Doctor Who Extended Media Review – The Complete History Volume #25

Doctor Who The Complete History was a series of hardback volumes which came out every two weeks and covered 3-4 stories each. These were in-depth volumes covering the production of each episode from the first in 1963 to the end of the Peter Capaldi era of the show. In addition to the extensive production notes there were also merchandise and publicity updates and actor profiles. The quality of each volume was exceptional overseen by several different editors. The volumes were only available in the UK and Ireland so were difficult to obtain in other locations. I am more of a Watsonian fan but if you are a Doyalist you will greatly appreciate these books. Even so I give the entire series a solid 8 out of 10. I will rate each episode covered below.

The volume covers the end of the Sarah Jane Smith era with her last three stories in the classic series. The Seeds of Doom is a great six part story which starts on a remote base in Antarctica and then transitions to an estate back in England. The guest characters were memorable with special kudos going to John Challis as Scorby, Tony Beckley as Harrison Chase and Sylvia Coleridge as Amelia Ducat. The Doctor and Sarah Jane are at the height of their chemistry and their interactions are so smooth and nuanced to epitomize the best Doctor and companion relationship. There is some fan discord concerning The Doctor violently twisting Scorby’s neck but I felt it was within his character with what had transpired in the story. 9 out of 10.

The Masque of Mandragora is a very underrated story filmed in the wonderful village of Portmeirion which was also used as a location for the TV series The Prisoner. Tim Pigott-Smith was great as an Italian nobleman and second hand to the Duke. Introduction to the new TARDIS control room set was well realized and there was the first explanation of why everyone appears to be speaking English no matter where they land.. The sets, acting and costumes all put you into medieval Italy. 9 out of 10.

The Hand of Fear is Sarah Jane’s swan song and her final story in the classic era. It was my least favorite story of the three covered in this volume. The story is fine just not very memorable until you get to the final moments of the final episode. The realization of Eldrad discovering the fate of his planet is well played and is a good commentary on revenge and retribution. The departure of Sarah Jane and her conversation with The Doctor is fantastic and was ad-libbed in part by Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen. 7 out of 10.