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Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden (Story 107)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden


"Interfere? Of course we should interfere! Always do what you're best at!" declares the Doctor at the beginning of Nightmare of Eden, a four-episode story from the classic British science fiction series Doctor Who. In no time at all, the Doctor is masquerading as an intergalactic insurance agent, seeking to separate two spaceships that merged interdimensionally, and investigating the smuggling of the most dangerous drug in the universe--and that's leaving out the alien monsters roaming around. Nightmare of Eden is a particularly jam-packed story from the Tom Baker era, considered by many to be the best of the early Doctors; with his mop of curly hair, his bulging eyes, and his toothy grin, Baker's Doctor was wildly capricious and charismatic as he jaunted around time and space, applying his fierce intelligence and staunch moral sense to all sorts of thorny situations. In Nightmare of Eden, the Doctor is accompanied by the second incarnation of Romana (Lalla Ward), a Time Lady, and the robot dog K-9, who is loved and hated in equal measure. Nightmare of Eden has even more cheesy special effects than usual (the spacecraft are particularly unconvincing), but the zippy plot, good dialogue, and solid performances--including some startling moments that mix humor and horror, potentially giving younger viewers unsettling dreams--keep the show engaging. Among the extras are a featurette about the fractious making of these episodes (loaded with caustic comments from technicians); reminiscences from the writer, Bob Baker (who later went on to write for Wallace & Gromit); an interview with Lalla Ward; and strange but enjoyable conversation by three people whose relationship to Doctor Who is never explained, but who cheerfully discuss Nightmare of Eden in engrossing detail. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Lalla Ward
  • Directors: Alan Bromly
  • Writers: Bob Baker
  • Producers: Graham Williams
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: 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: May 8, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007AAEZY0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,420 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

There are moments of great subtlety in the script.
Jason A. Miller
For the people who are not fans, it will be a little silly in some spots and a little scary in others.
Dave Still (sstill@linkline.com)
Considering the BBC budget in those days, the special effects are very good for the era.
Sea Laughing

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
"Nightmare of Eden" is actually a hidden gem. Even though the acting and direction is alittle awkward at times, and the design of the Mandrels(why is the Graham Williams era filled with unimaginative monsters?) is laughable, the story itself is very adult, one of the few Who strories to deal with the addiction of drugs. The script is absolutely hilarious! Tom Baker excells(as does Ward)! The scene where Rigg has been drugged by Vraxion, witnessing the massacre of his passengers on the Empress by the Mandrels is a scream: "What's all the fuss? They're only economy class?" David Briely's voice for K-9 this season is also a welcome change, almost giving him a personality and humor. Tryst gives us his best Dr. Strangelove/Peter Sellers impersonation(without the physical humor). I used to think that "The Creature From the Pit" was the funniest ever Tom Baker adventure, I might be wrong. But don't take my word for it, I liked "Time and the Rani"!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on February 29, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
One day, they will make a TV-movie about the October 2003 Staten Island Ferry disaster, and that movie will be atrocious. Right before the ferry is about to crash, some actor, who's already seen "Nightmare of Eden", will utter the line, "Oh no!". That's what actor David Daker did right before his character's starship collided with a space freighter. It is not, on its face, a proud moment, or a good beginning for a story.
"Nightmare" tops several "Worst of" lists in the "Doctor Who" pantheon. Worst costumes, certainly. There's not a single character in this piece who's dressed sensibly. Starting at the top, Romana appears to be dressed in a gray maternity gown. With red trim. Most of the starship crew is dressed in leather: the ship's crewmen are wearing red sleeveless vests with glitter added. And white pancake makeup, to boot. The two federal agents whose comic banter takes over the second half of the story, are dressed like the biker from the Village People. Tryst's team wears white T-shirts under black vests, so the only thing missing, cleary, is the rhinestone studding. Daker's black jumpsuit has spandex sleeves. I won't even get into what the starship passengers are wearing. I fly coach three times a month and they just don't issue that at the departure gate.
The special effects are bad. The opening shot is of a styrofoam spaceship wobbling its way across the stars. There's a lot of experimental computer imaging in this 1979 epic, but explosions happen before the gun blasts which cause them, and after Della is shot in the neck, she famously falls to the floor clutching her midriff.
So why, then, is "Nightmare of Eden" so entertaining? At what point does "bad" become "good"?
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Happy Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am a big Doctor Who fan, and purchase every episode as it comes out of DVD. If you're a casual viewer, though, this may not be one of the must-have episodes.

The story-line is pretty good. The spaceship "Empress" emerged from hyperspace in the exact spot where the spaceship "Hecate" already was. This caused the two ships to be locked together - intermingled, as the two ships co-exist in the same time and space. Not good. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 arrive, and set to separating the ships.

But there's something else going on. One of the Empress passengers is Tryst, a zoologist, who has a Continual Event Transmuter (CET). This gadget stores a part of a planet, its flora, fauna & minerals, on crystals, to be eventually "projected" (brought back to full physical size). Now that's the kind of toy that begs to be misused. And it is, and people die before the Doctor can put things back to right.

The costuming of the Mandrels has to be some of the worst costuming ever for a Doctor Who adversary, and depending on your point of view, that's a plus or a minus!

There isn't much well-placed humor, and I think it could have used it. Tom Baker is my favorite of the classic Doctor Who's, but his companion in this episode, Romana (played by Lalla Ward), is not my favorite sidekick personality; she's usually too dry for me.

Here's a list of the extras, according to a British website:

1. Digitally remastered picture and sound quality
2. Commentary with actors Lalla Ward (Romana) and Peter Craze (Costa, a customs inspector), writer Bob Baker, effects designer Colin Mapson and make-up designer Joan Stribling. The commentary is moderated by Toby Hadoke (who was not involved with the episode.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on January 23, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
"First a collision, then a dead navigator, and now a monster's roaming about my ship. Well, it's totally inexplicable." So says Rigg, captain of the passenger liner Empress, to the Doctor.
What happened? A freak accident takes place within orbit of planet Azure. The Empress nearly collides with a small ship, the Hecate, while in lightspeed and materializes around the smaller ship so that they have fused together. The nose of the Hecate is sticking into the Empress, blocking the larger ship's access to the power room and passenger deck. The blurred overlap areas, or matter interfaces between the ships, however, are unstable.
Into this situation comes the Doctor, Romana, and K9. The Doctor offers to help separate the ships, something to which both Rigg and Dymond, pilot of the Hecate on a survey contract job, are amenable to. All that has to be done is to recreate the circumstances of the accident: "excite the molecules, full thrust, then full reverse." However, Rigg's navigator Secker, who got them into this accident, is on vraxoin, a highly addictive drug that "induces a warm complacency and total apathy until it wears off that is, and soon you're dead." In fact the Doctor's seen entire planets destroyed by this drug. Secker's then attacked and killed by something clawed. The questions are, who provided Secker with the vraxoin, and what killed Secker? After all, vraxoin can be detected by the Empress's scanning device, and the Empress's route is the milk run from Station 9 to Azure, nowhere else, with no stops inbetween. And who is the mystery man who knocks out the Doctor, then tries to evade him later?
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Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden (Story 107)
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