This part of the review will tackle the more technical side of the Blu Ray set, while also providing an overall review score. For Part 1 of the review, focusing on story content, click here.
Video and Audio
As I stated when reviewing the Season 12 set, classic Doctor Who in HD was never going to look massively impressive due to the limitations of the technology at the time. However, this time around the Restoration Team have 16mm film to work with, and as such the exterior shots and anything shot on 16mm looks rather impressive with a solid level of grain.
The studio footage, whilst less of an upgrade is once again still an improvement on the DVD releases or as much as the Restoration Team are able to improve upon, and overall the picture quality is pleasing. The audio quality is also once again better than the DVDs, plus optional 5.1 mixes are again made available for certain stories, this time featured on the discs for Kinda and Earthshock. As far as I know, there aren’t any visual or audio errors this time around, at least with the main features.
Consistent with Season 12, though wider due to having eight discs instead of six, BBC Worldwide has once again provided a nice package for the most part with another book design that folds out to reveal a concealed booklet and stack of Blu Rays.
Unfortunately, I found the disc stack rather annoying to navigate, so when watching the set I simply removed them all and placed them in a separate case until I was finished viewing the set. It’s a design flaw that became more noticeable due to the additional discs
The artwork by Lee Binding is once again uniform and visually marvellous, and the booklet by Pete McTighe once again highlights tidbits and insights into the production of Season 19 and has a comprehensive listing of what’s included on the discs.
The Special Features
Once again, the Restoration Team have pulled out all the stops and alongside various participants have provided an invaluable archive for Doctor Who fans to revel in. The menus this time reflect the Tardis console used in the Davison era, whilst the set keeps most of the special features present on the original DVD releases alongside a plethora of new extras.
Below is a listing of all the special features included in the set –
As was the case with Season 12, the new material was mostly great to experience. The Behind the Sofa segments, this time featuring Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse (with Mark Strickson and Sophie Aldred as outside viewers) are always a laugh, though perhaps not as informative and more informal than before due to the lack of a producer. Meanwhile, the new ‘making of’ features are appreciated as certain stories didn’t have them prior. I did find the new documentary for Castrovalva a little light on interviews, but the rest were fine.
The bonus disc for this season features another hour-long interview by Matthew Sweet, this time with Peter Davison. An interesting curio is The Panopticon Archive which shows footage from a 1993 convention. It’s a bit awkward in places but Nicholas Courtney is always a delight.
For future releases, we will be getting Season 18 and apparently, Seasons 10, 17 and 26 are in production. If this is true, then we’ll be sure to report it!
Doctor Who Season 19 is a great Blu Ray release that proves that the Season 12 set wasn’t just a fluke. The serials look better than ever thanks to the 16mm remastering and the new special features a welcome addition. Overall, I greatly recommend buying this, as a fan new or old, especially since these sets have limited availability.
The Video Quality:
5/5 – A must buy for Who fans!
Look back at Part 1 of the review for more detail on the story aspects included.
By HW Reynolds
Images provided by BBC