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Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters

01/04/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: Carnival Of Monsters in the UK

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region 2 DVD: pub: BBC BBCDVD1098. 1 DVD 98 minutes 4 episodes with extras. Price: 6.99 (UK) if you know where to look)stars: Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning and Leslie Dwyer.

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Released from his imprisonment on Earth, the Doctor (actor Jon Pertwee) and his companion, Jo Grant (actress Katy Manning), are now travelling in the TARDIS but instead of Metebelis 3, unknown to them, the TARDIS is drawn into the reduction field of a Scope. This is a device that has captured various life-forms that has kept them in a time loop for entertainment. Although they are immune to the time loop, it takes a few turns for them to realise what it is and the need to break-out from a 1920s ship bound for India besieged by an amphibious dinosaur, more so when a giant hand reaches in and takes out the TARDIS. Things aren't helped when they escape into the mechanics of the Scope and enter a land of carnivorous deadly tracking monsters.

Outside the Scope, entertainers Vorg (actor Leslie Dwyer) and his assistant, Shirna (actress Cheryl Hall), are having little chance in convincing the inhabitants of Iner Minor, that they are just performers with no hidden agenda. They, on the other hand, see this as a means for insurrection. Free of the Scope, the Doctor has to sort things out.

Even within the limitations of a small budget, this 'Doctor Who' story does remarkably well with a limited number of sets combined with some live-action. Of significance in the cast is Ian Marter, who appeared as Harry Sullivan in Tom Baker's first season, and Michael Wisher who went onto play Davros, assuming you can recognise him under the grey make-up.

The audio commentary from producer/director Barry Letts and actress Katy Manning is interesting, more so because not having seen it for so long, Manning is taking a viewer's delight in it. I found it interesting to learn that Pertwee wasn't good at science despite his background and enjoyment with transport.

For some a popular story, the extras are actually rather thin on the ground surprisingly. Saying that, seeing the few minutes of behind the scenes production and a test sample of chroma-key is actually very worthwhile.

The strength of the danger to the characters will keep you gripped simply because you can't help liking the characters. Without that, the story would not have been as strong as it was. A chance to relive a great story, so don't miss it.

GF Willmetts

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