Images provided are from the first two episodes included in the Blu Ray collection.

Video and Audio

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Classic Doctor Who in HD was never going to look massively impressive, due to the limitations of the technology at the time. Nevertheless, the efforts of the Restoration Team here are an achievement, as the stories look better on modern televisions than their DVD counterparts ever could, particularly the outdoor scenes. An important detail to mention is that the restoration process uncovered technical problems that were less noticeable on the DVD releases, such as artefacts caused by specific camera models. The picture quality here is worth the upgrade, but I’d advise watchers to temper expectation-I am content with how it’s turned out and look forward to seeing what comes next, but other websites have been harsher.

The audio quality is, for the most part, also better than the DVDs, and even features optional 5.1 mixes for Ark and Genesis. Though I must detail an audio fault with episode one of The Sontaran Experiment; wherein the audio has been mixed incorrectly and doesn’t fare well with stereo surround sound. It’s an unfortunate flaw in what otherwise is a splendid package. There could be a replacement scheme set up, though it’d depend on demand so if you own the set then I’d advise contacting BBC Worldwide about the issue. The rest of the episodes on here have no such issues and are more crisp and clear

 

The Packaging

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For the packaging, BBC Worldwide really went all out for the UK release, and provided a wonderful book design that folds out to reveal a concealed booklet and stack of Blu Rays The artwork by Lee Binding pops and the interior is similarly a marvel to behold. The included booklet has great tidbits and insights into the production of season 12 and has a comprehensive listing of what’s included on the discs.

 

The Special Features

Alongside some great new menus that feature the Tardis console, this set retains most of the special features present on the original DVD releases, with some exclusions such as the Dalek Tapes, a document of every Dalek story of the classic run and “Doctor Forever! – Love and War which covers the book range. These features are more than likely being saved for future season releases, and as such will hopefully be seen again eventually should these sets continue being made. A plethora of new extras have been commissioned for this release, which I’ll document below.

 

Robot

  • Behind the Sofa: Robot in HD
  • A Television Drama – rehearsal readthrough for Robot
  • Clean opening and closing titles in HD
  • Photo gallery in HD
  • Production Subtitles

 

The Ark in Space

  • Behind the Sofa: The Ark in Space in HD
  • Optional 5.1 sound mix
  • Photo gallery in HD

 

The Sontaran Experiment

  • Like Nothing on Earth – making-of documentary in HD
  • Behind the Sofa: The Sontaran Experiment in HD
  • The Tom Baker Years Parts One and Two (originally released on VHS in 1992)
  • Morning Sou’West radio
  • Location report
  • Photo gallery in HD

 

Genesis of the Daleks

  • Behind the Sofa: Genesis of the Daleks in HD
  • Live from the Canteen – a 1975 recording of the cast and crew talking to fan Keith Miller
  • Optional 5.1 sound mix
  • Photo Gallery in HD
  • Brand-new production subtitles

 

Revenge of the Cybermen

  • The Tin Men and the Witch – updated making-of documentary in HD
  • Behind the Sofa: Revenge of the Cybermen in HD
  • Optional CGI effects
  • Photo gallery in HD

Special Features Disc

  • Tom Baker in Conversation in HD
  • Doctor Who Times – HD feature showing Season 12 in context with other TV of the day
  • Omnibus 90-minute edition of Genesis of the Daleks in HD (but unrestored)
  • Studio clocks compilation for Season 12

 

The new material is great to experience, with the lengthy Sofa segments being great fun, as clips from the season are commentated on by Tom Baker, Phillip Hinchcliffe, Sadie Miller (daughter of Elizabeth Sladen), and former Who companions Louise Jameson (Leela) Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa.) The inclusion of The Tom Baker Years is a nice addition, as it never saw inclusion on any prior DVD release and hadn’t been available since 1991. The main delights here are a candid hour-long interview with Tom Baker, which is insightful and worth buying the set for, and the omnibus edition of Genesis of the Daleks, which was recently screened in cinemas. That version was restored, however the copy here is in HD but is unrestored, preserving how it originally looked upon broadcast.

Rumour has it that the next seasons lined up for such treatment are Season 10 (Jon Pertwee/Third Doctor) and Season 19 (Peter Davison/Fifth Doctor) and if such announcements are made then they’ll be documented, and this article will be updated with a link.

 

Conclusion

Doctor Who Season 12 is a sublime Blu Ray release that despite a few issues here and there is more than worth its great price of admission. The serials have been lovingly restored and the care put into the packaging and special features old and new is proof that should these box sets continue production that we can expect more greatness. All in all, I greatly recommend buying this, as a fan new or old, especially since the set is limited and has already sold out at certain retailers.

 

The Stories:

4/5

The Packaging:

5/5

The Video:

3.5/5

The Audio:

3.5/5

Special Features:

5/5

Overall:

5/5 A must buy

5 Star

Look back at Part 1 of the review for more detail on the story aspects included.

By HW Reynolds

Images provided by BBC and BluRay.com

 

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