The final serial in Doctor Who
's original run on the BBC (before it was revived in 2005), this three-episode story stars Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, who brings his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) back to Earth, only to discover that a race of feline aliens have turned the planet into their private hunting ground. The aliens, called Cheetah People, are traveling between their dying planet and Earth to kidnap humans for food--and lurking behind the whole scheme is none other than the Doctor's arch enemy, the Master (Anthony Ainsley in his final TV performance as the character). Despite the relative lack of quality of its video cinematography, Survival
is a sold serial from the McCoy era, with some genuine suspense and an affectionate (if temporary) send-off for the venerable sci-fi hero.
The two-disc set of Survival is typical of the impressive presentations that the Doctor's adventures have received on DVD. Two commentary tracks have been recorded--one featuring McCoy, Aldred, and script editor Andrew Cartmel, and the other by the winners of a contest sponsored by Doctor Who magazine (this appears only for episode 3). The hour-long, two-part Cat Flap (one of the original titles for the serial) covers the making of the serial from start to finish, and Endgame is an intriguing look at how the program might've continued after Survival had it not been cancelled in 1989. Little Girl Lost is a 15-minute exploration of Ace's character from her debut story until Survival, and Destiny of the Doctors features footage of Ainley as the Master taken from the 1997 computer game of the same name. The extras are rounded out by several deleted and extended scenes, a round of outtakes, the standard photo gallery, text-only commentary track, Radio Times listings (in DVD-ROM format), and a 20-minute episode of a U.K. educational program called Search Out Science, which features McCoy and Aldred as their characters in a discussion of (what else?) time and space. --Paul Gaita