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Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror (Story 8) (1964)

William Hartnell , Jacqueline Hill , Henric Hirsch , John Gorrie  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror (Story 8) + Doctor Who: The Sensorites, No. 7 + Doctor Who: Planet of Giants (Story 9)
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Product Details

  • Actors: William Hartnell, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell, Carole Ann Ford, Neville Smith
  • Directors: Henric Hirsch, John Gorrie
  • Writers: Dennis Spooner
  • Producers: Verity Lambert
  • Format: NTSC, Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: 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: February 12, 2013
  • Run Time: 148 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,634 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror is an episode of the Good Doctor from 1964--when Doctor Who wasn't always a strict sci-fi futuristic place to be. In fact, The Reign of Terror takes the crew of the TARDIS back in time to the middle of the French Revolution. The bloodthirstiness of that era is well captured, as most of the crew is immediately imprisoned and sentenced to die by guillotine. Luckily, the Doctor (the level-headed William Hartnell) is free to sneak about the French countryside to try to arrange his mates' escape. The Reign of Terror was once thought to be one of the "lost" Doctor Who episodes, but as the extras on this disc show, there was an international effort to find and recover it. And it was well worth the effort. The acting is more classic than cheesy, and the tension is well directed. Not many arrested in the French Revolution escaped with their heads still attached to their bodies, after all. Several cast and crew members join in the commentary, including Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Neville Smith, and Jeffry Wickham. The making-of documentary shows what efforts went into finding the appropriate period costumes and sets. And the animated design gallery is rightly praised by fans as a lovely extra that gives another artistic slant on the creativity behind the series and this episode in particular. --A.T. Hurley

Product Description

The TARDIS arrives near Paris during the French Revolution a time of great upheaval bloodshed and terror. Soon with the Doctor trapped inside a burning farmhouse Ian imprisoned and Susan and Barbara on their way to the guillotine it's clear this will be one of their most dangerous and exciting adventures yet

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Story - But Not Much Science Fiction! December 17, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Doctor is trying to land in present-day England (1964), in another attempt to take Barbara and Ian home. Unfortunately, the TARDIS ends up in the French countryside. More to the point, it is 1794 France. The French Revolution is five years old and Madame Guillotine reigns.

In spite of finding period clothing to change into (Ian comments on Barbara's transformation with, "Hairstyle's a bit modern, but it's all right."), it doesn't take them long to get into trouble. Susan, Ian and Barbara find themselves arrested and taken to Paris, and the infamous Conciergerie Prison, to await their execution. They're told, "You will be guillotined as soon as it can be arranged." [Historical note: This is due to a new law that gives the authorities the right to execute not only without a trial, but based on suspicion only.]

The Doctor, fortunately, was separated from the trio and not arrested. He takes off down the road to Paris to rescue them. He meets a forced gang road work crew, and because the Doctor can't keep his mouth shut, he ends up being pressed into labor himself.

Fortunately, our travelers, in more than one place, stumble onto an escape chain. But it is not that easy to get anyone out of Paris, even with the chaos that is still France, and it will be a close shave (heh heh). Spies and turncoats from both sides operate on secrecy and paranoia. But how often do you get to meet a world figure such as Napoleon?

This is a review of the January 2013 1-disc DVD release of "The Reign of Terror", the first time the full serial has been released on DVD. It was considered a "lost serial" until the 1980's when copies of the video for episodes 1, 2, 3 and 6 were recovered from stations in Malta and Cyprus and a private collector.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for the animation March 2, 2013
I am glad that 2-Entertain has taken to animating a few classic Doctor Who stories because it allows fans of the classic series to still enjoy the stories from the past. As most classic Doctor Who fans know the BBC wiped many of the the stories from the Hartnell-Troughton years to save money. All of the audio exists thanks to fans who would plop their cassette recorders in front of the TV each week to to capture the original shows as they aired in the 1960's. The BBC did not have the same marketing attitude of US TV producers who kept a lot of old TV shows that some of us would like to forget. But it allowed these shows to continue on in syndication for years (and years and years).

The animation here is pretty basic and I think it is done in such a way to reflect the original version in its original concept. The story is more of an historical drama rather than Sci-Fi. Granted I would prefer if the original 'live' performances still existed but this is a fine substitution.

The DVD includes a "making of" documentary like the others. But we are talking about stories that are about a half-century old so, sadly, many of the original actors and crew behind this story have passed away. So instead of their input you get input from people who are knowledgeable about the inner workings of the BBC from an intelligent point of view rather than hands on.

I am a collector of these DVD's so this is a great addition to my collection. But for the average person this might be a little slow to watch.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Doctor Who at it's best!! January 4, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love this 6 part story because it is just history and not Sci-Fi. When Doctor Who started it was an educational program!! The Doctor and companions traveled back in time as a fun way for kids to learn and see historical events ie.: The Aztecs, the rein of terror in France, Marco Polo (which I hope will be next to be animated.) King Richard The Lion Hearted ect. ect., also to teach them a bit about science too which is why Willian Hartnel often times sounds like a college professor. This all stopped with the Second Doctor Patrick Troughton I believe The Highlanders where we meet long running companion Jammie McCrimmon was the last straight historic story with no aliens or monsters.

As for the BBC having found the original audio tracks for the 2 missing episodes (4. The Tyrant of France and 5. A Bargain of Necessity) it's thanks to kids who recorded the audio on reel to reels and the new cassette tapes that we have the audio. On of the bonus features for the Partick Troughton story The Invasion (The first Doctor Who to have animated episodes filling in the missing ones) goes into details about how they cleaned up and spliced together different audio sources to get the best quality they could. If you get the missing episodes cd set these home made recordings are the soundtrack you're listening too same with the loose cannon reconstructions

I say a giant three cheers to the BBC for working hard to satisfy the fans and get these lost storylines to us devoted fans I can't wait for more in the future!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie... glad to have it. June 1, 2013
By J Mac
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love all the Dr Who older movies, as well as the newer ones. Had this on CD, but it is much better having the images. Even though some are cartoons. Invasions also has cartoons, from having lost the films. This being the first Doctor, it is always
a favorite.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reconstructed parts blew my mind April 23, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have watched Doctor Who for years and while in High School my public television re ran every episode of the original series from start to finish. At the time I really enjoyed the First Doctor and especially the second - I hated that thier were missing episodes and read every Target novelization I could get my hands on. Reign of terror was not one. So When I got to see this it was such a joy to finally see some "new" classic Doctor Who. What I was not expecting was how well the animated reconstruction of the missing parts was done. I really hope they continue this trend and can fill in more of the missing shows in a similar fashion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The first DR.
Love William Hartnell as the Dr. Enjoyed all of his tenure as the Dr. and for the era they were made the effects were passable if not at times funny, but loved it just the same.
Published 10 days ago by Pslaughter
4.0 out of 5 stars ow revolution
The TARDIS lands in France sorry to say is during the time of the revolution. the doctor and his friends get stuck in the mild of it all.
Published 1 month ago by daryl drumheller
5.0 out of 5 stars Elecellent
Great adventure Dr Who is .I just love the first Dr William Hartnell . Everyone should watch it. Loved it
Published 1 month ago by James D.
3.0 out of 5 stars good story, amateurish animation
while it's good to have this story, it's a pity that the animation couldn't have been professional. This looks like the Japanese anime garbage which is a pity. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Col William Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Doctor Who
Early Doctor Who, lots of poor quality special effects, but a great story nonetheless. There is a bit of history here as well.
Published 5 months ago by Ralph J. Fitcher
5.0 out of 5 stars For the true Whovian
As most Whovians know the BBC wiped many of the stories from the Hartnell-Troughton years to save money. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jim Phillips
2.0 out of 5 stars A grueling story produced under grueling conditions
"The Reign of Terror" was a grim story--the last of the show's first season--produced under equally grueling conditions at the BBC's medieval Lime Grove, a long but narrow film... Read more
Published 7 months ago by buckbooks
4.0 out of 5 stars A revived blast from the past
Over all I'm satisfied with the reconstruction of this classic Doctor Who story, although I wasn't quite happy with the style of animation used to replace the missing episodes. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Book Bear
4.0 out of 5 stars Missed Again!
In another attempt to get Ian & Barbra back to England they arrive in France at the height of the French Revolution, They are taken prisoner by the 'Citizens' and imprisoned to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by drsplash
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally Got To See It
One of the missing episodes finally made it to DVD. The First Doctor will always have a spot in my heart, because he set the standard for the show and all that would come after... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Michael J. Gratis, Sr.
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