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Dr Who: Kamelion Tales: DVD Review

Dr Who: Kamelion Tales

Released by BBC and Roadshow Home Entertainment
Rating: PG

The King's Demons and Planet of Fire star Peter Davison as the fifth Doctor and mark the arrival of new companions in many ways.

The latest set collects this two stories together which mark the move to give the Doc a metal companion, Kamelion - who didn't quite work out in the way the creators had envisaged.

In the King's Demons, a four part adventure, the Doctor's brought face to face with Anthony Ainley's Master once again amid a plan to change history at the point the Magna Carta was signed; as the Doc investigates further, he comes across the robotic Kamelion who's been trapped by the Master.

In Planet of Fire, a four part adventure, it's all change in the TARDIS as the Doctor says goodbye to Turlough and discovers that the Master's been manipulating Kamelion from afar. Once again, it leads to a confrontation with the Master - and this time, it ends with the Doctor losing Kamelion in a way he never would have expected.

As the end nears for the release of the classic Dr Who series range (with rumour having it that every story will be out on DVD by the show's 50th anniversary in 2013), it's always the case that not all the best stuff is what's waiting in the vaults to be unleashed.

Sadly that's the case with these two releases - wonderfully remastered and restored (and in Planet of Fire's case, digitally given new effects) they may be but they can't polish the overall show's sagging quality.

However, it's the extras which once again save this set - and this time docos on the Kamelion idea with the original designers prove to be the saving grace. With a little bit of tongue in cheek pulled from hindsight, they reveal that the robot didn't quite go to plan and was prone to holding up filming.

It's a real eye opener to how the show was held back by the comparative lack of technology at the time - and how it shaped people's perceptions of the show (ultimately leading to its wobbly sets reputation.)

Add in decent commentaries from the main cast and a wealth of extra material and you've got a set which while it doesn't sparkle, it certainly provides enough bang for your buck.

Special Features include: The King's Demons: Audio Commentary; Kamelion: Metal Man - the history of the Doctor's robotic companion; Magna Carta - What exactly is the Magna Carta and what is its relevance throughout history and today?; Planet of Fire: Audio Commentary; The Flames of Sarn - cast and crew recall the production; Return to the Planet of Fire - director Fiona Cumming and designer Malcolm Thornton return to Lanzarote to revisit some of the filming locations; Designs on Sarn - designer Malcolm Thornton talks about his inspirations for the design of Planet of Fire - many more also exclusive features.

Rating: 5/10