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Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang Special Edition

 Unrated   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 43.98
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Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang Special Edition + Doctor Who: The Seeds of Doom (Story 85) + Doctor Who: Terror Of The Zygons
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Product Description

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"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is one of the very best Doctor Who stories, a six-part adventure set in a gothic Victorian London inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and Sax Rohmer's tales of Fu Manchu, with nods toward Jack the Ripper, Dracula, and Sherlock Holmes. The final story from the Golden Age of the show, Philip Hinchcliff's three-year tenure as producer, the tale boasts superior production values and a bizarre storyline involving a time-traveling war criminal, giant rats in the London sewers, and a malevolent ventriloquist's doll with the brain of a pig.

Pitted against this flamboyant madness, largely centered on an East End music-hall run by the self-important Henry Gordon Jago (a memorable performance by Christopher Benjamin) are Tom Baker's fourth Doctor, in pre-self-parody top form, and Louise Jameson's Leela at her primal best. There's strong support from Trevor Baxter as the Watson-like Professor Lightfoot, and John Bennett as the villainous Li H'sen Chang. Really helping matters is the first-rate direction from David "Genesis of the Daleks" Maloney, evoking a creepy atmosphere in a fantasy London of shadows and fog. "Weng-Chiang" was the pinnacle of gothic Who and still remains highly enjoyable entertainment. --Gary S. Dalkin

Special Features

Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang offers all six original episodes with good, if variable, full-screen picture and crisp and clear mono sound. There is also highly informative on-screen trivia text and a lively group commentary track with David Maloney, Louise Jameson, John Bennett and Christopher Benjamin. The highlight of disc 2 is an hour-long documentary, Whose Doctor Who, shown on BBC2 the day after the final episode of "Weng-Chiang" aired. Also included is 23 minutes of extremely poor-quality black-and-white timecoded video production footage and--much more fun--26 minutes worth of clips from Blue Peter with Lesley Judd, John Noakes and Peter Purvis showing how to build a Doctor Who music-hall theatre. There's also an interesting 11-minute 1977 interview with Philip Hinchcliffe, continuity announcements and trailers, a photo gallery, a short new animation, Tardis Cam No. 6, and optional subtitles. --Gary S. Dalkin


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be six stars! June 9 2004
Format:DVD
If you went through the 26 years of Doctor Who, the longest running sci-fi show in history and you needed to pick the top 5 or maybe even the top 3 adventures, I feel comfortable saying that 99% of the fans would easily place The Talons of Weng-Chiang" in that group. The show comes from the pen of Robert Holmes and was the final show under the helm of producer Phillip Hinchcliffe, who had produced the greatest group of adventures ever for the Doctor. This, combined with the most popular Doctor of them all, Tom Baker and a wildly popular companion, Leela, makes for a grand adventure.
Taking place in Victorian London, this is one of the richest adventures in the history of the show and one of the most well written with some fantastic characterization. Magnus Greel and the Homonculous creature as well as Li Sen Chang are magnificent villains in this thriller. Yes, the giant rat is cheesy but it's all part of the fun of '70's Doctor Who. I can't recommend the adventure highly enough and there are a lot of great extras as well. I think it's also a great homage to Robert Holmes that, of the Who adventures that are out on DVD or are about to come out, there are quite a few Holmes stories amongst the few out so far, including "Carnival of Monsters", "Spearhead from Space", "The Power of Kroll", "The Ribos Operation", "The Ark in Space", "The Two Doctors", "The Talons of Weng Chiang" and "The Caves of Andozani". So, in essence, of the 158 adventures in 26 years, so far, 23 have come out on DVD. Of those 23, 8 have been written by Robert Holmes! And I believe Pyramids of Mars is coming out next, also from Holmes. Can there be any doubt that this man has done some of if not THE best "Who"?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Victorian Adventure!! July 25 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This episode of Doctor Who is seen by many Whovians as one of the best, and with good reason. The Doctor and Leela (wearing the most clothes for any time in the series) land in Victorian London in the midst of strange goings on at a Chinese Magician Show. As with all DW adventures, they quickly get drawn into these myterious shenanigans, are put in danger and escape by the skin of their teeth.
What makes this different is the characterisations of the supporting characters, especially Litefoot and Jago who both inject great humour into the story. The villains are very creepy, especially Mr Sin, truly a creature of children's nightmares. The giant rats are probably the only mistake in an otherwise flawless story.
You have to see this to understand why Tom Baker is probably the most loved of the Doctors and also to view the series at one of its peaks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disc 2! Feb. 7 2004
Format:DVD
The DvD is great, but disc 2 has fantastic items on it. Documentary and Blue Peter and a nice 40th anniversary montage. This DvD also has an easter egg. They did this set of DvD's right, it is rich with details and great material. You will feel this was money well spent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who in London Oct. 30 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
There are those who consider Doctor Who to be at its very best when the errant Time Lord is visiting Earth and dealing with alien threats that are Earthbound. Doctor #3 himself, the late Jon Pertwee, often stated this story genre to be his favorite, and judging by the number of Earthbound stories from the show's lengthy history, many agreed. The latest two releases on DVD from the BBC archives are united in their "Earth invasion" theme, but both have taken an interesting and indeed unique slant on the alien invasion of London twist.
The "Dalek invasion of Earth" was the last adventure made in the first season production block, way back in 1964, albeit held over and broadcast as the second story in season two. The adventure is significant for many reasons, mainly because it featured the departure of one of the original Tardis crew, and also because it was the first "sequel" to feature in the show, featuring the return of the enormously popular Daleks, created by Terry Nation. Set almost 200 years in the future, the adventure mainly takes place in central London, allowing for much location filming around familiar sights, which adds to the realism of the story. It was the first real use of extensive location filming in the show's history and was well worth the effort to take the show out of the studio and bring a more epic quality to the production. The closing sequence featuring the Doctor (as played by William Hartnell) bidding farewell to his granddaughter Susan, played by Carole Ann Ford, may also be one of the entire series most poignant scenes.
All six of the original black and white episodes have been painstakingly restored to almost their original broadcast quality, with many enhancements to some of the laughable special effects added as an option.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE TALONS OF DR SHERLOCK HOLMES July 24 2003
Format:DVD
Regarded by fans as one of the best Doctor Who stories ever made, The Talons of Weng Chiang transports the Doctor and Leela to 19th Century Victorian London. A planned trip to the theater is interrupted when the duo come across a gang of Chinese Triads committing a murder on the foggy streets. As the body count increases, the Doctor teams up with Professor Litefoot, a police pathologist, in a desperate attempt to solve the mystery of the disappearing women. Eventually his investigations center around a particular theater house run by Henry Jago where he discovers that the star act, Li H'sen Chang, is supplying the ancient Chinese god Weng Chiang with fresh young bodies in order to complete his master's regeneration...
Top notch sets, an excellent script, sterling performances from the actors and a dark, sinister atmosphere reminiscent of the old Hammer Horror movies keeps the viewer glued to the screen through all 6 breathtaking episodes. Even after 16 years the story is as captivating as ever. Tom Baker is wonderful as The Doctor and this story was highly influential in casting him as Sherlock Holmes in a BBC TV series several years later.
Technical notes: The existing BBC recordings have been cleaned up for the DVD by the Dr Who Restoration Team who rebalanced the colour, removed scratches plus much more in order to give the fans the best possible viewing pleasure. A commentary track was recorded with original actors Louise Jameson, John Bennett and Chrisopher Benjamin, Director David Maloney and Producer Phillip Hinchcliffe. Also included is a BBC documentary, some clips from the childrens show "Blue Peter" including how to make a Dr Who puppet theater, an interview with Phillip Hinchcliffe, pop-up production notes and a photo gallery.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Retro is good Doctor
Finally get to see the whole thing.
Published 1 month ago by Walter D. Tanner
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant 4th Doctor serial, one of my personal favourites.
This is probably one of my favourite stories of classic Who, definitely in my Top 10 I would say. From the disturbing atmosphere, the authentic Victorian period costumes and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Damien Skinner
5.0 out of 5 stars The Talons of Weng-Chiang
After watching this again after several years, I can understand why many Doctor Who fans consider this to be one of the best (if not the best) episodes ever made. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Claire Stemp
5.0 out of 5 stars Secrets under the theater
Out of the entire Dr. Who series, "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" remains one of my favorites -- it was one of the first serials I ever saw. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2011 by E. A Solinas
1.0 out of 5 stars garbage
One of the lamest, most boring, dreary, plotless piles
of shallow trash ever to insult the name of Dr.Who. Read more
Published on May 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Who DVD
Talons is a very well put together DVD, with a horde of extras, and a great restoration job. The story itself is one of the few six parters in Doctor Who that doesn't sag by the... Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2003 by "seanusc"
5.0 out of 5 stars There can be only one.
Fact: Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi television show. Not Star Trek!
Tom Baker is the best Doctor! Without a doubt! I hope BBC puts all the Tom Baker shows on DVD! Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2003 by TSOP
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, magic and chinese in Victorian London
The first two-thirds or so of this Doctor Who adventure are among the best Who episodes ever. The Doctor and Leila arrive, appropriately costumed, in Victorian London, and end up... Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2003 by J. Fuchs
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent end to Doctor Who's finest season
The Talons of Weng-Chiang is a six-part serial, and clearly much of this episode's budget went into authenticity of period costuming and set design. Read more
Published on June 13 2003 by Amazon Customer
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