Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang Special Edition
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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"?
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.
And it doesn't hurt that it's a ripping good yarn as well, with the Doctor and Leela going back into the Victorian era in time for Chinee cults, Jack The Ripper-style killings, and a deadly secret hidden underneath a theater. This is one of those Dr. Who stories that simply gets everything RIGHT, whether it's well-developed guest characters, humor, or even a semi-sympathetic villain.
The Doctor has decided to show Leela her heritage by taking her to Victorian London, where they attend a stage show starring the Chinese magician Li H'sen Chang. But their evening is ruined when they see a cabbie murdered by a gang of Chinese men, and find that the dead guy was searching for his wife -- who went mysteriously missing during Chang's show. And she wasn't the first disappearance.
With the help of Professor Litefoot (who is very smitten with Leela despite her odd behavior) and the bumbling theater owner, the Doctor sets out to discover who Chang is working for, and what this mysterious masked figure wants. However, nobody except the Doctor can recognize who this person really is -- and the horrors they can unleash all through history.
Giant rats, Chinese gods, a killer ventriloquist dummy and a serial killer in Victorian London -- "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is just a deliciously pulpy story, but somehow it avoids falling into outright silliness. It's one of those episodes that is immensely fun to watch, but it is also a very well-written mystery (since we don't know who Weng-Chiang is) and sci-fi story.
But another great part of this story is the guest cast.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Possibly my favourite episode from Tom Baker's time. (There were so many and being in Canada I missed several. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Phyllis K. Twombly
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 morePublished on Jan. 24 2014 by Damien Skinner
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 morePublished on Oct. 11 2013 by Claire Stemp
One of the lamest, most boring, dreary, plotless piles
of shallow trash ever to insult the name of Dr.Who. Read more
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 morePublished on Nov. 17 2003
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