To celebrate the 50th Anniversary, BBC Worldwide have released this beautifully packaged, limited-edition collection of Doctor Who stories that focus on one recurring theme from the show’s history – the time each Doctor faces his final moments, gives way to the next incarnation and begins to regenerate… (That list is: The Tenth Planet, The War Games, Planet of the Spiders, Logopolis, The Caves of Androzani, Time and the Rani, Doctor Who: The Movie, Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways and The End of Time.)
For hardened fans, all the stories contained here will, most likely, already be in their collections and, as a result, they will already have dyed-in-the-wool opinions of each, making it a bit of a fool’s errand to review them all again. Indeed, as a product, it seems mostly designed to be a set appealing to new fans, very much a collector’s item showing off the most historic moments of the show. There’s a natural suspense when you know the Doctor is really facing death – and for those who haven’t experienced these stories, this could very well be a truly thrilling collection of stories.
However, it does leave you wondering whether a trick was missed in not including the stories that followed the regenerations themselves – a lost opportunity to show newer fans what happens next, particularly as Time And The Rani and Doctor Who: The Movie are included. While this reviewer is aware certain eras couldn’t afford the collection this contribution, perhaps including the opening episodes for Doctors Three, Four, Five, Six, Ten and Eleven would have been a nice touch – and indeed, one that would encourage newer fans to continue exploring Who‘s great archive on DVD and bluray. However, given the compression issues on these discs – BBC Worldwide have gone for huge value in quantity, rather than perfect picture quality – including more material might not have been possible.
So, for older fans, what’s included of interest to them? There’s nothing in the way of extras, sadly, and a beautiful booklet on the Doctors again feels more for new fans than old. So, it all hinges on the collection’s big selling point – an animated reconstruction of William Hartnell’s final appearance as the First Doctor in The Tenth Planet, Episode Four. Currently officially lost from the archives, BBC Worldwide have included an animated reconstruction, using the episode’s original soundtrack.
The packaging is a real treat and most definitely something you’ll want to show off in your home (or dungeon/bedroom) – it’s an utterly gorgeous piece of Whovery [is that a word? – Ed.] – though it’s not exactly gonna sit amongst your other Who DVDs, it should be said. The discs themselves sit magnificently in the huge pages of the gorgeous art work booklet. Much attention has been lavished on this product.
All in all, this a really nice product that will appeal mostly to collectors and those new to the show – so if you know anyone who’s just got into Doctor Who, and they have a birthday looming, this is the thing to buy them… after the older fan has sneaked a in viewing of the wonderful reconstruction of The Tenth Planet, of course! As a product for newer fans.