Saturday, 11 November 2000 - Reported by Marcus
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.
- 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. Currently in release in the UK and Australia/New Zealand.
- Robots of Death: "The Robots of Death" will be released on November 13 in the UK (after several changes throughout October). The date was changed, according to Steve Roberts of the Restoration Team, because of an error on the packaging. 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. The graphics at right display some of the trailer being released on the DVD, along with some of the graphics for the menu screens. (Thanks to James Whittington and to our friend at the BBC who corrected the info, and to Paul Gordon for the graphics.)
- Remembrance of the Daleks: Due on January 29, 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. In addition, ALL of the isolated soundtrack score from this story will be released on this disc. 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.
- Spearhead from Space: Having been remastered for broadcast on BBC-2 in 1999, "Spearhead from Space" will be the fourth DVD release (instead of the third), moving to a February 26, 2001 release date. Says Steve Roberts, "The 1999 [trailer] for episode three has had to be revised due to problems with the music that was used. Although apparently cleared for use according to the paperwork that BBC Presentation had submitted, the trail actually feature music by Led Zeppelin, which is not clearable for commercial video release. An alternative piece of music has been substituted by the disc's producer, as omitting the trail from the disc at this stage in production would involve major reworking of the menu-screen graphics. However, the delay caused by this last-minute change forced the release date back to just two weeks before Christmas. The major retail chains such as HMV expressed concern that this would not allow them to properly promote the disc, so requested that the title be held over until early 2001." Commentary for the release was recorded by Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier) and Caroline John (Liz Shaw). 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
- The Caves of Androzani: Due on April 9, 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.
- Future Releases: BBC Video wants to run the gamut through all seven TV Doctors for DVD releases first; the Fourth, Third, Seventh and Fifth are represented with these four releases, with future releases likely to include a First Doctor, Second Doctor (though NOT "Tomb of the Cybermen" says Roberts) and Sixth Doctor release....
- 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 seehttp://www.dvdfile.com/community/transcripts/chat/2000/anchorbay_htf.htm
- 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. See notes above. (Thanks to Rob Irwin)
- DVD Miscellaneous: 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.