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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor won't let Zygons be Zygons
The opening story of the thirteenth season has the Doctor, Harry, and Sarah responding to the Brigadier's emergency call that he got at the end of the previous story. Three rigs by the North Sea have been destroyed in one month. First there's a radio blackout, then a weird sound that comes in, and then the rig is destroyed. UNIT is stationed in the nearby village of...
Published on January 25, 2004 by Daniel J. Hamlow

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0 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars POOR
PRODUCT CAME ON TIME, BUT WAS BROKEN. I HAD TO TAKE A DOOR OFF AN OLD TAPE AND REPLACE THE BROKEN DOOR.
Published on October 21, 2011 by FLASH


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor won't let Zygons be Zygons, January 25, 2004
The opening story of the thirteenth season has the Doctor, Harry, and Sarah responding to the Brigadier's emergency call that he got at the end of the previous story. Three rigs by the North Sea have been destroyed in one month. First there's a radio blackout, then a weird sound that comes in, and then the rig is destroyed. UNIT is stationed in the nearby village of Tullock, Scotland to investigate.
Some curious markings from the wreckage of the Bonnie Prince Charlie, the rig destroyed at the beginning of the story leads the Doctor to do a study in orthodontology, with a cast of "a set of giant molars than can chew through solid steel as easily as paper." Could it be a manifestations of evil spirits that Angus McRanald, landlord of the inn UNIT is occupying, tells about to Sarah? "Bad luck comes to them who set foot on Tullock Moor" he tells her. But do evil spirits destroy oil rigs?
Another character is the Duke of Forgill, a cynical-looking man with a withering look who is not very pleased with the oil company for two reasons. One, most of his servants have left his employ to work for the oil company, making Forgill Castle a lonely place. Two, roughnecks from the oil company keep trespassing and poaching on his land.
Things get going when Harry is shot while attempting to help the survivor of the Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the climax of Episode One has a Zygon reaching out for Sarah while she's on the phone to the Doctor.
What makes this story interesting is the fact that the Zygons are shape-shifters, and the special effects of their transformations are well-done. The Zygons are aliens who like so many alien invaders, want to conquer Earth. However, the way they intend to do it involves a creature from ancient legend. Hint: UNIT are stationed six or seven miles from Loch Ness.
The Doctor's dismissive comment on oil is clearly inspired by the effects of the 1973 oil crisis. "Oil, an emergency? Huh! It's about time the people who run this planet of yours realize that to be dependent on a mineral slime just doesn't make sense!"
One error is the Doctor telling the Brigadier he's come 270 million miles just to help him. The outermost of the satellites of Jupiter, where the previous story took place, is 370 million miles, so he's off by a factor of 100 million.
The Zygons themselves are well-realized, macrocephalic, fetal-looking aliens with suckers on their body and prominent rib-cages. They were modelled after half-formed embryos in amniotic sacs. As for "Nessy", the director was not too happy with the model realization, so much of the script was rewritten in order not to see much of it. The interior of the Zygon ship, organic like that of the Axons in Claws of Axos, is very realistic and alien.
This would be the last appearance of Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier) for eight years until he reprised the character in Mawdryn Undead and The Five Doctors. There would be two further UNIT stories without him--The Android Invasion and The Seeds Of Doom. Other trivia: the two bagpipe tunes heard playing are "Strathspey Reel" and "Flowers of the Forest." Also, as location shooting in Scotland proved too expensive, shooting was done around the village of Charlton in Sussex.
Not a bad opener for the season, with the usual cast solid and the Zygons and their ship well-realized, but there isn't that extra oomph to make it a great story.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent leading story for the 13th season, May 15, 2001
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Bruce Bender (Houston, TX. United States) - See all my reviews
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After a very subpar Cybermen story,the Doctor, Sarah and Harry come back to Earth to help UNIT investigate destroyed oil rigs. What they find are people who aren't what they appear to be, an alien threat and one version of the Loch Ness Monster. This story is full of nice touches, including the Doctor's indignation at being called back about "mineral slime" until the Brigadier reminds him of the loss of life, a look at the Brigadier's Scottish heritage and Harry not being an imbecile. The Zygons are well written with a fascinating technology and deserved to come back, which sadly never happened onscreen. However, their one appearance is well worth getting.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD Bonus Features, including a Tom Baker Interview, October 12, 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons (DVD)
It's the middle of the night. Off the coast of Scotland, on an oil rig in the North Sea, Munro talks to HQ over the radio. Suddenly the radio cuts out and the giant rig starts shaking. We watch as the whole thing crashes and smashes and falls into the sea.

It's quite an introduction! In the morning, the Doctor (in a merry plaid Tam o'Shanter and scarf), Harry Sullivan and Sarah Jane disembark the TARDIS on the coastal Tulloch Moor. They're set to meet Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who's called them across 240 million miles of space to help him solve a puzzle. Three oil rigs have collapsed and it's a UNIT matter of national security. At the hotel where the Brigadier is staying, Sarah is talking to the landlord. Suddenly, we are watching their conversation on a giant screen. Someone is spying on them. We catch a partial glimpse of the watcher. Whatever it is, it isn't human.

In the meanwhile, Harry finds Munro near the ocean, alive but delirious. But they're being watched, too. It's a man in a kilt, and before you know it, he's shot Munro dead. Humans are working with aliens?

After a 4th oil rig is destroyed, UNIT recovers a piece of a column. It has big conical holes. The Doctor makes plaster casts of the holes, and shows the result. The rig manager doesn't think he's serious: "Let's get this straight. Are you trying to tell me those rigs were chewed by a set of giant molars?"

Now we know why one of this series' working titles was "The Secret of the Loch".

"Terror of the Zygons" is a 4-parter that first aired Aug/Sept 1975. This is a review of the 10/2013 2-disc DVD release, the first time it's been available in that format. It's the last series with Harry Sullivan as a companion, and the last we see of the Brigadier until he shows up again in the 1983 series, "Mawdryn Undead".

Disc 1 Special Features:
1. Episode 1 Director's Cut. This adds back one deleted scene, totaling 1 min 43 seconds. Right after the crashing oil rig in the intro, the TARDIS materializes, but it's invisible! The three crew seem to step out of nothing. The scene wasn't used because the two halves of the scene were filmed at different times of day and the lightings didn't match. Nowadays, it would be quick fix with the computer, but not so back in 1975.
2. Audio Options:
a. Mono audio
b. 5.1 audio
c. Commentary
d. Isolated score
The commentary audio option is moderated by Tony Ayres, with George Gallaccio (production unit manager), Robert Banks Stewart (writer), Dick Mills (special sounds), Philip Hinchciffe (producer) and Sylvia James (makeup).
Hinchcliffe says, "I think they were one of the best monsters ever."
On the other hand, Stewart says: "When I saw them, the Zygons, they seemed like shrimps to me. Very large shrimps."
I am with Stewart.
3. Information Text. The monster, spelled Skarasen or Scaracen, is a genuine let-down, compared to what could be done at the time with stop-motion. Info Text agrees: "Everyone involved in the production remembers the disappointment of how the Skarasen effects footage turned out. `We were badly let down on the crucial question of the Loch Ness Monster itself', wrote Philip Hinchcliffe after the event." As noted in the Making-of feature on disc 2, it came down to money and time. I usually enjoy the Classic Doctor's occasional goofy alien costumes or special effects, it's part of the fun of the show, and, after all, usually they did a good job. But I just couldn't help being disappointed with this one.

Disc 2 Special Features:
4. "Scotch Mist in Sussex - Remembering Terror of the Zygons" (31 minutes) This making-of featurette is so good that after watching it, it raised my opinion of the series as a whole. Commentators include Philip Hinchciffe (producer), Robert Banks Stewart (writer this series), Simon Farquhar (writer and TV historian), Nigel Curzon (designer), Steve Bowman (visual effects assistant), John Levene (plays Sergeant Benton), James Acheson (costume designer, from a 1999 interview) and John Woodnutt (plays Duke/Broton, from earlier interview).
Hinchcliffe on the Scarasen: "Stop-motion animation technique, the Harryhausen technique, can work quite well. But you need time." And they just didn't have the time or the funds.
Levene on the changeover from Pertwee to Baker: "When Tom took over the Doctor, his approach was so utterly different [from Pertwee], it did momentarily throw us. When an ego is that big, there is no way little men like me - it's like an ant on an elephant's leg. He was a force to be reckoned with."
5. "Remembering Douglas Camfield" (30 minutes) Camfield, who passed away in 1984 at only 52, was a popular director. Narrator Glen Allen is joined by commentators Robert Banks Stewart, Joggs Camfield (Douglas' son), Graeme Harper (director, classic and new Dr Who, though not this series), Peter Purves (plays Steven Taylor), John Levene, Philip Hinchcliffe, Celia Imrie (actor) and Jonathan Newth (actor).
6. "The UNIT Family - Part Three" (26 minutes) This last of three parts covers the end of UNIT stories (for the most part) in Classic Dr Who. Commentators include Terence Dicks (script editor), Barry Letts (producer), Richard Franklin (plays Captain Mike Yates), John Levene, Tom Baker, Philip Hinchcliffe and Nicholas Courtney (plays the Brigadier).
Franklin muses: "Everyone always says, `Why were you a traitor?' and I wasn't a traitor.... I have to explain it endlessly."
7. "Doctor Who Stories - Tom Baker" (23 minutes) A nice long interview with the 4th Doctor. Barry Letts moved on after producing two shows with Tom. "Barry was quick to spot my kind of lunacy. My benevolent lunacy. I remember he left in a joke, very early on, when some creature was pointing at me, [and I adlibbed] `Is that finger loaded?' "
8. "Doctor Who Stories - Elisabeth Sladen" (20 minutes) A nice interview with a charming lady. "The Daleks, I think, were my favorite.... I didn't like the Cybermen. I couldn't believe in those silver Wellingtons."
9. Subtitles. Subtitles are available in English.
10. "Merry-Go-Round - The Fuel Fishers" (19 minutes) This is an episode of the children's show with guest narrator/star Elisabeth Sladen. She boards a helicopter to visit an oil drilling rig 160 km out into the ocean.
11. "South Today". A local reporter interviews Tom Baker on location in Sussex, standing in for Scotland.
12. Photo Gallery (5 minutes)
13. PDF Materials
14. Coming Soon Trailer
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story, great DVD package, October 10, 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons (DVD)
"Terror of the Zygons" isn't a deep, philosophical Doctor Who story - but it is an awesome one. The plot concerns a race of shape-shifting, octopus-like aliens who are manipulating the Loch Ness Monster into destroying oil rigs in the North Sea. The intrepid Doctor must team up with his military allies in U.N.I.T. to stop the aliens; but which of his friends have been replaced with sinister Zygon duplicates?

Long regarded as a classic Doctor Who serial, "Zygons" took forever to come out on DVD. Fortunately, it was worth the wait. The DVD features a good print (considering the age and origin of the source material), clear sound and a ton of special features, including:

- An excellent making-of special that covers the story's production history and major themes;
- Lively 2003 interviews with stars Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen;
- A 1970s interview with Tom, shot during the making of this story;
- A tribute to director Douglas Camfield, who shot many of Who's classic episodes; and
- A vintage TV program featuring Lis Sladen touring a real oil rig. No way!

There's also an option to watch a special extended edition of Part One, featuring a previously unreleased scene of the TARDIS crew arriving in Scotland. I enjoyed this particularly, because it's awesome to see new footage of the lovable 1970s Who crew.

Alas, I do have one quibble about this release. The DVD is missing an obvious special feature that many fans had fervently hoped for - new CGI effects to replace the ridiculous puppet Loch Ness Monster from the original broadcast. The Beeb has splurged on new special effects for Doctor Who before, most relevantly in the case of "Kinda," where a stupid puppet snake monster was replaced with a superb CGI alternative. However, in this case the silly Loch Ness Monster - the only bad special effect in the whole story - was allowed to remain and blight an otherwise excellent production. Bah, I say.

But I complain too much; arguably, a CGI replacement for the Loch Ness Monster would look anachronistic anyway. As it stands, the original production of "Terror of the Zygons" is still 95% awesome, and well worth owning on DVD. And with the Zygons due to return next month in Doctor Who's 50th anniversary special, this is a particularly good time to catch up with their classic debut...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The final Tom Baker DVD!, July 29, 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons (DVD)
With this release, all of the Doctor Who stories from Tom Baker's era have been released.

Others have talked about the plot, so I won't, other than to say I remember it with fondness; enjoyed the exchange between the Duke and the Brigadier at the end.

Most people seem to remember the not-terribly-good Loch Ness monster; however, this DVD is worth getting because it is the last real UNIT show (there are subsequent UNIT shows, but more with the Doctor bumping into them by accident). This is Harry's farewell as a companion. It's goodbye to the Brigadier for many years, too. So, I'd get it just for these events if nothing else.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zygons?...A name humans will learn to fear!, June 3, 2000
This story has be rated as one of the best ever. Not only are the monsters among the series most convincing (by 1970's Dr Who standards), but the overall atmosphere generated by the direction and production is extremely powerful. Adding to this wonderfully eerie feel, is a superb score by Geoffrey Burgon - the tension created by his music is incredible. For me John Woodnutt steals the show, playing two parts as the lead monster 'Broton', and the 'Duke'. His whispering delivery of the aliens' threat to the world ranks as one of the series most remarkable performances. Some feel that the story is let down by some badly executed animation used for the 'Skarasen' (The Loch Ness Monster). But for me, this only further enhances the appeal of the story: It's not Hollywood special effects that make it work, it's a superb mix of deep characterisation, thoughtful direction and above all, spine-tingling performances from all involved.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true classic from the "Golden Age" of the original series, September 21, 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons (DVD)
"Terror of the Zygons" is not just an excellent story, but the first story to truly reflect the darker and more adult tones introduced by Producer Philip Hinchcliffe and Script Editor Robert Holmes- whose would see the already formidable success of the show reach in greater heights, with 20-25% of the entire British Public regularly tuning in to watch it.

The script, by Robert Banks Stewart, is tightly written with superb dialogue and memorable one-liners from both the regulars and the guest cast. Douglass Camfield (having directed several classic during the 1960s) returns to directs the story with the same stunning visuals and atmosphere that made him a legend of the series. Having served in the military, Camfield depicts UNIT as the elite military force it was meant to be- especially poignant, as this would be the last 'proper' UNIT story until its revival fifteen years later in 1989's "Battlefield". As always, Nicholas Courtney is superb as the iconic Brigadier, as is John Levene in the role of the ever-faithful Sergent Benton. Ian Marter, in what would be his last story (barring a brief cameo later that season) gets some great moments- showing the old-school class of the real Harry Sullivan (the embodiment of the "English Hero" that defined a previous era) and subtle menace in his portrayal of the 'Imposter', culminating in disturbing and memorable cliffhanger. Even the costumes are made by future Oscar-winner James Acheson!

The titular Zygons are realized brilliantly- both in their truly 'alien' appearances (brilliantly realized by VizFX masters John Horton and John Friedlander) and their chilling whispering voices (the Leader, Broton, played masterfully by veteran DW guest actor John Woodnutt). The Zygons, being "shape-shifters", morph between their true selves and (to their own disgust) their assumed human identities, meaning that ANYONE could potentially be an alien infiltrator! There are a number of genuine scares throughout, and ever-present unease for the viewers, aware of both a known danger and a possible threat.

Overall, the production values of this story are high, usually managing to overcome the criminally low budgets allotted to the series by the BBC higher-ups. However, this was made in 1975, and the limitations- financial, technical, and time- must all be considered when watching this. Any shortfall should be viewed with the knowledge that for as much money as the show made the BBC, they couldn't be bothered to spare any extra funding for this "children's show" (even though it was being made by the Drama Department, much to the outrage of the big wigs in children's programming!). Doctor Who is not a show to be watched ironically, nor is it meant for jaded and cynical post-ironic hipsters who now reject their childhood, and it not for people looking for a show they laugh at while telling themselves they're above it...

However, if you want to watch a show with a positive message- that good people help those in need because it's simply the right thing to do, that to simply sit back and allow evil to prevail is wrong, and that being the "Hero" means always doing what's right and not what's easiest- then Doctor Who is a series you'll enjoy. Ever since I was 4, when I first started watching the classic series in 1988, the Doctor became THE Childhood Hero that I could believe in. And twenty-five years later, I still believe in what he stands for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow the Special Features are AWESOME!!!, June 8, 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons (DVD)
The Special Features are really exceptional in this one. Another of those Non-Special Special Editions

There are 2 disc's containing 4 episodes and of course the Special Features

Disc One

4 Episodes

Special Features:

Directors cut of episode 1; Really awesome if you run it with the info text

Audio Options; Including a commentary

Info Text; Again really awesome with the directors cut

Disc Two: Special Features

Scotch Mist in Sussex

Remembering Douglas Camfield

The UNIT Family - Part Three

Doctor Who Stories - Tom Baker

Doctor Who Stories - Elisabeth Sladen; She talks about all the episodes with Tom Baker

Merry-Go-Round - The Fuel Fishers

South Today

Photo Gallery

PDF Materials

Coming Soon
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seeking the "Best Of" Early Dr. Who, June 4, 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons (DVD)
TERROR OF THE ZYGONS has traditionally been hailed as one of the best and likely explains the extra depth the BBC has gone into with packaging this adventure- an entire extra disc of bonus material! And TERROR OF THE ZYGONS has all the goods when it comes to a classic Dr. Who story... except for me personally, it just isn't one of the best. Admittedly, the Loch Ness creature is probable the biggest down point to the extent that if it had been left out, the gestalt feel would be improved. I am not alone in this feeling as the producer, Hinchcliffe, has expressed almost bitter regret how Loch Ness turned out.

The costuming and ship interiors are really good, especially compared to following story, PLANET OF EVIL, and there is a superb cliffhanger at the end of episode one. Even the production team's successful masking of Sussex as a Scottish moor is an amazing technical accomplishment. On the whole, however, when compared to the two earlier "Best Of" in this first season, THE ARK IN SPACE and GENESIS OF THE DALEKS, this story doesn't quite come up to the same immersive level- by episode three, the tightness of plot starts to lose its tightness (along with the alien baddie's increasingly obtuse behavior). Then there is that horribly ear piercing sound effect used for the radar jamming as well as the alien ship takeoff. Ugh.

So for those not collecting all of the Early Dr. Who adventures, but seeking simply the true classics, I would recommend skipping TERROR OF THE ZYGONS. For the collector, however, it's a treat to see our doughty Harry Sullivan have an evil moment. Heh.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Addition, February 8, 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons (DVD)
Tom Baker fans have been waiting for this for a long time; a great episode! An alien lizard with a Scottish accent, an evil nurse, a gamesman who is every boy's kilted Scottish daddy dream, and--oh, by the way--the loch ness monster is bionic. What more could you want?
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Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons
Doctor Who, Story 80: Terror of the Zygons by Douglas Camfield (DVD - 2013)
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