Two more classic adventures join the BBC’s library of Doctor Who DVDs this month. The first is a story putting the fate of humanity once more in the hands of the Fifth Doctor, and the second features the introduction of Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor.
“Frontios” (Story 133)
The Fifth Doctor lands with the TARDIS in the far future on Frontios, a desolate planet where the last remnants of humanity has managed to survive under hostile planetary conditions. Their spacecraft having crashed on Frontios, the humans live in fear of planetary bombardment by meteor showers, even as some secret force within the planet itself seems to be devouring colonists. The Time Lords forbid the Doctor from interfering with the events on the planet, but he soon finds himself embroiled in the danger and stranded with the humans.
“Frontios” originally aired in four parts, from January through February in 1984. All four episodes are collected on this new release, available for the first time on DVD. In addition to the episodes themselves, the DVD includes a number of special features:
- Audio Commentary with Peter Davison (the Doctor), Jeff Rawle (Plantagenet), John Gillett (the Gravis), Eric Saward (script editor), and Dick Mills (special sounds designer)
- Driven to Distraction – a 33 minute long making-of featurette
- 15 minutes of deleted and extended scenes
- Photo Gallery
- Isolated music feature
“Time and the Rani” (Story 148)
The second DVD release this month features the transition from the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) to the Seventh (Sylvester McCoy). Although the Sixth Doctor appears at the beginning of this adventure, he is actually already played by Sylvester McCoy with his face obscured. The first episode begins with the evil Rani attacking the TARDIS and causing it to crash on the planet Lakertya. Gravely wounded, the Doctor regenerates into his new body and immediately must spring into action, even though he hasn’t had time to recover from the regeneration process. He soon finds himself captured by the Rani, who also holds Albert Einstein and an array of other geniuses she plans to use to enact her mysterious new plot.
Originally shown during September 1987, “Time and the Rani” spans four episodes and is the first Doctor Who adventure to feature a computer generated opening sequence. The adventure’s production faced some controversy as it originally was intended as a continuation of the Sixth Doctor’s journeys. Colin Baker refused to return to the series even to shoot the opening regeneration sequence, though, ushering in an unexpected transition to Sylvester McCoy’s tenure in the TARDIS. The full story is collected on this new DVD release alongside the following features:
- Audio Commentary by Sylvester McCoy (the Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel), and Pip and Jane Baker (writers)
- Last Chance Saloon – A half-hour featurette in which the cast and crew discuss working in this era of Doctor Who
- 7D FX – special effects featurette
- Helter Skelter – interview about the computer generated title sequence
- Hot Gossip – brief feature with Kate O’Mara (the Rani)
- On Location – brief interview conducted by BBC Breakfast Time’s Guy Michelmore with the actors
- Blue Peter – Jane Ellis introduces Sylvester McCoy
- Photo Gallery
Both adventures release on DVD on June 14, 2011.