The Masque of Mandragora

Information

  Format:   DVD
  Written by:   Louis Marks
  Directed by:   Rodney Bennett
  Duration:   98 minutes
  Transmission Date:   4/9/1976
  Cover Design by:   Clayton Hickman
  Sleeve Text by:   Niall Boyce
  Product Release Date:   8/2/2010
  RRP:   £19.99
  Classification:   Classification: U
  Reviewed by:   Doctor Who Online
WAfter an encounter with the deadly Mandragora Helix, the Doctor and Sarah Jane land in 15th Century San Martino. In the midst of danger, secrecy and intrigue, they witness the flowering of the Italian Renaissance.

As the masque to celebrate the accession of the new Duke approaches, the Doctor realises that a third visitor has arrived with him in the TARDIS. It is a force with the power to wipe out human civilisation forever. The Doctor has brought it to Earth - and only the Doctor can stop it...

Special Features

· Commentary - by Tom Baker (The Doctor), Gareth Armstrong (Giuliano), Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer) and Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager).
· The Secret of the Labyrinth - Cast and crew look back at the making of The Masque of Mandragora.
· Bigger on the Inside - The history of the TARDIS.
· Now and Then - A return visit to the locations used for The Masque of Mandragora.
· Beneath the Masque - Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman take the Masque to task.
· Radio Times Billings - (PDF DVD-ROM - PC/Mac)
· Programme Information Subtitles
· Photo Gallery
· Coming Soon Trailer
· Digitally remastered picture and sound quality


Review

  Submitted:   14/2/2010
  Reviewer:   Doctor Who Online
 

The Masque of Mandragora takes us to 15th Century Italy, where part of the Mandragora Helix (unbeknownst to The Doctor) has hitched a lift aboard the TARDIS and poses a threat to human civilisation. It's a great story that takes the deadly cult plot device to a new level, whilst incorporating history and a simple, yet, terrifying alien menace.

The features included on the disc, are quite varied, and even though not all are specific to the story, they fit right in and offer excellent value to the release.

The 'Commentary' features Tom Baker (The 4th Doctor), Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager), Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer) and Gareth Armstrong (Giuliano). Unusually, Tom seems to take a bit of a back seat, allowing for Philip to take the role of moderator for the commentary. There's a great juxtaposition between Philip and John's informative take on the story, with Tom's hilarious observations and side stories.

'The Secret of the Labyrinth' is an informative and vibrant behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Masque of Mandragora. Set in the Welsh village of Portmeirion, which doubled for the filming of the story, it starts off with Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer) explaining his reasons for the filming at the location.

All aspects of the production are covered, from casting and costumes to set design, giving a well-rounded understanding for the serial. It's backed up with interviews from Gareth Armstrong (Giuliano), Rodney Bennett (Director), Antony Carrick (Captain Rossini), Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager), Jon Laurimore (Count Federico), Barry Newbery (Production Designer), Tim Piggott-Smith (Marco), Steve O'Brien (Writer, SFX Magazine) and Jim Sangster (Film and TV Historian). Kudos to Rob Semenoff for the fantastic CGI introduction to the feature.

'Bigger on the inside' is totally unconnected to The Masque of Mandragora, but provides a thoroughly detailed, yet concise history of the TARDIS. Featuring interviews with Tom Baker (The 4th Doctor), Robert Shearman (New Series Writer), Francesca Gavin (Art Writer & Editor), Matthew Savage (New Series Designer), Barry Newbury (Classic Series Designer) and Christopher H Bidmead (Writer & Script Editor 1980-81).

'Now and Then' looks at the locations of The Masque of Mandragora, showing original shots to the modern day comparisons. It feels a little different to previous Now and Then documentaries, as this time, we follow the locations through a map of Portmeirion. As a result of the style and nature of the location, there are very few actual changes that can be noticed, but it's interesting to see where all the action happened in context.

'Beneath the Masque' offers Clayton Hickman (Ex Doctor Who Magazine Editor) and Gareth Roberts' (New Series Writer), rather amusing take of the events surrounding and including the production of The Masque of Mandragora. The pair are clearly a double-act to be reckoned with. Even Hickman's Cathy come home impersonation which also resembled a 1980's Dot Branning, can't fail to resound a palpable hit amongst the hugely entertaining feature. It's pretty much utter nonsense, but who cares? It's produced with such sheer brilliance, and will have you chuckling away at the subtle and not-so-subtle digs at the show. Oh, and Gareth Roberts as a Blue Peter presenter was...priceless. Here's to future offerings from the pair!

The 'Coming Soon' trailer is for The Space Museum / The Chase DVD release, and is a clever twist on the usual trailers by incorporating a viewscreen from one of the episodes to promote the box-set. Definitely one of the most original trailers to date.

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'Trails and Continuity', 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

Overall, it's another tidy and well-thought-out package from 2|Entertain, and although there could have been room for one or two more extras, you can't help but feel totally satisfied with the finished package.




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 Page Last Updated: 14/2/2010

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Submitted: 14/2/2010


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