A special boxset treat for the middle of summer for Who fans, specifically those of the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. Arguably the most loved and the “best” (I should point, however, he is not my favourite), this tribute to the longest-serving (in proper, real terms) is a superb collection of collectibles which includes the first DVD outing for the truly classic story, Terror of the Zygons.
The Zygons have long been a favourite of fans due to their incredible realisation on screen and their brilliant one-time appearance (at the time of writing – the sucker-clad bad boys are due to make an appearance later this year in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special), and now their debut gets a digital release. I shan’t go on too much about the story itself, as I will review it in more depth for its DVD release later this year, but Zygons is most definitely one of my favourite Tom Baker stories.
Apart from the Skarasen (still mind-bogglingly awful after all these years and not CGd up for this release), it’s a perfect tale with Baker, Sladen et al in top, top form and some mighty fine direction from one of Who‘s best, Douglas “The Guv’nor” Camfield. Also worthy of a mention is the sublime soundtrack from Geoffrey Burgon – a work of outstanding delicate and evocative beauty.
Terror of the Zygons is presented here on one disc with no extras and in a special case (see above) with its own special DVD menu too. Strangely, but most welcome, Terror is also available with a 5.1 soundtrack which is a nice treat for audio lovers. One awaits its own DVD release later this year with trouser-tightening anticipation.
The other DVD included, An Interview with the Time Lord, is a twenty-five minute interview with the man himself, Tom Baker. Captured in what looks like a local pub, Tom is engaging as ever with some new stories and some made-up (as only Tom can do). Hearing the former Time Lord chat about his colleagues and, specifically, the regeneration scenes, is a sad affair; Pertwee, by Baker’s account, wasn’t “very affectionate” towards his successor.
It’s a tad odd on the production front as it’s heavily edited and takes
more the form of a Q&A as opposed to a more fuller interview, with
answers quite short and sometimes bereft of a fuller answer. Oddly, despite Baker discussing his career as The Doctor, all the clips shown during the interview are from the accompanying story, Terror of the Zygons (and more than not, the clips have nothing to do with what Tom is discussing and inserted at unrelated moments).
On the audio front there’s the excellent Genesis of the Daleks, first released on vinyl back in 1979. A cracking piece of archive material featuring the television soundtrack along with Tom’s linking narration. There’s even a book, Tomb of Valdemar by Simon Messingham, included for page-turning lovers. Set during the Fourth Doctor’s search for the Key to Time, the novel was released as part of the “past Doctors” range in 2000. I have to admit that it’s inclusion is perhaps questionable, with perhaps a classic Target novelisation more appropriate to celebrate the Tom Baker era.
For toy fans there’s the neat post-regeneration Fourth Doctor
action figure, featuring Tom Baker’s Doctor in the costume of his
predecessor, Jon Pertwee (pictured right). A wonderful addition to anyone’s collection –
and very rare too as it is exclusive to this set. There’s also a Fourth Doctor sonic screwdriver and a lovely,
lovely letter written by Baker to his fans. It’s
such a nice touch and delightful to know that Tommy B cares so much for
the millions of people whose lives he touched over the years.
The set is beautifully presented in a rather swish box, very stylish and very Doctor Who – as are the specially presented discs and book inside, truly Gallifreyan. Also incredibly stylish are the companion art cards
included, all good enough to be framed and mounted on a wall, stunning
eloquent in their monochrome glory. The Fourth Doctor Time Capsule is a glorious item and, at only five thousand copies, very limited and extremely collectible. Definitely for the more hardcore of fans but most assuredly a brilliant gift for any Who fan. Buy now and then wait until Christmas to give!