6~disc DVD boxset
Details HERE
Out now in the UK

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. 

While the work is stunning, acting as a very successful solution to the missing episode problem, and is highly enjoyable to watch, at times some very styled flourishes creep in – for example, modern movie-style lens-flare creeps in to particular moments – which jars when viewed against the surviving three episodes. Also, it feels like a genuine shame that given the surviving footage of Hartnell’s regeneration scene does exist, that the producers chose not to include that, either as part of the animation or as an extra.

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.
Thanks to BBC Worldwide

Review by Jack Bowman


  1. I was very tempted by this release- it's just that price tag. Recently Amazon had the set for £36, and I briefly considered pre-ordering it, only for the price to £48 mere days later.

    Considering I'm only missing Tenth Planet, Spiders and Time & The Rani, £48 seemed far too steep a price when all I've heard on the collector's booklet is it's good for new fans. As a fan who's watched since 2006 and done a LOT of watching classic tales/catching up, I no longer fit that category. I'll just get Planet for £6, Rani for £8 and wait on Tenth- I may well get Dalek War, Beneath the Surface and Lost In Time to further my classic collection with just as much content too. 🙂

  2. Episode 4 of the Tenth Planet is still ''officially'' missing. I wish we could find out more about these missing/returned episodes that seem to be bubbling away over our mere mortal heads.

  3. It was pretty evident this was intended for new fans, just like the various vanilla reissues of Star Trek episodes are. The animated episode is a good carrot for those willing to invest in the new set, but I am puzzled as to why they didn't include any of the extra features, since it's not as if (with the exception of Tenth Planet) that they had to make any new ones. I assume the standalone release of Tenth Planet will have extras, not the least of which is the surviving footage of the regeneration, hopefully properly VidFired for the occasion.

  4. As someone who is not the biggest fan ever but wants to have some DW in his DVD collection, I did think I might get this, but I'm not sure now.

    I thought I'd read somewhere that there were some "extras" included but you say not.

    And, as the other comment said, Amazon went and bumped the price up by around 35% a couple of days before it's release.

    Not sure but I might wait and see if I can get a second-hand copy at some point.

  5. @The Shadow:

    Regarding this release, the review has to strike a balance between long-term fans who know about the current status of Tenth Planet, Episode 4 and newer fans – who this product is aimed at – who might search out this review.

    Therefore it does no harm to stress to newer fans, reading this review and considering purchasing this product, that the reason why TPE4 is animated. And that's because the original is officially, and currently, a missing episode. No more, no less.

  6. Just re-reading this and realised something.

    "…particularly as Time And The Rani and Doctor Who: The Movie are included."

    I would have thougt it would be obiousl that those are included only because they feature the re-generation of the previous Doctor!

  7. Carl

    I think you've misunderstood the point the reviewer was making.

    He was suggesting that it would have been good to see the effects of regeneration on the new Doctors in the subsequent stories (ie. the boxset could have benefited from the inclusion of Castrovalva, Robot, et al) especially as this is what happened with Time and the Rani and The TVM (where we see the effects). He wasn't surprised at their inclusion.


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