Doctor Who: Inferno – Special Edition REVIEW

Doctor Who: Inferno – Special Edition DVD review.


Release Date: 27 May 2013
1970 | PG | 167 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)
Directors: Douglas Camfield, Barry Letts
Cast: Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Caroline John, Olaf Pooley

During Jon Pertwee’s first season the show saved money by having fewer stories per season but more episodes per story, thus spreading the costs. “Inferno”, was one of three seven-parters in a row and – almost by accident – turned the story-stretching format to its advantage.

Y’see, this was Doctor Who’s first evil alternate universe story, even though it didn’t start out that way. The evil alternate universe was added to pad out the story, and in the process became the best thing about it. Luckily, this was early days of the UNIT format, so there were plenty of characters to have evil alternates of. Nicholas Courtney’s Mussolini-inspired alt-Brigadier is a highlight of a parallel world where Britain is a fascist republic.

The main plot, about a drilling project digging through the Earth’s crust and primeval gloop turning scientists into werewolves feels a little B-movie in comparison, but this remains a stylish and action-packed slice of Pertwee Who. And hey, the Earth is actually destroyed, for a change.

Extras:

Besides a spit and polish for the episodes, this Special Edition features a couple of great new featurettes. The best is “Havoc vs Hadoke” (28 minute) in which Toby Hadoke searches for members of the show’s ’70s stunt team so they can throw him off a tower. The latest instalment of “Doctor Forever” (27 minute) examines the lean years from 1989-2005, when all manner of strange stories about Who’s revival were doing the rounds; it includes director Graeme Harper talking about the abandoned 30th anniversary special.

The copious bonuses from the 2006 DVD release are all carried over, including a commentary (by producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks, Nicholas Courtney and John Levine), a Making Of (34 minutes), a look at the “UNIT family”, a clip from a promo for the BBC visual effects department and a deleted scene featuring Jon Pertwee doing a silly voice.

Dave Golder twitter.com/DaveGolder

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