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DVD Review

DVD cover

Doctor Who
Revisitation Box Set - Volume 2


Starring: Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Peter Davison
RRP: £40.84
Certificate: PG
Available 28 March 2011

Doctor Who: Revisitations 2 is a continuation of a concept which I’m not at all sure I understood with Revisitations 1. The reason behind rereleasing stories which already exist on DVD is that they have been re-mastered with the latest technology. Now if this means a visibly dramatic increase in the clarity of the picture, I might be up for that, or if old stories had been enhanced, say with new CGI, I’d also be interested, I’m just not that convinced that there is a great market out there for stories with a slightly improved picture and some new extras. Box one split opinion and it is likely that box two will continue to be a somewhat contentious matter.

The choice of stories to present is also a mystery; they certainly don’t represent the best Who stories around or the rarest. Vol 2 has opted for The Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters and Resurrection of the Daleks. Okay, you couldn’t consider them as real stinkers, but they are not linked either thematically or by Doctor so their choice seems a little random.

The Seeds of Death is a Patrick Troughton story about the invasion of Earth by the Ice Warriors; this has been given a noticeably improved picture. Carnival of Monsters has Jo and the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) trapped inside an alien entertainment machine, being menaced by the Drashigs and the last story, Resurrection of the Daleks, sees Peter Davison’s Doctor encountering both the Daleks and their creator Davros.

There are six discs - two per story - in the set with the same format being kept across the stories - so each story has a commentary, the Coming Soon, PDF materials, a photo gallery, story subtitles, subtitled production notes and the original extras.

The first disc for The Seeds of Doom has a full length commentary with Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury, director Michael Ferguson and script editor Terrance Dicks. Hines is always fun to listen to and he does not disappoint here as the four look back with affection, not only on the show but also their lost friend. There is an Audio Trailer (45 sec) - an off-air amateur recording of the original BBC1 trailer for the story, an oddity, but still a nice addition.

The second disc for The Seeds of Doom kicks off with Lords of the Red Planet (28 min, 31 sec) - a look back at the creation of the Ice Warriors and their re-appearance in The Seeds of Death. It’s a nice retrospective, even if too much time is spent on the story which was the genesis for Seeds; Sssowing the Ssseedsss (24 min, 05 sec) - Ice Warrior Sonny Caldinez, Ice Lord Alan Bennion and make-up designer Sylvia James recall their experiences of bringing the Martian warriors to life. It's okay but, apart from how nice everyone was and how difficult it was to wear the costumes, you don’t really get much by way of insight; Monster Masterclass (3 min, 44 sec) - director Michael Ferguson interview about directing monsters in particular; Monsters Who Came Back For More! (16 min, 26 sec) - Nick "Voice of the Daleks" Briggs and Doctor Who Magazine’s assistant editor Peter Ware take a look at the reasons why monsters often return for further adventures. It’s a light-hearted, fun piece, not to be taken seriously; TARDIS Cam no.6 (57 sec) - a model vignette created for the BBC’s Doctor Who website.

Carnival of Monsters disc one has two full length commentaries. The first has contributions from actress Katy Manning and director Barry Letts, the second with actors Peter Halliday, Cheryl Hall and Jenny McCracken, script editor Terrance Dicks, sound effects designer Brian Hodgson. Moderated by Toby Hadoke; Episode Two: Early Edit (29 min, 44 sec) - a longer early edit of the second episode, featuring the subsequently rejected "Delaware" version of the theme music, the picture has not been restored and it’s pretty obvious why “Delaware” was rejected; Behind the Scenes (1 min, 48 sec); Visual Effects Models (8 min, 41 sec); Five Faces of Doctor Who Trailer (4 min, 10 sec) - a trail for the 1981 repeat season; Director’s Amended Ending (1 min, 18 sec); CSO Demo (3 min, 07 sec) - director Barry Letts in a BBC training film; TARDIS Cam no.2 (45 sec) - a CGI model vignette created for the BBC’s Doctor Who website.

Carnival of Monsters disc two has Destroy All Monsters! (23 min, 11 sec) - cast and crew look back at the making of the story; On Target with Ian Marter (16 min, 08 sec) - Tributes to actor Ian Marter; The A-Z of Gadgets and Gizmos (11 min, 22 sec); Mary Celeste (18 min 01 sec), which is more history than Who.

Resurrection of the Daleks disc one has the previously unreleased two-parter version of the show with the original mono audio track as well as an extra DD 5.1 surround sound track. This time the commentary is supplied by Terry Molloy, writer Eric Saward and visual effects designer Peter Wragg, moderated by Nick Pegg; Casting Far and Wide (32 min, 16 sec) - Jobbing actors speak; On Location (18 min, 32 sec); Extended and Deleted Scenes (7 min, 03 sec); Breakfast Time (7 min, 56 sec) - Janet Fielding and John Nathan-Turner interviewed on the BBC’s breakfast show; Trailer (31 sec); The Last Dalek (8 min, 33 sec) – a behind-the-scenes look at the Ealing studios filming for 1967’s epic Dalek story, The Evil of the Daleks; TARDIS Cam no.4 (41 sec) - a model vignette created for the BBC’s Doctor Who website.

Resurrection of the Daleks disc two has the story in its original four episode format, with the same audio options as disc one. This time the commentary is provided by Peter Davison and Janet Fielding, director Matthew Robinson; Come In Number Five (56 min, 27 sec) - a retrospective of Peter Davison’s tenure as the fifth Doctor wherein JNT gets another kicking; Tomorrow’s Times (12 min, 17 sec) is a look at the press reaction to the show; Walrus (1 min, 21 sec) - an oddity from the BBC’s archives. A Welsh woman comes face to face with a Dalek.

The sheer weight of extras means that this would be an essential buy if you missed picking up the stories the first time around. But if you already own the stories, all you're getting in this box set is about fifty per cent new extras and in some cases an almost indiscernibly better picture. The Seeds of Doom does the best here for the upgrade. So you pays your money and makes your choice, If you already own the stories there is little here which would make me want to buy the discs again. Until they're featured in a sale, it’s a pretty high price for stories you already own. Still you cannot deny that these two box sets have so far been drowned in extras, so it gets a point increase for this alone.


Charles Packer

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