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Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma (Story 137)

3.4 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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(Jan 05, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: Twin Dilema, The (DVD)

The sixth Doctor's post-regeneration behavior is more erratic and unsettling than ever before.


When this four-part adventure first appeared in 1984, it was the only thing fans had to go on as their first impression of the new sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) until another season could be produced the next year. Baker gave it his all, drawing on his years as a character actor and frequent villain on British TV to play a manic, possibly schizophrenic, Time Lord immediately after regenerating, quoting Longfellow and nearly strangling his American assistant Peri (Nicola Bryant) at one point. The question was, would he ever settle down? Even by the last frame of this story, viewers couldn't be sure.

Thus, it's a shame such a heady performance couldn't have been engaged with a first-class script. Instead, writer Anthony Stevens, perhaps inspired by a recent garden infestation, pits the Doctor against the less-than-terrifying menace of giant slugs bent on conquering the universe using the computational powers of a pair of twin boys (hence the title). Even the Doctor must agree, saying, "In my time I have been threatened by experts. I don't rate you very highly at all." But through it all, Baker takes center stage, attempting to forge a bond with a skeptical audience (if not Peri) as the new Doctor who may not be as cuddly, warm, or even human, as previous incarnations. TV fixture Kevin McNally makes an early appearance as the young Lt. Hugo Lang, an aggressive space officer who takes his share of lumps during the story. --Ryan K. Johnson

Special Features

Commentary by actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, and Kevin McNally
The Star Man: interview with title-sequence designer Sid Sutton
Looking 100 Years Younger: Colin Baker and comedian Amy Larme discuss the Doctor's costumes over the years
Stripped for Action: The Sixth Doctor: Comic-strip retrospective
Breakfast Time: BBC interview with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant
Blue Peter: Colin Baker interview
Continuity announcements
Photo gallery
Easter egg
Radio Times listings
Production note subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Edwin Richfield
  • Directors: Peter Moffatt
  • Writers: Anthony Steven
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Subtitled, Full Screen, 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: January 5, 2010
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,466 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma (Story 137)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Caylow on October 26, 2009
Format: DVD
Poor Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor. Over the years, it appears that Baker, a fine actor, and, as far as I'M concerned, a fine Doctor, has become the Rodney Dangerfield of Doctor Who's---he don't get no respect at all (or, at least, not very much). It seems that the Sixth Doctor is not looked back upon with too much fondness for several reasons: his aggressive behavior/bad temper, his very loud wardrobe, and the violent nature of some of his first-season episodes---"Vengeance On Varos" taking place on a planet where people watch "video nasties" on television, "Attack Of The Cybermen" with a main character's hands being crushed by a Cyberman until they bleed (though NOT graphically, unless the sight of fake blood makes you faint), and "Revelation Of The Daleks" with it's various deaths. Throw in an 18-month hiatus dealt to the "Doctor Who" series during Baker's tenure, as well as continuously sagging ratings, and you've got yourself the only actor to ever actually have been *fired* from the role of everyone's favorite Timelord (shame on you Michael Grade, the BBC controller at the time). The BBC then had the audacity to try to get Baker to come back for a final regeneration story so they could "properly" bump off his Doctor---Baker responded by telling the BBC to shove it, and rightfully so. Who could blame him? And now I've just read in Doctor Who Magazine that a recent poll the magazine took has named Colin's debut story, "The Twin Dilemma," the all-time worst Doctor Who story ever, ranking a bottom-of-the-barrel #200 out of 200 stories. With the imminent release of "The Twin Dilemma" on DVD, it's time for THIS Sixth Doctor fan to come to the defense. I'll try to be brief:

I've always liked Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor.
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Format: VHS Tape
The story is not as bizarre as fan reaction to it! We have everything from someone who assumes that Eric Saward, who wrote Colin Baker's best story, is to blame for this, to those who think it is total genius, and everything else in between! Sheesh!
Amazing! How can I put this. This story is remarkable in that, which ever way you want to look at it, it is at least entertaining (then again, so was Plan Nine From Outer Space!)and Colin Baker, while pretty painful at times, is also very compelling and engaging a lot of the time. There is also a beautiful turn from the guest star Maurice Denham as Azmeal, a great, great actor who does wonders with the role.
The script is fairly poor, but contains some outrageous and memorable dialog. The game plan, to make this Doctor seem evil and unlikeable and then redeem him gradually, seems ok in theory but the realisation, having him try to throttle Peri, is really off-putting and many think it hurt the show big time. Here I agree, I met teenagers who hated it and thought it sunk the whole series. The slug villain is pretty poor and the production has a tacky look, with a tasteless costume and garish titles at its heart, too detract further. But it is compelling viewing all the same. I cringe at the Doctor being so twisted in parts, but overall, this is contrived, tasteless but hypnotic viewing. Not a flawed classic, but a shonky pantomine with an utterly compelling black heart. It points to the series it was going to become before Michael Grade interefered, a black comedy of the darkest, most garish variety, realised brilliantly in later Bakers like Varos and Revelation. Initially, I loved the costume worn by Colin Baker, but grew tired of it later. But what an expression of individuality in the face of robotic sameness like Cybermen and Daleks.
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A very unpopular Who story, and desrevedly so, but for the wrong reasons. Colin Baker doesn't stand a chance with loyal and casual Who viewers in this awful script. Colin Baker tries his best, as the Doctor tries to overcome a regeneration crisis(didn't this happen Castrovalva? Why so soon?). Also, there is a renegade Time Lord, Azmeal, kidnapping mathematical genius twins(wasn't there a renegade Time Lord in Castrovalva?). The problem is not the sixth's Doctor's personna, which is much better in retrospect, it's the contained scenes of insanity(the attempt on Peri's life, whether the Doctor had control or not, was inexcusable in some fans eyes). Also, the giant slugs, bad idea. They almost look like rejects fron "Frontios". This idea really brings out the awfulness of this story. Reading on events of this era, it seems quite apparent that John Nathan-Turner and Eric Saward did not agree on anything when it concerned the sixth Doctor, and so, in the eyes of the BBC and a majority of Fans, the Colin Baker era was doomed. There are some good things about the "Twin Dilemma", the Jacondans make-up, the design and effects are ok, and the Doctor's coat and clothes were ahead of its time. The acting a little sloppy and lazy, but what can you expect from the script?
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No, I don't know a thing about the 5th (or 6th) Doctor, being quite after my childhood time. However, I can imagine loving them as well if I was an impressionable 8 year old! After watching this first serial with Colin Baker, I frankly don't quite understand the unhappiness generated by it. Sure, those clothes are loud and obnoxious, but let's leave that on JNT's doorstep. And it certainly guarantees Colin Baker upstaged everyone, which is a good thing! I find his facial acting to superlative, on par with Patrick Troughton's own ability to convey entire inner dialogues with a mere facial change.

The story is alright, no better (nor worse) than many of Peter Davison's own three year tenure... well, perhaps better than some of those (TIME-FLIGHT, anyone?), and as a regeneration story compared to Peter Davison's own (CASTROVALA Story 117), it's a choice of Peter Davison continuously swooning and crawling about (that literally, yes LITERALLY lasted until the last portion of the 4th episode) or Colin Baker's very energetic, manic mood swings.

Having watched each serial, starting with ROBOT (Story 75) all the way to THE TWIN DILEMMA (Story 137), one by one, in sequential order, perhaps I have a greater breadth of appreciation? Whatever the case may be, I was quite entertained by this adventure... although I, too, wish I could have tossed rotten cabbages at John Nathan Turner for such an awful costuming decision.

Still, I just bought the next one, ATTACK OF THE CYBERMEN (Story 138) and look forward to experiencing brand new Doctor Who territory!
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