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Behind the Masque

It seems that the Restoration Team had to do quite a bit of tidying up on certain segments of The Masque of Mandragora, February’s Doctor Who DVD release from 2entertain…

One of the most visually impressive classic series adventures, The Masque of Mandragora was filmed at Portmeirion, the picturesque Italian-styled resort on the North Wales coast which was built by the eccentric Sir Clough Williams-Ellis and which played a major part in the classic TV series The Prisoner.

Due to this unique locationThe Masque of Mandragora took full advantage of the scenery as the village stood in for renaissance era Italy – but it seems the original location footage of Tom Baker on horse back as the Fourth Doctor and Lis Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith has been long lost, leaving the Restoration Team with an unusual problem:

The film inserts for all four episodes were grainy and soft, with above average amounts of dirt and scratches. These problems were compounded by an out-of-phase telecine transfer. This meant that each video frame had its two fields derived from different consecutive film frames. Normally film could be deinterlaced or the fields re-ordered to bring the film into phase, but this was not possible with ‘Masque’ because the original transfer was done using a polygonal prism telecine.

Find out more about how this was overcome at the Restoration Team website.

The Masque of Mandragora is out on DVD on February 8th 2010 and is available to preorder from Amazon at just £12.88.

(Thanks to Robert)

Christian Cawley


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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