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Doctor Who and the Ambassadors of Death DVD Review - -
Doctor Who and the Ambassadors of Death
Reviewed by
Chris Tyler
Doctor Who and the Ambassadors of Death DVD Review This has been a long time coming; the release of Ambassadors of death rounds out Jon Pertwee’s first season as Doctor Who and means that all third doctor episodes except The Mind of Evil have been released on DVD.

Feature 8.0
Video 8.0
Audio 6.0
Special features 4.0
Total 7.0
Distributor: BBC
Running Time:
Reviewer: Chris Tyler
: M15+


Doctor Who and the Ambassadors of Death

This has been a long time coming; the release of Ambassadors of death rounds out Jon Pertwee’s first season as Doctor Who and means that all third doctor episodes except The Mind of Evil have been released on DVD.

Jon Pertwees first season was a cracker, starting with the justifiably classic Spearhead from space then the equally well respected Doctor who and the Silurians this was really only the third doctor’s third story but it contains many of the things that define the third doctors era.

To really enjoy this story though you really have to buy some things that might be hard to swallow. For a start the British have a thriving space exploration program, ok so this is alternate earth and I know it’s sci-fi but the idea that the British were casualty sending astronaughts to Mars in 1970 is just a little bit jarring, (I know, I know, aliens exist and such and that’s what I pick on?, well yes because the best sci-fi is set in a believable framework).  That does not detract from the fact this is a really enjoyable story. Although it’s clearly based on Quatermass (again, poor Nigel Kneale, really hated doctor who and given how often they ripped him off I can genuinely see why).

A mars mission goes mysteriously wrong and a rescue crew is sent to investigate, Mars Probe seven (seven!) but now the rescue crew is not answering although the craft sent seems to be coming back under it’s own power. A strange noise alerts the Doctor to trouble. And they take a trip to mission control. The recovery probe makes it back to earth (in like a few days, rather than the MONTHS it would actually take) and immediately people try to capture it in an avengers style raid (IE: there’s a helicopter and therefore a budget) by the time that the capsule is recovered, it is revealed to be empty.

This is where it gets complicated so you’ll have to bear with me.

Sir James Quinnlan is working with General Carrington and under Quinnlans orders Carrington orchestrated the attack and abduction and has transported the astronaughts who are really aliens in astronaught suits who need massive amounts of radiation to live to a “safe” location. Except a criminal named Regan then Kidnaps them, as well as kidnapping Liz Shaw because the scientist he already has Lennox is getting lonely and maybe he can get them to breed and he’d get a superscientist or something. They do build a control box for the Aliens who go and kill Quinlan under orders and then Liz Shaw helps Lennox escape but Reegan kills him. Then the Doctor takes a Rocket to mars, meets the aliens (who are fairly pissed) comes back and discovers that the orchestrator of the whole mess is none other than……..

Yes well it has 7 episodes to fill with plot so it’s bound to be twisty and turny because there’s just not enough story to sustain seven episodes. There’s never enough plot to fill 7 episodes.

Audio: Sound is fine nothing special though.

Video: Video is good especially good considering that the color version of episode’s 2,3,4,6 and 7 were recovered using a technique called Croma dot recovery where a witch waves bones and mutters over the original video and bingo it’s in colour.

Special Features: Well thank goodness that when the BBC took over creation of the DVD’s the quality and quantity of DVD special features went up rather than down. (he says in an alternative universe where this happened) . Now I know that the reality is that most of the major players both infront and behind the camera have sadly passed on. But earlier 2Entertain releases had a great sense of fun about them and a genuine desire to give the fans everything they could want.

In contrast BBC worldwide seems to be trying to coast by doing the bare minimum. Since this is the last Pertwee episode we will get how about a Pertwee retrospective? How about putting some of the VHS material that we didn’t get and bunging it on a disc? How about getting someone to talk about an overview of how important these years were to Doctor Who? All you get is a thin making of with Terrance Dicks and a couple of other people. Can’t wait for the inevitable special edition.


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