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DVD Review

DVD cover

Doctor Who
The Dominators


Starring: Patrick Troughton
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 12 July 2010

The Dominators, self-acclaimed masters of the ten galaxies, land on the planet Dulkis - the home of the Dulcians, a race of pacifists without weapons or the means to defend themselves. So when it becomes clear that the Dominators intend to blast their planet into so much radioactive waste - fuel for the Dominator fleet - it falls to the Doctor to save the day. Out-gunned and seemingly out-manoeuvred, the Doctor has only his wits and his companions at his disposal and time is running out...

The script for The Dominators was written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln - the men behind the two highly successful Yeti stories. However, their tale of pacifist ineptitude in the face of fascistic aggressions met with a certain amount of dismay in the Doctor Who production office. Script editor Derrick Sherwin set about rewriting it, adding and changing elements that Haisman and Lincoln felt damaged their concept. In the end the story went out under a pseudonym.

Not that what went before the cameras was up to much despite, or because of, Sherwin’s rewriting. It’s not that the story premise is poor, it’s more that the whole thing seems lopsided, sluggish and poorly focused. Tension is eroded by lengthy scenes of exposition, the special effects are far from special, the acting is weak, and the overall direction is lacklustre.

And yet there are just enough elements to keep you interested; just enough Doctor Who magic to drag the whole sorry mess along. And most of this is down to Patrick Troughton who simply sparkles on screen. Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury lend great support and as a result of the central trio The Dominators has its moments, despite the self-evident weaknesses.

The Doctor and Jamie undergoing tests at the hands of The Dominators is very good - possibly the highlight of the story; the chemistry between the two actors is palpable. And then moments later the whole thing is spoilt by the reappearance of the Dulcians, possibly the dullest race in the cosmos.

The one element that seems to split fans is the Quarks, the Dominators’ robot guards. Some think they’re cute, others a great bit of design, while some [wrongly in my opinion] dismiss them as just a bit naff. Whatever’s the case, their on-screen activity doesn’t add much in the way of tension or excitement.

So there we have it - badly directed, badly written, poorly designed and sadly lacking in thrills. But anything featuring Patrick Troughton can’t be all bad. He is, after all, the best Doctor ever. I think you’ll find that science supports my claim... and Matt Smith thinks so too, and he must be right being the second best Doctor.

The Dominators won’t be to everyone’s liking and it’s a long way from being a classic but if you accept its failing and foibles then there’s just enough to keep you entertained.


Anthony Clark

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