DVD REVIEW Doctor Who: The Dominators

Quark life

1968 * PG * 125 mins * £19.99 * OUT NOW!
Distributor: 2entertain
Morris Barry
Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Ronald Allen, Arthur Cox

“The Dominators”, eh? Comiserations, pervs – it’s not the one where the Doctor tangles with an invasion force of whip-wielding, thigh-booted fetishists determined to bring the cosmos to heel (and like it). It’s actually a paralysingly dull late Troughton tale where a planet of pacifists endlessly debate the threat from a bunch of scowly, squabbly hunchbacks and someone cries “You can’t just sit here and do nothing!” when that’s precisely what occurs for five long, caffeine-craving episodes.

Troughton’s terrific, naturally – as ever, looking like a Rolling Stone beneath a Beatles wig. The story’s chiefly remembered for fielding Dalek-wannabes the Quarks, trundling, shuffling petrol pumps with voices like purring, kill-hungry Japanese schoolgirls. They prove to be the most memorable element in a story that’s Doctor Who at its most push-button and pedestrian, a crushingly lacklustre entry in the home stretch of its magical monochrome years.


“Recharge And Equalise” is a bracingly candid Making Of that finds cast and crew blame-storming like billy-o: script editor Derrick Sherwin calls the writing “pretty dire”, scriptwriter Mervyn Haisman accuses him of sticking his oar in, cast member Felicity Gibson laments the entire thing as “a hopeless case for a drama.” At least everyone agrees that there was “an awful lot of argument”. Elsewhere there’s “Tomorrow’s Times”, a What The Papers Say-styled retrospective on press coverage of the Troughton years – and my, don’t ‘60s TV critics sound terminally sniffy. There’s also a text commentary, photo gallery, PDFs of Radio Times listings, and a commentary with Wendy Padbury, Frazer Hines, two guest stars and the make-up designer. You can only shudder at the thought of the Red Bull bill.

Nick Setchfield