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The Fourth Dimension

City of Death


For the first time in the history of the series, location filming takes place beyond the shores of the United Kingdom. Extensive filming was conducted in Paris with the Doctor, Romana and Duggan seen at all the major sites of the city, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre.


Well known comic actors, John Cleese and Eleanor Bron make a cameo appearance in Part Four of the story. Believing the TARDIS to be an exhibit in a gallery, the two art connoisseurs watch in admiration as the Doctor jumps into the TARDIS and it dematerialises in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Eleanor Bron returned to Doctor Who with a much more significant role in the Sixth Doctor story, Revelation of the Daleks.


Catherine Schell plays the unfortunate Countess who has failed to notice that she’s married to a one-eyed alien. Schell was well known to science fiction audiences for playing the shape-changing alien, Maya in Gerry Anderson’s Space: 1999.


The Doctor claims, once again, to have met Shakespeare and says that he helped him write the first draft of Hamlet after Shakespeare sprained his wrist writing sonnets. When we finally see the Time Lord meet the Bard in The Shakespeare Code, the playwright doesn’t mention any previous meetings with the Doctor… Shakespeare also appears in the First Doctor adventure, The Chase.


Romana says that she is 125 years old – quite young for a Time Lord. But in The Ribos Operation she said she was 140 years old!


When the Doctor suggests that the Louvre houses one of the greatest art treasures of the universe, Romana suggests a few potential rivals. These are: the Academius Stolaris on Sirius 5, the Solarium Panatica on Stricium, and the Braxiatel Collection.


Professor Kerensky’s computer makes the same sounds as the super computer WOTAN that appeared in the 1966 story, The War Machines.


David Graham is Professor Kerensky who is aged to death by his own time machine. Graham had been one of the actors to give voice to the Daleks in many of the stories they appeared in during the Sixties as well as the two Dalek cinema movies. He had also been the voice of Brains in the Gerry Anderson puppet series, Thunderbrids. Kerensky was Graham’s second Doctor Who role where he had appeared in front of the cameras, his first being as Charlie the bartender in The Gunfighters.


The Mona Lisa is almost certainly the most famous portrait in the world. It was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the sixteenth century. Although it is not known for certain, the woman in the portrait is widely believed to be Lisa del Giocondo the wife of Francesco del Giocondo who commissioned da Vinci to paint his wife’s portrait. One possible explanation for the painting is given in The Sarah Jane Adventures in a 2009 story called Mona Lisa’s Revenge.


All four episodes of City of Death have been restored and remastered and are available on a double disc DVD set. The episodes are accompanied by a commentary by actors Tom Chadbon (Duggan), Julian Glover (Scaroth), and director Michael Hayes. Also included on the release is raw footage from the studio recordings of the serial; and the documentary Paris in the Springtime which looks at the making of the story.

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