It’s been a while since we covered classic Doctor Who releases on DVD, but we’re back in action now, starting with last month’s two debuts. The Sensorites takes us back to 1964 for an early adventure with the First Doctor, while the special edition of The Caves of Androzani delivers a two disc set commemorating one of the Fifth Doctor’s most famous stories.
“The Sensorites” (Story 7)
William Hartnell stars as the First Doctor in this story that originally broadcast as six episodes between June and August 1964. The TARDIS takes the Doctor and his companions Ian, Barbara, and Susan, to a seemingly dead spaceship. The time travelers are startled when one of the apparently dead crewmembers of the floating ship awakens, and it turns out that the remainder of the crew similarly is in a sort of stasis. The ship is an exploration vessel from Earth and is orbiting the Sense-Sphere, a planet inhabited by the mysterious Sensorites. The Doctor must figure out what has happened to the crew while determining whether the native aliens are hostile or friendly.
This story arc is significant to the modern incarnation of Doctor Who because the Sensorites are the inspiration for the later alien species the Ood. Similar in appearance to the Ood, the Sensorites’ Sense-Sphere is located in space near the Ood homeworld, which the Tenth Doctor visits in 2008’s “Planet of the Ood.”
In addition to collecting all six episodes, the new DVD release also includes the following special features:
- Audio Commentary with William Russell (Ian), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Joe Greig (Sensorite), Martyn Huntley (Human), Giles Phibbs (Human), Frank Cox (Director), Raymond Cusick (Designer), and Sonia Markham (Makeup Designer)
- Looking for Peter – Featurette in which Toby Hadoke goes in search of screenwriter Peter R. Newman
- Vision On – Behind the scenes featurette about the function of a Vision Mixer
- Secret Voices of the Sense-Sphere – Producer Clive Doig discusses the Sensorite aliens’ voices
- Photo Gallery
“The Caves of Androzani” Special Edition (Story 136)
Frequently ranked by fans as the greatest Doctor Who serial of all time, “The Caves of Androzani” originally aired in four parts during March 1984. Peter Davison stars as the Fifth Doctor for the final time as he and his companion Peri find themselves stranded in between two warring and nefarious factions spanning the desert planet Androzani Minor and the military of Androzani Major. Complicating matters further, both the Doctor and Peri have been exposed to a deadly infection and have only hours left to live!
Androzani reentered the Doctor Who mythos recently when tree harvesters from Androzani Major made an appearance in the 2011 Christmas special, “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe.”
The four episodes of “The Caves of Androzani” are collected in this new special edition, and the two disc set also includes a number of bonus features:
- Audio Commentary with Peter Davison (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), and Graeme Harper (Director)
- Chain Reaction – 36 minute making-of special
- Directing Who: Then and Now – A 12 minute feature with director Graeme Harper
- Behind the Scenes: Regeneration – 8 minute featurette about the departure of the Fifth Doctor, with optional audio commentary
- Behind the Scenes: Creating Sharaz Jek
- 4 minutes of Extended Scenes with optional audio commentary
- News Reports on Peter Davison’s departure from the series
- Isolated Music Score
- Photo Gallery
Both The Caves of Androzani Special Edition and The Sensorites released on DVD on February 14, 2012.