Revisitations 2 Discs 3-4: Carnival Of Monsters

Doctor Who: Carnival of MonstersAfter the triumph of Revisitations Set 1 comes the eagerly anticipated second volume, this time around containing the Patrick Troughton escapade The Seeds Of Death, the Jon Pertwee romp Carnival Of Monsters and Peter Davison’s dark adventure Resurrection Of The Daleks.

To give the set the coverage it deserves this review has been split into three parts. The Seeds Of Death started the set off well even though it had limited amount of extras so was hoping that Carnival Of Monsters would have a bit more meat to it.

The Doctor and Jo take the TARDIS on a test flight and arrive on a cargo ship, the SS Bernice, that appears to be crossing the Indian Ocean in 1926 but is in fact trapped inside a miniscope “a banned peepshow of a miniaturised life-forms” on the planet Inter Minor.

As Third Doctor adventures go this is one of the most interesting and inventive. Sure the effects are crap, that’s a given, but look beyond this tale and you’ll find an allegory about what people class as entertainment. This miniscope can be viewed as a metaphor for voyeursism and how reality TV can be destructive rather than creative. That aside, it’s a romp, packed with ideas and played with pantomime enthusiasm from the cast. Who could resist such garish costumes? Leslie Dwyer obviously relishing his role of Vorg who is the polar opposite of his miserable Mr Partridge from Hi-De-Hi, chews up every scene he’s in whilst Cheryl Hall as his assistant Shirna manages to reign him in now and again. Pertwee and Manning are firing on all cylinders, he’s all knowing and she’s all screaming but it’s a perfect and enchanting combination that makes it such a rewarding run of episodes.

Extras Disc 3

Commentary 1 – Barry Letts and Katy Manning chat about the production of this much loved story. It’s a friendly piece, like eves-dropping on a conversation between old friends.

Commentary 2 Toby Hadoke moderates Cheryl Hall, Jenny McCracken, Terrance Dicks, Brain Hodgson and Peter Halliday in a fun gag-track. Hadoke always knows how to get the best out of each participant and keeps it moving at a jolly pace.

Episode 2: Early Edit – Complete with the truly awful “Delaware” version of the theme tune this is a very complete edition of the second episode. Running at nearly 30 minutes this shows how the show is chopped to fit the timeslot, well worth a viewing.

Behind The Scenes – Raw footage from the studio floor and Gallery lasting under two minutes of the recording of this adventure. It illustrates the hustle and bustle of the recording but is far too short to engage the viewer.

Visual Effects Models – More raw footage this time of the special effects shots from the story. They display the limited technology the crew were working with and is incredibly interesting to see exactly what they had to go through to get the required shots, especially what they had to do with the Drashigs to try and make them believable.

“Five Faces Of Doctor Who” Trailer – The promo for the celebratory re-run of stories seen in the early 1980’s of which Carnival Of Monsters was shown. A nice piece of retro promo heaven.

Director’s Amended Ending – This removes the obvious skull cap make-up which ruined the end scene from the final episode and was edited in time for the Five Faces Of Doctor Who run of episodes.

CSO Demo – Exactly what you think it is, a presentation by Barry Letts showing how Colour Separation Overlay works and how it can be used to an advantage.

TARDIS Cam No2 – Another piece of CGI from the old style BBC Doctor Who website. This is one of the better ones showing the TARDIS bolting through the Time Vortex.

PDF Materials – If you want to read the Radio Times listings from when the story originally transmitted then here’s your chance, if you pop the disc into your PC or MAC.

Coming Soon – A smashing trailer for the classic story Planet Of The Spiders.

Easter Egg – Not telling…
Doctor Who: Carnival of Monsters

Extras Disc 4

Destroy All Monsters – An interesting look at the story behind the production of the serial. There’s plenty of info here from some of the cast and crew, could have done without the screaming announcer who becomes irritating after a while.

On Target with Ian Marter
– Yes, for those of you who didn’t know actor Ian Marter who played Harry Sullivan (and Lt John Andrews in Carnival Of Monsters) wrote nine Target novelisations. A charming piece, this is a celebration of his ability to take liberties with the original scripts and transform the stories slightly. It also celebrates the man himself and Elisabeth Sladen and Tom Baker join others to speak, at times very emotionally of this charming man. Tom covers about the scripts they wrote together too which really does make this one of the most fascinating extras of the set.

The A to Z Of Gadgets & Gizmos – A funny and inventive look at the technology seen in the run of the classic series.

Mary Celeste – 18 minutes of history here of one of the most infamous ships every built and included here for the ship in the story, the SS Bernice disappears. Informative but worth viewing only the once.

Carnival Of Monsters is a solid piece of Doctor Who that’s fun and entertaining. But the set takes a dark turn with its next release, Resurrection Of The Daleks


James has been a Doctor Who fan for as long as he can recall. A child of the 70s and 80s, he weathered all the storms and controversies the show encountered, though he didn’t buy the “Doctor In Distress” single.

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