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Reviews for The Smugglers

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This was the Season 4 Premiere?

By:Doug, Pocono Summit, PA, USA
Date:Monday 3 September 2007
Rating:   4

The Smugglers really highlights how much things have changed since 1966. Placing this story at the very beginning of the season (Season 4) seems to me like a very poor decision indeed, and makes me wonder, particularly after Dodo, Ben and Polly, The Gunfighters, The Savages, and (to some extent) The War Machines, whether Doctor Who would have survived beyond 1966 if not for the radical changes that were about to come, five episodes after the end of The Smugglers, with the introduction of the first new Doctor. The Smugglers is an awefully weak start for Season 4.

The beginning of the first episode is a bit fun though, because Ben and Polly had only just wandered into the TARDIS using Dodo's spare key at the very end of the previous story. The Doctor had (somehow) not noticed them entering, and had dematerialized, whisking them away with him inadvertantly. So the Doctor's shock and dismay at this while in transit - "How dare you follow me into the TARDIS!" - makes for a few fun scenes, with Ben and Polly refusing to believe they had just traveled in time and space until exiting the TARDIS on the coast of Cornwall, in what they later determine to be the 17th Century. A bit too far to just catch a lift back to London (of 1966).

From this point onward, we get a fairly uninteresting historical, and I can only imagine the sound of thousands of channels being switched across England in September, 1966...

This WAS the season 4 premiere!

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Tuesday 21 September 2010
Rating:   10

Here we go again. The third to last totally historical story. Tragic thinking on behalf of the bbc, to cut out these highly engrossing tales that very often put their sci fi tales to shame around them.

From the outset where a grumpy William Hartnell "welcomes" his new guests aboard the TARDIS, in the guise of Ben and Polly, this story really shines. It boasts some evry well recorded location work, possibly the best for the whole of the First Doctor's era. It is nice to see (or hear) a location beyond London for once. And you really notice it.

The script is ripe and full of lovely little nuggets of glittering dialogue. "Ill have the words spilling from him like blubber from a whale" is aparticularly well crafted line. All these one liners add that extra touch to an already brilliant story.

And Michael and Anneke work so well together, theres a good chemistry between them and overall they deserved a better run than they had. They were a great duo with all the vital elements of a brilliant character.

And considering that Bill Hartnell was very ill during the making of his final season, he gives a brilliant performance here, perhaps another of his strongest. I love the way he is perturbed by Pike and stands up to him and talks to him as he does everyone else along the way.

This also has its share of usual excellent done action scenes, never done in pantomime and so very convincing indeed. Cherub's character is one of the best and nastiest villains of the First Doctor age of the programme.

It really doesnt matter that the code changes halfway through, for the rest of the story is so brilliant that this little fluff can be totally forgiven and easily overlooked. Its hard to see why so many didnt like these historical tales. They cut them at their height, and The Smugglers is definitely Brian Hayles finest Doctor Who script (that he actually did most of the writing of!) I would recommend this story to anyone. It has everything.

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