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Earthshock

Rating Votes
10
24%
25
9
33%
34
8
18%
19
7
15%
15
6
8%
8
5
1%
1
4
1%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.4
Votes
103
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
NR
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/9/17 11:54 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A companion's departure is always sad, although Adric wasn't exactly the most popular one. It doesn't help when the Doctor doesn't seem to like him either. It's almost like when writing him the writers realised he wasn't working and wrote their opinion into the way the Doctor treated him. In fact, that probably is what happened. It's what the writers of Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain did when they didn't like Elmyra's inclusion so there has been evidence of it happening within the industry.

It's a surprise, then, that we care so much for Adric during his departure story. We can't help but feel sorry for the way the Doctor treats him at the beginning of the story and
Hide SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
when he dies it is so gut-wrenchingly sad that it is easily one of the best companion exits that Doctor Who has ever done.
Whilst the narrative is always important, it's more the tragedy that befalls one of the lead characters that's the most essential here rather than what the story is about. Not to say that it doesn't have a good story. The idea of the Cybermen trying to crash a space freighter into the Earth and
Hide SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
their plan consequently becoming the reason behind the dinosaurs' demise
is an interesting one and a solid appearance for the Cybermen.

The Cybermen would likely have had more impact at the time of broadcast though when their return was kept a secret. It would have been a nice surprise for the audience...which would then have immediately been followed by a nasty one (if you want to know what I mean by that and don't mind spoilers, look at the first spoiler tag). The problem with watching this story now is that we know that it's the Adric departure story and we know it features the Cybermen. It will never be able to be exactly as writer Eric Saward intended the audience to feel. That doesn't stop it from being a brilliant story though and it is still hugely enjoyable to watch.

A lot of it comes down to the performances from the leads. Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse totally sell their TARDIS crew as the dysfunctional unit. You really feel for the Doctor when he sees
Hide SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
the spaceship crash into the Earth with Adric onboard. It's especially tragic due to their argument about Adric wanting to return to E-Space happening not long before his death.
. This wasn't the best TARDIS crew the show had seen but they did feel like a unit. The choice to cut to silent credits is also a wide decision by the serial's editor Peter Grimwade as it helps add to the emotion intended from the viewer.

Oh, and isn't it great to have a strong female character in the form of space freighter commander Briggs? Beryl Reid is brilliant in the role and feels naturally authorative. In fact, she's so great that I couldn't possibly imagine a male actor in the role. This is a great example of a strong female character in the classic series; she's so good, perhaps, that maybe even showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat might have used her as a template for their female characters? There's not one female character in the new series who isn't a strong character in my opinion after all.

Overall, Earthshock is one of the show's best companion departure stories with great performances from the main cast and Beryl Reid as Briggs. It is a hugely recommended story, even if it no longer has the impact it probably had during its broadcast.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
4
Plot Rating:
3
Acting Rating:
4
Replay Rating:
4
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 10/5/16 8:54 pm
0 out of 2 found this review helpful.

For the life of me I don't understand the cult following Earthshock has achieved. In terms of meta-elements: the surprise of the Cybermen and the closing sacrifice; I can empathise, but as a serial taken on its own merits I'm at a loss.

After the remarkably post-modern directed Kinda, Earthshock feels more plodding than Peter Moffatt's serials. Whilst for Moffatt, I have little issue, namely due to calm camera work capturing the beautiful locales, hilarious performances and witticisms of the Visition - in Earthshock there's nowt. To my recollection, Earthshock must be one of the most morose Doctor Who serials ever produced, devoid of the hammer horror camp charm of other 'dark' tales.

With little humour or light touches, we're left with a tedious space opera plot that is remarkably empty of any twists or turns after the Cybermen reveal. Bomb plot foiled, Cybermen hijack a freighter to use as a massive space-torpedo in an act of terror. The tying of the two appears to be pretty tangential if not for Saward's need for some heavy foreshadowing and break-up from the monotony of spaceship sets.

As we plod without brevity through the usual corridors we're not even treated to much in the way of effects. Light on camera-on violence, most bits and pieces happen off screen and beyond some model work and one great wall meld shot, there's nothing too memorable.

The serial feels poorly cast with Beryl Reid sucking the tension off the screen. James Warwick is given nothing to work off. Tegan suddenly switched from screaming and howling wreck to Alien commando. Nyssa as ever, cruelly delegated to the console room.

Beyond the 'shock', ruined for those watching for the first time post-transmition, there's just not much Earthshock does that creeps above average, and in a season with Black Orchid, Kinda and the Visitation, it feels like a big step back into mediocrity.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 6/6/16 6:42 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Don’t ever say John Nathan-Turner didn’t know how to shock his audience into watching Doctor Who. He may have been the producer of the show when it was cancelled in 1989, but early on as producer he knew what he could do to get the ratings high with a shock factor to keep people watching. Earthshock is one of several times Nathan-Turner put in a shock and is arguably the most successful instance of this happening as there are two shocks present in this story. The first comes at the end of Part One where it is revealing the return of the Cybermen after almost seven years being off the screens and fifteen years since they had a good story. They have had a total facelift from their previous appearance wearing more of a loose fitting suit with a chest piece and heads with the human chins showing. They may look like cheap androids but there are subtle signs of their lost humanity that make me love their design almost as much as those seen in The Tenth Planet and The Tomb of the Cybermen.





The plot of the story sees the Cybermen infiltrating a freighter to crash it into the Earth. That would in turn stop a World Peace Conference being held to put Earth together to explore space and destroy threats to the human race. This plan while weak in originality is better than some of their previous plans like getting revenge by blowing up a planet and invading a space station because of reasons. The Doctor is there to stop their plans but not without dealing with some character drama of his own as Adric wishes to return home to E-Space and wants to prove that he is capable of actually doing it.





Eric Saward actually succeeds at making Adric more likable as a character in his script, compiling this with that ending and how Saward presents him more akin to the character we saw in Season 18 and not the whiny over privileged brat we saw through Season 19. This is also seen through the performance of Matthew Waterhouse who is clearly giving it his all and has found a director who can help him through the tough job of being a young actor in their first real big role. There is of course his performance in Part Four where we get to feel the impact of that ending on the character as eleven minutes into Part Four, Adric realizes he is the only one in the story who has the mathematical know how to get the freighter to stop crashing into the Earth. This action however is what leads to the second shock of the story, which is Adric dies as he runs out of time to get the ship off course and it crashes into the Earth. This sacrifice hits hard for the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan who all react differently, which I will go into later on in the review, but a complaint people may have is that Adric could have left in the escape pod as the freighter had been sent back in time long enough so it wouldn’t impact humanity. These people forget that it is the audience, the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan only who know this important piece of information so Adric’s sacrifice isn’t lessened in any way. The death is beautifully shot and performed with the final credits being silent.





Moving on to the Doctor, with Peter Davison getting the chance to show off his range as an actor. Now on television he is the weakest of the Classic Series Doctors as he plays him as a normal human, but here Eric Saward writes him as an actual human with flaws. They aren’t very large flaws as he is just a bit arrogant to Adric because of the danger and because he knows best. His reaction to Adric’s death is also pulled off very well as he has no lines but Davison gives Tegan this single look that this has happened and they cannot change it. The way Peter Grimwade directed this made it even better as he has the shot focusing on Tegan hugging Nyssa as they just realized what happens with the Doctor in the background. His interactions with the Cybermen are also great range showcasers. Saward also has the Doctor shoot the Cyber Leader, played by the brilliant David Banks, down in cold blood proving just how much according to The Doctor’s Daughter he is the man who never would.





Tegan Jovanka also gets to have moments in the spotlight in this story as she is fighting against the Cybermen and in the foreground for the entire story. Yes she gets captured and has her moments to complain, but is far away from the mouth on legs actress Janet Fielding would often comment upon. Nyssa is the companion whom I have a problem with in this story as she does literally nothing. At this point the TARDIS is so crowded she gets pushed to a corner. This becomes more obvious when you consider how many supporting characters Eric Saward forced into the story. They are all boring with the exception of Beryl Reid as the captain, Briggs. On a better note the direction by Peter Grimwade and the music by Malcolm Clarke matches up to near perfection which is great.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/8/15 4:28 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Earthshock manages to do so much so well with the first Cybermen story in seven years and the Cybermen are back with an amazing plan. Tegan shows real development as a character and real guts, proving her worth as a member of the TARDIS crew, and of course, there's Adric in a memorable exit.

The effects are great for the era and for pure looks, this is the best thing I've seen in classic Doctor Who outside of City of Death with some amazing atmosphere.

On the downside, this is a story that has far too many characters including a convenient band of soldiers who protect the Doctor. Poor Nyssa spends most of the story sitting stoically inside the TARDIS and while the Doctor is more active than in other stories, it still feels like adventures are happening to the Doctor though that's alleviated a bit in the final few minutes when he takes on the Cybermen.