14 episodes plus features is a lot to sit through and review in depth so I’m afraid I’m not even going to try providing an exhaustive review for each and every disc plus we’ve previously looked at the episodes with the vanilla releases so, instead of retreading old ground, this review will provide a snapshot of the extras.
First up is the outtakes section includes genuine bloopers intermixed with specially shot frivolities such as sequences of a Cyberman walking K9 in the local park.
The deleted scenes include a few genuine treats, none really give rise to the impression that the episodes would have been ‘better’ for their inclusion but it seems a shame to have lost the scene between the Cyberleader and Doctor from the series finale.
That said in most cases it’s obvious to see why they became the victims of the editor’s scissors to meet the time constraints of the episodes but their inclusion is a welcome addition to the set and will hopefully please those who complained at the lack of deleted scenes on last year’s set.
Also included are the thirteen ‘cutdown’ versions of Doctor Who Confidential which make up the bulk of the formal ‘behind the scenes’ features. These are nicely complimented with David Tennant and Billie Piper’s video diaries.
Watching these you’re left with the impression that people are really enjoying their time on the series. David’s conveys a real sense of satisfaction and, when the shooting schedule slips behind, obvious frustration.
Especially interesting to watch is the segment which covers transmission of The Christmas Invasion which David watched with his family. If I have a single criticism with the diaries it’s the title caption which pops up every few minutes and distracts a bit from the very natural and personal feel of the diaries.
Also included is the 2005 Children in Need mini-episode which slotted in between ‘The Parting of the Ways’ and ‘The Christmas Invasion’. Fourteen episodes later – watched and re-watched thanks to countless BBC Three repeats – it’s hard to remember the excitement and anticipation which accompanied this early glimpse of David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor.
Each episode has either a sound or in-vision commentary. These follow the same mix of cast and production staff which was used last year and on this year’s podcasts which were available online after each episode. As with last year they also have Audio Description for the visually impaired and an optional audio navigation system for the menus.
So is it a good buy? Those who disliked last year’s boxset (and spent all year telling us how much they hated it) will dislike this year’s (and no doubt spend all 2007 telling us so).
The wider audience (and those who realise the difference between releasing a DVD of a 40 year story and a DVD of an in-production series) will correctly conclude that it’s excellent value for money which compares well with other releases of contemporary shows.