Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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Terror of the Zygons: Part Four 

UNIT attempt to track down the Zygon ship while Broton prepares to have the Skarasen attack London.

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UNIT attempt to track down the Zygon ship while Broton prepares to have the Skarasen attack London.

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20 September 1975 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The music by Geoffrey Burgon was created by five musicians playing a combination of flute, clarinet, harp, violin, cello, clavichord and percussion. See more »

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The Doctor: Well, you can't rule the world in hiding.You've got to come out onto the balcony sometimes and wave a tentacle, if you'll pardon the expression.
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Featured in The Culture Show: Episode #2.9 (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

S13: Terror of the Zygons: Solid serial with good design, locations, performances, and decent story
4 November 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Summoned back to Earth by UNIT, the time-travelling trio of the Doctor, Sarah-Jane, and Harry, find themselves in Scotland. The Doctor is not amused to find that the Brigadier brought him all this way just to investigate some oil rigs being destroyed, however investigation of part of a wreckage appears to show a giant tooth mark. Meanwhile, Harry's own investigations seen him shot and hospitalized, making it clear that certainly something odd is going on – not least of which is the landlord's bagpipe playing.

Despite the so-so ending to the previous season, I was in the stride so carried on into the thirteenth season to find this solidly strong serial as the kick-off. The narrative is not without faults, as it very much follows the Doctor Who norm of 'monster of the week', cliffhangers, and disused quarries. It is engaging enough though, mostly because the plot devices are kept moving, so although specifics don't always make sense, by the time you start to question it, the serial has moved forward to the point where that plot device is not really relevant anymore, so it feels like less of a weakness. The drama does move forward well though, and this is one of the better examples of the Who staple fare. Not sure if my Scottish peer Theo would agree, but personally I did not find it distracting that every possible Scottish stereotype was wheeled out for this one – from jokes about tightness through to Nessie herself.

The production values of the serial also greatly help this feeling of robustness. The external locations look good, but it is the design of the Zygons that is most effective. Okay so they seem to share voice coaches with the Ice Warriors, but otherwise they are a creepy mix of suckers and beaks. Their ship has a wonderfully organic feel to it, and it does remind of David Cronenberg (albeit in a more family friendly way). The Nessie effects are probably the weakest part of the serial (indeed the idea itself is not great). Luckily the creature is not seen too often, because when it is, it does look like a dead greyhound in a Halloween costume. The cast all give good performances, with Baker on good form again; I like that there is not 'one thing' about him that n tends to dominate viewings (ie he is not 'serious', 'action-orientated', 'wacky' etc) but that he is able to play well across all situations as seen here. Sladen is solid again, while Marter is significantly better than his character last season (okay not the actor's fault, but still, it seems I was not alone in not liking him since he has been changed here). Courtney (and UNIT generally) is a welcome return to the series, while the supporting cast are all solidly good.

The serial perhaps is too much on-formulae to really surprise and stand out as a great serial, but it is a solidly good one which plays along the lines of many other serials but does so with higher standards and tighter control than may always be the case.


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