‘Fury from the Deep’ is now out on DVD! And Blu-Ray, for those of you who appreciate high definition, and a cheeky steelbook. This classic Second Doctor adventure is one of the latest stories to receive the cartoon treatment, following its unceremonious burning at the hands of the BBC in the late 60s. But is the story all that it’s cracked up to be, and is it worth the investment of your hard-earned pennies?
First off, let me be clear – yes, I definitely think you should buy ‘Fury from the Deep.’ I’ve only seen the DVD version so I can’t speak for the Blu-Ray, but trust me when I say you’re getting value with this release. There are three jam-packed discs featuring all six episodes of the story in colour, plus an additional version in black and white, plus a telesnap reconstruction with narrated audio.
Then there’s a commentary on each of the episodes, moderated by the wonderful Toby Hadoke and featuring Frazer Hines (who plays the Doctor’s companion Jamie), Gary Russell (the Doctor Who stalwart who’s produced this animation) plus many other guests. And on top of this are production subtitles which detail the story’s making, plus there’s an optional 5.1 surround sound mix for those who appreciate 360 degree seaweed. In short, this really is an excellent offering, and indeed I made similar gushings about the recent ‘The Power of the Daleks‘ release. The BBC really isn’t scrimping with its Classic Who.
Bear in mind, too, that these special features are just the tip of the iceberg. The three discs are overflowing with extras, including the original scripts in PDF format, a brand new making of documentary, and (intriguingly) the full six part radio production of Victor Pemberton’s The Slide, which was the original inspiration for ‘Fury from the Deep.’ I won’t list all of the other features lest this review becomes a list, but trust me when I say there are many other bits and pieces to sink your teeth into.
Then we come onto the animation quality, which tends to divide opinion in the Whoniverse – ‘Fury from the Deep’ notwithstanding. And it’s clear, already, that not everyone is a fan of this production. I’ve seen some (justifiable) criticisms being levelled at the length of the characters’ arms, and not everybody appreciates the casual appearance of Roger Delgado as the Master, which certainly did not feature in the original production(!) In short, the look and feel of ‘Fury’ is highly stylised, and won’t be everyone’s cup of seawater.
My view? I think the animation’s fine. For a start, I love the colour palette – lots of musty atmospheric greys on the seashore, and dank, sinister greens inside the base, where most of the story takes place. Moreover (and it could just be me) but I think the animation is a lot smoother in this release; it seems a little less ‘clunky’ than ‘The Faceless Ones,’ but I might be misremembering. My only criticism is that the animators appear to have added about three stone in weight to the Second Doctor, so he does seem a little larger than life in this story, in every sense!
Otherwise, I think the animation works extremely well. We’re so fortunate to have the original soundtracks in our possession, and watching them synchronised with the new pictures really does give the illusion that ‘Fury from the Deep’ has been returned to the archives. This is a much more immersive way of enjoying the story, having previously only been available on CD, or as a telesnap reconstruction. In fact, I listened to the narrated soundtrack a few years ago and I didn’t enjoy it half as much as this DVD, so I’m very pleased that the BBC is putting time and money into these releases. (‘The Evil of the Daleks‘ next, yes?)
But then we come to the story itself. Now I must admit, when I listened to the aforementioned CD back in the day, I found ‘Fury’ to be something of a snooze fest. And whilst I did enjoy the animation infinitely more, I’d still be lying if I said it was a heart-stopping classic. Yes there are some nice moments (and some profoundly chilling ones) but in my opinion the adventure treads a lot of water and would have been way better as a four parter. Heck, let’s be crazy – this would have been a stonking three parter!
Of course, this is a common problem in the world of Doctor Who, which has never done six part stories particularly well. And indeed, they were often only done out of necessity, as six episode serials were cheaper to produce! So ‘Fury from the Deep’ is a definite slow-burner, and you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more if you break it down across several evenings. Just make sure you have the tissues ready for the final moments of Episode Six, which are beautifully acted by the main cast. I’ll say no more.
So would I recommend that you buy ‘Fury from the Deep’ on DVD? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. You are getting a huge amount of material for the price, and it’s an adventure that is definitely worth seeing – if you can look past the elongated arms and the somewhat ‘gentle’ pacing. I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Plus, I’m now giddy to see which other missing stories the BBC is going to recreate. I’m genuinely hungry for more.
But tell me what you think. Are you tempted to buy ‘Fury from the Deep’ on DVD? Or, if already own it, did you enjoy? And did you appreciate the animation style? Let me know in the comments below.
And for more on this adventure, check out our introductory piece: ‘Fury from the Deep: Everything you need to know.‘
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