|(Doctor Who Story No. 132, starring Peter Davison)
- written by Eric Pringle
- directed by Michael Owen Morris
- produced by John Nathan-Turner
- music by Peter Howell
- 2 episodes @ 25 minutes each
Story: Hoping to visit with Tegan's
grandfather in 1984, the Doctor and friends discover
the village of Little Hodcombe in the midst of
recreating their civil war battle of 1643.
What is causing the war games' instigator Sir George
to encourage excessive over-zealousness in the townsfolk?
What is the meaning of the many bizarre haunting apparitions
appearing all over the village? And who or what is about
to be re-awakened from within the church walls?
DVD Extras include:
- Audio commentary by director Michael Owen Morris,
script editor Eric Saward,
and moderator Toby Hadoke.
- "Return to Little Hodcombe" on-location retrospective making-of
featurette (19 min.),
adding Janet Fielding (Tegan),
Keith Jayne (Will Chandler), and the locals...
- "Making the Malus" prop featurette (7 min.) with
visual effects designer Tony Harding and
modelmaker Richard Gregory.
- Peter Davison (The Doctor) receives a Golden Egg Award
for the story's spectacular news-making blooper (2 min.)
- Now & Then location featurette (7 min.)
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (9 min.)
- Isolated music score by Peter Howell
- Pop-up Production Note Subtitles
- Photo Gallery
Buyers' Guide Review
by Martin Izsak
(A more in-depth analysis, containing "SPOILERS" and intended
for those who have already seen the program, can be accessed
Nestled cosily up near the beginning of season 21, this is one of
Peter Davison's more obscure adventures. Featuring some of the year's
best production values, and a fast pace that rivals the new millennium
version of the show, the story still doesn't quite make its way into the
highest ranks, and may indeed leave its audiences wondering after the
fact just what it was really all about.
Sadly, the story suffers a number of holes in character motivation, the
biggest of which drains almost all believability out of the premise itself.
However most of the story still works well while holding the premise back
as part of the mystery that needs to be solved, therefore we will
save our lengthy discussions of the premise for the
in-depth analysis version of this review.
The civil war recreation aspects of the story are really upstaged by the
extremely successful creepy atmosphere surrounding the story's many
scenes featuring bizarrely different apparitions and inexplicable phenomena.
The Doctor is kept
very busy as a lead investigator in this tale, amongst the other good
quality story beats he is engaged in.
Guest character Jane Hampden often "fills in" as a pseudo companion,
fulfilling the typical function of pulling answers out of the
Doctor to help the audience understand what's going on. Many of the
connections between this story and
"The Visitation" (story no. 120) turn out
to be a really nice touch.
The Jane Hampden character also gets a few nice pseudo-companion bits of
business concerning the function of the new red handle
on the new TARDIS console, making definitive the idea that it
operates the main door, just as Nyssa had done for the old console in
"Castrovalva" (story no. 117). Nice,
and very hard to miss. The TARDIS isn't otherwise presented
in an absolutely ideal way for new viewers, but they may well get the hang
of it before the end of the story, and/or decide they want to stick around
for more of it in the next one.
The Doctor also becomes busily engaged in problem-solving mode in the
story's final scenes, which is great.
Unfortunately, a lot of the final moves and confrontations are a bit
of a mess,
undermining the obvious thematic point that the story should have
been aiming for, and substituting a silly bit of
But so much of the rest of this story works, and it proceeds with
a pace and energy that covers over most of the other holes. Director
Michael Owen Morris is on form, and the story features lots of enjoyable
location shooting in good weather. And with such a fast pace and so much
movement on screen, it is difficult to memorize and get bored of during
repeat viewing. Indeed, had some of these action beats made their way into
"Snakedance" (story no. 125),
perhaps that story would be more widely and easily acknowledged
as Davison's best.
Daves Chapman and Jervis work together to do video effects on this story,
and achieve a lot of really neat stuff for the various apparitions. Perhaps
this work is helped by the fact that their effects are usually presented
as mysteries when they appear, meaning that the audience isn't dragging
expectations into the experience that aren't being met.....
After having done both of the previous Mara stories,
composer Peter Howell should be on familiar footing tackling this story's
subject matter, yet he manages to create a very unique haunting sound
for this story, and plays a lot of little tunes that should be familiar
and bright, but are just "off" enough to creep one out instead.
Very cool. Music is a really effective element giving this story its
|Music by Peter Howell
A suite of 3:26 duration is available on:
Turlough seems to be better dealt with here than Mark Strickson's
memory may suggest. It's a far better
showing for him than back in
"The King's Demons" (story no. 129).
Interestingly, Kamelion was originally written into a small scene
in the beginning, and videotaped as well, but this was trimmed for time.
Thanks to the DVD, we can now check out this and
many other deleted & extended scenes & sequences.
I almost suspect that, had the character motivations been brought up
to work with this story's premise, it might have been the gem of the season.
However, this is much too important a thing to miss, particularly during
the concluding moves, and "The Awakening" probably won't be able to
climb too high in the rankings as it stands. It remains highly enjoyable
however, and speaks loudly of the generally exciting quality of
This story is available on DVD and VHS video:
|DVD NTSC Region 1
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
|DVD PAL Region 2
for the U.K.
for North America
for North America
in the U.K.
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