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Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang Special Edition

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: NTSC, Original recording remastered, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Oct. 11 2011
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0055ASXLI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,960 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang - Special Edition


"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rick Lundeen on 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 By C. J. Hormann on 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 By MasterOfWho on 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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By A Customer on Oct. 30 2003
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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Format: VHS Tape
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. The hat-tips to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are frequent and blatant -from the Doctor's deerstalker cap to his groan-inducing use of the phrase "Elementary, my dear Lightfoot." However the backhanded compliments don't stop there --writers Robert Banks Stewart and Robert Holmes also managed to work in plenty of visual and spoken references to Phantom of the Opera, the old Fu Manchu serials, and even the legend of Jack the Ripper. In matters of totally pointless trivia, this was to be the last episode with which Philip Hinchcliffe would be associated. Additionally, series composer Dudley Simpson appears in a cameo as the theater orchestra conductor, and in a footnote only of interest to true Doctor Who fanatics, this was the very first episode that had John Nathan-Turner as a member of the production staff. The characters of Henry Jago (Christopher Benjamin) and Professor Litefoot (Trevor Baxter) are often cited as the best of Robert Holmes' famed "double acts", (although they do not actually meet until late in episode five). A spin-off series involving the two investigating mysteries in Victorian England was discussed, but ultimately went nowhere.
As with Robots of Death, it is the grander scope of the episode's backstory that elevates the plot: the Doctor's throwaway lines about "World War Six" and "The Battle of Reykjavik" provide a glimpse into the world from which Magnus Greel has escaped. Without these premises, Talons would be little more than a string of chase sequences connecting the monster-in-the-lair/giant rat/incompetent coolies scenes.
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