On the 7th March the BBC released Doctor Who: The Complete Ninth Series on DVD and Blu-ray, not only did this new box-set include all twelve episode of series 9 but a whole host of unseen extras. From behind the scenes with cast and crew to interviews and deleted scenes. The perfect Doctor Who binge watch!
The ninth series has to be remembered for its two parters. The opening blockbuster Dalek story ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ and ‘The Witch’s Familiar’ was the belter of belters, giving us a new angle on the Doctor’s relationship with Dalek creator Davros and Missy (Michelle Gomez) to boot. Who can forget the Doctors mighty entrance. This opening 2-parter is followed by ‘Beneath The Lake’ and ‘Before The Flood’, another great tale that gave us Doctor Who’s own ghost story.
The shapeshiffting terrors, The Zygons were back for this new series in ‘The Zygon Invasion’ and ‘The Zygon Inversion’ bringing back cosplaying UNIT scientist Petronella Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) and her Zygon twin, putting the story up there as a firm favourite. It brought back so effectively a monster first seen in Tom Baker’s days and only glimpsed again in the 50th Anniversary Special: ‘The Day of the Doctor’. Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi shines in the closing moments of this story as he delivers his “nobody wins for long” speech.
Series 9 will also be remembered for its introduction of Masie Williams’ character, Ashildar/Me, created by the Doctor in ‘The Girl Who Died’ and returning in ‘The Woman Who Lived’, ‘Face The Raven’ and ‘Hell Bent’. An interesting story, but alas too drawn out.
Show runner Steven Moffat experimented a bit this series too, ‘Sleep No More’s’ found footage vibe not quite working, although it was an admirable stab at the genre. Heaven Sent, which saw the Doctor sent to his own personal hell – a gigantic puzzle – was a huge success and again proved Capaldi is every bit the actor. Followed by the Doctor ‘Hell Bent’ on revenge as he returned to Gallifrey.
All this we have seen before on previous releases including the 2014 Christmas special – ‘Last Christmas’. But the main selling point of this new edition is the wealth of previously unreleased value added material and the 2015 Christmas outing, ‘The Husbands of River Song’, which saw the triumphant return of the Doctor’s wife, River Song (Alex Kingston).
The bonus material is scattered throughout the limited edition boxed set rather than being relegated to a disc of extras, as seen in previous years. Disc one includes a short Series 8 Recap, Prologue (to Series 9), Series 9 Prequel ‘The Doctor’s Meditation’, Series 9 Trailer and The Magician’s Apprentice Trailer. The Prologue and Prequel help set the scene for the series opener The Magician’s Apprentice well enough, and even include some moments of hilarity. While on disc two we get Dalek Devotion, a short featurette effectively analysing the Doctor’s oldest enemy and explores why the Daleks are so loved by fans. It’s accompanied by Doctor Who Extras 1-4 and trailers for The Witch’s Familiar, Under the Lake and Before the Flood.
Fan Show Finest, on Disc 3, looks back on the best bits of the weekly show from the Official Doctor Who YouTube channel hosted by Christel Dee. It’s a great introduction to the show, which has explored all elements of fandom since it was introduced by the BBC. It appears alongside Doctor Who Extras 4-6 and trailers for The Girl Who Died, The Woman Who Lived and The Zygon Invasion.
Sarah Dollard, the Australian screen writer who ditched Neighbours for Doctor Who, reveals how she came to kill Clara in Face the Raven in Writing Who Episode 10 on Disc 4. If that’s not an example that anything is possible, nothing is. Show runner Steven Moffat reveals it was Dollard’s idea of using a trap street, a fictitious entry on a map designed to reveal Copyright infringers, that fascinated him about her script. Doctor Who Extra 7-10 appear alongside trailers for The Zygon Inversion, Sleep No More and Face the Raven.
Fandom collides on Disc 5 when Wil Wheaton, the actor who played Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Wesley Crusher, interviews Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. It’s a heart-warming discussion between actors who, certainly in Capaldi and Wheaton’s case, love and respect each other’s work. This 40-minute interview just flies past. It appears alongside Clara’s Journey, a nice little tribute to the impossible girl, Doctor Who Extra 11 and 12 and trailers for Heaven Sent and Hell Bent.
But these extras keep coming in Best of Social Moments which explores Series 9, one episode at a time, in short clips. Blink and you’ll miss it. It appears on Disc 6 alongside the San Diego Comic-Con Panel of 2015 featuring Capaldi, Coleman, Michelle Gomez (Missy) and Moffat. It’s the Janus feature of this set, looking back on Series 8 and forward to Series 9. And it’s a great reminder of just how big Doctor Who, in its current form, has become. Previously released special features relating to The Husbands of River Song also appear on this disc.
Taken collectively, these special features serve to remind us of the love and attention that has gone into every moment of Series 9 and inspire bouts of pride around just how good Doctor Who, when it’s at the top of its game, can be.
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