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Jul 25, 2007

Doctor, with these DVD extras, you are really spoiling us!

It's a great time to be a Doctor Who fan. Even if you're one of those souls that still wishes the new series had never been made (come on out, don't be shy), without it I doubt we would be getting such fantastic DVDs of 'classic Who' these days. Interest is at a high and the Restoration Team, not content with just providing praise-worthy transfers and repairs on the existing footage, are really pulling out all the stops with their extras these days. So much so, when seeing the upcoming stuff I just had to post here to spread the word and to see what people think.

You can find more detailed information over at their site (http://www.restoration-team.co.uk), but here I'm paraphrasing to show what's what. I've left out listing the standard clutch of extras for each - continuities, photo gallery, pdf listings, production subtitles - in favour of the juicy stuff!

First up - Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity are coming out in a dual boxset on August 6th.

Time-Flight DVD
* Commentary with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Eric Saward.
* Mouth on Legs (dur. 13' 36"), Janet Fielding's first on-screen DVD interview, in which she talks about her time on the show.
* Deleted and Extended Scenes package (dur. 3' 46")
* Jurassic Larks (dur. 19' 33") - behind-the-scenes action from the studio recording sessions
* Out-takes (dur. 13' 52")
* Peter Grimwade interview (dur. 4' 11") from Keith Barnfather's 1987 Mythmakers video, about writing this story

Arc of Infinity DVD
* Commentary with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Colin Baker.
* Anti-Matter from Amsterdam (dur. 34' 55"), the making of Arc of Infinity. Featuring Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sarah Sutton, Ian Collier, Paul Jerricho and Alistair Cumming (Colin), Eric Saward, Johnny Byrne and narrator Sophie Aldred. Filmed on-location in Amsterdam.
* The Omega Factor (dur 14' 55") where writers and actors involved in the various Omega stories look at the character and motivations of the renegade Time Lord. Featuring Bob Baker, Johnny Byrne, Stephen Thorne, Ian Collier, and Nev Fountain (who wrote the 'Omega' Big Finish audio).
* Deleted Scenes package (dur. 2' 54")
* Under Arc Lights (dur. 11' 30"), behind-the-scenes studio recording sessions.
* CGI Effects option, eighteen of the original video effects sequences replaced by new CGI versions
* Isolated music score

Time-Flight has the Fielding interview which should be worthwhile, and I usually tend to find the Davison commentary tracks to be the most fun as well. Davison's dislike for this story and the limitations of its budget are well-known in particular.

The Arc of Infinity commentary could be worth the price alone, what a great idea to put Colin in there. He and Davison have usually kept up quite a Troughton/Pertwee line in inter-Doctor ribbing and put-downs, so there could be some really fun stuff here along with the usual jabs where the production and acting fall flat. What will they make of the Ergon? I'm also interesting in seeing what Alistair Cumming looks like now, I confess I found him the scariest looking thing in the story at the time...and I've never seen what Stephen Thorne looks like ever. I do hope he does his whole interview SHOUTING HIS REPLIES, just for old times' sake.

I don't even LIKE either of these stories, but I'll be picking this dual set up without hesitation thanks to the extras.

The Time Warrior DVD
(out on September 3rd)

* Commentary with Elisabeth Sladen, Barry Letts and Uncle Tewwance.
* Beginning the End (dur. 30' 13"), cast and crew talk about the making of this story, partially shot on location at Peckforton Castle. With Elisabeth Sladen, Donald Pelmear (Prof Rubeish), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba F...uh, 'Hal the Archer'), Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks and designer Keith Cheetham.
* Optional CGI Effects - such as a new castle explosion, Linx's ship landing on Earth, a beam effect for his gun and so on.
The guy doing them, Brendan Sheppard, had this to say :
"I had the chance to show Barry Letts, Elisabeth Sladen and Terrance Dicks all the new CGI shots and they were all extremely pleased, in fact at the end of the viewing Barry turned to me, told me he loved it then added.. "So about Invasion of the Dinosaurs..."

This is one of my favourite Pertwee stories anyway, and I'll be interested in seeing the new CGI effects as well. Lots of clean-up on the print apparently, I thought the videotape looked fairly fuzzy in parts so it should look great. Good long documentary too.

But it's the Key to Time Season 16 boxset that's impressed me the most. It's been out in the US as a Region 1 set since 2002, but people have been champing at the bit for years for it to come out over here. Rather than just do a straight bare-bones conversion job for the European market though, they've upped the production budget and aimed at making it seem attractive even to people that already own the 2002 version. So we're talking 3 new commentary tracks for the stories Tom didn't commentate on before (Pirate, Stones and Armageddon) and more extras than you can shake a stick at. How's this lot look to you?

Key to Time Season boxset DVD
(out on September 24rd)

==========The Ribos Operation
* Commentary with Tom Baker and Mary Tamm (from 2002)
* A Matter of Time (dur. 60' 00" ) covers not only the Key to Time season but the entirety of Graham Williams' eventful three years as  producer of Doctor Who in the late 1970s. Featuring interviews with Graham Williams (extracts from two 1980's conventions), Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Mary Tamm, Lalla Ward (her first interview for the DVD range), John Leeson, Paul Seed (Graff Vynda-K!), script editors Anthony Read and Douglas Adams (interviewed in 1992), writers Bob Baker, Dave Martin (his last interview) and David Fisher, directors Pennant Roberts, Michael Hayes, Ken Grieve, Christopher Barry and Darrol Blake, designers Richard McManan-Smith and Dick Coles, visual effects designers Mat Irvine and Colin Mapson, new series writer Gareth Roberts, DWAS founder member Jeremy Bentham, and Graham's widow, Jackie Williams. Hell, maybe even I'm interviewed on there.
* The Ribos File (dur. 19' 36") - cast and crew look back at the making of the story. Featuring Nigel Plaskitt (Unstoffe), Paul Seed (Graff Vynda-K), Mary Tamm, Prentis Hancock (Shrieve Captain) and Stuart Fell (long-time stuntman and monster body), with Doctor Who Magazine editor Clayton Hickman.

==========The Pirate Planet
* Commentary 1 with Bruce Purchase and director Pennant Roberts (from 2002)
* Commentary 2 with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and script editor Anthony Read.
* Parrot Fashion (dur. 30' 28") looks at the writing and production of the story. Featuring Douglas Adams (archive interview), Mary Tamm, John Leeson, Bruce Purchase (The Captain), Rosalind Lloyd (The Nurse), Primi Townsend (Mula), script editor Anthony Read, director Pennant Roberts, film cameraman Elmer Cossey, visual effects designer Colin Mapson, Douglas Adams' half-brother James Thrift ,and friend and biographer Nick Webb.
* Film Inserts, Deleted Scenes & Outtakes (dur. 13' 56")
* Weird Science (dur. 17' 14") - a spoof seventies schools science show looks at some the science seen in 'The Key to Time'. Featuring David Graham and Mat Irvine, with Stevii the super-computer.

==========The Stones of Blood
* Commentary 1 with Mary Tamm and director Darrol Blake (from 2002)
* Commentary 2 with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, Susan Engel (Vivien Fay) and writer David Fisher.
* Getting Blood from the Stones (dur. 26' 32") - cast and crew look back at the making of the story. Featuring David Fisher, script editor Anthony Read, director Darrol Blake, Mary Tamm, John Leeson and Susan Engel, visual effects designer Mat Irvine, with DWM's Clayton Hickman and SFX's Steve O'Brien.
* Hammer Horror (dur. 13' 05") - the influences of horror films on Doctor Who stories down the years. Featuring interviews with former Shivers magazine editor David Miller, author Jonathan Rigby, script editors Terrance Dicks and Anthony Read, with archive interview from actor Tom Baker.
* Stones Free (dur. 9' 08") - Mary Tamm visits the Rollright Stones location used in the story to meet local experts on this ancient stone circle.
* Deleted Scenes (dur. 2' 10") - deleted scenes from episode two.
* Model World (dur. 2' 40") - an excerpt from 'The Model World of Robert Symes' looks at the model work for this story, with designer Mat Irvine.
* Blue Peter (dur. 6' 03") - the famous children's show looks back at the history of Doctor Who on the show's fifteen anniversary.
* Nationwide (dur. 8' 49") - the BBC1 news magazine programme looks back on 15 years of Doctor Who with a surreal interview from Tom Baker, with Mary Tamm and Carole Ann Ford.

==========The Androids of Tara
* Commentary with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and director Michael Hayes (from 2002)
* The Humans of Tara (dur. 21' 12") - the making of this story, featuring interviews with Paul Lavers (Farrah), Mary Tamm and Neville Jason (Prince Reynart), writer David Fisher, script editor Anthony Read and director Michael Hayes.
* Now & Then - The Androids of Tara (dur. 10' 17") compares and contrasts present day locations as they are now with how they appeared in the story.
* Double Trouble (dur. 11' 02") - a brief history of 'doubles' in other Doctor Who stories. With contributions from DWM assistant editor Tom Spilsbury, Doctor Who Adventures editor Moray Laing and art editor Paul Lang.

==========The Power of Kroll
* Commentary with Tom Baker and John Leeson (2002)
* In Studio (dur. 11' 25") - studio recordings of the story.
* Variations (dur. 6' 24") - a BBC local news programme visits the story's location during filming.
* There's Something About Mary (dur. 9' 47") - Mary Tamm looks back at her single-season starring role as the Doctor's companion.
* Philip Madoc - A Villain for All Seasons (dur. 9' 40") - actor Philip Madoc looks back on his numerous roles as a Doctor Who villain down the years, including his appearance in the 1966 feature film 'Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD'.

==========The Armageddon Factor (two discs)
* Commentary 1 with Mary Tamm, John Woodvine and director Michael Hayes (from 2002)
* Commentary 2 with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and John Leeson.

* Defining Shadows (dur. 15' 38") - cast and crew look back at the making of this story, with interviews from writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin, director Michael Hayes, script editor Anthony Read, designer Richard McManan-Smith, with Mary Tamm, Lalla Ward, David Harries (Shapp) and Barry Jackson (Drax).
* Alternative / Extended Scene (dur. 2' 49")
* Directing Who (dur. 8' 25") - Michael Hayes looks back on his directing career on Doctor Who.
* Rogue Time Lords (dur. 13' 10") - a potted history of other errant Time Lords. Featuring actor Nicholas Courtney, script editor Terrance Dicks, writers Pip and Jane Baker, DWM assistant editor Tom Spilsbury, Doctor Who Adventures editor Moray Laing and art editor Paul Lang. The Brig and Pip 'n' Jane...that's a weird combination isn't it?
* Pebble Mill at One (dur. 8' 21") - Tom Baker interviewed on the long-running lunchtime magazine show in 1978.
* Radiophonic Feature (dur. 4' 26") - a Pebble Mill at One interview by Tony Francis, with Dick Mills and Brian Hodgson looking at Radiophonic music and effects in Doctor Who.
* The New Sound of Music (dur. 0' 59") - sound effects supremo Dick Mills talks about creating a Doctor Who sound effects in this extract from the BBC documentary.
* Merry Christmas, Doctor Who (dur. 1' 11") - a special Christmas sketch, recorded on the set of 'The Armageddon Factor' for the BBC Christmas Tape that year.

...and just for the hell of it...

* Late Night Story - Tom Baker reads five spine-chilling stories from this 1978 series:
        The Photograph by Nigel Kneale (dur. 14' 29")
        The Emissary by Ray Bradbury (dur. 13' 41")
        Nursery Tea by Mary Danby (dur. 14' 16")
        The End of the Party by Graham Greene (dur. 14' 58")
        Sredni Vashtar by Saki (dur. 12' 50") - this episode was never transmitted.

I mean, seriously...how amazing is all that? Planet of Evil is rumoured for an October release as well, and then it's New Season 3 at the end of November...


Strictly speaking, Invasion Of The Dinosaurs should really be 'The Beginning Of The End', since it was (a) the start of Pertwee's last production block, and (b) shit.

Surely anything STEVE RO-BERTS and crew can create has got to be better than a close-up cut to a brick wall falling down. Makes the Ark In Space CGI look good.

Looks like we're also getting Destiny of the Daleks in November too and expect this release to have some highly unusual features.

Can I ask why there are a high number of Tom Baker episodes? I mean, I do like him but it does feel like overload.

What about more Pertwee? Would love to see his first season get an airing beyond just 'Speahead from Space' and 'Inferno'. What about the 2nd Doc? Have all the episodes been lost bar the ones that have been released? (If if it has, then that is certainly tragic!)

I like T Baker but just 2 stories from the 5th and 1 from the 3rd doesnt spread it out evenly.

This is what I think but hey, different strokes for different folks I guess. :)

(My ideal world would be that they just release the entire lot NOW, all remastered with extras but hey, its my dream).

The reason for so many Tom Baker stories is presumably because (a) he was popular, and (b) he was there the longest.

Proportionally, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy have been over-represented.

On the other hand the Graham Williams produced stories have been neglected (in the UK).

We've only had 'Horror of Fang Rock' and 'The City of Death' from his entire 3 year run.

It's not my favourite era by any means but fair's fair.

McCoy is well-represented in Season 26, sure, but Remembrance of the Daleks is the only story on DVD from his first two seasons. Greatest Show would make a marvellous DVD in particular, I feel, and I'd like to see something from Season 24...Dragonfire or Paradise Towers would be nice, maybe even get Time and the Rani out of the way early ;)

The 'big one' for Colin will be Trial of a Time Lord. A major undertaking, that one. Apart from that, only Attack of the Cybermen and Twin Dilemma are left...all of those releases should be interesting, lots of backstage shennanigans going on and documentaries about the impact the Sixth Doctor had and so on.

With Davison, I'm guessing the Black Guardian Trilogy will pop up sooner rather than later. Personally I'd love to see Snakedance turn up soon.

Tom will have over 20 DVDs out by the end of the year, but that still leaves a lot for me to look forward to. Zygons, Brain, Seeds, Assassin, Face, Fendahl, Sun Makers...

For Pertwee, I believe that commentaries for Terror of the Autons, The Daemons, and Planet of the Spiders have already been recorded, with rumours that they're collecting information for a future Sea Devils DVD as well. So those 4 seem the most likely to pop up next. He's probably the most underutilized so far, in terms of complete stories available.

Troughton has 7 complete stories, of which 4 are already out on DVD. So that leaves The Dominators, The Krotons, and (a favourite of mine) The War Games. That would be a big job on its own, being a 10-parter. The rest of Troughton's stories would need partial or even total reconstruction (by animation or whatever)

And Hartnell has several possibissities for DVD release, about 11 stories. Daleks' Master Plan remains my wish fulfillment of choice, but I wouldn't mind The Romans for a laugh :D

Destiny of the Daleks in November? Not my favourite story, but it would be the last of the Davros-era Dalek stories so makes sense. Unusual features, eh?

The Key to Time should redress the lack of Graham Williams, and that hour-long documentary in particular holds my interest.

Can I just ask something about Mr McCoy... Remembrance of the Daleks is probably his best and one that is well remembered for several reasons... so why is the DVD cover shit?

A blown up dalek image that's shitty in quality? Seriously... what happened there?

It is a poor one, maybe because it was one of the very first DVD releases they did.

The new O-ring binder release of it is much better, but I don't want to spend the cash just for the sake of a new cover...and it's the same lousy normal cover underneath!

''A blown up dalek image that's shitty in quality? Seriously... what happened there?''

I think all the early DVD releases had shit covers: Look at 'Spearhead from Space', possibly the worst cover - and that was to launch the DVD series properly after the 'Five Doctors' one-off.

The pictures have ceratinly improved but I still think the roundel design is a bit naff.

Any chance of a futute 'Daemons' release featuring the 'Return to Devil's End' documentary?

Since Jon Pertwee is no longer with us that would be interesting to see.

And 'The War Games' has already been remastered for a limited VHS release. That's begging for a DVD release.

A 'Sea Devils' release definitely deserves a documentary on the score. I hated it when I rewatched the show in the late 80s (and even described it as sounding like a cyberman with terminal flatulance) but once I bought it on CD I realised how fantastic it is. A contribution from 'Orbital', who sampled it, would be cool.

"Look at 'Spearhead from Space', possibly the worst cover"

But even that's better than half a dalek that's been blown up - the auton is better quality and actually has a gun and so gives us what they are like. The dalek is just stood there in a street with a few bricks and smoke.

It also means they'll have to come up with something different whenever Death to the Daleks comes out ;)

Like Dave, the Sea Devils music has grown on me. Didn't like it as a kid, sounded so harsh and piercing, but kinda like it now as an interesting 70s experimental music deal...adds character to the whole thing.

DamonD : Many thanks for all that info! Certainly agree about getting the 'Greatest Show' out on DVD.

Now 'The War Games' would be incredible! I wonder if they will ever dare take it on.

I demand The Dalek's Masterplan be restored next, with all missing footage replaced by animation. And possibly the remaining episode replaced as well, just for the better special effects potential.

The whisper with The War Games was that they were going to wait until 2009, as that would be the 40th anniversary of when it was shown. Personally it can't come soon enough to me.

And Master Plan would be marvellous. I love that one. I think they'd baulk at 9 episodes to reconstruct though, but I'd buy it like a shot. The Loose Cannon recon is one of my favourite Hartnells.

And since I picked up Time/Arc the other day...

Time-Flight commentary :
Wow, this was harsh. Davison and Fielding (natch) in particular laid into this story and its realisation. Saward found it hard to get a word in edgeways, and when he did it was mainly to apologise profusely in a manner not seen since that last time someone tormented poor Barry Letts with a mention of Invasion of the Dinosaurs. In the end it got almost uncomfortable because they were all so down and depressed about the whole thing.

Arc of Infinity commentary :
This, on the other hand, was lots of fun. From Maxil's plumed hat, nicknamed Ermintrude and introduced with clucking noises by Colin, to Paul Jerricho's beverage demands, teasing Janet about Tegan's new costume and the time Janet was accosted in the Amsterdam red-light district, laughing at Colin when he finally has to wear the dreaded hat, making fun of the Doctor and Tegan in the wibbly-wobbly Matrix (complete with Colin's rarely-heard Jamaican impression), to dicussions about Linda Hamilton's big hair, rice crispies and Omega the paedophile. Definitely a favourite commentary.

I watched one of the Key To Time series, can't recall which at the moment, but it had Tom and Mary doing the commentary.

I was a bit under the weather when I watched it, and doped on up NyQuil (I believe it's called Night Nurse there? or maybe that just does the same thing), so I kept drifting in and out while the commentary was going.

As a Doctor Who fan, this was the most surreal experience, as it was very comforting hearing Tom and Mary chatting fondly to each other whilst slipping in and out of consciousness.

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