVD I wasn't sure which version I was getting. I knew that a color version had been found, but wasn't positive what condition it would be in - so when I looked at the back of the box for more detail I was surprised to find that all the images from the story were in black and white, while the details listed it as being in color. Curious... but not to worry, INFERNO has been restored and returned to its original broadcast glory... better in fact. This new reworking of this "lost" color print snaps, crackles and pops on screen. The colors are vibrant, the image clean and clear - it looks fantastic, and yet I can't help but miss the old black and white version now.

INFERNO is a great story drawn out just a touch too long. But only just... the story is all countdown, beat the clock, capture and escape and battle against the monsters - add in a dash of romance, scientific hubris (both the Doctor and Professor Stahlman are guilty here - Stahlman with his quest for personal glory, and the Doctor in his quest to escape - both risk all at any cost and both pay a terrible price in the end), and order above reason and you have so much that even at seven episodes it never fits the format, yet leaves you wanting an eighth to complete some of the plots. It's a great story well told, packed with good characters and actors and everyone is having a ball.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on October 20, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The last story of the Doctor's seventh season is the 7-part Inferno, one the best in the show's history. At a research facility, the Doctor is observing the efforts of the arrogant and unpleasant Professor Stahlman as he attempts to penetrate the Earth's crust in order to gain alternative energy source known as Stahlman's gas. The problem is, his efforts might lead to the destruction of the Earth, but it's all about him and forget the others, including Sir Keith Gold, the administrator in charge. Then there's a greenish ooze that when touched, causes people to turn green and into murderous ape-like Primords, and radiate such intense heat that whatever they touch feels as if it came from a furnace. That is what the Brigadier and UNIT are here for. All this time, penetration zero is hours away from happening, and to make matters worse, Stahlman is infected with the ooze and also sabotages the computer so he cannot be opposed by the Doctor, UNIT, or Sir Keith.
During an experiment, the Doctor is propelled into a parallel Earth where Britain is ruled by a bureaucratic and fascist dictatorship: "Proper bureaucrat, aren't you? Can't shoot me unless you fill in all the forms?" He is horrified to see his friends Liz, Benton, and the Brigadier in Nazi-type uniforms, and far from the pleasant people he knew on his Earth. The most striking effect is the Brigadier, here the Brigade Leader, sans mustache, with a black patch over his left eye, a scar running down his left cheek. The Stahlman of that world succeeds in penetrating the Earth's crust, which eventually causes the planet's destruction. It is up to the Doctor to return to his Earth to avert such a disaster from happening.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian May on January 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This could possibly be the best Dr Who story ever made. It's a compelling, disturbing and very human tale that, although 7 episodes long, never drags (in fact, it seems very rushed). The performances are all topline, the direction by Douglas Camfield superb and the music and sound effects very jarring. The parallel Earth scenes, in which England is run by a fascist government (a "what if the Nazis won" scenario), have a depressing, sterile, Orwellian feel; all the central characters have two roles, their "normal" selves and their parallel personas give them all added depth. Top marks to the Nicholas Courtney as the Brigade Leader. Small touches, such as certain pieces of conversational dialogue played out twice, once in the normal Earth and once in the parallel world, make a substantial impact on the viewer. The Doctor being placed in a situation where he cannot save the Earth (or one Earth) is quite haunting when you consider that "saving the day" becomes predictable to the point of cliche. At the end of the story you can't help feeling emotionally drained; the deaths of well defined characters and their parallel selves surviving plays with your feelings, making you both mourn and rejoice. Like the case with much of Dr Who, the monsters are not often well realised. The Primords have their moments, but just try not to think of the Bee Gees when they start rampaging in the later episodes! Best moments - the cliff hanger to episode 4 and the "doomsday" sequences at the end of episode 6. This is must own Dr Who!
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