First up is Turn Left, an episode where the Doctor himself is left on the sidelines to allow Catherine Tates Donna to take centre stage. It proves a wise choice, as Donna has to face tough choices and extreme danger on the way, when a strange encounter at the start of the episode puts the Doctor and many of his allies in mortal danger. Well constructed and as hard-faced as any episode in the series, Turn Left also manages to squeeze in the return of Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, and set things up for the even greater dangers that lie ahead.
Those dangers really come to a head in The Stolen Earth, a hugely ambitious blockbuster of an episode that throws in a stunning cliffhanger to top things off. It brings back the likes of Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness and Sarah-Jane Smith, but ultimately finds the Doctor facing one of his deadliest enemies, in the shape of the maniacally evil Davros (with a little help from his new army of Daleks).
And if the cliffhanger is squandered a little by Journeys End, the final episode of the series, theres so much crammed in that its hard to quarrel too much. Its a boisterous, ambitious 65 minutes with action, resolution and one or two clumsy steps. Yet while it doesnt quite measure up to the majesty of The Stolen Earth, repeated viewings do show it to be a good conclusion to a terrific series.
With regular episodes of Doctor Who now off our screens until 2010, this superb DVD--while bereft of extra features--could prove to a very strong way to help bridge the gap. Strongly recommended. --Jon Foster