Tom Baker’s First Season On Doctor Who Gets A Feature-Packed Blu-ray Release
Tom Baker spent seven seasons on Doctor Who (that’s 172 episodes, not counting the specials) and still holds the record as the Doctor who maintained his position at the controls of the TARDIS the longest. Now Baker’s first season as the Doctor is making its Blu-ray debut with a release that has more features than the Fourth Doctor’s scarf has stripes.
Taking over for Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, Baker’s regeneration gave Whovians a Doctor more interested in exploring the universe than hanging around here on Earth, cleaning up our terrestrial messes and awkward extraterrestrial encounters. Four was more alien and less knowable than previous Doctors, and his adventures reflected that.
The new Blu-ray kicks off with the four-part story “Robot” followed by “The Ark in Space” (another four-parter), the two-part “The Sontaran Experiment,” the six-part “Genesis of the Daleks” (plus the 90-minute Omnibus version that aired after Christmas in 1975) and ends with “Revenge of the Cybermen” (the season’s final four-part story arc).
Of course, what we’re really interested in whenever a classic TV series gets a new release are the features—and this Blu-ray is stacked with them. The episode features include optional audio commentary and production subtitles with insightful ‘making-of’ background info.
There are also a handful of episodes that give you the option of a surround sound experience and enhanced special effects. It’s pretty fun to watch an episode without them and follow it up with a second viewing with the enhanced effects feature switched on, giving you a real idea of what sci-fi shows like Doctor Who had to work with back in the early years of the series.
Other episode-specific features include ‘making-of’ mini documentaries, footage of the Who cast at their script read-throughs and the original BBC trailers that ran ahead of the airing of each week’s episode. The feature we had the most fun with was ‘Behind the Sofa,’ in which Baker and some other familiar Who faces watch the show together while their on-screen personas battle Sontarans, Daleks, and Cybermen. And for more of Baker’s musings on his time as a Time Lord, there’s also two 90-minute-long interviews with the actor that haven’t been available since the early ‘90s and a brand-new ‘In Conversation’ style interview with Baker and British TV critic Matthew Sweet.
Tom Baker’s first season on Doctor Who comes out on Blu-ray today, June 19. In the interest of abiding by River Song’s “No spoilers!” rule, we’ll leave Whovians to discover some of the Blu-ray’s features on their own (let’s just say that there’s something extra special in here for graphic design nerds—insert Who theme song here).