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Doctor Who: Robot (Story 75) (2007)

Tom Baker , Elisabeth Sladen , Christopher Barry  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Doctor Who: Robot (Story 75) + Doctor Who: The Sontaran Experiment (Story 77) + Doctor Who: The Ark In Space (Story 76)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Ian Marter, Nicholas Courtney, John Levene
  • Directors: Christopher Barry
  • Writers: Terrance Dicks
  • Producers: Barry Letts
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • 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: August 14, 2007
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QGE8II
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,623 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Commentary by Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen and writer Terrance Dicks
  • Are Friends Electric?: a new documentary looks at Tom Baker's introduction as the Doctor and the making of his first story
  • The Tunnel Effect: How graphic designer Bernard Lodge created the opening titles for Tom Baker's stories
  • Photo gallery
  • DVD-ROM: Radio Times listings
  • Easter egg
  • Production notes

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Tom Baker's reign as the venerable British science fiction hero Doctor Who began with this four-part serial from 1974-75; it also marked the dawn of what was arguably the most popular period in the program's history. Written by Terrance Dicks, Robot also introduces the late Ian Marter as the Doctor's companion-to-be Harry Sullivan, a UNIT medic who is pulled into the adventure after treating the Doctor, who is recovering from his fourth regeneration (third Doctor Jon Pertwee appears briefly at the beginning of the first episode). Meanwhile, Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen) and the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) investigate a series of robberies involving a top secret weapons project that seem to have been carried out not by humans, but a colossal object. Could the mysterious "Think Tank" and its robotics division be involved? Robot is a terrific launching point for "The Baker Years"--the star himself is charming and amusing, and the story itself is brisk, involving, and quite suspenseful at times. In short, it's an excellent point for Who newcomers to introduce themselves to this most well-loved of Doctors.

The single-disc DVD includes commentary by Baker, Sladen, Dicks, and producer Barry Letts, as well as a 40-minute documentary titled "Are Friends Electric?" which recalls the production of Baker's first serial via interviews with the cast and production team, including producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and director Christopher Barry. "The Tunnel Effect" is a 13-minute interview with graphic designer Bernard Lodge on how he created the memorable "infinite tunnel" titles for the Baker stories, and there's a clip from the U.K. children's program Blue Peter, which was broadcast from the set of Robot. The by-now standard photo gallery, production notes, and a PDF of the Radio Times listings round out the extras. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

Mortally wounded by the Spider Queen on Metebilis 3, the Doctor is forced to regenerate. His recuperation is cut short as UNIT investigates a spate of robberies involving components for a top-secret disintegrator gun. The culprit is quickly identified as a highly sophisticated robot built by Professor Kettlewell, which is being ordered to act against its Prime Directive. (Episodes 1-4, 98 mins)

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
DVD ROM Features
Documentary
Featurette
Photo gallery
Production Notes


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THERE ARE NO SCARFS IN HAMLET August 16, 2007
Format:DVD
There are many firsts in ROBOT - it's the first turn of Tom Baker as the Doctor, it's the first Harry Sullivan story, it's the first time we see the scarf, it's the fourth Doctor's first (and second) trip inside the TARDIS (we know the second trip takes us into THE ARK IN SPACE, but, where did the first land the Doctor?), and it may be the first time the Doctor has killed in cold blood... maybe.

ROBOT is everything the Pertwee years were and more. Picking up and dragging the chain that was UNIT, the series doesn't meddle with the formula too much just yet, but just enough to show us that things have really changed. The pace of this story is fast. Opening like an AVENGERS episode and running like Z CARS, this is a "thief in the night" plot spliced with some COLUMBO detective work which tells you from the title on that a ROBOT is the puppet and then wastes no time in telling us who is pulling its strings. This story zips, and had their been another actor other than Tom Baker in the role, then it may have tripped and fallen on its face as well. As it is, Baker is just as fast as the material and, even from the get go, wasn't scared to pull at his scarf and have fun with the story and us. Watching him and the story, you can't help but just get a sense of how effortless he made it all seem. ROBOT fires on every level here. The cast is top notch, old hat, yet still fresh, which is something of a surprise as the entire set up had been inherited from the Pertwee years. But you can't deny that the Baker/Sladen/Marter trio clicked right from the start.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "You may be a doctor but I'm *the* Doctor." November 15, 2008
Format:DVD
ROBOT is significant for being the first full appearance of Tom Baker in the title role. The story is pretty typical of old-school science fiction: a slightly mad but benevolent scientist has created a robot which has been appropriated by a fringe organization. This group of intellectual supremacists (sort of a fascist MENSA) is using the robot to steal plans and materials for a disintegrator gun and essentially take over the world.

So it's fairly hokey, and of course it has all the elements longtime fans of the show have come to look upon with affectionate humor, like really bad special effects and dodgy acting. Particularly egregious is the bit where what is clearly a toy tank tries to sneak up on the robot (and fails.) Then there's Sarah Jane's curiously subdued reaction to a man being disintegrated right in front of her; she registers a look of mild disgust, as if she had just found some moldy cheese in her refrigerator.

The story has some twists, not all of which make sense. This was also typical of the old show, I think due to its serial nature. (It was probably less important for the story to work as a whole than it was to get people back for next week's installment.) It also has some contrived aspects (the mad scientist has by chance developed two other scientific breakthroughs, one of which exacerbates the problem and one which solves it) which pretty much telegraph the major plot turns as well. If this story had appeared somewhere else in the series, it would probably be considered average at best.

What saves this particular show, and what probably made it such a breakthrough when it was first aired, is how much Baker absolutely owns the role right from the start. Tom Baker *is* the Doctor.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The start of an era September 5, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Until the launch of the new series three years ago, the biggest name associated with "Doctor Who" was Tom Baker. The fourth Doctor was, to many fans, the definitive Doctor, encompassing everything that was great about the character.

"Robot" is his debut story and serves as the beginnning of a new era and the end of another.

Picking up right where "Planet of the Spiders" left off, "Robot" is a positive delight after the dreary send off to the third Doctor's era. For three and a third episodes, the story clips along, being little more than reworking on the Frankenstein story only instead of a monster created by humanity, it's a robot. The robot is being used to steal various components of a disintegrator gun, which is one part of an overall plan to send humanity back to a golden age--one ruled by a cult of scientist who think they know best.

UNIT is called in to investigate and the Brigadier brings along the newly re-generated Doctor to look into things and hopefully solve the mystery.

Like I said, the story works for about three and a third episodes until the robot involved suddenly grows for no apparently good reason and it becomes a bad version of King Kong. This being "Doctor Who" the special effects are kind of a letdown (coupled with the funniest bad effect in history with an obviously plastic tank at the end of episode three). This could be overlooked if the story simply hadn't run out of things to do and padded things out with a giant robot stomping all over the countryside.

But I'm probably not telling "Who" fans anything they didn't already know here.

That said, "Robot" is still a lot of fun, despite the short comings of its final episode. It's fun to watch Tom Baker inherit and instantly inhabit his role as the Doctor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st Tom Baker story is a hit
Everyones favorite doctors 1st story is a great one. Its Frankenstein+King Kong+Giant Robots=Fun Antics. On another note, did I mention the robot?
Published 1 month ago by Miles E
5.0 out of 5 stars 1970's Low Budget Special Effects!
What a hoot it was to see how the BBC's low budget special effects look when compared to new movies and shows. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jiggy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro of a new Doctor
the first episode of the Tom Baker years. Sets the tone of the show for years to come .Buy it if you don't already own it
Published 3 months ago by Steve Kuykendall
5.0 out of 5 stars Baker melts our expectations!
My first "Classic Who" DVD. I used to watch them on PBS.

The transfer is very clean, you can even see paint smears where the TARDIS prop is painted unevenly! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Game Machine James
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who.
Received package on time and in good shape.
I am a Dr Who fan. and needed this DVD to fill gaps in my collection.
Published 7 months ago by don carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Baker's first
This was Tom Baker's first episode as the Doctor. He shows alot of the flair that would become the hall mark of his seven seasons on the show. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pulpman
5.0 out of 5 stars ROBOT
very nice. watched it, loved it. nothing wrong at all. the dvd is cheap and spiffy, it arrived about a day early, and made me a very happy fan.
Published 9 months ago by Katherine King
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Landmark in my Life
"Robot" does have some of the worst special effects imaginable, even by Dr. Who standards. That was the conclusion I reached after having viewed this installment in the very late... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andriano2011
5.0 out of 5 stars Got to have all the Tom Barer episodes.
Got to have all the Tom Barer episodes. He is the best doctor of them all.
Will keep buying till I have them all.
Published 10 months ago by Papabear
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
It was great to see how Tom Baker started out as the Doctor. It is fun to watch and I recommend it for anyone who is a Doctor Who fan.
Published 11 months ago by James Miller
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Songs on the documentary....
The songs you are referring to are
Magic = Pilot
Gonna make you a star = David Essex
Come up a see me(Make me smile) = Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel.
Aug 26, 2007 by Armchair Pundit |  See all 4 posts
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