I've always been a Doctor Who fan but only recently got around to collecting the DVDs and this seemed the obvious place to start. It represents the birth of one of the BBC's most successful and long running shows and explains how everyone involved faced the odds from all directions to prove to the world that this new experimental format wasn't just a training ground for young producers and directors. The opening episode "An Unearthly Child" has a dark mysterious air about it as we are introduced to the characters one by one. It is very clearly early 60s television but the whole team put everything into it and produced a masterpiece. Even the first recording (referred to as the pilot but really just a rejected first take) is also worthy with just a few off moments - there are even aspects in the original that I prefer but perhaps didn't fit in with the requirements at the time. The adventure that follows in the stone age isn't so wonderful but highlights the stark contrast between contemporary London and the potential adventures the TARDIS crew could be facing.
The second serial "The Daleks" has to be classed among the best Doctor Who adventures ever made. Written by Terry Nation it introduced the world to scariest tin-cans ever! The Doctor's greatest and most featured enemy that had three generations of children hiding behind the sofa and shooting at dustbins still strike a chord with children today in the revived series. Genius! Far superior to the film version
featuring Peter Cushing, this 7 part adventure was what made Doctor Who the success it was, quite literally, since it secured the show a full run of episodes rather than letting it end a few weeks later and potentialy going no further. My only gripe is that it was one episode too long, it loses pace slightly in the middle - something that I have subsequently found with other long adventures
Finally, because "The Darleks" had been extended, "The Edge Of Destruction" was something of a filler mini-serial at just two episodes and the smallest Who budget ever. It's an odd mix of psychedelia, mystery and sci-fi as the TARDIS is thrown into a destructive mode and its passengers experience all manner of mind tricks from an unknown force. The cause, when identified, is quite wonderful but the resulting solution is a little disappointing or perhaps too post-modern...
Also featured on the "Edge Of Destruction" disc is a 30 minuted audio and still-photo edit of the following adventure "Marco Polo" who's episodes are otherwise missing from the archives. Either the story didn't grab me or this format of recreation isn't very successful as I don't remember much about it now!
With a wash of extras brimming with memories of enthusiasm-against-the-odds this is a must-have DVD for any Doctor Who fan. They explain how the show came about as well as introducing the modern audience to a seemingly alien way of filming a 25 minute episode in a time when video tape cost a fortune and computers that could do anything remotely useful were the size of a room!
Comes in a small blue box... but it's bigger on the inside!