DVD Review: Doctor Who “Terror of the Zygons” (1975)

Doctor Who "Terror Of The Zygons" DVD Review

When I was a kid, Terror of the Zygons (1975) was the episode that introduced me to Doctor Who, late one Saturday morning in the mid 70s. I came upon it while channel-surfing and mentioned it to my mother. She told me it was a show she watched every Saturday, so my brother and I sat down and watched it too. I found the Zygons scaring and imposing. I assumed they drank blood or something, for they unsettled me the most when they were draped in that weird red lighting. Their whispering tones creeped me out as well.

As the episode starts off, an oil rig is attacked by something in the ocean that we cannot see. Meanwhile, the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) has summoned the Doctor (Tom Baker) back to earth to help him investigate the cause of these oil rig attacks. Harry (Ian Marter) and Sarah (Elisabeth Sladen) are in tow and together they discover that shape-shifting aliens known as the Zygons arrived on earth centuries ago and are responsible. They are using a cybernetic creature they call the Skarasen to destroy the oil rigs. The Skarasen is the creature people have been sighting in the local loch for eons, and have dubbed the Loch Ness Monster.

There are only four Zygons hiding out in their underwater Loch Ness base, but more have been summoned and as usual world domination is in the works. This is another well-made episode from the Tom Baker era.

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1.33:1 full frame presentation—English Dolby Digital Stereo, English Dolby Digital 5.1—English subs only.

This is a two-disc set.

Aside from a commentary with producer Philip Hinchcliffe, writer Robert Banks Stewart, production unit manager George Gallaccio, make-up artist Sylvia James and sound effect producer Dick Mills other extras are included which are all on the second disc:

‘Scotch Mist In Sussex’ (31:23): A comprehensive dissection on this episode’s making, including FX.

‘Remembering Douglas Camfield’ (30:01): Camfield was a very notable director of TV in the 60s, 70s and up to the mid-80s. It chronicles his beginning, his time on Doctor Who and his sudden death in 1984. A lot of British TV shows I’ve never heard of are talked about, but I liked this doc regardless of my ignorance about UK television.

‘The Unit Family—Part 3’ (26:26): The late Nicholas Courtney, John Levene, Tom Baker and others discuss the stories UNIT was a part of, and the transition, which occurred when Tom Baker became the Doctor, that sidelined the military’s presence on the show for some time.

‘Doctor Who Stories—Tom Baker’ (22:55): A wonderful 22 minutes of Tom Baker (interviewed in 2003) reminiscing about his time as the Doctor. He hated K9 and has a hilarious account to share that involved a rehearsal with actor Michael Wisher who played Davros, leader of the Daleks.

‘Doctor Who Stories—Elisabeth Sladen’ (19:45): Same thing here. A 2003 interview with the now deceased Sladen reminiscing about Who. Equally fun to listen to.
‘Merry-Go-Round—The Fuel Fishers’ (19:39): This appears to be a short doc from the 70s where Elisabeth Sladen toured an oil rig and talked about where oil comes from and how we get it out of the ground.

‘South Today’ (3:09): A short on-location interview with Tom Baker when he was filming Terror Of The Zygons.

Rounding out the extras is a ‘Photo Gallery’ (5:08), ‘PDF Materials (Radio Times Listings)’ and a trailer for the next Doctor Who release, The Moonbase.

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