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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Visitation (Special Edition) (DVD)
The Visitation is a fun Doctor Who romp which somehow feels more like a straight historical than the historical with aliens that it really is. This is mostly due to some excellent use of location footage and superior set design. Also, it's set during the era of the black plague, and the alien (this time Tereieptils, an interesting if mostly poorly realized race) plot revolves quite specifically around taking advantage of the outbreak.
The story keeps a good pace, gives us one of the best, if not the very best, guest characters in Richard Mace, a big-talking actor-turned-highwayman, and it also manages to make better use of the overabundance of companions than other season 19 serials. It is by no means a top ten or top twenty story, but it is entirely solid and entertaining.
The only real flaw I find in The Visitation is that the Terlieptils themselves don't look very good. The costume is quite bulky and awkward to move about in. This is pretty common to Doctor Who, of course, but Michael Melia puts on such a good performance through the latex it's a shame he wasn't given something to allow more versatility. There is a new addition of some prototype animatronics, allowing the alien's eyes, lips, and ears to express and emote more, and this was a very welcome surprise. I was watching, thinking "something's different" and didn't realize until halfway through what it was.
The special features on the DVD are great. There's a cute piece on the cast revisiting the house used for exterior shots throughout the story. A fun watch, but there's more meat -- and laughs -- to be found in a piece with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, and Mark Strickson revisitng TV Centre shortly before the end of its long life. For those interested, they provide a lot of anecdotes and insight into what day-to-day life was like for a regular on Doctor Who in the studio. Even having watched a lot of the documentaries from other DVDs, I still learned a lot about studio life. Also, it was extremely enjoyable because the trio was in high spirits and quick wit for the whole thing so it was EXTREMELY funny.
I'm a big fan of the big finish audios, so I was very excited to see there was a documentary covering them on this DVD. Fans of the audios will enjoy it quite a bit; it may not be much more than a curiosity for others. It was done well, and informative, but I wouldn't have minded another ten of fifteen minutes to show more of the process from script to CD as it were.
Overall, it's another solid Doctor Who release.