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Doctor Who: The Visitation (Story 120)

35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An attempt to return Tegan to Heathrow Airport fails, and the Doctor (Peter Davison) and his companions arrive in 1666 England in the darkest days of the Great Plague.


The Visitation is a routine adventure from Doctor Who's 19th season, beginning with Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor trying to return air hostess Tegan (Janet Fielding) to Heathrow Airport but materializing the TARDIS just as the Plague is ravaging 17th-century England. Three stranded Terileptils (humanoid-reptilian-fish hybrids in laughable costumes) are planning to wipe out humanity, while the local population have accepted the invader's puzzlingly camp robot for the Grim Reaper incarnate. There's much running around, being imprisoned, and escaping again, but little substance in the story other than a return to the original series concept of tying the plot to elements of real history. Trying to find something for all the companions to do stretches the material thin, with the best entertainment coming from Michael Robbins's memorable turn as Richard Mace, an out-of-work actor turned charmingly genial highwayman. The "surprise" ending is predictable, Matthew Waterhouse's Adric as earnestly tiresome as ever and Tegan still tediously grumpy. Sarah Sutton as Nyssa is left too long building a sonic weapon that can vibrate a robot to pieces but doesn't harm the TARDIS or herself, yet Davison goes a long way to redeeming the tale with a charismatic intensity the yarn just doesn't deserve. --Gary S. Dalkin

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Interviews
  • Music Only Track
  • Photo gallery
  • Production Notes

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Peter Davison, Mathew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, Michael Robbins
    • Directors: Peter Moffatt
    • Writers: Eric Saward
    • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
    • Language: English (Stereo)
    • 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: March 1, 2005
    • Run Time: 95 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0006J28OG
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,566 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin J. Loria VINE VOICE on January 19, 2006
    Format: DVD
    The Doctor arrives at Heathrow Airport, only it's a few centuries too early, have the TARDIS and crew materializing just as the Plague is ravaging England. As the mystery unfolds, we learn that stranded reptilian-aliens, who are also escaped convicts, are accelerating the Plague in a typical half-baked fashion. As the newly regenerated 5th Doctor, played here by young Peter Davison, joins forces with Richard Mace, an actor turned highwayman. Keeping in the classic mold of the series, there is lots of running, capture, escape and escaping again, but very little story to tie up the historical elements.

    Significant story points: THE DEATH of the SONIC SCREWDRIVER

    (don't worry kids, it'll be back, check out the new season one DVDs in July)

    With so many companions in the TARDIS a common flaw with the first Davison season is trying to find something for everyone to do, this is partly why Nyssa ends up in the TARDIS on a superfluous tech detail. Inspite of this I am still disappointed when Michael Robbins's Richard Mace remains behind, rather than add another mouth the feed (in the dialogue sense). The costumes are awkward, but performances bridge the gap. Locations are ok here and Peter Davison is so charming on screen that this below average concept becomes a very watchable piece of Dr. Who history. Unfortunately, Davison is less charismatic on the DVD commentary, filled with pauses and no real revelations, making for a is a less than interesting extra.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Twiddles42 VINE VOICE on March 16, 2005
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    A refreshing script filled with engaging, well written and well acted characters, with a simple and straightforward plot that's refreshingly novel in its use of aliens attempting to conquer Earth and commit genocide in the process. And the production is top-rate, rushing nothing and being properly paced. There are even some nice period pieces that, in their own arcane way, are educational. What more could one ask for?

    What's not to like? Even the story's most glaring oversight is EASILY forgiven, given the weight and credibility this story otherwise carries. Eric Saward's first script is stellar (and his subsequent "Earthshock" is also very effective). (that oversight? Nyssa suggests historians will be baffled if they discover any strewn power packs (which are smaller than the size of a pill bottle). Yet the Tereleptils' escape pod never got dealt with and is rather easier to find, thanks to its size. But, again, the story makes it easy to overlook that.)

    Best of all are the one-liners and jibes each character makes at apropos moments during the story; it's the quality and quantity of dialogue that sets this story (nevermind the series "Doctor Who") from any given sci-fi drivel produced today, let alone back then.

    As usual, the restoration work never ceases to impress and, indeed, for a single layer disc the transfer looks very good indeed. (UK customers are treated with dual-layer discs and, as such, get much better looking copies, but the US releases have generally been quite passable too.)

    And the sound is, as usual, superlative.

    And there's a slew of extras: An isolated soundtrack of the music score, which only made me happy.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 1999
    Format: VHS Tape
    A marvelous psuedo-historical! One of Eric Saward's best scripts. Michael Robbins as Richard Mace shines with Davison, making a delightful pairing. Even the rest of the TARDIS crew have their part to play. The setting, the location, and even studio bound sets all help this one rise above. It's just a shame that Saward didn't give names to the Terileptils. Even the android(with cricket gloves that didn't bother me) comes across pretty good. A typical lyrical Davison story puncuated by a straightforward script and great timing by all involved.
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    8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Matthew D. Cornelius on May 15, 2005
    Format: DVD
    If someone were to ask you to show them not the very best historical Doctor Who and also not the worst historical Doctor Who but the most average you could think of I'd recommend showing them this one. In fact it's not just average for historical Doctor Who is average for any type of Doctor Who story.

    Not that average is bad mind you it's just that with with so few Peter Davison era Doctor Who episodes avalible on DVD I wonder why they picked this one. So far all the episodes on DVD of the Davison era have been important episodes. For example Earthshock with the Cybermen and death of Adric or Caves of Androzani not only featuring Davison's finial apearence but also one of the best written, best acted,best written episodes ever.But who knows maybe that was the point to show something average.

    The plot the Tardis lands on Earth in 1666 during the plague. There are aliens trapped on Earth they decide to wipe out all humanity so all three of them can have Earth to themselves. The Doctor offers to help them go some place else but they reject his offer.The doctor must stop the aliens evil plan to wipe out humanity with a geneticaly altered plague virus before it's too late! We've seen this sort of thing before in fact it remined me a bit of the Time Warrior from the Pertwee era but it's not as good. If this story suffers from something it's from being too simple and the writter of the episode Eric Saward agrees that it is a simple story in an excellent interview on the DVD extras.

    Now on to the extras and on that score the disk gets a 5 star rating the stand out features are.A funny and very informative audio comentary track with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Matthew Waterhouse and director Peter Moffat.
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