Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain
Written By: Stephen Wyatt
Release Date: 18th July 2011
Reviewed By: Dale Who for Doctor Who Online
Review Posted: 23rd June 2011
Mel, as played by Bonnie Langford, wants to go for a 453 appendix 1 subsection 6 swim. If this were everyday drama, she would, and that would be that. However this is Doctor Who and things rarely go according to any sort of plan the main characters have, in this 1987 story, remastered and released on this single disc DVD from the BBC / 2|Entertain team of Caretakers.
The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) pilots the TARDIS to Paradise Towers - a "remarkable architectural achievment" promising a clean, lovely, comfortable living experience, and with a swimming pool on the roof. Accordingly, Mel can paddle whilst the Time Lord can have a (512 appendix 2 subsection 9) look around and investigate things. However upon exiting the now materialised time machine they discover a much different world of uncared for spaces, unexplained disappearances, and unfriendly inhabitants in all shapes and sizes… and something truly horrific in the basement.
Paradise Towers is one of those stories that you may remember as being not terribly good; but happily it's not the case at all. Despite a few cases of acting so wooden it puts the section 9/41, subsection 12c props to shame, it's a clever tale of high-rise horror and society meltdown in a confined area. It manages to feel tight and claustrophobic, and the script and wordplay used are first rate. Cleaned up and remastered in a way the Towers never were, this first season McCoy story manages to succeed on many levels - probably due to the Kangs pressing the buttons for all the floors on the alleviator again..
The special features on this release are well thought out and worthy of a 178 appendix 13 subsection 7 round of applause:
Horror on the High Rise - Mark Ayres takes a look at the making of the story, with contributions from writer Stephen Wyatt, script editor Andrew Cartmel, incidental music composers Keff McCulloch and David Snell, and actors Richard Briers, Catherine Cusack, and Howard Cooke. Clever, insightful and revealing, it shows the story's roots, along with the strengths and weaknesses of the tale. Entertaining and informative, with some accurate and amusing views on the way some of the actors chose to protray their characters.
Girls! Girls! Girls!: The Eighties - Presented by Doctor Who stalwart Peter Purves, this riotously funny and entertaining featurette has Sophie Aldred, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding discussing the highs and lows, the trials and tribulations, and the ins and outs of being a Doctor Who assistant. Fielding especially is brilliantly funny, her acidic humour never crossing the line into nastiness, but still demonstrating some of the slightly less eviable things the 80s female companions were expected to put up with, from high fabshion disasters to stereotyping after leaving the show. Defintely a winner, and a team that should be assembled again to discuss all things Who.
Deleted and Extended Scenes - From the first edit of the story, some trims and edited sequences that never made the transmitted version of the show; and there are some very good scenes in there too.
Audio Options - Not only does this DVD have the usual available 304 subsection 12 commentary, hosted by Mark Ayres again, with Judy Cornwell, Stephen Wyatt and Dick Mills, it also has something of a rarity - an entire second incidental music score.
The original score by David Snell was vetoed by showrunner John Nathan-Turner back in the day, and Keff McCulloch was commissioned to do a very quick replacement. Both of these versions are available on the DVD, with Snell's score in particular giving a dark, more menacing feel to the story.
Continuity - The linking announcements for the BBC1 transmission, together with plugs for some of the Doctor Who VHS tapes avaialbe at the time. Notable for an announcer getting the name of one story wrong, and for one link cutting off a mere second before being exposed to the "hilarity" that was "Hi-De-Hi".
Casting Sylvester - A very short piece from Clive Doig explaining his working relationshop with Sylvester McCoy and how he helped with Sylvester being chosen to play the seventh incarnation of The Doctor.
Coming Soon Trailer - The Coming Soon section itself has had a 915 appendinx 8 subsection 2 makeover. Gone is the vworping TARDIS, and in it's place is a slick little end sequence after a great trailer for the next release.
The TARDIS arrives on Pluto, to find Citizen Cordo about to take a header off the roof as he can't pay the taxes levied by Gatherer Hade and a small venomous leech called "The Collector". Can the Fourth Doctor, Leela and K-9 lead a work unit revolution, or has the Time Lord's life expectancy overdrawn? The Sunmakers DVD is out in August.
With the usual Photo Gallery, Radio Times listings, Subtitles for those who may need them and the Production Notes and Info Text giving you facts and trivia along the way, Paradise Towers is an enjoyable Doctor Who story well worth watching again, on pain of a 327 appendix 3 subsection 9 death.
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