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Doctor Who: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (Story 155)

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Doctor Who: Greatest Show in the Galaxy (Ep. 155)(DVD)

The Doctor and Ace seek a bit of diversion in a trip to the planet Segonax to see the Psychic Circus, but they soon discover that the show is not all it's cracked up to be. In fact, all the previous acts have 'died'.

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Ian Reddington
  • Directors: Alan Wareing
  • Writers: Stephen Wyatt
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Color
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0083SI9AO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,000 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (Story 155)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Happy Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Doctor and Ace receive a mysterious advertisement for the Psychic Circus, on the planet Segonax, and decide to check it out. Ace isn't happy about it. She is secretly afraid of clowns (it's called coulrophobia), but the Doctor insists on going.

Well, this is one circus that won't put Ace's fears to rest, that's for sure. Before the Doctor and Ace arrive on the scene, we see a clown jester in white face, with a predator's smile, tracking two circus escapees. One dies, the other, the Bellboy, is taken back to his circus cage.

When Ace and the Doctor arrive at the circus, they realize there is something very weird here. There's only three people in the audience, a father, mother and exceedingly creepy little girl. Well, all three are creepy. The Ringmaster is creepy, the clowns are creepy, especially the Chief Clown, who chased down the escapees.

This is one circus where you will just die to take part. And there's a twist.

"The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" first aired December 1988-January 1989. This review is for the upcoming August 2012 DVD, which is the first time this show has been released on DVD. It will be one disc of 98 minutes.

I read that an asbestos scare at the BBC studios helped inspire an episode that could be shot outside the studios, such as in a large tent! Otherwise, "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" may have gone the way of "Shada".

Doctor Who performs some magic tricks when it's his turn in the circus spotlight. Sylvester McCoy was coached by "The Great Soprendo", stage name of Geoffrey Durham.

This seems to be a love-it or hate-it episode. I'm in the former camp, and Ian Reddington as the menacing Chief Clown has a big part in that.
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Synopsis: The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion, Ace (Sophie Aldred), discover all is definitely not what it seems when they visit the Psychic Circus on the planet Segonax. All the performers fear for their lives; their sinister audience demands constant amusement, and for whoever gives an unsatisfactory performance, it will undoubtedly be their last.

In my opinion this is one of the coolest, creepiest Dr Whos ever, and by the end, you yourself might find the circus a little... sinister.
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A pretty good story of the Seventh Doctor and Ace visiting the Psychic Circus. The story features scary clowns, killer robots, and even an unexpected werewoman! There is even a rapping ringmaster! That's the nifty parts, the less than ideal part is that the outdoor scenes were mostly filmed in a quarry, but this is augmented by special effects which make it somewhat better. The final baddies were a bit out of left field for me, and I felt they didn't really fit in with the rest of the story. However, it wasn't too out of line for Doctor Who of the late '80's.

The DVD extra's feature both Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as well many other members of the cast and production team discussing the making of the episode. This was particularly interesting, as this episode would have been lost like Shada had John Nathan Turner and other production team members gone to Herculean efforts to finish the serial. Great effort and creativity were used to film the "studio" portion of the adventure in the face of unexpected issues, and this is all discussed in the extras.
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Grew up in the Tom Baker era and remember passing over the forthcoming DW eras (Davidson,C.Baker,Sylvester McCoy, the "7th Doctor", which stars in "Greatest Show". I think the "feel" of the old series and the "relaunch" years (9th Doctor and up) is different and McCoy era episodes have the same "feel" as the old TB episodes I grew up on.
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The creepiest clown in classic Who! I really liked this villain but his masters?! Anyway, What do Flower children and circus pros and androids have in common? This very weird story but the explosion at the end was a close call for Sylvester McCoy in real life.
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Back in the 80s, Doctor Who was really being criticized and forgotten but this story was well ahead of it's time. It's very creative and would be amazing if done today with more money thrown into it. It's amazing that JNT turned out what he did with the budget the BBC gave him. The cast is great and studio problems that nearly cancelled the serial actually helped the realism of the tent scenes. Another great addition to the Doctor Who collection.
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Format: DVD
The Doctor battles in evil Circus on a strange world in a story featuring a werewolf, a pompous evil explorer, and crazy clowns.

There's so much to enjoy in this story. It has superb atmosphere, particularly during the circus scenes. It takes Ace, one of the Doctor's most courageous companions and put her in touch with something that terrifies her. In this case, evil clowns. The characters are wonderful and memorable. Given that this was almost scrapped, it's a surprising tour de force. And the scene with McCoy casually strolling away from the climatic explosion was wonderfully iconic.

If I had any complaint, it's that many of the cliffhangers in this seemed weak. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and it shows the resurgence of quality in the Classic's show's waning years.
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