Doctor Who The Collection Season 10 Blu-ray Review

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The Pertwee era at its very finest

by Simon Crust Jul 12, 2019 at 6:24 AM

  • Movies & TV review


    Doctor Who The Collection Season 10 Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £39.99

    Doctor Who Season 10 Review

    That's exactly it. That's where we are - on a stable world in a universe of antimatter; an anomaly within an impossibility.

    The normal behind the scenes turmoil that usually accompanies the making of Doctor Who was unusually absent for season 10. Due to the money saving compromise made in 1970 to keep the Doctor exiled to Earth, a serendipitous decision that helped form a close-knit family, a company, if you will, comprising of UNIT, the companion and the Doctor – thus the actors became close friends, the production team knew where the series was heading, and that sense of belonging transferred onto the screen, culminating in the five stories that make up the season.

    Calling on established writers and feeling that the Earth bound stories were exhausted, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks made waves to move the series back into the space adventure it had previously become. To do this they entertained an idea long been touted but flatly refused, to let the Doctor meet himself. This became the season opener and the unofficial tenth anniversary story – radical for the time but looking back so clearly an obvious decision. It did everything a good Doctor Who story should: be entertaining, riveting, have a credible threat and move the mythos along, The Three Doctors did all this and more, creating an on screen rivalry between Dr’s 2 and 3 that was so universally enjoyable that it carried on into the convention circuit.

    The season also saw the return of the Master and the Dr’s favourite bad guys, the Daleks, in what amounts to a 12 part episode, even though it was split into two stories. Story one, in fact, had the Draconians, Jon Pertwee’s favourite ‘monsters’ due to the masks that allowed the actors to portray more emotions. The final story, based on Letts’ own environmental feelings is a bona fide classic and fondly remembered by all; indeed there are those that never knew the ‘classic series’ and still know this story! Perhaps more widely remembered amongst fans as Katy Manning’s last story, a wonderfully poignant moment, heartbreakingly lovely that had far reaching consequences. With the loss of Roger Delgado during that year (in a tragic car crash), Katy moving on, the production team began sowing the seeds for their own departure, but we can still look back at season 10 as the Pertwee era at its very finest.

    The Three Doctors – The unofficial 10th anniversary story sees the first three Doctors teaming up to stop a renegade Timelord from destroying the Universe.

    Carnival of Monsters – The Doctor and Jo are trapped inside a mini-scope that houses all sorts of monsters being touted as entertainment for the masses.

    Frontier in Space – Space opera sees the final appearance of Roger Delgado as the Master inciting a war between the humans and the Draconians.

    Planet of the Daleks – Turns out the Master was working for the Daleks all along, sees a return of the Thals fighting for the freedom of the plant.

    The Green Death – Affectionately known as the ‘one with the maggots’ and is instantly recognisable and fondly remembered; eco warriors stand up to the computerised menace polluting the land, also notable as Katy Manning’s last story.

    Doctor Who Season 10 Blu-ray Picture

    Doctor Who Classic Series 10  Doctor Who Season 10 Blu-ray Picture
    All the discs in this set are presented in the original broadcast ratio of Fullscreen 1.33:1, encoded with the MPEG4 compression and are up-scaled to 1080/50i resolution.

    The original clean-up of the DVDs was undertaken by The Doctor Who Restoration Team, a small group of Doctor Who fans who work within the television industry, and who originally conceived of an experimental procedure to restore The Daemons from monochrome back to colour. Its success allowed the team to win the contract to restore and encode every DVD release to date.

    The Three Doctors

    Even though the DVD had a ‘Revisitations’ release, the Blu-ray upgrade is immediate and obvious. The increase in resolution gives much keener edges throughout, smoothing aliasing and adding some frame depth also. Colours are bolder, richer and grade much better. Inherent in the source, lens flares and softness are reduced, but still there. One thing I did notice, especially during the filmed sequences, is the presence of DNR helped to smooth out some of the rougher edges, it’s quite obvious, on paused scenes, though this doesn’t reflect real world watching. Detail is ever so slightly lost due to this, but overall, the benefit outweighs this very slight loss. Studio bound material appears unaffected.

    Carnival of Monsters

    This DVD was also the recipient of a ‘Revisitiations’ release, and once again the added resolution and colour depth in the Blu-ray add significantly to the image; bringing out more detail, better edging and greater depth. Colours are slightly more vibrant, and black levels are increased. DNR has also been used to smooth out some of the rougher edges, though detail appears to be slightly better intact, and its usage really helps the picture. Source defects remain intact.

    Frontier in Space

    The DVD for this release was pretty good and the Blu-ray upgrade isn’t that significant; the increased resolution does define edges much better, and the colours are far more robust and vivid, especially the greens, while the black level does give an increase in depth. Source issues still remain and there is no unruly DNR, so the picture tops any previous release.

    Planet of the Daleks
    Released at the same time, the work done to this DVD was excellent and much can be said about the Blu-ray upgrade, which has keener edges, far more saturation to the colours (jungle sets especially) and a deeper black level. Episode 3 was re-colourised since it was only retained in the BBC archives as black and white, this process worked well, but it still looks a bit off – flesh tones are a bit brown, reds are a bit skewed – but this was always the case. Overall, the image is a decent enough step up in terms of quality.

    The Green Death
    This DVD was also the recipient of a ‘special edition’ later release, but even so, the Blu-ray picture is a clear upgrade in terms of resolution and colour reproduction. Edges are much keener from close up to distance, colours are far richer while black levels are increased adding some decent frame depth. Like the first two discs in this set, this image has had a liberal dose of DNR, and while it does smooth off a lot of the rougher edges (the filming in Wales for example) it is at a very slight loss of detail. This is only really evident on paused sections and flicking between the two images and then only on skin texture. I realise I am nit-picking to a degree, because overall the image is a clear improvement over previous releases.

    Doctor Who Season 10 Blu-ray Sound

    Doctor Who Classic Series 10 Doctor Who Season 10 Blu-ray Sound
    Apart from Planet of the Daleks which has been given an all new Dolby Digital 5.1 up-grade, all the discs present a 2.0 duel mono track.

    The Three Doctors
    A clean and clear track that delivers its information well. There is a reasonable separation to the mix, dialogue is never an issue, while the effects and score are at good levels. Sharper, with more dynamics than the DVD track, means it has a better defined atmosphere.

    Carnival of Monsters
    Much can be said for this track, which is tight, well mixed and has a good layering to the mix. Is cleaner and better defined with no distortion or hiss.

    Frontier in Space
    The track remains robust, clean and well mixed. Dialogue is natural and mixed well with the effects and score, meaning nothing is lost. Bass is reasonable giving the track a good grounding.

    Planet of the Daleks

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track really opens up the sound stage compared to all the other tracks. There is a real sense of immersion to the opening score that seems to roll over and around you. Dialogue is held to the front, sounds very natural and is never lost. Effects (jungle noises, gun shots, Dalek movements) are well placed adding much to the ambience, while the score takes full advantage of the extra speakers to envelope the listener. Bass is, obviously, limited, but holds the track in good stead.

    The Green Death
    Another robust, clean and well layered track that gets across its information without issue. Dialogue is clean and clear, effects and score are well layered with bass being there to ground everything.

    Doctor Who Season 10 Blu-ray Extras

    Doctor Who Classic Series 10 Doctor Who Season 10 Blu-ray Extras
    As with previous releases, this set is packed with extra features, both old and new.

    The Three Doctors

    Audio Commentary - With actors Katy Manning and Nicholas Courtney, producer Barry Letts.
    Making of Documentary - Cast and crew look back at the making of the story.
    Behind the Sofa – Katy Manning, Richard Franklin, John Levene, Phil Collinson, Pete McTighe and Joy Wilkinson give their thoughts on this story as it plays.
    Looking for Lennie – Toby Hadoke, in a poignant, moving and frank account, looks at the life and work of director Lennie Mayne with interviews from friends and family, painting a portrait of the man, who, up until this feature, was somewhat enigmatic.
    Looking for Lennie Deleted Scenes – (Rightly) Excised material from the above.
    Clean Opening and Closing Titles
    Alternative Opening and Closing Titles – With the abandoned ‘Delaware’ theme.
    BBC Trails & Continuity
    Blue Peter - Jon Pertwee and the Whomobile.
    Nationwide – From 28 December 1972 featuring Jon Pertwee.
    BSB 31 Who Highlights - Excerpts from BSB's '31Who' weekend, includes interviews and trails.
    Photo Gallery – In HD
    Text Info
    PDF Written Archive

    Carnival of Monsters
    Audio Commentary 1 - With actress Katy Manning and director Barry Letts.
    Audio Commentary 2 - With actors Peter Halliday, Cheryl Hall and Jenny McCracken, script editor Terrance Dicks, sound effects designer Brian Hodgson. Moderated by Toby Hadoke.
    Making of Documentary - Cast and crew look back at the making of the story.
    Behind the Sofa - The gang return for more of the same.
    Studio Footage - Studio floor and inside the gallery, during production of the story.
    Visual Effects Footage - Unused model shots, trims and tests.
    CSO Demo – Barry Letts in a BBC training film, demonstrates the technique.
    Episode Two Early Edit – A slightly longer cut, featuring the rejected ‘Delaware’ version of the theme music.
    Revised Ending - Re-edit to remove a shot of a very obvious ‘bald cap’.
    BBC Trails & Continuity
    Photo Gallery
    Text Info
    Coming Soon
    PDF Written Archive

    Frontier in Space
    Audio Commentary - With actor Katy Manning, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks, moderated by Clayton Hickman.
    Making of Documentary - Cast and crew look back at the making of the story.
    Behind the Sofa - The gang return for more of the same.
    Visual Effects Footage – Nearly an hour’s worth of unused material.
    Roger Delgado Tribute - A beautifully crafted biography of actor Roger Delgado from his introduction as the Master in 1971 until his tragic death two years later.
    Jon Pertwee Introduction – From The Pertwee Years VHS tape.
    BBC Continuity
    The Perfect Scenario: Part 1 - Two-part feature from producer Steve Broster and writer David Harley featuring interviews from cast and crew, updated for 2019.
    Photo Gallery
    Text Info

    Episode Two Credits – Corrected credits.
    PDF Written Archive

    Planet of the Daleks

    Audio Commentary - With actors Katy Manning, Prentis Hancock and Tim Preece, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks.
    Updated Special Effects – All new CGI effects.
    Making of Documentary - Cast and crew look back at the making of the story.
    Behind the Sofa - The gang return for more of the same.
    Restoration Featurette – Look at the work done by the restoration team who were able to return this black and white episode to colour.
    Stripped for Action – How the show was portrayed in the comics.
    Blue Peter – From 7 and 11 June 1973, the appeal to find stolen Daleks and their subsequent return.
    BBC Trails and Continuity
    Commentary Extra – Snippet excised from the commentary.
    The Perfect Scenario: Part 2 – Continuation and conclusion of the above, updated for 2019.
    Photo Gallery
    Coming Soon
    Text Info
    PDF Written Archive

    The Green Death

    Audio Commentary - With actress Katy Manning, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks.
    Audio Commentary (episodes 3 – 5) - With actors Richard Franklin and Mitzi McKenzie, moderated by Toby Hadoke.
    Audio Commentary (episode 6) - With actress Katy Manning and Russell T Davies.
    Making of Documentary - Cast and crew look back at the making of the story.
    Behind the Sofa - The gang return for more of the same.
    Keeping Up with the Joneses – Katy Manning and Stewart Bevan return to the locations used in The Green Death.
    The Unit Family – Part Two – An overview of Dr Who’s UNIT stories covering season 8 – 10.
    Visual Effects Featurette - Interview with visual effects designer, Colin Mapson, on how to build a giant maggot.
    Robert Sloman Interview – Brief chat with the writer.
    Stewart Bevan Interview – Brief chat with the actor who played Professor Clifford Jones.
    Wales Today – Silent, 1973, insert from the filming of The Green Death, and a 1994 item with Jon Pertwee opening a country park built on the former colliery used in the story.
    BBC Continuity
    BBC News – Jon Petwee at the Beaulieu Motor Show.
    Nationwide – From 22 June 1973, interview with Katy Manning.
    What Katy Did Next – Brief look at the TV series, Serendipity, that Katy Manning presented after leaving the show.
    Global Conspiracy? - Spoof investigative report looking events happening in Llanfairfach. From Mark Gatiss.
    Global Conspiracy Interviews – Gatiss interviews Tony Adams, Stewart Bevan and Jerome Willis.
    Photo Gallery
    Coming Soon
    Text Info
    PDF Written Archive

    Extras Disc
    Doctor Who and the Third Man – Feature length overview of Jon Pertwee’s era in the show combining archival and new interviews. There is plenty here, even if most fans will know the stories, it’s nice to have a slightly different perspective from the likes of Mark Gatiss and Russell T Davies.
    Blue Peter – From 5 November 1973 with (ex-companion) Peter Pervis looking back over ten years of Dr Who.
    Pebble Mill at One – From 21 December 1973, interviews with Pat Troughton and Bernard Wilkie.
    Death of the Doctor Episode One – The Sarah Jane Adventures featuring Katy Manning, can be played with commentary from Katy Manning and Russell T Davies.
    Death of the Doctor Episode Two – Conclusion of the story, commentary also available.
    The Green Death Omnibus – Highly edited version of the story to fill 90 minutes, first time available on disc; has been cleaned up and looks and sounds as good as the episodes.
    Season 10 Blu-ray Trailer
    The Panopticon Archive – Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning and Nicholas Courtney on stage in 1993. I’ve seen Jon numerous times over the years, and here he is in good form, Katy is as manic as she’s always been, and Nic, well, he’s as dapper as ever.
    Audio Archive: Jon Pertwee & Jake Kine – From 1973.
    Audio Archive: Peter Brooks & David Driver – From 1994.
    Studio Clocks

    Booklet – Glossy full colour with background information on the season whole and individual stories.

    So what’s missing?
    Actually, this time around, quite a lot. A number of features on previous DVD sets do not appear on this set, including:
    On Target with Ian Marter – Profile of the actor and author.
    The A-Z of Gadgets and Gizmos – Comical look through the various tools used by the Doctor.
    Mary Celeste – Discussion of maritime disappearances.
    Was Doctor Who Rubbish? – Robust defence of the series by fans.
    Girls Girls Girls – Trials and tribulations of being a 1970’s Who girl.

    Doctor Who Season 10 Blu-ray Verdict

    Doctor Who Classic Series 10 Doctor Who Season 10 Blu-ray Verdict
    Season 10 of Doctor Who is fondly remembered, and it is easy to see why. The UNIT ‘family’ made necessary by financial constraints in 1970, proved to be a winning combination, allowing the production team to flourish, culminating in a period of stability that the show seldom entertained. The stories, by some of the best writers the series had ever known, were strong, the feeling of belonging was plain to see, and this allowed the whole season to thrive. Though there were tragedies off screen (the death of Roger Delgado) and heartbreak on it (Jo leaving), it remains one of the best loved and most enjoyed whole seasons of the series run.

    As a Blu-ray set, this complete season package is, once again, very impressive. All the episodes benefit from a cleaner, more stable, sharper with more colour depth and an improved black level image, even if there has been some liberal usage of DNR on some of the episodes; the benefit outweighs the negligible detail loss. The sound tracks are functional and clear, with story 4 gaining a Dolby Digital 5.1 upgrade, itself with good separation, dynamics and bass.

    The extras package is, again, immense with plenty of, really quite good, new content sitting alongside the features ported over from the DVDs. There are a few extras missing this time around, so holding on the DVDs for those might be advisable. On the whole this is a good upgrade.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £39.99

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