This month sees the release of two more DVDs in BBC’s growing collection of classic Doctor Who adventures. One of this month’s entries features the only televised appearance of the Eighth Doctor, and the other has the Third Doctor traveling to the 30th century.
The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) is bringing the Master’s body home to Gallifrey when the TARDIS goes off course and lands in 1999 San Francisco. Unintentionally earthbound, the Doctor finds himself in the middle of a gunfight and is mortally wounded before being rushed to the hospital. He dies on the operating table, only to regenerate as the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann), even as the Master is rejuvenating as well. The nemeses, alive and kicking again, do battle one more time with the fate of Earth in the balance.
The Doctor Who movie aired in 1996 and was intended as a back door pilot for a possible new TV series produced in America. The American ratings did not meet expectations, so this film would mark the one and only televised appearance of Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, even though he would bear the title for nine years until the show’s 2005 relaunch, making McGann technically the Doctor with the longest term.
This special edition DVD release is a two disc set, packed full of extras including:
- Audio commentary by director Geoffrey Sax
- Audio commentary by actors Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy with Nicholas Briggs
- The Seven Year Itch – a 54 minute long featurette about the quest to bring Doctor Who back into production
- The Doctor’s Strange Love – a featurette about fan reactions to the Doctor Who movie
- Photo Gallery
- Music Tracks
- Behind the Scenes featurette
- Electronic Press Kit – Documentary and interview segments from 1996
- Philip Segal’s Tour of the TARDIS
- Alternate Takes
- Who Peter 1989-2009 – The second part of the documentary about the relationship between children’s program Blue Peter and Doctor Who
- VFX Tests June 1994
- VFX March 1996
- The Wilderness Years – a featurette about Doctor Who between 1989 and 1996
- Stripped for Action: The Eighth Doctor
- Tomorrow’s Times: The Eighth Doctor – Contemporary press coverage
“The Mutants” (Story 63)
Originally aired in 1972, “The Mutants” is one of the Third Doctor’s (Jon Pertwee) adventures, pairing him with companion Jo (Katy Manning). The story broadcast in six weekly parts, all collected together on this new DVD release. The story launches with the Doctor and Jo sent on a Time Lord mission after a message pod appears at the UNIT headquarters. They soon find themselves in the 30th century on Skybase One, high above the planet Solos, which is about to gain its independence from Earth. On the planet, however, someone has hatched a scheme to mutate the human population into monsters. Both controversial and popular for its metaphorical attack on Apartheid, “The Mutants” would get a novelization in 1977 and even got a mention in Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.
In addition to the six episodes, this DVD release includes:
- Audio commentary by actors Katy Manning (Jo) and Garrick Hagon (Ky), director Christopher Barry, script editor Terrance Dicks, co-writer Bob Baker, special sounds supervisor Brian Hodgson, and designer Jeremy Bear
- Mutt Mad – A making-of featurette
- Race Against Time – a featurette about black actors on Doctor Who and other British TV shows
- Blue Peter – Peter Purves looks at Doctor Who monsters
- Dressing Doctor Who – Interview with costume designer James Acheson
- Photo Gallery
Both the special edition of the movie and the “Mutants” collection released on DVD on February 8, 2011, for suggested retail prices of $34.98 each.