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Friday, 15 September 2000 - Reported by Marcus
Compiled by:
Shaun Lyon with Mark Phippen

Blackstar Opens Doctor Who Zone: Blackstar, the UK's best online video retailer, has just opened a new Doctor Who area, the "Doctor Who Zone" on their webspace. For more information, visit them at   (Thanks to Dave Green)

Doctor Who Video in North America Goes to Warner Home Video: Doctor Who video distribution in North America has been taken over by Warner Home Video. CBS/FOX lost its contract with BBC Worldwide Americas on July 31. Subsequently, all videos were requested to be pulled by vendors across North America; major chains such as Suncoast, Virgin, etc. were given 3 weeks to remove them from their shelves and return them The new versions of BBC titles here in the U.S. are being repackaged, though the features and transfers are all expected to stay the same. In addition to straight distribution chores, Warner will also handle marketing and sales duties for the BBC titles, though the length of the agreement has not been released. "Suffice it to say," our contact responded, "there are no plans to allow our back catalog of Doctor Who (or of any other back catalog titles for that matter) to dry up, aside from a handful of titles that have sold poorly. The other 100+ Doctor Who titles will carry over, no matter what occurs." Currently, no DW videos are currently available from online retailers or major chains except "Invasion of Time" (see below), though some store owners have reported to various Internet reporters that a large shipment of new Warner Who titles were due by mid-August (these have not yet materialized). At least 7 titles were supposed to be in this shipment, but have not yet made it to stores.

North American Release Schedule: The first Warner release, "The Invasion of Time" has begun to hit shelves (the release date was officially August 29). Some online retailers such as are now officially listing the release after a delay. Meanwhile, BBC Worldwide Americas has finally revealed release plans for the rest of the year to Outpost Gallifrey. The Comic Relief charity sketch "The Curse of Fatal Death" with Rowan Atkinson and Julia Sawalha (Warner catalog # E1496) will see release on October 10. On the same day is a combination of two video releases from BBC Video: "The Edge of Destruction, The Original Pilot and The Missing Years" (Warner catalog # E1497). This video release, a two-tape set, combines the "Edge/Original Pilot" new release along with the "Missing Years" documentary that was included in the "Ice Warriors" release everywhere but in North America. Finally, November 7 will see release of "Planet of the Daleks", the Third Doctor serial with one episode (#3) in black & white (Warner catalog # as yet unknown). (Thanks to our contact at BBC Worldwide Americas for the release information.)

Cybermen Box Set: Now confirmed by BBC Video for November 2000 in the UK is the Cybermen Box Set (seen at right). The set will be a double-tape feature of "Attack of the Cybermen" starring Colin Baker (which includes a clip from "Saturday Superstore" of Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant cutting a cake) and the first three episodes of "The Tenth Planet" starring William Hartnell. In addition, the fourth episode of "Tenth Planet," which is still missing, is being reconstructed by Ralph Montagu of the Doctor Who Restoration Team. Steve Roberts of the Restoration Team made the announcement on the Team's website forum that the reconstruction of "The Tenth Planet" part four will be full-length; instead of including a CD with the package, the entire episode will be reconstructed with audio for release on the tape. Roberts noted that it was due to paper copies of the requests made by people on the discussion forum presented to the BBC that they were able to get this done.
2001 Rumors Fly: A few websites have begun to speculate and/or offer rumors about 2001 Doctor Who videos, naming several stories including "Delta and the Bannermen," "Four to Doomsday," "The Ambassadors of Death" and "The Gunfighters," as well as a special Patrick Troughton clips tape and a compilation of episodes from missing stories remastered in better format. Also, BBC Video is rumored to be working on a special "Master Set" featuring two stories as yet unreleased from the Pertwee era: "Colony in Space" and "The Time Monster" for the 2001 holidays. Stay tuned.

DVD Release Notes - PAL format (UK/Australia/New Zealand)
(with thanks to Steve Roberts of the Restoration Team and other sources):
  • The Five Doctors: "The Five Doctors: Special Edition" is now out on DVD. Sound engineers were converting the soundtrack to Surround Sound format 5.1 as of late June. The DVD contains no "extras", but the soundtrack will be isolated so that incidental music can be listened to independently of the dialogue, even though the music doesn't necessarily match the screen action. It should be noted, however, that this release is for "region 2 & 4" (UK and Australia/NZ only) and will NOT be released at this time for North American DVD players.
  • Robots of Death: "The Robots of Death" will be released on October 9th (not 2nd), 2000 in the UK. Updated information on this production: The DVD will feature a commentary by writer Chris Boucher and producer Philip Hinchcliffe on the recording of this episode, 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. (Thanks to James Whittington and to our friend at the BBC who corrected the info...)
  • Spearhead from Space: Having been remastered for broadcast on BBC-2 earlier this year, "Spearhead from Space" will be released in December 2000 on DVD, as noted above, due to a last-minute decision by BBC Worldwide to reverse their earlier decision to pull back from DVD releases. Commentary was recorded by Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier) and Caroline John (Liz Shaw) earlier in the year. Sound quality is being enhanced at Pebble Mill Studios, with colourist Jonathan Wood making additional tweaks to the colour. The Fleetwood Mac track playing in the background of the plastics factory sequence in part two was removed due to cost of clearances; Mark Ayres remade the soundtrack using the original sound effects tapes of the machinery but without the music. The disc includes Kevin Davies' five-minute spoof 'UNIT Recruitment Film', originally broadcast as part of the thirtieth anniversary celebrations in 1993. The disc will also feature a photo gallery, with many rare or previously unseen photographs from the story and it is hoped that it will also include the two BBC2 trails from the 1999 repeat season and the specially shot 35mm trail for the 1999 'Doctor Who Night', plus a bonus 'Easter Egg' hidden feature (highlight the following text to find out what it is): a bonus Jon Pertwee title sequence unused in the series
  • Remembrance of the Daleks: Due in January 2001. The copyright holders have refused permission to clear two pieces of music by 'The Beatles' used in episodes one and three; these will be replaced by either clearable soundalikes or BBC copyright Beatles performances if they are clearable. Around thirteen deleted or extended scenes from the '71s have been compiled onto an 'extras' tape, which will be augmented by a series of bloopers and outtakes from the recording sessions. Says Roberts: "Sadly, not all the original studio and location recordings exist in a broadcast format. However, the current owner of the timecoded VHS copies that were used during production has kindly loaned them to us, so we effectively have access to just about all the surviving recorded material." Two original BBC1 trails for the first two parts of the story have been located and will be included. In addition, two multi-angle sequences have been constructed, featuring Ace's baseball attack on a Dalek and subsequent escape through from the science lab window, and the impressive gate explosion sequence. Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred recorded a commentary, and an extensive photo gallery will likely be included.
  • Future Releases: The Restoration Team's spokesman Steve Roberts recently commented that BBC Video wants to run the gamut through all seven TV Doctors for DVD releases first; the Fourth, Third and Seventh are represented with these three releases, with future releases likely to include a First Doctor, Second Doctor (though NOT "Tomb of the Cybermen" says Roberts) and Sixth Doctor release... as well as a Fifth Doctor release (apparently, "The Five Doctors" does NOT represent the Fifth Doctor era in the minds of BBC Video).
  • 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, as announced at a recent chat with Home Theatre Forum. To view the transcript see
  • 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 annouced its release schedule for the rest of 2000. And surprise... 9 October will see the release of "The Five Doctors" on DVD. (Thanks to Rob Irwin)
  • DVD Miscellaneous: At the time, no word of NTSC (North American) release of any Doctor Who DVD's but we do know that BBC Worldwide is investigating DVD release plans for 2001. Earlier, news correspondent James Whittington recently spoke to Rob Cory of BBC Worldwide on the subject of DVD releases in the UK. "We hope to roll out at least another 4 titles by Christmas 2001," Cory said, who indicated that the full-length version of the 1996 Doctor Who movie is among those currently under discussion. Cory said that BBC Worldwide hopes to be in a position within the next two years to release Doctor Who simultaneously on DVD and VHS video. Cory briefly mentioned the upcoming second DVD release, "The Robots of Death" (see below for more info on this story): "It's one of the most popular stories. We had lots of requests from fans for that one in particular. I'm sure all Doctor Who fans will appreciate the effort the effort that has gone into its production." The disc will have graphical elements like the ones used on the Five Doctors DVD as well as additional materials as reported here on the News Page. As far as the future, Cory said "We will try to have as many interviews recorded with original cast and production team as possible. We are always on the lookout for extra material associated with a story."
Video Release Notes:
  • UK - "The Edge of Destruction" and "The Original Pilot" video is in release; the pilot includes "the VT countdown clock, all the retakes, and even the bits between scenes when the VT's are running-up to record and you hear people asking for quiet on the set etc" says Steve Roberts. This is followed by "Time-Flight" in July and a new remastered version of "An Unearthly Child," the first Doctor Who story, forthcoming in September. The earlier announced restored version of "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is no longer on the 2000 schedule. "The Daleks," which was scheduled to be released in late 2000, has now been confirmed for UK release in January 2001; this is the re-release of this video, remastered and repackaged.
  • North America - See above
  • Australia/New Zealand - "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" will be released in October.

FILTER: - Blu-ray/DVD