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Doctor Who: Vengeance on Varos (Story 139) (2003)

Colin Baker , Nicola Bryant , Ron Jones  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Doctor Who: Vengeance on Varos (Story 139) + Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen (Story 138) + Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks (Story 143)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Nabil Shaban, Martin Jarvis, Jason Connery
  • Directors: Ron Jones
  • Writers: Philip Martin
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: 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: March 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007G1U7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,820 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: Vengeance on Varos (Story 139)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • BBC One trailers for episodes 1 and 2
  • Extended and deleted scenes
  • Behind the scenes
  • Optional production audio track
  • Pop-up production notes
  • Continuity announcements
  • Photo gallery
  • Who's Who
  • Outtakes

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

There's 15 minutes worth of deleted and/or extended scenes and four minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, but by far the finest DVD feature is the three-way commentary track, with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, and Nabil Shaban. Affectionately sending up the show and themselves, while still demonstrating a great love for Doctor Who, the track sometimes degenerates into trivia but at its best is simply hilarious. Both original BBC1 trailers and a continuity link are included, as is a photo gallery and the option to listen with the unfinished "production sound," something likely to appeal only to die-hard fans. Rather more interesting are the optional onscreen production notes, which offer a wealth of behind-the-scenes information. The extras are completed with a small selection of outtakes. The sound is strong, clear mono, and the full-screen transfer is good enough to reveal the weaknesses in the original studio-bound video production. --Gary S. Dalkin

Product Description

On the planet Varos, prisoners and guards alike are subject to severest forms of punishment, which are then broadcast to the masses as entertainment. For the Doctor, Varos is the only hope for him to locate the rare mineral Zeiton-7 to power his ailing TARDIS. Arriving on Varos, he and Peri are soon caught up in events beyond their control.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Nabil Shaban (who played the slithery villain Sil)
Featurette:Behind the scenes

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Episode with a GREAT bad guy! June 24, 2012
The TARDIS is having big problems, and the Doctor's attempts to fix it are making it worse. He's managed to set a couple electrical fires, and even burned Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown's supper. Then the TARDIS stalls, just like a car, in the middle of deep space (does deep space have a middle?).

In the meanwhile, we're seeing the disturbing happenings on the planet of Varos. First we see it through the eyes of Arak and Etta. In their cell-like living room, they complain about the food shortages and watch a big screen live broadcast of the torture of a rebel. These broadcasts are what passes for entertainment for them now. Just like in late ancient Rome, where the gladiatorial games helped keep the populace happy in spite of food shortages.

From a different viewpoint, we see the machinations behind the scene, and they are ugly. The Varos Governor (played with stoic integrity by Martin Jarvis) is in negotiations with Sil, the Mentor representative of Galatron Mining Corporation. The Corporation mines the metal Zeiton-7 on Varos. An almost worthless ore, Sil reminds the Governor, and they are doing Varos a favor to even bother at all. But the Governor holds out for a higher price.

Unfortunately for the Governor, his boss, the Chief Officer, is in cahoots with Sil. The Chief Officer sets a mandatory vote for that night. Is the Governor correct in holding out for a higher price? Every Varosian must vote by pressing one of two colored buttons on the wall next to their TV. When the Governor loses the vote, the whole planet watches him tortured in the Human Cell Disintegration Bombardment machine (HCDB).

Back to the Doctor (Colin Baker) where he tells Peri he's figured out what's wrong with the TARDIS.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Sixth Doctor stories October 28, 2003
The sixth Doctor era is one that is often criticised by Doctor Who fans, and this criticism is justified in my opinion. The majority of the stories starring Colin Baker ranged from mediocre to poor, with the exception of Revelation Of The Daleks and this story.
Vengeance On Varos is a story that is more relevant now than it was when it was first broadcast due to the current glut of reality tv shows that clog the airwaves. These two episodes show a populace that gets to vote on government policy through interactive television broadcasts. Rather than a simple yes or no vote, the voting involves torture of the Governor which the population gets to watch. They also get to see public torturing and executions of "terrorists" as part of their daily intake of television "entertainment". This satire of television and government rings all the more true as time goes by.
The sixth Doctor is still rather an unlikeable character here at times, only a few stories into his era which was cut abruptly short when Colin Baker was sacked after his final story, The Trial Of A Time Lord. At the beginning of the story, he is still exhibiting the mood swings seen in his first story which makes it difficult for the audience to be won over by this particular incarnation of the Time Lord. Tom Bakers Doctor was also prone to black moods, but the sixth Doctor comes across at times as a petulant and whiny child. This is not a fault that can be levelled solely at the actor as the character was shaped by the producer, script editor (who was later quite vocal about his dislike of this era of the program) and writers.
The DVD itself is another excellent piece of work from the Restoration Team. The picture and sound are excellent.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful story for a great season! July 14, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The second adventure of Colin Baker's first spectacular season as Doctor Who is, as a whole, breathtaking.
The plot is centered around Varos: A planet originally set up as a penal colony, but grew to be a planet of its own accord. Problem is, its citizens are treated like prisoners by the government. They are forced to mine for slave wages and rations and those who rule live in power. And to keep the citizens quiet, forms of punishment are broadcast live or taped. There is a third party, Sil, manipulating events to gain more wealth for himself...
A great story and frighteningly ahead of its time, considering how TV is like these days, yet criticized unfairly and wrongfully for being violent.
The story itself is well-written, excellently paced, daring, and best of all are the shakespearean concepts such as a character talking *to* the camera to help convey the plot along and the characters of Etta and Arak who are showing we, the viewers, how they live - they are the citizens and we get to see how the citizens live along with the other events which in turn makes this story extremely well-rounded and multi-dimensional.
But the only problem is with the acting - solely by Jason Connery (yes, Sean's son and proves he's as much of an actor as daddy). Jason comes across as a mannequin at many times, as does his 'girlfriend' (played by Geraldine Alexander), and it's a shame since everybody else, particularly Martin Jarvis and Forbes Collins steal the show.
Still, I'm being harsh. There are far worse actors out there and their acting could have been worse. The story is indeed a classic and proves that Colin Baker's era is not devoid of compassion and morals as one might think. (they're merely presented in an unconventional point of view)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Vengeance on Varos is a nice story. Like the pace of the story and it was nicely acted. I would rate this a B+.
Published 2 months ago by Char
4.0 out of 5 stars Varos's Punishment Dome
One of the better Colin Baker Dr Who episodes, where the Doctor becomes involved in a television show where people are killed for entertainment the resulting story was much darker... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sussman
4.0 out of 5 stars Varos's day
Welcome to Varos, a planet whose culture and political system has been tied to televised torture, and is dependent upon selling videos of those tortures to other worlds. Read more
Published 8 months ago by The Smiling Stallion Inn
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites
This is one of my favorite episodes. Colin Baker is my favorite DW, yes, yes, even better than Tom Baker or David
Tennant! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bill Hennessee
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT
Enjoyed and added to my collection of all the Doctor Who dvds. Would recommend other Dr Who fans to buy.
Published 14 months ago by CVP
5.0 out of 5 stars Varos is in an uproar due to some business (crooked ) brought on by...
Out of Gas..! Sort of..! Varos produces the mineral needed by the Doctor & Peri as they land on fumes and have to deal with a
whole bunch of crazed loons bent on slashing... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Nicco Aiello
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Doctor Who Story
Excellent story and a treat to see on DVD. Superb picture quality and definitely work the money. Would recommend to both casual and dedicated Doctor Who fans.
Published 17 months ago by John M. Eccles, Jr.
Another great addition to my Doctor Who collection! And a new release special edition to boot. Altho' it is Colin Baker.
Published 18 months ago by hondo101
5.0 out of 5 stars If you think television is bad these days, just look at what's playing...
Having become a Whovian, I've been looking for episodes of each Doctor to try. I found this one for under $10 with s&h so I naturally got it, & was surprised how much I enjoyed... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Patrick Correa
5.0 out of 5 stars Great sixth Doctor Story
This is one of the best Colin Baker Stories. Worth the green if your a Dr. Who fan. A very good plot, costumes, effects, and acting.
Published 20 months ago by D. Starr
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