Description: Tom Baker’s acclaimed first season as the Fourth Doctor, originally aired in 1975/76. With his best friend Sarah Jane Smith and new companion Harry, the Doctor pits his wits against a giant robot, the insect Wirrn, Cybermen, Sontarans, and Daleks.
Twenty episodes, specially restored for Blu-Ray and packed with new and old special features. Build your own archive of classic Doctor Who seasons with this six-disc special ‘limited edition packaging’ boxset.
Review: As a lifelong Doctor Who fan and someone who hardly owns any of the Tom Baker episodes. I thought I’d take the plunge and pop for this special edition collection, which comprises all of Tom Baker’s first season episodes, which was season 12 of the series. These episodes aired between 1975/76. To put that into context for you. I’d have only been 5 or 6 when these came out. Which made Tom Baker my first Doctor. Funny that I hardly own any of his episodes you say, I agree, but to be honest I have been much more focused on collecting Doctor’s 1 through 3 on DVD because those are the episodes I never got to see first run.
The set includes classic stories like Robot, The Ark In Space, The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis Of The Daleks and Revenge of The Cybermen. You also have the option of updating the visual effects on both Ark in Space and Revenge of The Cybermen with some really nice CGI, which replaces the somewhat dated looking models and display panels and in my opinion improves the viewing experience when watching in HD.
Out of the five stories included. I had only really seen Genesis of The Daleks and The Ark in Space via repeats but had not seen the other stories since they first broadcast. So this was a really nostalgic journey for me.
The upgrade to HD from the standard definition, which fans would have gotten on the DVD releases of these episodes is pretty good, but I don’t think it is good enough to justify buying the set if you have the episodes already unless you are after the added extras. So I’d say only get this if your looking to start your collection over with the Blu Ray releases because there will be more.
As far as the different stories go. I’d say the standouts are ‘The Ark in Space’ and ‘Genesis of The Daleks’. ‘Robot’ is a really good introductory episode for Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor and you get to see how fast he establishes what is now the most iconic portrayal of the famous Time Lord. We also get to see how fast the chemistry developed between Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen, which kind of made poor Ian Marter who played Harry Sullivan seem like a bit of a third wheel.
Extras: The extras on this set include everything that came with the DVD release of the episodes, but there’s much more in the way of extras added to give a bit of extra bang for your buck. There is an episode of a panel show called Behind The Sofa added for each episode, which sees Producer Philip Hinchcliffe, Tom Baker, Sadie Miller, Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding discuss the different stories. Some of the insights shared include Tom Baker and Philip Hinchcliffe discussing Baker’s broken collarbone, which happened in ‘The Sontaran Experiment.’ As well as a story about how Elisabeth Sladen almost fell victim to a terrible accident while filming ‘Revenge of The Cybermen’. The Behind The Sofa episodes compliment each of the stories and are a lot of fun to watch.
Also included is the much talked about Tom Baker Years documentary, which up until now has only been available on VHS. This is broken into two parts and altogether runs for about 3 hours.
Also on the Extras disk is a TV movie version of ‘Genesis Of The Daleks,’ which was put together to be shown over the Christmas period back in the 1970’s. Apparently, Philip Hinchcliffe did this with a few stories, but ‘Genesis Of The Daleks’ is the most famous.
Perhaps the biggest Extra on this set is a specially recorded interview with Tom Baker about his time with the show. This interview shares a lot of great insights from the actor and further illustrates his knack for telling a great story. Bits and pieces of this interview have been coming out over the last week through various websites such as Digital Spy. Especially the actors comments about Matt Smith the 11th Doctor and his experience of working on the 50th-anniversary episode.
If that isn’t enough. You also get a fantastic little booklet, which details the episodes on the set as well as little bits of trivia concerning the production as well as the original airdates.
The packaging and artwork for this set are just beautiful as are the graphics on the various menue screens that accompanie each story.
Overall. This is a fantastic box set, which I’m sure fans will enjoy. Even those fans that have already gotten the stories when they were released on DVD. For my money, the additional extras and the updated visual effects for two of the stories would be reason enough to justify repurchasing these stories.
Hopefully. This set will be the first of many to be released on Blu Ray. I for one would love to see some releases of the first and second Doctor’s adventures as well as Pertwee and Baker’s stories.
- Additional CGI8.5