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- Episode: THE TERROR OF THE ZYGONS (Story No. 80)
- Starring: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Ian Marter
- Written By: Robert Banks Stewart
- Directed By: Douglas Camfield
- Original Air Date: August to September 1975
- Extras: Isolated Score, Director's Cut, Interviews, Commentary, and More
- Distributor: BBC
DOCTOR WHO: THE TERROR OF THE ZYGONS Review
Story No. 80
By Kimberly McCall
November 18, 2013
DOCTOR WHO: THE TERROR OF THE ZYGONS story no.80
With the “Day of the Doctor” almost upon us, it is a prime moment to venture back in time and catch up on some of the original sighings of great villains you might have missed.
The Zygons (David Tennant's favorite Doctor Who monsters) made their first squishy appearance back in 1975 in "Terror of the Zygons" during the run of the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. Since the BBC has confirmed the return of the whispering underwater aliens for the premier less than a week away, it is only fitting that they release the four part episode to hype our anticipation.
In "Terror of the Zygons", we find the Doctor, Sarah Jane (Elizabeth Sladen), and Harry (Ian Marter) investigating the destruction of North Sea oil rigs in old and mysterious Scotland. Rumors of dormant evils and myth dominate the local population and Baker is as astute as ever in humorously proving there might be more to the story than meets the eye. Harry spends most of the episode in captivity while the Doctor and Sarah Jane work with the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) to prevent the shapeshifting Zygons from taking over the planet.
One of the constants of the “Doctor Who” series is the realism of the villains despite the (at times) outlandish costumes and makeup. Why are the Zygons still so darn creepy despite looking like giant suction cup clad shrimp? Perhaps the answer is the human eyes, or maybe the sheer creativity and imagination behind the makeup. Whatever it is, it was complimented by fantastic “underwater” lighting that was rare for TV in the 1970's.
Director Douglas Camfield was famed at the time for being able to portray a lot with a little, making him an ideal candidate for “Doctor Who”. He worked well with the sets he was given and there are some half decent special effects for fans to cozy up to. On the other hand, the ending seems to suddenly drop off without a proper sendoff to a great story.
Oh, and did I mention the Loch Ness monster is an alien being providing an aid to the Zygons? An interesting idea, but not a necessary one. The Zygons are captivating on their own, and we look forward to their triumphant return in “Day of the Doctor” on November 23.