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Last Updated: Friday, 4 June, 2004, 08:08 GMT 09:08 UK
DVD review: Doctor Who - Green Death
By William Gallagher
BBC News Online

Doctor Who - The Green Death
The DVD's extras show you how to make your own maggot

After last week's incredibly glossy and expensive but also tedious Star Trek: Voyager release comes Doctor Who - The Green Death, which is not the exact opposite, but close.

From the 1970s, it looks cheap but it also looks good: the Restoration Team has again cleaned up the film so much you wish they worked on other DVDs.

Jon Pertwee stars as the Doctor with Katy Manning - who provides an audio commentary - as ditzy Jo Grant.

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Nobody said this was modern. But it's the famous story with giant maggots.

One of the extras is about how to build your own maggot, though it does not dwell on why you'd want to.

Then there's also a brief but good interview with writer Robert Sloman.


Brother Bear

A hunter who has killed a bear is then turned into one himself to see what it's like to be hunted. You won't be shocked to hear he learns his lesson.

The Brown Bear
Brother Bear can be enjoyed by all the family

But you will be more surprised to find that Phil Collins' soundtrack doesn't sound so much like Collins: it's a suitably muted new direction for him.

The songs are good, the morals are not piled on too thickly and there's a lot to be moved about. It's not The Lion King but families will love it.

Extras include a music video plus the typical Disney games and educational content such as Native American tales.

But then there are also deleted scenes which include complete songs, and a audio commentary.

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What did you think of these new releases? Does the classic The Green Death stand the test of time and did you enjoy the extras? Is Brother Bear good value as family entertainment and an educational tool for children?

The Green Death DVD has a few priceless elements. Some of the effects are dodgy to our modern eyes but you only have to look at editions of Top of the Pops from the era to know that the dodgy appearance shows that this programme is really of its time.

Look below the surface at the sometime fun and sometimes touching script and some wonderful performances and you will find a very satisfying story indeed. Although it is widely known, as "the one with the maggots", for many the most significant part of this story is that it is the final story to feature Katy Manning as the Doctor's companion Jo Grant. I defy even the most cynical to get through the final moments of the story without crying. This is Jon Pertwee's finest hour.

The extras on the disc are generous by most movie DVD standards but fairly ordinary for a Who DVD. Which proves the outstanding work done by the BBC on these releases. Brilliant.
Andy, London, England

The Green Death is great TV and well ahead of its time - the issues it comments on are still relevant today.
Richard, Stockton-On-Tees

The main strength of The Green Death is its brilliant script. The plot is not too complicated which makes the story easy to follow and hugely enjoyable. It also boasts an excellent team of players who Jon Pertwee called his Doctor Who family. Jon Pertwee gives his all and does some excellent venusian aikido. The character of Stevens is compelling. The romance between Jo and Cliff is a nice touch. Bert is another memorable charcater. Sergeant Benton's adlib when feeding the maggots is hilarious. The commentary was interesting, informative and even moving towards the end. Mark Gattis's documentary was first class and it was great to catch up with some of The Green Death's characters as they are today. It worked becuase I cared about all the characters. I think this worked because it was an earth story without the alien invasion elements of the earlier Pertwee seasons, and setting it in Wales in a mining community gave it a freshness.
Jonathan Miles, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK

This is one of the classics along with Spiders, Pyramids of Mars etc. The highlight for me was the extras with the spoof documentary investigating 'goings on' in Llanfairfach in the 1970s - this was inspired and had me chortling like a good 'un. Tip Top.
Christopher King, Islington, UK

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SEE ALSO:
DVD review: Star Trek Voyager
12 May 04 |  Entertainment
DVD review: Secret Army
03 May 04 |  Entertainment
DVD review: Master and Commander
08 Apr 04 |  Entertainment
DVD review: Matrix Revolutions
31 Mar 04 |  Entertainment
DVD review: Spirited Away
25 Mar 04 |  Entertainment
DVD review: The Italian Job
11 Mar 04 |  Entertainment


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