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Doctor Who: The Horns of Nimon (Story 108)

4.2 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The peaceful planet Aneth was once at war with the mighty Skonnon empire, and now Skonnon spaceships demanding tribute have returned to Anethan skies. As the final consignment is being taken to Skonnos, an accident forces the ship off-course. Meanwhile, the Doctor has decided that the TARDIS is in need of an overhaul. After materializing the TARDIS in deep space, he dismantles most of the ship's key circuitry. The incapacitated TARDIS and the Skonnon ship are moving toward a gravity field that could destroy them both. Back on the Skonnos home planet, the mysterious Nimon has promised new glory to the Skonnon empire on receipt of the tribute from Aneth. Yet none of the Skonnans have sought to examine the Nimon's plan for their glorious future.

In "The Horns of Nimon," the declining Skonnon Empire's quest for the technology to launch a second galactic empire rests upon tributes from the people of the planet Aneth. The fourth doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Lalla Ward), encounter a starship full of such young people, including Janet (Blue Peter) Ellis, on their way to be sacrificed to the bull-like alien Nimon. While Romana becomes trapped in the Nimon's ever-changing labyrinth, the doctor struggles to repair the Tardis and finds that someone, or something, is engineering an artificial black hole.

Doctor Who had previously explored the Cretan legend of the Minotaur in "The Time Monster" (1972), and here pays homage to the story without attempting to incorporate it into the Who mythos. Tom Baker is in good form and script editor Douglas Adams keeps the story tight without allowing the humor to take over. The best performance comes from Lalla Ward, fully at home as Romana and a commanding presence in her own right. The set and costume design are notable except for the Nimon itself, which is rather laughable. This story is an entertaining if ultimately unexceptional adventure for the good Doctor. --Gary S. Dalkin

Special Features

Commentary by actors Lalla Ward (Romana), Janet Ellis (Teka), and Graham Crowden (Soldeed), and writer Anthony Read
Who Peter--Partners in Time: History of Blue Peter's relationship with Doctor Who, presented by Gethin Jones
Read the Writer: Anthony Read interview
Peter Howell music demos: 1980 Radiophonic workshop demo over the beginning of part 2
Photo gallery
Production note option
PDF materials (DVD-ROM--PC/Mac): Radio Times listings, studio floor plans

Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Graham Crowden, David Brierley
  • Directors: Kenny McBain
  • Writers: nthony Read
  • Producers: Graham Williams
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • 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:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2010
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00272NJ6Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,475 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Take a story based in Greek mythology (the Minotaur story), add a plot twist (no spoilers), and sprinkle in the most satisfying death in Doctor Who history (who didn't cheer when Nimon offed that annoying co-pilot?), and what do you have? One of the best stories of Doctor Who. Adding to the satisfaction of the pilot's death is that it is a death laden in humiliation, as the actor's pants split at the seams as he falls.

Tom Baker's witty dialogue is prevalent in Horns of Nimon. "You will be qustioned, tortured and killed." "Well, I certainly hope it's in that order." Lalla Ward offers her best performance as Romana, on equal footing with the Doctor for once, and not in the shadow of the Doctor's scarf. She has even assembled her own sonic screwdriver, which obviously the Doctor prefers, as he tries to pull the old switcharoo on her. Here is a viewer tip that applies to all Romana 2 stories: Pay special attention to her facial expressions as she reacts to occurrences when she is in the background. Believe me, some of them are priceless.

As is the case with most of Season 17, "fandom" is not too enamored with Horns of Nimon. They claim it's too silly. They claim that the jokes take away from the drama. This makes Nimon extra-special. When "fandom" forms a concensus, most of the time they are dead wrong. And this is one of those times. Horns of Nimon has the distinction of being the last story before JNT sucks the life out of Tom Baker (unless you count the uncompleted Shada). Enjoy this one, because you will never see this type of Who again.
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Format: DVD
Yes, I'm giving "The Horns Of Nimon" a perfect 5-star rating, and no, I have no shame about it. I'm giving this much-maligned "Who" story the highest rating for the simple reason that I totally love it, despite the majority of fans saying that it's too silly (no no no, people---"The Creature From The Pit", THAT'S a silly story. I mean, an inflatable bean-bag chair with arms for a monster? And that's just for starters....). I guess this puts "The Horns Of Nimon" in the category of "guilty pleasure" for me. Fine, it's a guilty pleasure of mine. And I'll tell you why:

As another reviewer pointed out, one of the main things I love about "Horns" is that it is, in my opinion, great, GREAT fun. It's funny, lighthearted, doesn't take itself too seriously, and, as fate would have it, it's the very last story in which you'll see Tom Baker as the REAL fourth Doctor (not counting the never-completed "Shada"), before producer John Nathan-Turner swept in and shamelessly destroyed Tom Baker's Doctor by not only changing his costume (I never liked the solid-red costume, OR those stupid question marks on the Doctor's collar), but also changing the fourth Doctor's *personality*, making him a lot less humorous and a lot more serious, to the point of being a shameless grouch (and by the time Tom Baker's Doctor finally snuffed it at the end of "Logopolis," I was GLAD to see him go, considering what JNT had done to him---mind you, it's not Tom Baker's fault, let me make that clear). In "The Horns Of Nimon," Tom's Doctor is still his old, jolly self. Baker is clearly having fun in this story, and it shows in his delightful performance here.

I'm also glad that other reviewers have mentioned that yes, indeed, "Horns" is easily Lalla Ward's finest hour as Romana.
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Format: VHS Tape
En route to repairing the TARDIS, the Doctor and Romana crash with a rundown Skonnon battlecruiser bringing some unhappy Anethan youths in yellow karate outfits as tributes to the Nimon, the god of the Skonnos, a military dictatorship revelling in black fascist regalia. The leader of the Anethans is a youth named Seth, whom one of the girls, Teka, believes is a hero who will defeat the Nimon. Teka's devotion is a bit too much, as she expects too much of him.
The leader of Skonnos, Soldeed, is eagerly awaiting the delivery of the youths, as it is the last payment to the Nimon, who have promised the Skonnons technology that will give rise to the second Skonnon Empire. "He speaks of Skonnos rising from its own ashes with wings of fire!" proclaims Soldeed. Indeed, Soldeed fawns and scrapes before the black, red-eyed bull-like Nimon, who seem to have read some Egyptian hieroglyphs for their loin cloths. He isn't bothered that all the Nimon want are youths to be sacrificed. "I play the Nimon on a long string," he says, and regarding an exchange of favours, "if there is an imbalance, make sure it's in your favour." However, Soldeed doesn't realize the full extent of the Nimon's plans, nor what the Great Journey Of Life" is about.
Tom Baker has two funny lines at the expense of the despicable pistol-wielding co-pilot of the battlecruiser. "Have you noticed how people's intellectual curiosity declines sharply the moment they start waving guns?" And when the co-pilot won't allow the Doctor to go to the hold to help with some engine trouble, he says, "Why don't you give me the gun and then I can keep an eye on myself so I don't get into funny business?" When the Nimon tell the Doctor, "Later, you will be tortured, questioned, and killed.
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