Doctor Who: Revisitations 1

The Time Lord revisits three of his classic adventures in this remastered box set

Doctor Who: Revisitations 1 is the first of three planned boxsets collecting together a trio of classic Doctor Who stories that have already been released on DVD in the past, but given new and improved transfers, plus a wealth of additional bonus material.

The action gets under way with The Talons of Weng-Chiang, a true fan favourite from 1977 that finds Tom Baker’s Doctor and companion Leela (Louise Jameson) in Victorian London investigating an Oriental stage magician involved in the disappearance of several women. Next up is 1984’s The Caves of Androzani, Peter Davidson’s swansong in the role, which is regularly hailed as the best Doctor Who story of all time. Finally there’s the rather less impressive US-produced Doctor Who: The Movie from 1996 starring Paul McGann in his one and only screen appearance as the Eighth Doctor.

Picture: The Doctor Who Restoration Team has once again come up trumps with this trio of classic stories. While the transfers for all three were well received on their original individual releases, the intervening years have seen developments in remastering technology that simply wasn’t available back then. As a result the new 1.33:1 transfers are much improved, now looking clearer and sharper than ever before (despite plentiful grain in low-light sequences in Talons…) thanks to more accurate contrast levels and superior colour saturation – not to mention the elimination of the handful of encoding issues that appeared on the previous versions.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Any upgrade in audio isn’t as noticeable as that in image quality, but that’s primarily because there was nothing really wrong with this particular aspect of the previous DVDs. Naturally, the TV movie sounds the best of the bunch, with some excellent separation across the stereo spread (the other stories are both mono), but all three deliver exactly what you’d expect given the limitations of the original recordings.
Audio rating: 3/5

Extras: As usual, there’s no shortage of goodies spread across this epic boxset, with all three titles getting a wealth of new goodies in addition to all of the old featurettes and commentaries. Talons… now spreads itself across three discs with a seemingly endless assortment of interviews, archival news material, featurettes about the story’s historical context, behind-the-scenes footage, photo galleries and more. Caves… gets two discs including all of the old extras plus a new retrospective documentary, an excerpt from the Russell Harty Show and an interview with director Graham Harper about working on both ‘classic’ and ‘new’ Who. Best of the bunch though is the two-disc package for the US TV movie. Here you’ll find a new commentary with Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, an hour-long doc about the struggle to bring Who back to the screen, audition footage, an isolated music track effects tests, a look at the Eighth Doctor’s comic strip outings and a piece about the books, mags and videos that kept the Doctor going until the new series.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: Quite possibly the DVD boxset of the year, and one of the highlights of the Doctor Who range.

2entertain Ltd., R2 DVD, £40 approx, On sale October 4