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Serial: 4S  Episode Nos. 448, 449. 450, 451, 452, and 453.  Title: The Talons of Weng-Chiang

 

The Doctor plans a night at a Victorian East End theater for Leela, but instead they stumble upon

a murder, one among a series being carried out at the behest of the great magician Li H'Sen Chang

for his god Weng-Chiang.  The Doctor's suspicions lead him to the Palace Theater, the sewers of

London, and the House of the Dragon, while Leela learns the horrific fate of the young women

Weng-Chiang collects...

 

starring Tom Baker as Doctor Who and Louise Jameson as Leela.

 

Written by Robert Holmes, Produced by Philip Hinchcliffe, and Directed by David Maloney.

 

Originally transmitted from 26 February 1977 to 2 April 1977 on BBC1.

 

This DVD was originally released in 2003.  That version has now been withdrawn from sale.

It has now been re-released as The Talons of Weng-Chiang Special Edition.

The features listed below are for the Special Edition.  Differences from the original version

are discussed.

 

3-disc set.

 

On Disc 1: 

- All 4 episodes of the story as originally broadcast, but digitally remastered and restored.

   The restoration has been completely redone from scratch for this Special Edition.

- Graphical menus, episode and scene selection features, and subtitles for

   the hearing impaired.

- Optional commentary track by actors Louise Jameson (Leela), John Bennett (Li H’Sen

    Chang), and Christopher Benjamin (Henry Gordon Jago), producer Philip Hinchcliffe,

    and director David Maloney. (This is the same commentary as in the earlier release.)

- Information Text subtitles option.  Displays pop-up production trivia throughout

   the story

 

On Disc 2:

All of the content on this disc is new.  None of it appeared in the earlier release.

- “The Last Hurrah  A 32-minute conversation between Tom Baker and Philip Hinchcliffe

  at Tom’s home where they discuss how this was their last story together.  Also features

  actors Louise Jameson, Christopher Benjamin, Trevor Baxter (Prof. Litefoot), costume

  designer John Bloomfield, designer Roger Murray-Leach, and director David Maloney.

- “Moving On  A 5-minute look by Philip Hinchcliffe at the ideas he had for the next

   season had he remained in charge.

- “The Foe From the Future  A 7-minute look at the original unmade story concept by

    writer Robert Banks Stewart and producer Philip Hinchcliffe that was then completely

    changed and rewritten into The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

- “Now and Then  An 11-minute look at the locations the story was shot at and how

    they look today.

- “Look East  A 4-minute feature a 1977 news program did on the making of this story

    on location, including an interview with Tom Baker.

- “Victoriana and Chinoiserie” An 8-minute discussion of the literary influences in this

    story between producer Philip Hinchcliffe and Dr. Anne Witchard, an expert in literature.

- “Music Hall  A 22-minute documentary about the history of the real music hall theaters.

- “Limehouse: A Victorian Chinatown  A 19-minute documentary about the Limehouse area

   and its uses in this story and in other stories in English literature.

 

On Disc 3

This contains all of the bonus content that was on Disc 2 of the original UK release.

It is missing two features that were on the original North American edition (because they

weren’t on the UK one and this disc is basically a copy of that), which were the

“Who’s Who” biography text and the Howard DaSilva introduction narration featurette. 

- “Whose Doctor Who” – a 1977 BBC2 documentary running 1 hour that examined the

   program’s history, how it affects children, and went behind-the-scenes on the making of

   The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

- Philip Hinchcliffe Interview – a 1977 BBC TV interview with producer Philip Hinchcliffe,

   running 11 minutes. 

- Behind-the-Scenes – 24 minutes of poor quality “wild” video footage of the final

   Talons studio session.

- Blue Peter – 26 minutes of segments from 1970s episodes of the children’s series

   Blue Peter that taught children at home how to build their own Doctor Who

   theater from items found around the house.

- 40th Anniversary Celebration – a 3 minute “music video” of clips from the entire series

   set to a reedited version of the theme music as recorded by dance club music group Orbital.

- Subtitles option.  All featurettes can be played with caption subtitles for the

   hearing impared.

- Trails and Continuity.  A little more than 2 minutes of the BBC announcers trailers

   for The Talons of Weng-Chiang and the Whose Doctor Who documentary.

- Tardis Cam No. 6.   A new 1-minute special effects featurette showing the TARDIS

   travelling in space, originally made for the BBCi Doctor Who website.

- Photo Gallery