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Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars (Story 82)

90 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Sep 07, 2004)
"Please retry"
$8.35 $7.14

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As the Doctor and Sarah attempt to return to UNIT HQ, the TARDIS is thrown off course and materializes in 1911 at an old priory owned by Egyptologist Marcus Scarman. While excavating a tomb, the archaeologist became possessed by the spirit of Sutekh, the last survivor of the godlike Osirans. The Doctor and Sarah witness strange and deadly events as Sutekh, who has lain imprisoned in a pyramid for thousands of years, employs Scarman and a legion of robotic mummies in an elaborate scheme that may bring about the destruction of the world.

The popularity of this Tom Baker-era Doctor Who serial among fans led directly to its release on DVD (it ranked first in a Doctor Who magazine poll about stories to be released on disc), and once again, the WB/BBC DVD doesn't disappoint with a sparkling presentation and a wealth of supplemental features. The third serial in the thirteenth season (1975-1976) finds the Doctor and Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen) on Earth in 1911, where an Egyptologist has come under the power of Sutekh, a powerful alien bent on unleashing worldwide destruction. The much-discussed "Gothic" sensibilities that producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and writer Robert Holmes brought to the series during this season are largely in effect here--mummies and sinister henchmen mix freely with robots and alien invaders--as are the quality of writing and acting that helped Doctor Who spike some of its highest ratings to date during this season. One of the series' strongest and most entertaining stories, Pyramids of Mars is undoubtedly a must-have for Baker and Who fans. --Paul Gaita

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Documentary
  • Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Production Notes

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Gabriel Woolf
    • Directors: Paddy Russell
    • Writers: Robert Holmes, Lewis Griefer
    • Producers: Philip Hinchcliffe
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
    • 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: September 7, 2004
    • Run Time: 100 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0002F6BSS
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,428 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Hadley on July 22, 2001
    Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
    I'll make no pretense - this is my favorite Doctor Who adventure of all time. It is moody and intense, with brilliant performances by Tom Baker, Lis Sladen, and Gabriel Woolf. No other DW villain has really been so imposing - we never see Sutekh's face (unless that mask -is- Sutekh's face) or see his lips move, but his voice is so powerful and resonant it sends chills down the spine; more than a worthy adversary for the tall and deep-voiced Tom Baker.
    The story is nicely claustrophobic, mostly taking place in and around a mansion, with the marvelous sense of a horror movie. The script is another real gem by Robert Holmes (despite the writer's credit, he wrote almost all of what appeared onscreen), and no actor is off-par.
    The only downside about this video is that it was one of the first DW videos released, so the four 25-minute episodes have been truncated into a long 95-minute "movie". Still, in lieu of an unedited video or DVD release, this is a fine purchase and should be in anyone's Doctor Who collection.
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    12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on January 25, 2004
    Format: VHS Tape
    Some stories done during Dr. Who producer Phillip Hinchcliff's time has been known as the Gothic era of the show. He commissioned stories based on old horror and sci-fi. Pyramids of Mars is a tribute to Hammer Films' mummy movies, using a lot of Egyptology themes and names.
    After being mysteriously drawn off course to 1911 in an old priory where UNIT HQ would be built, the Doctor and Sarah become involved in the attempted return of Sutekh, an Osirian who was imprisoned by his brother Horus in a tomb recently uncovered by archaeologist Marcus Scarman. He returns to the priory, a zombified puppet of Sutekh, who with help of service robots disguised as mummies, create a deflection barrier around the priory and set about constructing a rocket to destroy the pyramids of Mars to free Sutekh.
    The Doctor and Sarah rescue Dr. Warlock, a friend of Marcus's who has been shot by an Egyptian, and enlist the aid of Laurence, Marcus's brother. Laurence is an affable fellow, but despite seeing the possessed Marcus, still thinks of Marcus as his brother and not a puppet of Sutekh. Laurence is played by Michael Sheard, a multiple Who alumni and Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back. Bernard Archard (Marcus) is effectively terrifying, his evil-looking eyes, curved down lips, and paled face put to good use.
    How evil and how much Sutekh hates life is demonstrated in these lines: "The humans, animals, birds, fish, reptiles. All life is my enemy. All life shall perish under the reign of Sutekh the Destroyer." "Your evil is my good. ... Where I tread, I leave nothing but dust and darkness. I find that good!" Gabriel Woolf's sepulchral voice is put to good use here as Sutekh.
    Lots of Egyptology comes in, such as Horus's defeat of Sutekh with the help of 740 Osirians.
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    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Cossaboon on June 25, 2005
    Format: DVD
    At last, one of the best Tom Baker era stories has been given the proper release on DVD that it deserves. That is, the transfer is very clear and the DVD is chock full of extras. Not to get too much into the story, as you who are reading this are probably already an avid Doctor Who fan like myself, but the main gist is that the Doctor has to go against one of his most powerful enemies, Sutekh-this guy makes the Master seem like the Good Humor man. A special note of consideration: the importance of Gabriel Woolf's vocal portrayal of Sutekh's cold evilness cannot be overstated. I don't think this episode would have come off half as scary without Woolf's participation. As for the extras, bon' appetit! The best of the little spoof about Sutekh and his career post-Pyramids of Mars. There are two very informative interviews/documentaries. The first is specifically about the episode of the Pyramids and how it came to be. The second is an overview of the Hinchcliffe/Baker era of Doctor Who, often considered by many fans to be the golden era of Doctor Who. Other extras include a compare/contrast feature of the Stargrove location (then owned by Rolling Stone Mick Jagger) where parts of the episode were filmed. The easter egg is of some BBC announcements of the Pyramids episode and the Alien Invasion episode that followed. The other feature that is very worth a while to check out is the production note option. This is an informative, and relatively non-obtrusive, behind-the-scenes factoid of the production of the Pyramids of Mars episode.
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    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Huntsmæñus on August 14, 2005
    Format: DVD
    Arguably one of THE best Doctor Who serials ever, takes the Doctor and Sarah to 1911 at the home of Professor Marcus Scarman, recently possesed by Sutekh the Destoryer. It looks and sounds fantastic! All extras, including the hilarious "Oh, Mummy", are top notch. Interviews with the cast and crew have never been more entertaining. An absolute must for all Doctor Who fans.
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    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JKO on September 13, 2004
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    Dragged from the BBC archives comes another pair of classic Doctor Who releases on DVD from two different eras of the show. "Pyramids of Mars" and "Earthshock" are only six years apart in broadcast terms, but seem much more distant when viewed back to back. They're cracking tales nonetheless.

    "Pyramids of Mars," the earlier story, broadcast in March 1976, stars Tom Baker in the role of the fourth Doctor alongside his travelling companion Sarah-Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen. Arguably one of the most successful pairing's of actors in the long running show's history, the chemistry between the two leads is at its peak, helped along largely by the incredible production skills of Philip Hinchcliffe and the scripting of Robert Holmes. This story takes them back to Earth, but this time into the near distant past of Edwardian England for a period piece exploring Egyptian mythology with sci-fi overtones. It's not only a cracking yarn and splendidly acted by a very, very strong cast, but designed and plotted to the hilt. It also presents one of the most chilling opponents the Time Lord has ever faced, Sutekh, played wonderfully by Gabriel Woolf. There is very little to criticize here, although detractors will try, unlike the companion release "Earthshock."

    Produced in1981 for Peter Davison's first season as the fifth Doctor, "Earthshock" had a huge impact on the viewing public at the time of it's broadcast due to the reappearance after a seven year absence of the Doctor's second most popular enemy: The Cybermen. Kept a secret from everyone outside of the production, with red herring's set aplenty by the producer John Nathan-Turner to make sure it remained so, their sudden appearance at the end of episode one was a true classic moment of great TV.
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    Topic From this Discussion
    Although Doctor Who originally aired on TV as a weekly serial, each VHS tape/DVD disc contains a complete story (unless stated otherwise in the product description). 'Pyramids of Mars' is a self-contained story.
    Jul 30, 2009 by K. Kanitz |  See all 3 posts
    Easter Egg?
    I read that the easter egg is found by highlighting "Osirian Gothic" on the extras menu, then hit the left arrow to highlight a hidden Doctor Who logo, then press enter to play the easter egg.
    Jul 31, 2008 by M. K. Delorean |  See all 2 posts
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