Part two focuses on the technical aspects of this classic collection…
Video and Audio
Season 14 contains no existing film elements and is, therefore, SD material upscaled to HD and much like Seasons 10 and 12 has never looked better despite the limitations of the format. Though some examples of on-location footage look better than others due to the limitations of the source material, the studio-based content looks clean and improves upon the DVD nicely.
The audio presentation continues to impress with solid audio levels and once again offering a 5.1 Surround Sound mix by Mark Ayres, this time for The Deadly Assassin.
Season 14 is presented in the now-standard packaging for the UK releases, with a foldout book format with a compartment housing an informative booklet written by Pete McTighe and a stack of disc trays that presented a little issue when removing the discs. The cover and interior art-again provided by Lee Binding-is a delight with inventive use of imagery from The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Face of Evil and The Deadly Assassin.
The Special Features
Season 14 steps up to the plate with a comprehensive selection of special features, both new and old, which continue to impress. The key highlights of this set include possibly the best set of Behind the Sofa segments to date with some great contributions from Tom Baker/Louise Jameson/Philip Hinchcliffe on one sofa and Peter Purves (Steven Taylor) and Sophie Aldred (Ace) on the other.
A wonderful and emotionally driven documentary tribute to Elisabeth Sladen is an early highlight found on the Hand of Fear disc whilst we later get the entirety of the 1977 documentary Whose Doctor Who restored to HD alongside a new documentary revisiting the children that were interviewed alongside family members and those involved with making the documentary itself.
Matthew Sweet gets another opportunity to flex his interviewing prowess, this time conversing with then Series Producer Philip Hinchcliffe who is insightful in his introspective approach.
Finally, we get new optional SFX for The Talons of Weng-Chiang with 60 new effects that have either been added or replace the original effects of the time-the key one being that infamous giant rat in the sewer sequence.
It is currently unknown which season we will see get a Blu Ray release next but Seasons 2 and 20 have been touted for future release. I’d personally love to see a Black and White season and if any official announcements are made then we will be sure to report on it!
5/5 – Season 14 is a triumph and one of the finest in the series’ 26 season run and a set well-worth owning if you can get a copy.
Look back at Part 1 of the review for more detail on the stories included.
By HW Reynolds
Images provided by BBC