Thursday, May 30, 2013

DVD REVIEW: “Doctor Who: The Time Warrior”

“Doctor Who: The Time Warrior” (Story #70)

Original Airdate: December 15, 1973 – January 5, 1974 (4 part weekly)

Starring: Jon Pertwee (the Doctor), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart), Kevin Lindsay (Linx)

Special Features:  Audio commentary by actor Elisabeth Sladen, producer Barry Letts, and script editor Terrance Dicks; Beginning the End, a making-of documentary featuring actors Elisabeth Sladen, Donald Pelmear (Professor Rubeish), Jeremy Bulloch (Hal), producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks, and designer Keith Cheetham; the option to watch the serial with some of the original effects replaced by new CGI sequences; a compilation of off-air continuity announcements for the original BBC transmission of the serial; a photo gallery; production subtitles; The Doctor Who Annual 1974; and the original Radio Times billings.

In my previous and first Doctor Who DVD review I discussed The Hand of Fear, which was Elisabeth Sladen’s final appearance as Sarah Jane Smith in the classic Doctor Who series. This time around, I take a look back at her very first episode, entitled The Time Warrior.


A Sontaran space ship crash lands in Medieval London near the castle occupied by a band of pirates. But before this potato-headed alien, Linx, can destroy the Earth – with the help of some hypnotized scientists he kidnapped from the 20th century – and the Medieval pirates have the chance to overtake King Edward’s castle – the third Doctor and his new companion, journalist Sarah Jane Smith, travel back in time in the TARDIS to set everything right and save Earth.

Favorite Scene:

My favorite scene in this adventure comes toward the end of episode three, when the Doctor is putting together a set of stink bombs to use against the pirates, and he and Sarah end up discussing how he isn’t truly human. The look on Elisabeth Sladen’s face after the Doctor calls his people “galactic ticket inspectors” is absolutely priceless, and that look is immediately followed by one of my favorite classic Sarah Jane quotes: “Oh, I could murder a cup of tea!”

Notable Dialogue:

This piece is from my favorite scene described above:
Sarah:  “Well, what are you then?”
Doctor: “Me? I’m a time lord.”
Sarah:  “A time lord?”
Doctor: “That’s right. And my people are very keen to stamp out unlicensed time travel. You can look upon them as galactic ticket inspectors.”
Sarah:  “Galactic ticket inspectors? …Oh I could murder a cup of tea!”

There is also another funny bit of dialogue between the Doctor and Professor Rubeish during episode four, as the Doctor is attempting to free the kidnapped scientists of the hypnosis that the Sontaran has brought upon them:

Rubeish: “Doctor, what are you doing?”
Doctor: “Trying to break this hypnosis.”
Rubeish: “It’s very deep. Narcoleptic condition, eh?”
Doctor: “Brain can still receive signals, Professor. Might work.”
Rubeish: “Even if it does, can’t see what you intend.”
Doctor: “Don’t you want to get back to the 20th century?”
Rubeish: “Steak and mushrooms, lobster, chocolate truffles…oh dear me yes.”

Other Items Worth Noting…

·        Comparing The Time Warrior to The Hand of Fear, it’s almost as if Sarah Jane aged backwards: In The Time Warrior, she arrives wearing a very smart outfit of dark slacks, white blouse and dark striped vest, and her hair is cut in a short, straight bob, making her look older. But by her final appearance in The Hand of Fear, her hair is much longer and she is wearing that very childish red and white striped Andy Pandy outfit, which makes her look much younger than she really is by that point. I found this a very curious observation, and do wonder if there’s any merit to it…

·        The Time Warrior was also the very first story featuring the Sontaran alien race, and it was very interesting to see how the character has changed through the years, as the Sontarans pop up again in several other “Doctor Who” adventures in the future (as well as a couple of episodes of “The Sarah Jane Adventures,” Elisabeth Sladen’s successful “Doctor Who” spinoff series).

Why I enjoyed The Time Warrior:

If I’m honest, I really didn’t enjoy this story; I only wanted to watch it because it was Elisabeth Sladen’s very first appearance as Sarah Jane Smith. The overall story, with all its little sub-plots, was kind of lost on me – but as I said, there were those couple bits of funny dialogue that did get a laugh out of me.

The Time Warrior is available on DVD from Amazon.

Check out more about Sarah’s outfits from “The Time Warrior” over at The Sarah Jane Wardrobe Appreciation Society at

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