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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing: “Terror of the Zygons” finally coming to DVD!


New DVD releases of classic Doctor Who stories are happening all the time, and yet I’ve never felt the urge to single out one in particular till now. But this is a biggie: “Terror of the Zygons,” a 1975 Tom Baker four-parter, is finally arriving on DVD for the first time, on September 30th in Region 2 [Amazon UK] and October 8th in Region 1 [Amazon US] [Amazon Canada].

The story is notable for so many reasons. It’s the first story of Tom Baker’s second season, where the actor and the writers really found their footing with his character, and this kicks off the Gothic era of the Fourth Doctor, which is probably the best single stretch of the show in its entire history, encompassing all of this season and half of the next. This story features the last regular appearances of Harry Sullivan and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

Most of all, though, this is a gripping story with the reptilian/aquatic Zygons, alien villains who were creepily effective, not least because we discovered that they are responsible for what we call the Loch Ness Monster. (The Scottish setting made this a rare Earthbound story from the classic show — or even for the new series — with an Earth setting that wasn’t London or its environs.) The Zygons are high on the list of aliens who appeared only once, and deserve to return.

I’ve preordered my DVD. If I can find the time, perhaps I’ll blog about the story.

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)

posted in:
daily doctor | dvd buzz
  • Ryan

    Well, the Zygons are set to appear in the 50th special. So this release won’t be the only time we see them this year.

  • Kathy_A

    I love this episode! It’s up there with Pyramids of Mars and Talons of Wang Chiang for my favorite early Tom Baker eps.
    I always wished that Harry Sullivan would get more attention than he usually does in the pantheon of Doctor Who companions. I really liked Ian Marter’s take on the character, and the fact that he went on to become a really prolific DW novelist kept his name in my head.

  • Derek BD

    We are very excited for this release, yet sad that the end of the classic run has been reached (bar a few incomplete serials.)

  • bronxbee

    hooray! one of my favorite episodes!

  • bronxbee

    yes, one of my favorites, except for those mentioned. i always like Harry…

  • A future (ie, post 1970s) Harry makes some brief appearances in my fanfic… or he would, if I could ever make time to get back to it.

    Spoiler: he’s still a stodgy old-school Brit who mistakes his sexism for chivalry. But I have some affection for him anyway.

  • I’m not gonna believe *any* rumors about the 50th, up to and including Matt Smith’s appearance, until we actually see it.

  • Kathy_A

    For me, his sexism made him more interesting than he would have been otherwise, at least as a character. I wouldn’t want to deal with him on a regular basis in real life!

    I was just thinking that Harry being a man makes him rather unusual in the total range of DW companions. But, only four Doctors never had a male companion (Three, Six, Seven, and Ten, although one could argue that the Brigidier was a companion for Three), so my thinking was wrong. It’s just that the stereotype of a companion is always the young female foil for the male Doctor.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    This is wise.

  • RogerBW

    I did enjoy your discussion of stories from the original era, though I can see it must take time away from more immediately relevant work.

  • I heard this rumor that they filmed a couple of scenes for this thing, you know?

  • This was, honestly, the first episode I ever saw. It was the first one PBS in Tampa aired back in… oh man, 1977? 78? Huge sci-fi fix back in the day when it was just this and Space 1999 after Star Wars was in the theaters.

  • Bob

    In a recent poll on this site, I put Harry forward as my favourite companion. Looking back at the stories he appeared in, I think of him more as an innately chivalrous character, who thinks and expresses himself in sexist terms because of his background. The sting comes out of a lot of his more crass utterances, because of the clever pairing of Harry with the great Sarah-Jane Smith, who always managed to put him in his place. Your thinking about Harry being a man making him an unusual companion for the Doctor isn’t that far off the mark-the male companions tended to feature more in the sixties, when the first two doctors needed a fit male to handle the more physical parts of the adventures, ie the occasional fight.

  • The warning “Harry Sullivan Is an Imbecile” has been carved into the side of a diamond cliff on the distant world of Quentulus Quazgar…

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