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Dr Who: What to expect...

Thanks to Steven Bagley and Steve Roberts we have some exciting Dr Who details. In Steven's words here's what we can expect:

The Doctor Who Restoration Team www site ( has been updated with an article about the forthcoming BBC Dr Who DVD releases. Two titles are to be released this year, and four will be released in 2001. Titles already confirmed are the Tom Baker story 'The Robots of Death' in October, Jon Pertwee's 'Spearhead from Space' in December and Sylvester McCoy's 'Remembrance of the Daleks' in January. Unlike the release of 'The Five Doctors' last October, all three disks will contain several extra material and the high picture quality of the earlier release will hopefully be retained.

'The Robots of Death' is an Agatha Christie-like story set on board a mining vessel in the future where humans are served by several types of robots. The Doctor (Tom Baker) and his companion Leela (Eastender's Louise Jameson) arrive on board just as a series of grizzly murders take place. Captured by the crew, the Doctor and Leela are accused of the murders. But what are the strange markings found placed on the murdered victims bodies, with the help of an unusual ally the Doctor sets out to investigate...

The 4 episodes of 'The Robots of Death' digitally remastered from the original transmission video tapes and features a number of extras -- these include a commentary by Producer Philip Hinchcliffe, and writer Chris Boucher. Some early unused model shots have been found on an 1970s video tape format and these should be included along with floor plans and photos.

'Spearhead from Space' was Jon Pertwee's first story as the Doctor. He arrives on Earth having been exiled by the Timelords and is soon reunited with his old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) of UNIT (the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce -- a worldwide organisation to deal with the odd, the unexplained, anything on Earth and even beyond...) and new companion Liz Shaw (Caroline John). Strange hollow plastic meteorites that have been landing in the English countryside and mysterious goings on at a plastics factory soon have the Doctor thrown into the thick of the action...

'Spearhead from Space' is the only Dr Who (barring the 1996 TV Movie) story to have been shot completely on 16mm film (compared to the usual videotape/film mix), and was retransferred from the original film using the latest equipment in November 1999 for a repeat on BBC2. The DVD is based on this transfer (though further work is being done to clean both the sound and vision further. Again an audio commentary has been recorded for this disk featuring Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John (the recording of the commentary was interrupted by the BBC power failure in June and the last episode's commentary had to be recorded in a second session). Also, the trails prepared for the 1999 repeat are to be included on the disk along with the trail for the Dr who night. Also, a spoof UNIT recruiting film shot in 1993 is to be included.

'Remembrance of the Daleks' formed part of the 25th season of Dr who in 1988 and features Sylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor Who battling with his old enemies, the Daleks. The Doctor and his companion, Ace (Sophie Aldred) arrive in London, 1963 to find two Dalek factions searching for the 'Hand of Omega', a timelord device the Doctor left on Earth sometime in his personal past. Working with the Army, the Doctor and Ace try to stop the two Dalek factions from destroying the Earth in the process...

The 'Remembrance of the Daleks' release has again been remastered from the original transmission tapes. In addition, the original tapes exist from the recording of this story and it is hoped these can be used to provide some additional scenes as extras. It is also hoped to be able to provide a multiple angle feature on some scenes -- though these will be separate from the main programme so the don't cause compatability problems with some DVD players... Also, the original 1988 BBC1 trails for this series are hoped to be included. An audio commentary is also likely.

More details on all these releases, plus technical information on the process that go into making the release can be found on the Doctor Who Restoration Team www site (

Colin Polonowski

Last updated: 19/04/2018 19:56:32

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