One of the most popular adventures of Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor got a brand new DVD release this month, this time packing loads of extras and four authentic episodes onto two discs. BBC provided us with a copy to check out, and it’s a fantastic collection, worthy of any Who fan’s collection.
Remembrance of the Daleks originally aired in October of 1988, bringing the Doctor to 1963 Earth to recover an artifact he left there before the Daleks can claim the Time Lord technology for their own. The four-part adventure aired at Doctor Who‘s 25th anniversary and features many callbacks and continuity points from the very first Doctor Who episode, “An Unearthly Child.”
This serial has seen DVD releases in the past, but this one feels very much like the definitive one, providing a faithful transfer of the original episodes (complete with the licensed songs that were removed in previous releases now intact again), all the special features from the last DVD release, and even more special bonuses that were added for this Special Edition. The first disc in the collection includes all four episodes. You can watch through any way you like, as the menu has a “Play All” option, as well as selectable chapter stops for each episode and scene selections within the episodes.
Also on the first disc is the bulk of the special features, including:
- Back to School: a 32 minute “Making Of” featurette
- Remembrances: a 15 minute segment in which the cast and crew discuss the serial and its place in the Doctor Who canon
- Extended and Deleted Scenes: 12 minutes of unused scenes, with introductions by Sylvester McCoy (the Doctor) and Sophie Aldred (Ace). The inclusion of the scenes is great, but there are no chapter stops for the individual scenes, so you have to watch all of them at once, in sequence.
- Outtakes: 4 minutes of bloopers and outtakes from the adventure
- Multi-Angle Sequences: 2 scenes (“Chemistry Lab” and “Gate Explosion”) that allow you to switch between angle A and angle B throughout
- Trails and Continuity: 5 minutes of original trailers and ads from the BBC’s initial airing of Remembrance of the Daleks, as well as other BBC productions of that time
- Photo Gallery: an 8-minute slideshow of stills and photos from these four episodes
- Radio Times Listings: a PDF file included on the DVD that collects newspaper clippings about the original airing of the episodes
The second disc is a 43-minute documentary about the creator of the Daleks called Davros Connections. It includes insight from the Doctor Who crew, as well as its own chapter stops for easy navigation.
The set also provides some great audio options, including a setting to let you watch the episodes with the music isolated and another that gives you a commentary track featuring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred. Additionally, there’s an “Info Text” option that you can turn on to see text pop-ups throughout the episodes that provide insight, trivia, and commentary.
As a relatively new Doctor Who fan who only started watching the show with Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor, I haven’t seen much of the classic Who at all. Remembrance of the Daleks was a completely new collection for me, as well as my introduction to Sylvester McCoy’s era on the show. In light of the role Davros and the Daleks have played in recent Doctor Who series, this collection is great and relevant viewing for fans new and old alike.