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Reviews for City of Death

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What a wonderful butler, he's so violent

By:the Traveller, the end of the world
Date:Sunday 2 July 2006
Rating:   10

Certainly the funniest classic Who ever, with fantastic writing and expensive effects, and the regulars giving their best - it still stands up today as perfect viewing.



Sparks of Brilliance

By:Matthew B, Cardiff
Date:Monday 13 November 2006
Rating:   8

"City of Death" is fluid, very watchable, and hugely enjoyable provided that you like "this sort of thing". "What sort of thing?" you may well be asking. For those of you that are indeed putting this very question to your computer screen, I shall try and answer it for you.
Well first of all, "City of Death" is funny. So if you don't like humour in your Doctor Who, I suggest you hurtle away towards something a bit less frivolous. Try "The Space Museum". But don't blame me if your brain turns to sludge and dribbles out of your ear.
Secondly, "City of Death" has a Pleasingly Rubbery Monster. Now, this may not seem especially signficant, after all, Pleasingly Rubbery Monsters are the mainstay of Doctor Who. The thing is, usually they're rather silly. But here, in "City of Death", the P.R.M becomes rather sinister because it exists within such a contrasting environment. One doesn't expect to see a P.R.M in a John Travolta suit. Living in a chateau in Paris. With a wife. It's the juxtaposition of the potentially silly with the recognisably normal that stops you laughing at the thing. Very clever. Or you may just laugh at the P.R.M anyway. Go ahead, it won't matter. You'll still like "City of Death".
Thirdly, "City of Death" has Big Ideas and Witty Banter. These things often turn up in Doctor Who, but usually not together. Thanks to Douglas Adams, we get both at once here. I'm not going to list all the great lines. It's been done before, and I don't want to spoil it for those who've yet to hear them.
Much is made of the Paris location work. It does look nice, I'll agree, but all it really does is give the whole thing a bit of space to let the story breathe.
If you watch "City of Death" and end up loving "this sort of thing" it'll be because of Tom and Lalla. Because of the great cast and characters. Because of the dialogue. These things are special, and are all at their very best here.

DVD EXTRAS
Marvellous doco about the story, and about the wider story of Douglas Adams' work on Doctor Who. Loads of Easter Eggs, some of which are rather marvellous, some of which are a bit dull. Two rather pointless bits of effects footage. Some nice studio footage to peer at (squint everyone, its a bit blurry). What we're missing is a commentary and/or features with Tom and Lalla. "City of Death" is so much about them that their absence here really cripples this disc.



Brilliant nonsense

By:Huw Davies, Taunton, United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 13 February 2011
Rating:   10

The plot of 'City of Death' is many things - wacky, mad, complicated... but above all, it's brilliant.
The plot twists and turns as we journey from prehistoric Earth, to 20th century Paris, then to 16th century Florence, then back to Paris, followed by another visit to prehistoric Earth... not once does 'City of Death' get boring. The cliffhangers to Parts One and Two are shocking and effective (Part Three's is too run of the mill for me). The character of Scaroth/Scarlioni is played expertly by Julian "Richard the Lionheart" Glover, as is Tom Chadbon's Duggan, and of course we have the hilarious Tom Baker and the lovely Lalla Ward.
The structure of the plot ensures it has a great pace to it, though thankfully there are not too many characters to get confused with. My one gripe is that the ending, after Scaroth returns to Paris with Herman throwing the vase and starting the fire, is too rushed, and the Doctor's explanation isn't really enough.
Overall - brilliant, thoroughly recommended: and my new favourite story!



This is another final part letdown...

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 6 May 2011
Rating:   7

Where this story is nearly unparralleled is in its comedy and voert humour. One can clearly hear the words of Douglas Adams all the way through this story. And Tom just gets on so well with Lalla Ward. Julian Glover is again perfectly cast as the sphaghetti headed Scaroth, and he is actually highly sympathetic and not just an out and out villain for a change. Its good for the comic relief of Peter Halliday making a welcome cameo return to Doctor Who, whose smile is pretty side splitting in that photograph!

Where this story falls sharply is the stupid last episode. (I did originally say that Image of the Fendahl was good too, till I watched it again very recently, for the theory in this tale too is absurd. Funny, I never remembered that originally though) As it contradicts the aforementioned Image, and again is just as stupid a theory as that one has too. I came from the dust!

And the character of Duggan is brilliantly portrayed by Tom Chadbon, who is really one of the real saving graces of this story. He just hits and smashes everything and is a highly comic character that spices this story up no end. Its just a real shame about the rediculous climax. Otherwise, this is a classy story once again.




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