The William Hartnell Years 1963-66
The TARDIS materialises not far from Paris in 1794 - one of the bloodiest years following the French Revolution of 1789. The travellers become involved with an escape chain rescuing prisoners from the guillotine and get caught up in the machinations of an English undercover spy, James Stirling - alias Lemaitre, governor of the Conciergerie Prison.
With many of the episodes missing footage but having found the audio, The Reign of Terror has been lovingly restored using striking animation.
My daughter was a bit unsure about this DVD when it arrived. Its black and white Dr Who. She loves Dr Who at the moment, but Tom Baker is the only one she had really been exposed to. So William Hartnell was a bit of an ask in the first place, whether it had been in colour or not. After many protests from her, she agreed to let us watch one episode, as long as she was allowed to watch her thing next.
Her thing happened to be the next two episodes before bed. So despite its age, she did enjoy the DVD and the Dr that Hartnell brings to the screen. This story line brings the French Revolution to life. I don't know a great deal about the period myself, other than what I have seen on TV in various shows. I think if I had been a bit more knowledgeable some things would have made more sense. I seemed to be on the backfoot as far as what was happening and why the whole time. I guess I was expecting there to be more reasoning for the torture and extreme conditions.
The acting was all classically theatre trained style. Lots of projecting and large movements. It comes across a bit melodramatic but its still a good watch. TV in those days was always like that anyway. As far as the animated episodes go, these were in black and white as well. The characters were animated but were incredibly stiff. I found it a bit boring to watch, but was glad that they completed the story with them. Otherwise it would be another incomplete story care of the BBC's old policy to burn tapes once played.
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