Doctor Who
The Aztecs

Starring: William Hartnell
BBC Worldwide Publishing

RRP: £19.99

Certificate: U
Available Now

Barbara is mistaken for a god when the TARDIS materialises inside an Aztec tomb and is afforded a position in the temple according to her rank. But when she starts to question her host's use of blood sacrifice her credibility starts to lapse, throwing herself and her companions into danger. Trapped away from the TARDIS, and running out of friends, it starts to look as if there really will be no getting away. The only certainty is that Barbara's godlike status will eventual fail and at that point things will get nasty...

Historical Doctor Who stories quickly went out of fashion with the show's producers but there's no denying that The Aztecs is quality by any measure. Snappy and often humours dialogue is paired with a sense of growing desperation as our time travelling foursome battle against mounting odds. "Splendid, my dear boy. quite splendid," as someone would have said.

Not only is The Aztecs a tip top adventure, it also boasts some very tidy design work, first rate performances and a cracking pace. And thanks to some splendid restoration work the story has never looked better. Episode 2 is especially sharp, casting aside its age with a visual vigour that looks every bit as good as any modern production - albeit in black and white.

Add some entertaining extras - a duff commentary aside - and you have a first class disc that represents not only Doctor Who at its best, but also the potential for DVD. It is impossible to praise this BBC release enough. Go and buy it

Anthony Clark

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