Doctors (The): Tom Baker Years - Behind the Scenes, Vol 1 (The)
R0 - United Kingdom - Reeltime Pictures
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (6th January 2022).
The Show

This is the definitive set of interviews with the production team who brought Doctor Who to life and sent you “behind the sofa”!

These six documentaries are the best in-depth interviews with Graham Williams (Producer), David Fisher (Writer), Andrew Smith (Writer) and June Hudson (Costume Designer) ever undertaken! Plus special productions featuring Genesis of the Daleks team Michael Wisher (Davros), Peter Miles (Nyder), Roy Skelton (Dalek Voices) and also actors Arthur Cox, Terence Denville, David Garfield and David Weston!

Presented by “voice of the Daleks” Nicholas Briggs.

For all Doctor Who fans, this special collector’s edition is over 5 hours of pure nostalgia, which will give you a whole new insight into the making of your favourite science fiction series!

Video

Thanks to Reeltime Pictures and Keith Barnfather for sending me this disc for review! My comments on other discs in this series apply here with some tweaks obviously.

Keith Barnfather has been interviewing Doctor Who (and Blake's 7) alumni since the 1980s predominantly for his long running Myth Makers range of behind the scenes interview VHS and latterly DVD releases. This latest edition collects together chats with several, personnel from the 1963-69 period that was the Tom Baker / Fourth Doctor era (1974-81). We have an excellent collection of beautifully conducted interviews and sadly, several of those interviewed have since passed away which makes this release extremely valuable and a great adjunct to the BBC's own range of DVD and BD releases.

Image quality tends to vary as you would expect from these kind of productions but only the Graham Williams (1945-90) interview could be described as poor quality. All of the interviews are shot on varying types of videotape and all are in standard definition. As this is a DVD release that's fine and dandy. The Williams interview is easily one of the most sought after owing to his sad, untimely death in a shooting incident t the young age of 45. Brief excerpts from this have appeared on the DVD extras for the DVD releases of his serials but this is the whole enchilada, albeit unwisely zoom cropped to 1.66:1. It was originally shot 1.33:1 on PAL video and in the future I would advise that material shot that way should be pillar boxed and not cropped.

Contrast is acceptable, black levels are likewise if occasionally dark greyish or muddy in the case of the Williams piece. Flesh tones are natural and colours matter of fact without much digital regrading in evidence; it all varies based on lighting conditions.

I didn't notice any artefacts or compression issues but to be frank had there been some minor ones it probably wouldn't have detracted in the same way as on a release of Doctor Who episodes. The image is soft by virtue of how it was captured but that is not a criticism. The only way things could improve would be to upscale on Blu-ray discs with the superior encoding / codecs that the format affords. But, this kind of material will probably not support the costs; after all, this is a 2-disc set of extras.

MPEG-2 / 2 x DVD9 / 1.33:1, 1.66:1 M 1.78:1 / 319:13 NTSC

Audio

English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: None

Basic 2.0 stereo that gets the job done; it's not encoded for aurround. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear and what little music there is (intros and outros) doesn't get in the way. The stereo will play with surround effects (main theme and score only) when played through ProLogic II or similar. Odd because the Pertwee / Behind the Scenes release seemed to have surround encoding. When played through an amp the surround channels are engaged but there is bleed from the front to the rears. If the soundtracks can't he properly encoded for surround I'd advise 2.0 mono only.

Extras

"Myth Makers: Graham Williams and Gordon Roxburgh" 2006 featurette featuring a 1985 interview (54:43)
"Myth Makers: David Fisher" 2015 featurette featuring a 2014 interview (56:58)
"Myth Makers: Andrew Smith with Nigel Robinson and interviewer Anthony Wainer" 2016 featurette featuring a 2015 interview (54:48)
"Myth Makers: June Hudson" 2006 interview (52:31)
"Myth Makers: The Genesis of the Daleks Team - Peter Miles, Roy Skelton, Peter Halliday and Michael Wisher" 2006 featurette featuring 1984/88 interviews (51:41)
"Myth Makers: Flight Through Eternity - The Three Doctors, Vol 4 with David Garfield, Arthur Cox, David Weston, John Cater, Anna Barry, Terence Lodge and Terence Denville" 2010 featurette featuring 2008 interviews (48:32)

Packaging

Standard 2-disc, black DVD keepcase.

Overall

Yet another invaluable release with tons of valuable interview material. This one features the rare Graham Williams interview from which we've seen clips before only here we get the whole thing. For that reason alone this 2-disc set is a must and is a topical companion to the Williams-produced Season 17 which was released recently on BD.

Highly, highly recommended ... especially for the more than reasonable £15 price tag. Get it bought directly from Reeltime Pictures to ensure more releases get made available. This is a limited production run of only 1,000 cooies.

Reeltime Pictures

The Show: A+ Video: C Audio: C+ Extras: A+ Overall: A-

 


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