Doctor Who-Pyramids of Mars (1975)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers And Cast
Informational Subtitles-Production Subtitles
Featurette-Making Of-Osirian Gothic
Featurette-Now And Then
|Year Of Production||1975|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Paddy Russell|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Growing up as pre-teen in the 1970's there were two shows that I made it my business to watch religiously on a nightly basis; The Goodies and Doctor Who. Luckily, they followed each other beginning at 6.00pm on the ABC. My favourite Doctor was the incomparable Tom Baker who reigned supreme in the late 1970s. I was also a big fan of Jon Pertwee, but didn't care for the other incarnations, especially the later ones. The episodes that always lingered in my memory were the classics - The Ark In Space, The Talons of Weng Cheung and the one reviewed here - The Pyramids Of Mars.
The Tardis is forced off course by a malevolent being known as Sutekh and arrives in England at the turn of the 20th century. Sutekh is the last of The Osirians, an ancient race of extraterrestrials who were imprisoned eons ago. Sutekh’s secret is unearthed in the Pyramids of Egypt and now he is planning to break free and destroy all mankind.
Released in 1975, this chapter in the Doctor Who saga is considered one of the best. Both the writing and performances are first rate. The episodes released during Tom Baker's reign as the enigmatic Doctor were more adult-oriented and contained greater elements of horror and science fiction. Viewed today, this great show appears somewhat tame. Some of the creature and alien menaces are quite laughable by today's standards, with unknown stunt men decked out in all their rubber-suited glory, but to an impressionable 10 year old they were VERY COOL.
Tom Baker brought a wonderful charisma to the part of the ubiqitous Time Lord. More flippant and adventuresome than his predecessors, Baker had great fun with the role and Pyramids Of Mars showcases this to great effect. Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith was one of the more popular sidekicks (my personal favourite was the loincloth-wearing Lela), and had a great repartee with both Baker and his predecessor Jon Pertwee.
The production design and special effects are very basic but do add a wonderful atmosphere to the show, especially the Egyptian motif, including Sutekh’s helmeted countenance. The Pyramids of Mars is a delight for Doctor Who fans and should entertain casual viewers as well.
The image is reasonably sharp for a 30 year old television show, but does suffer from soft imaging, especially during exterior shots. There were no aliasing problems, but the transfer does contain some slight edge enhancement which fortunately fails to mar the overall presentation.
Shadow detail is acceptable, but loses a lot of clarity whenever the story wanders into poorly lit exterior locations. An example of this is when our intrepid Sarah Jane is hiding from the Robotic Mummies in a nearby forest – in these scenes, the image suffers from very poor background detail with ugly shadow levels. There is a fair amount of grain present throughout, but once again it is mainly restricted to exterior shots.
Colours are washed out, but remain natural with no image bleeding.
There are small quantities of dirt particles and scratches present in the transfer, but they remain unobtrusive.
The show has been given two audio tracks. There is an English 2.0 mono track and an audio commentary track in English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround.
Dialogue is clear with no audio sync issues.
The show's music is appropriately creepy, dripping with atmosphere and menace.
Surround channel usage is non existent with no directional effects apparent. The show's score can be heard in the rear channels but nothing else is directed there.
The subwoofer adds limited reverberation, but does contain enough bass to enhance the moody score.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
All versions currently available are essentially the same.
The Pyramids Of Mars is one of the better Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes and remains an enjoyable adventure thirty years on. The disc has quite good sound and picture quality considering the age of the show and there are plenty of worthy extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||LG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Sony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie|