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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High definition doctor who....from the 70's?
I have based my review on the quality of the Blu-ray presentation, I am sure everyone knows the story very well and why it is the only Dr Who story from the classic series shot on film, so I am not going to add to what others have said. I was very sceptical about the issue of any Doctor who story on Blu-ray prior to 2010 when the new series moved into that format. I was...
Published 13 months ago by Mr. R. G. Prizeman

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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BD or not BD?
Spearhead looks just as good as the DVD Special Edition, and a tiny bit better. Not sure Blu-ray could improve upon the original film print, as the restoration team made such an improvement with the SD release. This version of the 3rd Doctor's first adventure however, contains a wealth of original documentaries in HD, which are currently unavailable in any other format...
Published 12 months ago by Mr. D. A. Glover


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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High definition doctor who....from the 70's?, 13 July 2013
By 
Mr. R. G. Prizeman "Dickie 1" (croydon UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I have based my review on the quality of the Blu-ray presentation, I am sure everyone knows the story very well and why it is the only Dr Who story from the classic series shot on film, so I am not going to add to what others have said. I was very sceptical about the issue of any Doctor who story on Blu-ray prior to 2010 when the new series moved into that format. I was also familiar with the BBC own statement that no programme made on 16mm film would ever be considered as high definition,and only programmes recorded on super 16mm (Merlin series 5 onwards for example)would be classed as HD. So you can imagine why I was a little concerned at the release of this story, and the fact that the story was only ever designed to be shown on 625 line TV format. Well the reviews prior to the release of this story showed nothing just claimed how exciting it was without actually seeing the new version.
My copy arrived this morning, and I have to say compared with modern day Blu-ray you would think this had been filmed yesterday, I have to say all my fears washed away, the clarity of the picture is just amazing, and this is 16mm film, not the industry standard of 35mm. There are some darker scenes where the picture is a little grainy but seriously nothing you would really notice, any more than modern recordings.
Obviously this could for some people be the third time you have purchased this story and although the special Auton box set was good this is now, well breathtaking clear. The sound is still mono regardless on the stereo claim on the box, although it would be dual mono. As for the extras they are in high definition as well, with a look at Caroline John's carrier, as well as a look back at Jon Pertwee's long carrier. None of the extras from the DVD release are included on the Blu-ray. So if your feeling flush with cash, then this is a amazing purchase.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So clear: on earth you can see them scream!, 18 July 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Here is the pinnacle of the Doctor Who Restoration team's work on the classic series: the Blu-Ray version of the very first colour story of the classic series. So clear, you can see every line of terror of the earthling's screams!

Doctor Who started the 1970s as it ended them- with a production disrupted by strike action. Unlike Shada in 1979, however, here the electrician's strike bizarrely benefited the production- as it forced the studio sections of this story to have been shot on location on film (oh why didn't they think of that for Shada!?) This story remains an oddity therefore: as the only Doctor Who story of the classic series to have been shot entirely on 16mm film and therefore able to be upgraded to HD.

When I first viewed the opening credits I was bitterly disappointed - the credits look as grainy as they do on any other Pertwee DVD release. Once the action begins however, the results are breathtaking - it looks like it was filmed yesterday, not 43 years ago! You can see detail in this production that just weren't visible yesterday - there's a fine pencil drawing on the walls of the Brig's office, in which you can now see every stroke. Every line of terror on face of each terrorised earthling is clearly visible! There is only slight grain on the darker, indoor filmed sections, presumably a limitation of 16mm filming in lower light conditions. For outdoor shots there is no such grain. It goes without saying the film is devoid of any dirt or sparkle, and particular praise must go to the colour grading which is superb. There has been a tendency in recent years to ramp up the saturation of the DVD releases, but no so here. The colours are neither washed out nor over saturated- but realistic, whilst being filmic. The production benefits from being shot on location, on film, because there are simply shots they couldn't have achieved in the studio with bulky TV cameras. In that sense, the colour grading matches the filmic look of the production. I don't own the other DVD releases of this story, so I can't comment on their comparisons, but the excellent 'Restoration Comparison' shows the three different DVD/Blu-ray releases for comparison: I much prefer the colour grading of the current Blu-Ray release.

As for the story, well it's of course landmark as the first in colour and the first 3rd Doctor story. What I'd quite forgotten, however, is how it does an excellent job of introducing the concept of Doctor Who to a completely new audience. It's almost as though with the transition to colour and the 1970s, they wanted to re-introduce all the basic elements to a completely new audience. What an excellent job it does too: regeneration, time travel, the TARDIS, his alien anatomy (two hearts) are all introduced without fuss or confusion. It must have been an extremely successful formula because it was readily copied for future series relaunches: set in a hospital/ X-ray showing two hearts (TV Movie, 1996); an Auton invasion of earth after regeneration (Rose, 2005); and an incapacitated Doctor following regeneration in bed with an alien invasion of earth (The Christmas Invasion, 2005). An element of the production that must come in for particular praise is Dudley Simpson's cinematic score: it really sounds like a movie of the late 1960s and not like any of his other (highly electronic scores) of the Pertwee era. It really gives the production a polish rarely seen in the Pertwee era, and I think the use of full orchestra here is simply fantastic.

For this first (?!) HD transfer, the extras seem to have moved up a notch as well. Both the 45m 'A Dandy and a Clown' (tribute to Jon Pertwee) and 30m 'Carry on: The Life of Caroline John' are simply first class. They way these have been shot and produced (a mixture of interviews, photographs, narrative, Pertwee/ Jon's own words, archival interviews with Parkinson etc., documents, convention appearances) is simply wonderful. Both documentaries focus on their lives, not just their time on Doctor Who. As Pertwee states himself, he feels his greatest achievement as an actor was Worzel Gummidge, not Doctor Who. Each documentary is both a realistic and nostalgic look back on the lives of two wonderful actors. John's is particularly poignant as her life is recalled by her husband, Geoffrey Beevers. He recalls a story of the family enjoying getting together for last year's Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in the UK. A family simply having a great time over a national event, sadly looked on by Caroline in her final days.

A superb (1st?) foray into HD by the classic series. Will there be more to follow? If they can match this, why not?
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Autons invade again, 20 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Yet another re-release of this story? After two vhs versions, two dvd versions, audiobooks etc, surely everyone who wants to owns a copy of this story by now already does so. The big selling point this time round is the first classic series HD Blu-ray release.
The story was the first to feature Jon Pertwee's Doctor, the first in colour, and the first of the seventies. It was also the first to feature the lethal shop window dummies the Autons and the Lovecraftian Nestene Consciousness which animates them. Its a fast paced, briskly edited piece, with each episode flying by and still stands as a bold and confident show.
The HD remaster is glorious to watch with a considerable improvement on the SD remaster for the most recent DVD release. Colour quality in particular is an enormous leap and the autumn location filming now shows a gorgeous quality to the light on exterior scenes. There is some grain, particularly in some woodland and factory scenes but this is not distracting. Spearhead from Space suffered from sound recording difficulties when shooting but you wouldn't know it from the sympathetic but effective mix on this disc.
The extras do not from carry over from previous DVDs (the product team have said it is intended as a companion to the DVD rather than a replacement). Instead we have two comprehensive, personal and charming tributes to the late Jon Pertwee and Caroline John featuring archive interviews with them and more recent interviews with family and colleagues. There is brief featurette discussing the restoration process and some raw footage of the title sequence
This release represents a commendable start to the range of classic episodes on Blu-Ray. Sadly, it is also the end of the range. As all the other existing episodes were recorded on a mixture of videotape and film they cannot be enhanced to HD with the current technology. This may change one day but for now this will have to remain a very enjoyable anomaly
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Treat, 26 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Wow! I've seen 'Spearhead From Space' a few times - on Video, DVD and TV - and I can honestly say that the blu-ray version really brings this story to life. Suddenly those murky, grainy exteriors are clear and sharp. The grey skies of older versions are sunny and bright blue, and the forest in which the TARDIS crashlands is full of green shades, depth and texture. The plastics factory, the Auton Invasion of Ealing High Street, the hospital scenes and the UNIT HQ interiors all look and sound as good as new. Probably better, in fact, since household televisions in 1970 were far inferior to the current generation of 21st Century high definition multimedia goggleboxes.

The story itself has always been one of my favourites. A brand new alien threat with plans already far advanced by the time our hero arrives and comes to his senses, UNIT taking control under the leadership of the constantly hard-pressed Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart and the wonderful Caroline John giving everything as new companion Liz Shaw. But it is Jon Pertwee who dominates every scene he appears in; whether childishly clutching his shoes in a hospital bed, emerging sheepishly from a smoking, broken TARDIS after failing to make a quick exit from the confines of planet Earth, or gurning wildly with a rubber tentacle wrapped around his neck at the story's climax. Pertwee totally inhabits the character of the Doctor from the off, and although at the time it must have been strange for a loyal audience to accept this tall, grey-haired, gravel-voiced star of radio and film as the latest incarnation of the much-loved Time Lord, it is absolutely wonderful to view this story in retrospect as the first adventure of a figure who would come to define the programme and the character of the Doctor for a generation.

And, of course, it was the first Doctor Who story shot entirely on colour film. Woo-hoo!

So it's fitting that Spearhead is able to benefit from the HD treatment. Apparently it's unlikely that any other story of this era will ever be afforded this luxury; so if it only has to be one 3rd Doctor adventure that gets the HD Upgrade, then why not this one. If you've never seen Spearhead before then I envy you, you're in for a real treat.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must for any Dr Who die hard fan, 21 July 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
What a treasure that the BBC had a strike and decided to film on 16mm. Although the HD is not by anymeans what HD is today (most notably the visible graining) it is still worth the buy. Bonus feature on Jon P was a pleasure to watch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The big reasons are the HD presentation which looks terrific and colours are simply bursting out, 7 Aug 2014
By 
Mr. B. White "geordieno1" (walker, Newcastle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A must buy.
The big reasons are the HD presentation which looks terrific and colours are simply bursting out.
The extras are superb especially the 45 min documentary of Jon Pertwee called 'A Dandy and a Clown'.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best doctor given awesome treatment, 6 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Awesome episodes, and John Pertwee is fantastic. It looks like a film because it was shot on film. It looks stunning on BD and features a great comparison extra showcasing the differences.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing piece of work, 29 Dec 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
For anybody contemplating this in addition to the DVD version it is well worth it. There is even a special feature on the disc which shows the outstanding picture quality differences between the DVD and Blu-ray versions. This release is simply beautiful, features a reversible cover so it can match the style of the rest of the DVD range to look nice on a shelf, and the Blu-ray menu is a welcome change from the usual DVD menus. The picture quality is amazing and looks just as good as modern Doctor Who. The special features are also exemplary. As mentioned earlier there is a restoration comparison, which is interesting to watch, as well as HD material from the 1970 title sequence, and two beautiful documentaries about the lives of Jon Pertwee and Caroline John, also in HD and are interesting and entertaining to watch, and are a fitting tribute to the actors. There is also a coming soon trailer for the special edition of the Green Death, in SD. Quite simply, this is a wonderful release and I would fully recommend purchasing this great story in addition to the DVD as it does not contain the previously released special features, and is intended to accompany the DVD according to the range producers.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Majestic, 24 April 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
1970's Spearhead From Space has always been one of the truly great moments in Doctor Who, and for me this is one of my top 10 favorites. From the start of 1970 to the end of 1979 Doctor Who reached its zenith and became the classic show we all love today. Patrick Troughton's last serial "The War Games" is no doubt a timeless classic but recorded very low viewing figures for the time, so the producers had quite a rough time getting the 900 year old chap on his feet again. Personally, I agree with Terrance Dicks in that Doctor Who was granted a stay of execution because the BBC were starting to broadcast in colour for the first time and the money that was coming in from the television licenses was clouding their evil judgement on possible cancellation. Thankfully, the BBC did not cancel the show and its still going strong 40 years later.

Jon Pertwee gets a great first story here and probably the best debut ever for a Doctor. Firstly, the colour really helps, I know some people love black & white but you must admit that colour is luxury. Furthermore, the location filming is fantastic, basically the whole 100 minute feature was filmed on location because of some BBC strikes that were going on. The filmic look really adds to the atmosphere of the serial and sells it better than videotape ever did. Secondly, Dudley Simpson's incidental music for Spearhead is some of his greatest, the atmosphere he induces from the score is impressive to say the least. The music really adds to the overall enjoyment of the story.

Nicholas Courtney's first appearance since 1968's Invasion is welcoming, I always loved the Third Doctor UNIT era of the programme and Nic is one of the main parts of that fantastic nostalgic time. His performance here is truly something special and he and Jon bounce off one another superbly. Nic would go on to star in Doctor Who intermittently for the next 20 years and so what we have here is the proper beginning to the whole concept of the Doctor's family, UNIT. Caroline John's first "Who" is very high standard stuff, I have always loved Liz and thought she was always one of the Doctor's best 70's companions. Although she was to only appear in one 25 part series on Who, she will always be fondly remembered, {mostly for the short skirts though}.

The Autons provide a chilling monster for the newly regenerated Doctor, their faceless-ness was always going to be quite chilling and so make a very effective debut here. The quest cast are all on top form and you get the feeling that everyone has their own little story to tell.

So, the story is presented in the best possible light as it finally sees release onto Blu-Ray. Since this is the only story from the classic series to be able to be High Definition enhanced, you couldn't have asked for a better story than Spearhead. The first colour story, the first Pertwee serial, the first serial of the 1970's. This is a landmark release for the show in it's 50th anniversary year and I await this release with baited breath. The special features that we have are a Caroline John Obituary and a Jon Pertwee Biography. All of interest to me especially.

So then, this has been a truly gratifying review of what I think is one of the greatest serials Doctor Who ever made. The BBC Blu-Ray release only adds to my opinion of this classic tale. Wonderful stuff.

Highly Recommended by this viewer.

Many thanks for your time in reading this review, its greatly appreciated,

M.B.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Third Doctor in HD, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Wow! The restoration team have done an amazing job on Spearhead From Space. Unbelievable detail and clarity.
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