Doctor Who Survival Dr Who

In 1989, Doctor Who faced his greatest foe of all time… the BBC! Since the early 80’s, the top brass of the BBC had had it in for the long running TV show, citing increased levels of violence and perceived shoddy production values as reasons to have it taken off the air. For once, the Doctor lost, and the show never made it into the 90’s.

What the head honchos of the BBC hadn’t noticed, of course, is that the last two seasons of Doctor Who were actually very good. The dynamic of the Doctor and companion were completely changed, with Sylvester McCoy’s manipulative, ruthless anti-hero Doctor testing and shaping his companion for mysterious reasons.

The increased quality of the show is no more evident here than in ‘Survival’. This is a serious, dark, gritty piece of drama, which deals with the meaty subject of ‘survival of the fittest’, and explores the animal side of human nature. Both leads give stand out performances, with McCoy managing to convey a great sense of fun as well as of menace.

Like most late 80’s Doctor Who, the script is edited to death, making the plot sometimes appear convoluted, and motivations appear vague, but the climactic motorcycle battle, and the epic cliff top fight-to-the-death between the Doctor and his arch nemesis The Master are completely gripping, and the action packed last episode is an admirable pay off to the expertly crafted tension building of the first two.

The DVD comes complete with a second disc, which is brimming with extras. Two full length documentaries, one dealing with the character of Ace, and the other featuring a tantalising glimpse of what direction Doctor Who would have taken had it survived into the 90’s, with a new title sequence, and possibly even a new Doctor being hinted at!

This is possibly the best Doctor Who DVD that the BBC has released so far, and they have treated the last serial of the classic series with the respect it deserves.