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It's Just A Collection Of Extras
on 2 January 2013
Really nothing to get excited about here. This is definitely one for the die-hard collectors... People like me! I don't want to put people off buying this but, then I don't particularly have many positive things to say about it either. Those of you who are old enough to have watched and possibly collected the old Doctor Who VHS range and watched the sporadic 1990s celebrations and screenings on the BBC will know more or less what this product is. For the younger Doctor Who enthusiasts and the people who didn't get to buy these oddities the first time around, let me fill you in. 'Shada' is an incomplete Tom Baker story. Only location footage and a small amount of studio footage was shot for the story before production was cancelled due to a BBC strike. The story was never finished and left in the archives until the early 1990s when it was released on VHS with Tom Baker linking the significant gaps between scenes with on-screen narration. I never felt satisfied with this presentation. You do get an idea of what's supposed to be happening during the story but, there is very little to keep you engaged. After one viewing, it becomes something tedious and a bit of a disappointment. However, it does have historical interest in that you actually get to see a Doctor Who story that was never broadcast. Despite being revisited by the BBC last decade and remade as an audio adventure with a new cast and accompanying minimal animation for viewing and listening on the BBC web site only (which I believe is included here in DVD ROM format) the story is still - if not more confusing than ever.
'More Than 30 Years In The Tardis' is the 30th Anniversary BBC Celebration Documentary, broadcast on the BBC in 1993 but with additional material not included in the original broadcast which had the title '30 Years In The Tardis', hence the addition of 'More Than' to the title. Have you ever seen any of the special features on a classic Doctor Who DVD, particularly the more meaty and lengthy documentaries about the show? Yes? Well this documentary is a lot like those. No? Well basically it's a Doctor Who 'Memories of Greatest Moments with Recollections of "How It Was Made"' featuring lots of classic clips inter-cut with an enormous amount of 'Talking Heads', People who acted in the series, relatives of people who acted in the series, production crew and celebrity fans of the show (who were never in it)giving us plenty of memories of watching the show and how they felt about it at the time. That's all really. I think the documentary was only really produced to promote the fact that the BBC Videos were available to buy. It was basically a nostalgic look back at a TV programme that started production 30 years earlier, finished production in 1989 - leaving our screens without a bang, not even a whimper, just fading away and with every year, leaving fans becoming increasingly concerned that it was something that was never coming back to our TV screens. From recollection, I don't think anyone who has ever bought a classic Doctor Who DVD in the past 13 years will learn anything or much they didn't already know - or haven't heard several times already. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, starting the year off with an out-dated 20 year-old documentary seems a bit odd. I really enjoyed this documentary for a few years, but that was 20 years ago. I have never seen any point in watching it over the past 10 years or more since the introduction of special feature documentaries on DVDs that deconstruct and analyze every aspect of the show right down the the very thought patterns in the heads and the glue in the hands of the people making and producing the show.
Basically, these two features deserve nothing more than 'Bonus Feature' status. Individually, they could (and should) have been tacked on to previous proper Doctor Who DVD releases. There you have it; and here it is... If you want it for the sake of being a completist or if you're such a fan of the show that you want every single piece of footage in existence that relates to the show in as high a quality as possible.
If you're a casual viewer who enjoys watching the occasional engaging and entertaining classic Doctor Who Story - best start looking for another title and give this one a miss for the time being.
If you're looking for a gift for a cash-strapped Doctor Who fan, best to ask first before buying this, it won't be appreciated by someone you don't know well enough. However, it would make an ideal gift for a fan that has possibly put it on their wish list but have more important things to spend their own money on until they can afford and be bothered to buy this. I've bought every classic Doctor who DVD release on the day of release for the past 13 years, but this time, for the first time, I think I'll just wait a while - it's really not a priority purchase right now, even as a long-time Doctor Who fan who buys every release.