The Reign of Terror

The opening episode is one of the most exciting and gripping in the whole of this first season, culminating in a truly scary cliffhanger where the Doctor is trapped in a burning building, with little to no chance of escape. It feels so real – even though I knew the First Doctor didn’t die in a barn during the French Revolution, I felt a genuine sense of peril.

Sadly, the other five parts don’t come anywhere close to the promise of the first. It’s pleasant enough, but nowhere near as memorable as many other stories from season one, which this serial closes. It really suffers from Ian being missing for a couple of episodes, as at this stage, he was pretty much the main character, not The Doctor.

(By the way, from a modern perspective, it seems truly bizarre that a series would go on for so long that the regulars got a statutory holiday allowance, and more so that you’d just carry on without them for a couple of weeks!)

Oh, and this is the earliest serial whereby some episodes exist and some are missing. The DVD fills in the gaps with animation – I got The Invasion when it first came out and loved the animation there, but this one felt a little off. There were a hell of a lot of fast cuts, extreme close ups and dramatic shading – no doubt done with the intention of feeling slick and modern, but it just didn’t fit alongside a 1964 studio drama. I’d much rather have a plain old reconstruction of the best guess as to what the originals would have looked like.

RATING: 6

SEASON AVERAGE RATING: 7.75

  • Seasons/Series watched: 1 of 34
  • Stories watched: 8 of 253
  • Individual episodes watched: 42 of 813
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