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TME > Video > Commercial Releases

The Airzone Solution?

A spin-off produced between the 3rd and 4th Stranger releases, maintaining BBV's relationships with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant and putting them alongside other surviving Doctors McCoy, Davison and Pertwee, this 'environmental thriller for the 90s' was written by Nicholas Briggs and directed by Bill Baggs. This release was particularly notable since, with the failing of 'The Dark Dimension', it was the only celebratory Doctor Who full-length production produced in 1993 ('Dimensions in Time' being the BBC's only attempt). The small size of Pertwee's role was due to him being added only at the last minute, after Sylvester alerted him to the production and he requested a part.

Synopsis

Al Dunbar (Peter Davison) and his mentor Oliver Trethewey (Jon Pertwee) are viewing a documentary Al is producing: earlier that year, the government had awarded Airzone a contract to solve the growing problems with pollution, but Dunbar questions its success. Environmental minister Richard Allenby (Michael Wisher) pleads that Airzone is a success. Trethewy gives the documentary a mediocre review.

Meanwhile, a news report reveals that the general public are also unhappy with Airzone - this is followed up a weather report on the current levels on toxicity and ozone by Arnie Davies (Colin Baker), who reminds viewers to keep their toxic masks with them at all times. His producer Sam Flint (Nicholas Briggs) watches nervously.

Anthony Stanwick (Sylvester McCoy), a global activist in Dunbar's documentary, meets a woman in a dark alley who hands him a package - they kiss and separate. Watched by a figure, Stanwick runs to Dunbar's house to discuss events. Robin Archer (Bernadette Gepheart), Chief Executive at Airzone (also on Dunbar's tape) decides that the woman, Rachel Lonsdale (Heather Barker), will be a perfect candidate for "the next stage" - we see a gun held to her head in her office at Airzone's Transhaw Clinic.

Dunbar breaks into Airzone and hacks into a PC there, with help from the contents of the package from Rachel. He sees something that shocks him, but the alarms are raised. Stanwick, in the getaway car, quickly drives off. Dunbar finds Rachel undergoing some sort of experiments - he helps her out, and they both run. Dunbar ends up in a highly toxic room, followed by security guards in gas masks. He dies, and at that exact moment, Stanwick crashes his car and Dunbar (who is making another weather report) passes out.

The next day, Archer expresses satisfaction to right-hand-man MacNamara (Alan Cumming) at Dunbar's death, but is annoyed that he let Rachel escape. Allenby arrives at her office, annoyed that the situation has escalated. Throughout the day, Arnie sees visions of a mysterious man - in his house and in his office, and then sees the report of Dunbar's death on TV and recognises him as the man. He then sees Dunbar once more at home.

The following day, Arnie and his partner Elenya Brown (Nicola Bryant) visit Al's place, and find the key where Dunbar had said it would be. Inside, they watch the documentary as Trethewy lurks outside. At Airzone, MacNamara presents Archer with a photo of Stanwick - she is very unhappy. Back at Al's Place, an Airzone detective (Gary Russell) arrives with a warrant to search and remove any items he wishes.

Back at work, Davies researches the statistics and discovers a pollution rise of 11% since Airzone started. Elenya arrives to tell him she has managed to get the coverage of Airzone's conference the following week, and that she also has a folder of dirt on Airzone. His lack of interest in her career advancement annoys her. During his next weather report, Arnie manages to insert his new-found knowledge on the pollution rise. Robin Archer is irritated, as is Sam Flint. Arnie points out to Flint that he used to know Al, and should be more eager to uncover the truth. This almost hits a nerve, but Flint is adamant that Arnie did wrong.

Davies finds a message on his car telling him to go to Al's place. There he meets Stanwick, who also saw the report - Stanwick thinks that Earth itself is using the ghost of Al to send them on a mission to save humanity. Meanwhile, at a public phone, Rachel (still on the run) makes a call and at the news headquarters, Flint asks Elenya to ensure Davies doesn't pull any further stunts or he'll lose his job. He is impressed with the amount of information Elenya has uncovered, but warns her to check her facts before she turns into Dunbar. After she leaves, he receives a phone call from Archer - he looks guilty.

Arnie and Anthony both see Al, and have a discussion with them. Unbeknownst to them, Trethewy is watching them, and sees Al too. They get into Anthony's car, where Rachel is waiting for them. A chase ensues, and eventually a van full of soldiers pull Rachel out of the car. Annoyed, Stanwick ditches Arnie, who returns home very late to a very irritated Elenya.

The following morning, Stanwick meets Arnie outside work, begging him for a few moments with Allenby when Elenya interviews him later that day. Arnie asks Elenya, but this just irritates her further. Back at the Transhaw clinic, we see further tests on Rachel. MacNamara oversees the interview Elenya has with Allenby, but once the cameras have stopped rolling, Arnie and Stanwick both enter brandishing a photo of Rachel. MacNamara claims she died earlier that week, and leaves. This is enough to convince Elenya to help the two. Outside, MacNamara phones someone to update them on the situation - it is not Archer, he is answering to someone else...

Arnie and Anthony are at the Airzone conference together, but Anthony is lead away at gunpoint by MacNamara, who takes him to a bedroom where Rachel lies. Archer gives a rousing speech, which pleases Allenby, but Arnie runs to the stage, grabbing a gun from security and holding it to her head. Flint watches with excitement, and refuses a direct request to pull the live broadcast, as Arnie makes an impassioned plea to the viewers. Stanwick brings Rachel to the stage, and the truth is revealed: Airzone are using government funding to experiment with gill implants, the tests of which have been making air quality lower. The implants cause Rachel great pain and she suffocates on the stage - the conference quickly clears, with even Allenby turning his back on Airzone. MacNamara returns to MI5, explaining that he realised Airzone's policy wasn't well handled, and Trethewy congratulates the two men, telling them that Al would have been proud.

Releases


??/??/1993: UK VHS - BBV - BBV4
??/??/1994: UK VHS - Carlton (as Pickwick) - PV2247
??/??/?????: US VHS - AD Vision - Cat# Unknown
02/12/2002: UK DVD - BBV - 2

Both original video releases featured different photo-montage art, the latter credited to Austen Atkinson-Broadbelt (who had taken a series of photos during recording, 4 of which were used on the box). The DVD release was designed by Steve Johnson.

Cast & Crew

Colin Baker - Arnie Davies
Nicola Bryant - Elenya Brown
Peter Davison - Al Dunbar
Sylvester McCoy - Anthony Stanwick
Jon Pertwee - Oliver Trethewey
Alan Cumming - MacNamara
Michael Wisher - Richard Allenby
Heather Barker - Rachel Lonsdale
Bernadette Gepheart - Robin Archer
Nicholas Briggs - Sam Flint
Quentin Rayner - Quentin
Emma Hill - Polly
Gary Russell - Detective

Writer
Nicolas [sic] Briggs

Director
Bill Baggs


Production Manager
Jo Tumelty

Production Associate
Helen Hewlett

Make-up
Sheila Werrey
Sheelagh Wells
Dee Hickin
Susan Moore & Colin Shulver
Wardrobe
Candida Hill

Graphic Design
Crawford Wilson
Chris Senior

Gaffer
Paul Silver
Ben Smithard

Grip
Jon Head

Editor
Michael Duxbury

Sound
Robert Hill

Composer
Alistair Lock

Director of Photography
Dick Kursa

(C) BBV 1993

Bonus Features

Peter Davison Interview (20'31")
Full length version of the interview that originally appeared on 'Stranger Than Fiction'.

Behind The Scenes (20'04")
Lengthy camcorder footage of the filming of a number of scenes.

Deleted Scenes (2'40")
Flint reinstates Davies, and an extended version of the Archer interview.

Out-takes (4'13")
McCoy, Pertwee, Baker, Davison, Bryant, Briggs and Wisher losing lines and fluffing.

Trailer (1'43"x2)
Presented twice (one with a couple of time-coded clips included, the other with the clips replaced), the original trailer.

I Love The Airzone Solution (2'30")
Fans at the Panopticon 2002 event (and actor Gary Russell) comment on their memories of the film.

Music
Presented over a static menu screen, the soundtrack to The Airzone Solution, extended and remixed by Lock.



A commentary and photo gallery were announced, and listed in the inner booklet, but did not appear on the final DVD.
 

Classifications

18/08/1994 - Passed as 'PG' by the BBFC  for the  Pickwick UK release
27/06/1994 - Passed as 'PG' by the OFLC for 'Low Level Course Language and Adult Themes' for Aus


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