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Published on August 1st, 2006 | by Christian Cawley

New DVD Releases

The BBC’s Official Doctor Who site has reviewed the latest release on DVD, Elisabeth Sladen’s last regular appearance as Sarah Jane Smith, The Hand of Fear.

Also starring Tom Baker as the Doctor, the 1976 adventure introduces the concept of non-carbon-based life in the form of the Kastrian, Eldrad. The Hand of Fear DVD contains an excellent package of extras, too:

The highlight is a magnificent 50-minute documentary called Changing Time, which focuses on the character of Sarah Jane Smith and actress Elisabeth Sladen’s time on the programme. Joining Elisabeth for this documentary are Tom Baker, co-writer Bob Baker, producer Philip Hinchcliffe and guest star Judith Paris.

Another highlight of the disc is a very rare piece of footage from the first ever edition of Saturday morning kids’ show Swap Shop, shown in October 1976. Shown on the day that the first episode of The Hand of Fear was transmitted, this clip features Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen being interviewed by Noel Edmonds and answering young viewers’ phone calls, and it’s utterly charming.

Throw in a very amusing commentary by Tom, Elisabeth, Judith Paris, Philip Hinchcliffe and Bob Baker, a photo gallery, production subtitles, original TV links and voiceovers and PDFs of the Radio Times listings for The Hand of Fear and the 1977 Doctor Who Annual, and you’ve got a great release.

Frankly any DVD that Tom Baker records a commentary for is worth owning, and if you fancy an extra special version of the disc, Tom’s Official Website is offering for £30 The Hand of Fear – Special Package which includes The Hand of Fear DVD, 8 Photographs, one of which is signed by Tom and a special Signature Card. Payment is by PayPal

and is postage free.

Alternatively Play.com has the DVD on offer for £11.99 delivered – this of course comes without a signed Tom Baker card… The DVD is on sale now (not September as earlier reported!)

But out in September is the 1984 adventure pitting the Doctor against two rival Time Lords, The Mark of the Rani. Currently set for release on September 4th, it’s available from Play.com for £10.99 delivered (that is almost 50% of the RRP) and contains:

* Audio commentary by Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Kate O’Mara

* Lords and Luddites: A 40-minute documentary, featuring comments from Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Kate O’Mara, writers Pip and Jane Baker, actor Gary Cady, script editor Eric Saward and composer Jonathan Gibbs

* Now and Then: a look at the Blists Hill Victorian Museum used as the main filming location for this adventure

* Blue Peter: An 11-minute feature on the history of Ironbridge Gorge

* Saturday Superstore: Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant appear on the BBC children’s show, and receive a phone call from an old friend

* Deleted and extended scenes

* Photo gallery: PDFs of the 1985 Doctor Who Annual and Radio Times listings for this story

* Isolated music score for the whole story by Jonathan Gibbs, and an alternative music score for episode one by composer John Lewis.

The BBC are definitely spoiling us with these classic series DVD releases – expect Time Lash to be quietly released alongside a series boxset… Oh and you read more about this release on the BBC’s Official Doctor Who site, which includes the observation:

The Rani: A woman so fabulous her TARDIS is decorated in pastels.

Hmm. Why do I suddenly get the feeling that RTD would bring back the Rani…?

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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