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26 January 2012

Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain

Written By: Peter R. Newman

RRP: £20.42

Release Date: 23rd January 2012

Reviewed By: Dale Who for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 26th January 2012

The original TARDIS crew land aboard a spaceship in this latest single disc release from the BBC / 2|Entertain stable.  The Doctor (William Hartnell), his granddaughter (Carole Ann Ford) and that remarkably cool pair of school teachers Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian (William Russell) walk into a mystery of reanimatng corpses and strange atmospheres. Prevented from leaving by the theft of the entire TARDIS lock mechanism, the travellers must join forces with an Earth crew to do very quiet battle with a species that really don't like it when you shout...

As always, the print is fresh and sharp, and the audio quality excellent, and this often overlooked and undervalued story is a tight, claustrophobic and clever tale that's highly enjoyable - and is now backed up by a series of great extras.

Special Features:

Commentary - Toby Hadoke is once more in the Captain's Chair for this commentary with William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman) and designer and Dalek co-creator Ray Cusick as they gather together to discuss the story, the sets and the atmosphere. There's many giggles and laughs from Carole and William, with a little more serious talk from Mr Cusick. Always interesting, and informative - a really well brought together team enrich the release with ease. Very nicely done.

Looking For Peter - The always engaging Toby Hadoke (yes, him again!) embarks upon a hunt for the Doctor Who writer Peter R Newman. Not going to be easy, considering there's not a lot written online - or aywhere else about the man. Calling in everyone from Rob Shearman (Dalek) to the mighty Doctor Who Magazine, Toby turns detective to look at this enigma in the Doctor Who world... Their results... well, you'll have to watch it and find out!  Little visual treats include a few Daleks and the occasional TARDIS in Toby's place, a split second glimpse of the Doctor Who scarf (sans moths) from his one-man show, and visual proof that he needs to clean his DVD remote control...

Vision On: Clive Doig - he of Jigsaw, and the aforenamed Vision On, talks about his time as a vision mixer on Doctor Who in the 1960s. With mentions on fluffed lines and things that didn't work (we're looking at you, TARDIS doors!) and producers' quirks to discussing Who's successes with the late, great Verity Lambert. A fun little piece on early Doctor Who, with possibly the best title music available. If you ever sent in a piece of artwork to The Gallery from Vision On or Take Hart; or if you remember Morph or the wonderful, much-missed Tony Hart, you'll recognise the music instantly!

Secret Voices of the Sense Sphere - A very short piece on a mystery voice talking behind Susan in The Sensorites, and what caused the technical blunder that let us hear her... quite interesting for a two minute featurette, really. Also lets you know just what the equipment was like in the studio during the early years of Who. Hardly vitally important information we all need to know, but like all the best little snippets of Doctor Who infomation, it sheds light on something fromt he show's past in a fun, entertaining way.

Coming Soon Trailer - Not one story, but three!  Revisitions Box 3: The Robots of Death, The Three Doctors, and The Tomb of the Cybermen all get a refreshed release with new extras and new techniques of restoration applied to them; and from the clips shown, all three look amazing!

Info Text - The usual on-screen text during the story gives facts, figures, biographies and trivia whilst the drama plays out; including in Episode One, a breakdown of a visually stunning and unique piece of camera trickery and scene cutting in classic Doctor Who, that lends a huge amount of credence to the idea of the TARDIS' dimensional properties.

Photo Gallery - The usual selection of publicity shots and behind the scenes shots of the cast, crew and sets from The Sensorites, all looking sharp and wonderful, and sets to a variety of strange and wonderful noises from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop that sound like a mix of the TARDIS going haywire mixed with a Hoover heading for a breakdown. The pictures also show how wonderfully daft the Sensorites' costumes are...especially their feet!

The usual Subtitles and Audio Navigation for those who may want or need it, and the PDF Radio Times clippings and programme segments finish off this release nicely.

The Sensorites DVD does a lot to redress the various injustices thrown at the story over the years, giving it a smart new makeover so it looks and sounds great, and some solid backup featurettes. It may never be the huge fan favourite it deserves to be, but there's a lot of love about this story, and indeed this release. A great addition to the First Doctor stories, and a worthwhile purchase for any fan of Doctor Who and it's early years.

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