Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil DVD REVIEW

The God complex

Tom Baker shows off his crossbow in "The Face Of Evil".

Despite Tom's best efforts, "Bows are cool" never took off as a catchphrase.


Release date: 5 March 2012
1977 | PG | 98 minutes | £19.99
Distributor: 2Entertain
Director: Pennant Roberts
Cast: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, David Garfield

Star Wars was released four months after this story originally aired, and the gulf between the two franchises has never been wider. Not so much in terms of production values, but in approach.

Rarely has Doctor Who been so adult. We’re not just referring to the fact that this story introduced scantily-clad savage Leela and her liberally-employed knife. “The Face Of Evil” is pretty hardcore SF.

Based on the clever idea of the Doctor returning to a jungle planet he only half-recalls visiting to discover he’s now worshipped as an evil God this is strong, compelling stuff. Okay, there are some dodgy costumes and hammy acting, but you can plainly see why this era of Doctor Who was the most-watched in the classic show’s history. Shame Star Wars came along and changed everybody’s expectations of screen sci-fi.

Extras:

Who DVD extras ain’t what they used to be – there’s a kind of listless efficiency to them now, especially when it comes to the formulaic documentaries. But while this may not be the most exciting bunch, at least you get value for money in terms of sheer volume. Aside from the usual culprits (commentary, text commentary, PDF material, gallery, , etc) there’s a 25-minute Making Of; nine minutes of film trims; an 18-minute documentary on Leela; a “Tomorrow’s Times” (14 minutes) covering the media’s reaction to the Fourth Doctor‘s era; a clip from Swap Shop and an advert for the Denys Fisher dolls.

Dave Golder

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