17 February 2008

Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain

Written By: Terrance Dicks

RRP: £19.99

Release Date: 3rd March 2008

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 17th February 2008

The Five Doctors: 25th Anniversary Edition, is one of those must-have items that every Doctor Who fan should own. If there is one story that encapsulates the essence of the show whilst allowing newcomers to jump on board, this is it. The biggest question that potential buyers of the DVD will be asking is how does it differ to previous versions and is it worth getting?

The differences are clearly vast, made evident from the staringly obvious picture quality improvements that the Restoration Team have once again provided. The colour is so much richer which is only emphasised more by Tegan's costume. The original DVD release of The Five Doctors (which also happened to be the first ever Doctor Who DVD release) was extremely feature-light. Spread over two discs, this new release includes both the original transmission version and the special edition version, and is laden with more features than you could possibly hope for with an RRP of just £19.99.

Disc One features the Original Transmission version of The Five Doctors, as well as the 'Celebration: Doctor Who in 1983' documentary. This is presented by Colin Baker and features interviews with Doctor Who Actors; Peter Davison, Nicholas Courtney, Mark Stricskon, Richard Franklin, Elisabeth Sladen, Carole Ann Ford, Caroline John & Janet Fielding, Writers; Terrance Dicks, Gareth Roberts & Paul Cornell, Experts; Andrew Beech, James Goss & Ian Levine, Director; Peter Moffatt, DVD Producer; Richard Molesworth and Visual Effects Designer; Mike Kelt. At almost an hour long, this proves to be an unmissable in-depth look at how the story came into production, as well as a look at the 1983 Doctor Who Celebration at Longleat. It also sets up some of the special features on Disc Two perfectly.

There is also an option to hear a 'Companions Commentary', featuring; Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Mark Strickson (Turlough) & Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier). The commentary is lively and warm, but lacks the benefit of Clayton Hickman directing, as the voices tend to talk over each other at times.

Also on the disc are the usual 'Trails & Continuity', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Radio Times lisings' extras.

Look away now if you don't want to be spoiled, as this DVD also houses a truly awesome hidden DVD Easter Egg in the form on a Commentary featuring New Series Producer; Phil Collinson, The 10th Doctor; David Tennant and New Series Writer; Helen Raynor. Phil and David in particular are a joy to listen to as they inject their perspectives as fans back when the episode originally aired. It's fresh, funny and different to any of the Classic Doctor Who DVD commentaries to date. 

Disc Two contains the Special Edition version and includes an Audio Commentary featuring Peter Davison and Terrance Dicks. The pair work well together providing an entertaining and informative commentary. Terrance Dicks is on especially fine form, telling us how Tom Baker's scenes would have fit into the story, had he been available. Be sure not to miss his priceless Time Lord urinal observation!

'The Ties That Bind Us' documentary takes a look at what links The Five Doctors to the rest of the Doctor Who universe continuity-wise. Narrated by Paul McGann, and featuring more of Rob Semenoff's fantastic 3D Animation work, this extra is a tightly woven gem, skillfully edited together by Michael Conners and Leanne Sheppard. Look out for the great montage towards the end of the feature.

'Five Doctors, One Studio' features unseen studio footage from the scene where the four Doctors meet in Rassilon's Tomb. Although it runs at a lengthy 19 minutes, it proves addictive viewing, as we see some lovely moments between Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee in-between takes. One such moment, is where Troughton offers Pertwee a Jelly Baby, to which Pertwee jokingly accuses him of trying to sabotage his scene.

The 'Out-takes' feature gives us some great out-takes from the serial, including Davison's hilarious infamous final line from the story.

'[Not So] Special Effects' takes a look at some of the Special Effects shots from the story.

'Saturday Superstore' contains a complete Doctor Who segment which includes interviews with Peter Davison, Mark Strickson and Janet Fielding, who take questions from the show's child callers.

'Blue Peter' includes a look at some of the Doctors previous enemies, and has appearances from Richard Hurndall and Peter Davison.

'Nationwide' offers a complete Doctor Who segment where Sue Lawley interviews Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Peter Davison on their roles playing the Doctor. There's a great moment when Troughton produces a bag of Jelly Babies and offers them round.

'Breakfast Time ' features a brief interview with Peter Davison and a mischievous Patrick Troughton, promoting The Five Doctors.

The Invasion of Time is the focus of the latest 'Coming Soon Trailer', and as with previous trailers, proves to be energetic, suspenseful and definitely piques the viewers interest enough to convince them to purchase the story.

Overall, we have another well-thought-out release, that has been produced with care and respect to both fans of the show, and members of the cast and crew. If you're after a complete tribute to The Five Doctors, with all the trimmings - look no further.

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