Spearhead From Space - Doctor Who's first colour story - is the only adventure from the classic era that can be remastered into true HD say experts because, thanks to industrial action at BBC TV Centre, all four episodes were shot on location on 16mm film rather than being recorded on videotape - the only time this was ever done on the show.
The digital media services team of BBC Studios and Post Production was commissioned by BBC Worldwide to remaster the story, which was first broadcast in January 1970 and also introduced Caroline John as assistant Liz Shaw. The "facelift" has given the story a cinematic finish, and the Blu-ray is now scheduled for release on Monday 15th July 2013.
The original 16mm negatives were scanned and digitised using state-of-the-art equipment, and other work has included repairing damage done to one episode's negative caused by a reaction with chemicals during a printing process some years ago. Dirt has also been removed, grain lessened, joins cleaned up, and picture movement stabilised. The soundtrack, which had previously been remastered, was then added to the final master version.
Jonathan Wood, the team's lead colourist, said:
The look of this HD remaster is a low-key filmic approach, which gives it more of a dramatic result. Working with the original negative and using a powerful, non-linear grading system, we decided to treat this four-part story like an individual filmed drama rather than thinking of it as part of an ongoing series normally shot in a TV studio.Clive Hodge, the digital media services head, said:
We're delighted to have teamed up with BBC Worldwide to have remastered such an iconic programme for its 50th anniversary. Doctor Who is one of the few series to remain popular through the ages, and it's fantastic that the younger generations will have the chance to see this landmark story in the same picture quality that they've become used to with the more recent series.