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28 February 2012

Manufacturer: BBC Worldwide Consumer Products

Written By: Chris Boucher

RRP: £20.42

Release Date: 5th March 2012

Reviewed By: Dale Who for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 28th February 2012

The TARDIS lands in Hyde Park... oh wait. That's not Hyde Park. Could be a nexial discontinuity. Anyway, The Doctor (Tom Baker) walks into trouble between the tribes of the Tesh and the Sevateem in the latest single disc release from BBC Worldwide. Teaming up with local friendly savage Leela (Louise Jameson), the Time Lord must pit his wits against local mad deity Xoanon; a demented creature with a very familiar appearance.

Special Features:

Feature Commentary - This time, the title music leads us into Toby Hadoke presiding over Louise Jameson, Leslie Schofield (Caleb), David Garfield, (Neeva), Harry H. Fielder (bloke who gets shot whilst trying to kill Leela) and John McGlashan (cameraman) round the table. Lots of talking here this time in a very busy commentary, but it's never too much, and Toby moderates very well, as usual. Entertaining, and informative, but Louise rightly steals the show.

Into The Wild - A look at the making of The Face Of Evil.  A remarkably strange opening using the mountain model of Tom Baker's head and some remarkably fun 3D text, leading into Philip Hinchcliffe talking into what led into the story's origins. Taking in the departure of Elisabeth Sladen, and Tom's desire to be assistant-less in the show.

Louise Jameson and Pennant Roberts talk abouth their long, intermeshed careers (see "Tenko"). Also covered are *that* costume, Mat Irvine's first run as Visual FX Designer, and how to make an impressive jungle out of ventilation hoses. An informative, calm but fun retropsective, with a rather fun cameo by Anthony Frieze; who, you may ask, is he? Watch and find out!! There's also a very touching and deserving tribute to the late Pennant Roberts, director extraordinaire, who died in 2010.

From The Cutting Room Floor - A short series of film trims from the story, very cleverly shown in context using the episodes themselves. The film itself and the camera angles used are archive in nature so somewhat scratchy and jumpy, but it's a nice chance to see how things were filmed and trimmed to make the episodes work in the best possible way. A couple of filming clangers make it onto the screen as well; and the music in the background is wonderfully epic, and really makes the piece fly.

Tomorrow's Times: The Fourth Doctor - The occasional series returns for a look at Tom Baker's Doctor. Starting with the tones of the late great, Nicholas Courtney, the Points of View style show is this time hosted by the lovely, and very calm Wendy Padbury (Zoe Herriot from the Patrick Troughton era of Doctor Who). The wonderfully cliched and hackneyed accents paraded out are hilarious. It does show just how ridiculous and venomous some of the tabloid press have been over the years to Tom Baker's Doctor. A very interesting look at the show's coverage in the press; notably for the press' negative reactions when audience figures were on the rise.

Doctor Who Stories: Louise Jameson - Taken from the 2003 documentary "The Story of Doctor Who", Louise Jameson talks about her casting as Leela. As laways, Louise is witty and very switched on as to her time on Who and is always lovely to listen to and watch, and her memories are fun-filled and thoroughly entertaining. To be completely honest, some of this is covered in the Into The Wild retrospective elsewhere on the disc, but Louise is so terribly sweet and enchanting you won't mind. This woman could read the phonebook aloud and it'd be a hit! Thankfully, this is a great deal more entertaining than the phone book! Robert Homes, Tom Baker, and as always, the costume, get mentions, and a glorious defence of robot superdog K-9.  

Swap Shop - The other perennial Saturday programme from the BBC in the mid 1970s was Multi Coloured Swap Shop. A three hour mix of cartoons, interviews and pop music helmed by Noel Edmonds, ably assisted by Posh Paws the dinosaur. Here, Louise Jameson joins Noel on the sofa to discuss energy levels, life with the Royal Theatre Company, and possibly the best fan letter I've ever seen from a young girl called Catherine. Great stuff, if very, very dated.  

Denys Fisher Toys Advert - Oh good Lord.  From an era when you could buy a large toy for £5.99 (that being "the famous TARDIS") comes this advert for the Denys Fisher range of Doctor Who toys. Ranging from an excellent Giant Robot to a dreadful Cyberman, complete with nose; and whilst Doctor Who leaves Leela in the lurch  by disappearing in the TARDIS in the face on an impending Dalek attack. Great stuff!

Coming Soon Trailer BBC Three! As thy will so mote it be! Miss Hawthorn! The Cloven Hoof! "Jenkins, chap with the wings there; five rounds rapid!" - The Daemons is out on the 19th March, re-re-mastered and on a double disc release!

As always with the Classic Series releases, the sound and vision are spot on thanks to digital remastering, and comes complete with the usual regular features of Audio Navigation and Subtitles for those who may want or need them, and the usual Radio Times PDF listings. Also included as standard are a Photo Gallery of behind the scenes and publicity shots, and the Info Text option to bring up on-screen facts, figures and trivia  during the programme's run.

Thirty five years after its original airing on television, The Face Of Evil stands up incredibly well as a good solid story, and with some great moments from Tom Baker and Louise Jameson stealing the show. The DVD showcases the story perfectly with a great remastering, and the extras on the disc expand very nicely on the story, rightly focussing on the introduction of Leela; and giving the firm fan favourite a great chance to shine and enchant us all over again.

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