Home Classic Doctor Who Classic Doctor Who Audio REVIEW: Doctor Who ‘The Highlanders’ HMV exclusive vinyl

REVIEW: Doctor Who ‘The Highlanders’ HMV exclusive vinyl

Doctor Who: The Highlanders - HMV exclusive vinyl record (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Doctor Who forms part of the latest HMV 1921 edition releases with Patrick Troughton story ‘The Highlanders’ getting a release on vinyl record for the first time.

Presented in a beautiful sleeve, ‘The Highlanders‘ is presented across two discs (one red and one blue) featuring the original soundtrack of the four-part BBC TV serial. Now missing from the BBC video archive, the broadcast audio is now accompanied by linking narration. Both discs are housed within two inner sleeves with Radio Times-style billings for each episode.

First broadcast in December 1966 and January 1967, the story is notable for the introduction of Jamie McCrimmon who would go on to be one of the Doctor’s longest serving TV companions. Actor Frazer Hines, who brought Jamie to life on screen, is appropriately our narrator for this release and does an excellent job in the role.

Doctor Who: The Highlanders – HMV exclusive vinyl record (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Story

The TARDIS materialises in 18th Century Scotland, shortly after the Battle of Culloden. The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze) assist a group of Highlanders. In no time they’re immersed in a dangerous tussle between supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the English redcoats who are hunting him. The stakes are very high as the Doctor, his companions and those they meet along the way battle just to stay alive.

The Highlanders‘ is the last of the historical stories of the 1960’s as the programme would embrace more science-fiction scenarios and enter the monster era. A wonderfully colourful story ‘The Highlanders‘ is full of excellent characters. In the red corner you have individuals such as Lt. Algernon Ffinch and Solicitor Grey, accompanied by Perkins. In the blue corner we have Kirsty, Jamie and the Laird. Kirsty and Polly have a wonderful dynamic together largely due to the contrasting attitudes of centuries difference. Patrick Troughton‘s second story after replacing original actor William Hartnell shows him still grappling with the character. His performance is therefore a little experimental but the Doctor is very much just enjoying the adventure. Embracing the madness, we get to see the Doctor demonstrate his ability with words (and accents) and ingenuity. Traits which suit this incarnation perfectly.

Doctor Who: The Highlanders – HMV exclusive vinyl record (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Vinyl release

Many conclude ‘The Highlanders’ to be the original missing episode as the tapes for the story are thought to have been among the first wiped from the archive following any potential overseas sales. As a result it is particularly lovely to get a release for this story. The original audio release was over 20 years ago with a few subsequent re-releases. A new release on vinyl therefore feels particularly special. Not just because of the limited edition scarcity.

The physical item is especially memorable with new artwork from Cady Keady alluding to the battle of Culloden alongside the contrasting red and blue vinyl discs. Thanks to the efforts of Mark Ayres the audio from the episodes, and therefore the dialogue, is crystal clear. Linking narration from Frazer Hines assists in telling the story and creating the drama. The result is an accurate representation of the story which is easy to follow and appropriately dramatic. Hopefully, this new release will provide an opportunity for those who perhaps haven’t explored ‘The Highlanders‘. That is if you are lucky enough to find a copy!

Doctor Who: The Highlanders – HMV exclusive vinyl record (c) Bedwyr Gullidge

Doctor Who: The Highlanders is available on vinyl record exclusively from HMV stores in the UK. If you can’t get to a HMV store then it is also available online for a limited time only, priced at £34.99.

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