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4/04/2001 12:07:00 am - Reported by Marcus

Compiled by:
Shaun Lyon
Doctor Who DVDs in North America in September 2001: Further to our exclusive announcement of the onset of Doctor Who DVD in North America last week, we have now received official word from BBC Worldwide Americas that, in conjunction with Warner Home Video, they are finally bringing Doctor Who onto DVD in North America on September 11, with the simultaneous triple-release of "The Five Doctors""The Robots of Death" and "Spearhead from Space" (contrary to earlier reports that they were being released months apart). The two releases will match their UK DVD counterparts in features very closely; commentaries, photo galleries, trailers, model footage and the UNIT Recruitment Film on "Spearhead" will definitely be included. All three DVDs are expected to retail for US $24.99. (Thanks to BBC Worldwide Americas for the final confirmation, as well as Brian Burkart, Jennifer Kelley, Michael Sliger, Kenneth Parker, Patrick Neighly and others)

Doctor Who 1960's Films on DVD and Video: Australia video buyers have received word that Universal Australia is releasing a special DVD package in May 2001 -- the two Dalek movies of the 1960's, "Dr. Who and the Daleks" and "Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD,"along with a special bonus feature, the "Dalekmania" documentary. The retailer's suggested price is $AUS 39.95. Part of the advertising being distributed suggests that it is being released in Australia before the rest of the world. The package is also being released as a double VHS package on the same day as DVD release. (Thanks to Grant Watson, and to Doctor Who Shop for the image!)

Cover Changes: The Doctor Who DVD covers are set to feature a new look with the release of Caves of Androzani later this year in June. The photograph on the front cover will be replaced with artwork from the people responsible for the latest book covers. This decision is likely to please a large number of fans who are disappointed with the current covers, so much so that the debate has even reached the letters page of Doctor Who Magazine! (Thanks to Doctor Who Shop)

BBC DVD Release Strategy Reexamined: Due to the amount of delays, due both to production as well as packaging, the BBC is reexamining its DVD release strategy for 2001. To that end, The Caves of Androzani has been pushed back from its April 2001 release date to June. In addition, the 1996 TV Movie, originally due in the summer (by early reports), will be released in the autumn.

Australia DVD Troubles: Village Roadshow's releases of Doctor Who DVDs have apparently stopped after the release of "The Five Doctors" late in 2000. Further releases are "on hold until official notice" according to Village Roadshow, though no reason for the stoppage is forthcoming. We're currently investigating. (Thanks to Reid Withnell)

DVD Release Notes
These releases are only currently in PAL format (for UK, Australia and New Zealand & compatible DVD players); NTSC format (US/Canada) are expected from BBC Worldwide in late 2001. Special thanks to Steve Roberts of the Restoration Team and our other correspondents for this information.
    Previously Released (in UK or abroad):
  • The Five Doctors: Now in release in UK and Australia/New Zealand. This is the 'special edition' remastered originally for video release. Dual-layered with Dolby Digital soundtrack; the soundtrack was remixed using full multi-channel sound and the disc includes the full music soundtrack. Includes subtitles in six languages. Intended for US/Canada release in late 2001.
  • Robots of Death: Now in release in UK. Includes a commentary by author Chris Boucher and producer Philip Hinchcliffe; 10 minutes of shots and model footage ("unused footage, ex-monochrome Shibaden tape"); an image stills gallery; production notes; and a floor plan from the production. Australia/New Zealand release delayed; scheduled for US/Canada release at the end of 2001.
  • Spearhead from Space: Now in release in UK. Includes commentary by actors Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John. Musical cuts were made, including digital removal of a Fleetwood Mac track in part two and replacement of a Led Zeppelin track from the trailer for part three. Includes Kevin Davies' five-minute spoof "UNIT Recruitment Film"; a photo gallery with rare or previously unseen photos; two BBC trailers from the 1999 repeat season; a specially shot 35mm trailer for the 1999 Doctor Who night; and a bonus hidden feature (Easter Egg). Also included is the option to display production information via on-screen subtitles, which gives the viewer details of the locations used and other points of interest throughout the story.
  • Remembrance of the Daleks: Now in release in UK. Includes commentary by actors Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred; a four-minute extra including deleted scenes, bloopers and outtakes; two original BBC1 trailers (one of which was reconstructed specially for this disc); two multi-angle sequences featuring Ace's baseball attack on a Dalek and subsequent escape, and the gate explosion sequence; and an isolated music track provided by musician Keff McCulloch including a couple of unused music cues. Two pieces of music by the Beatles were removed digitally. An error in production has allowed a couple of small scenes to be released on the disc without requisite effects, using earlier takes for the scenes. Among them is a sequence in the scrapyard where a soldier is shot by a Dalek beam; the ray is not added to this version. The Restoration Team are hoping to correct this for future pressings including overseas releases, but cannot guarantee that any work will be able to be done to fix it.
  • The Caves of Androzani: Release date moved to June 13, 2001. As the master tapes have seen some decay, the Restoration Team is busy doing some much-needed work for its DVD release. Director Graeme Harper has been liaising with the RT on some of the work, which includes remaking the planet surface matte shots in episode one to remove movement between the foreground and background elements. Harper, Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant recently taped commentary audio in the studio for the release. In addition, a number of special items will be included on the disc, including a BBC-1 trailer for part one (remade in broadcast quality); three news items including the announcement of Davison's departure on the One O'Clock News, a Kate Adie interview with Davison on the same day, and an interview with Davison and producer John Nathan-Turner from the following day's "Southeast at Six"; a photo gallery; and a subtitle 'text commentary'. Says Steve Roberts: "A 75-minute isolated camera recording from the last studio session exists (an 'iso' recording is generally designed to capture alternative angles that are not always being covered by the main cameras and provide additional shots for the director to use in post-production) and includes the shooting of the regeneration from Peter Davison into Colin Baker. An eight-minute featurette is being prepared which will include some of this material and will be accompanied by a commentary. An audio interview with the late Christopher Gable, who played Sharaz Jek in the story, has been loaned to us and forms the basis of a separate four minute featurette entitled 'Creating Sharaz Jek', which also includes previously unseen photographs from Gable's own collection, rehearsal and iso camera material from the last studio recording session, and extracts from the finished show." Musician Mark Ayres is working on the isolated soundtrack which will be presented in its entirety. Roberts also explains: "Nearly two hundred tape dropouts and scratches were repaired over the four episodes. Several technical errors in the original editing were spotted and corrected. The most noticeable of these were a one-frame zoom into the picture just prior to a cut near the end of episode three, which was corrected by repeating the previous frame, and a sideways hop halfway through a shot in episode two. The latter was quite tricky to fix, as the entire shot moved to the right halfway down one field and then stayed in this position for the rest of the shot. There is another occurrence of this in the same episode, but unfortunately it has the holographic communications screen superimposed over it, so it was impossible to fix the displacement of the background without affecting the superimposed foreground element."
  • The 1996 TV Movie: Release scheduled for autumn 2001, likely August. This DVD will contain the complete, uncut print of the film as well as many extras including the Electronic Press Kit produced for the FOX network and television trailers (including a caption tribute to the late Jon Pertwee which was broadcast with the movie on BBC1 in 1996). Film producer Philip Segal (who spearheaded the 1996 film) taped a 10-minute interview with Steve Roberts at the Gallifrey 2001 convention, which will be included on the DVD release (an earlier announced introduction was not used). Among other comments, Segal notes some of the changes he'd have made if he had not been strongarmed by FOX, such as the romantic aspect and the "Americanisation" of the program. Additionally, director Geoffrey Sax has taped the first single-person commentary for a Doctor Who DVD release; according to the Restoration Team, he gave "great insight into the technical complexeties of making the show." Paul McGann was asked to do the commentary track but declined.
  • Vengeance on Varos: Release scheduled for October 2001. Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Nabil Shaban (Sil) taped a commentary on March 29 for this release, which will (unlike previous releases) not include an isolated music soundtrack. "This was purely because the music was used so sparsely throughout the story that we felt it did not work in the synchronous-use form for which we held the rights," says the Restoration Team website, which also notes the reconstruction of a particular scene in episode one. "There is a technical fault with some shots of the gun used to torture Jason Connery. Inside the gun is a red light, which was too bright and caused an illegal video signal... To overcome this, a Philips VS4 noise reducer was put into a mode which severly blurs the video in both horizontal and vertical directions.... The uneveness was then removed by locking onto that particular shade of red using the Pogle secondary colour corrector and then turning the saturation up so that the red went into clipping and removed any level variations." A one-inch studio recording spool for the story still exists, which will be used as the basis for a small feature which shows a problem scene and how the director used multiple retakes to give him the shots he needed. Early 71 edits of both episodes exist on timecoded U-matic dubs (of the director's VHS copies) in Ian Levine's collection, which Ian has kindly loaned to the Restoration Team; these will provide a number of extended and deleted scenes for inclusion on the disc.
  • The Tomb of the Cybermen: Due in January 2002. No further information available.
  • Future Releases: BBC Video wants to run the gamut through all seven TV Doctors for DVD releases first. Releases of one Hartnell and one Troughton story are likely for 2002 along with more Tom Baker releases. One website, the Wolves of Fenric, reported that "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Ark in Space" might be on the schedule sometime soon, but both have been denied.
  • Doctor Who Films on DVD: Doctor Who comes to DVD in North America on an unexpected avenue: the two 1960's Doctor Who films, "Dr. Who and the Daleks" and "Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD" will be released in 2002 on DVD by Anchor Bay. Actors Jennie Linden and Roberta Tovey recently were in studio recording commentary for the releases, just one of the extras that will be included. Release info can be found on the Anchor Bay website (http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com) as being released in 2002. (Thanks to Steve Hill)
  • Australia DVD Update: Despite of previous announcements that it wouldn't be releasing Doctor Who on DVD in Australia, Sydney-based Roadshow Entertainment (the company that currently releases Who videos down under) has begun releasing them. But the 1960's films will be released; see above! (Thanks to Rob Irwin)