"Carnival of Monsters" finds Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor and Jo Grant (Katy Manning) materializing on the SS Bernice
in the Indian Ocean in 1926, on the very day the ship is about to give rise to a famous sea mystery. Passengers and crew, including Ian Marter (who would return as companion Harry Sullivan two years later), are reliving the same few moments over and over again, and there is a plesiosaur in the ocean. Meanwhile two traveling show people, Vorg (Leslie Dwyer) and Shirna (Cheryl Hall), have arrived on the planet Inter Minor with an illegal Miniscope peepshow. In a variation on the miniaturization plot of Fantastic Voyage
(1966), and harking back to Doctor Who
's own "Planet of the Giants" story from 1964, the Doctor and Jo have materialized within the Miniscope's compression field and are trapped inside.
As the second story in the 10th season of Doctor Who, this fast-moving, witty, and surreal adventure slots into series continuity between "The Three Doctors" and "Frontier in Space." A longtime fan favorite, the four-part thriller remains one of the most enjoyable of the Jon Pertwee-era stories. --Gary S. Dalkin
Doctor Who: Carnival of Monsters
on DVD has an excellent 4:3 image and mono sound far better than was ever heard on the original broadcasts. Heading a massive range of extras is a commentary with Katy Manning being wonderfully enthusiastic and producer-director Barry Letts getting a little more technical. There are English subtitles not only for the episodes but also for the commentary, as well as a separate on-screen information text option. Also included are two extended and one deleted scene, Barry Lett's more tightly edited preferred ending, a trailer for a 1981 season of Doctor Who
repeats and a never-used arrangement of the title music. Additionally there is a compilation of visual effects test film, some studio shooting footage, a short computer animation of the TARDIS, a photo gallery, and a demonstration of the CSO special effects technique. Anything more comprehensive would be hard to imagine. --Gary S. Dalkin