Published on October 31st, 2010 | by James Whittington
Revisitations 1 â€“ Discs 6-7: The TV Movie
So we turn to the final story in this smart set, the Eighth Doctorâ€™s only TV outing, the rather poorly titled TV Movie. It has its faults, it tried to please too many and bombed in America. But over nine million people watched it here and I for one enjoyed it, but alas as we all know it didnâ€™t re-start the series.
Returning home to Gallifrey with the remains of his arch enemy the Master, the TARDIS is forced off course, landing the Doctor into the middle of the street gangâ€™s gun battle in downtown San Francisco. Critically wounded in the shoot out, the Doctor has to regenerate to save his own life. And heâ€™s not the only one â€“ the Master too has a new body with which to wreak havoc. As the clock counts down to the start of the new millennium, the Doctor has to stop the Master destroying all life on Earth. But at what cost?
Slated by hardcore fans but actually accepted by the media, this is a fun romp of an adventure that really could have been the start of something wonderful. Yes it has its faults, but its heart/hearts was/were in the right place. Just think of how much of the new series resembles this; thereâ€™s the full orchestral score, romantic interest and reliance on old enemies to help hook people in. McCoy is wonderful here, giving the emotion he was only allowed to touch upon during his run. McGann really steps up to the mark as the Doctor; heâ€™s emotional, thoughtful and fun. The American supporting cast seem a tad bewildered by it all and Eric Roberts takes every opportunity he has to chew as much of the wonderful scenery up as he can.
On the downside it does water the character down with the much debated â€œhalf humanâ€ plot line, its hurries on parts and the Master is given too much screen time, but its far better than anyone could have hoped for and a timely reminder of just how good an actor McCoy is given the right material.
Extras Disc 1
Commentary â€“ Here we have the gag-track from the original DVD release from Director Geoffrey Sax. A nice piece and for those who donâ€™t own the original itâ€™s a great piece with Sax being honest about the making of the story.
Commentary â€“ A brand new track from Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy and moderated by Nicholas Briggs. Slightly muted at times it does have some affectionate asides and I feel these two still have much to offer the series.
The Seven Year Hitch â€“ Running at nearly 55 minutes long, this is a detailed and affectionate dissection of Philip Segalâ€™s seven year battle to bring Doctor Who back to TV screens. All the major players are interviewed including BBC Executive Jo Wright, Head Of Series Peter Cregeen, Alan Yentob as well as people from BBC Worldwideâ€™s abandoned Doctor Who movie. Its very honest and Segalâ€™s determination shines through and it uncovers just how complicated it is to get a production off the ground. Now I never realised how important Leonard Nimoy was to thisâ€¦
The Doctorâ€™s Strange Love â€“ Writers Joe Lidster and Simon Guerrier chat about how their appreciation of the movie changed and tell comedian Josie Long about it. Not to be negative this is a real filler and one which I found irritating to say the least.
Photo Gallery â€“ Design and production snaps from the story.
Isolated Score â€“ Exactly what it says this is a chance for you to listen to the music soundtrack that accompanies this story. Always a nice touch it will appeal to those who havenâ€™t had the chance to listen to the promo CD that was released a few years back which contained the storyâ€™s score.
Music Tracks â€“ The fours songs from the story are here in their entirety, “In A Dream”, “All Dressed Up”, “Ride Into Moonlight” and “Auld Lang Syne”. A nice touch which completes the full score.
Coming Soon â€“ A tasty teaser for The Seeds Of Doom, nice.
PDF Material â€“ Pop the disc into your PC or Mac drive and hey presto you can look lovingly at scans from the Radio Times from when the story was first transmitted.
Subtitle Programme Notes â€“ Regular readers know how much I appreciate these so do have a look when you have the chance.
Extras Disc 2
Paul McGann Audition â€“ Yep, this is Paulâ€™s audition for the part and very impressive it is too no matter how crappy the lines are that heâ€™s saying. Recorded on poor stock the quality isnâ€™t that great but seeing him find his way and making the ropey dialogue sound believable is testament to his acting skills.
VFX Tests June 1994 â€“ Amblinâ€™s early video effects tests including the much talked about Spider Dalek design. Actually it looks OK and shame its not here in a more fully realised version. Runs just under a minute.
VFX March 1996 â€“ More CGI test footage here, two and half minutes worth of muted timecoded work in progress shots. This time itâ€™s the title sequence, TARDIS dematerialisation and several other key moments from the story. Nice to see but shame there wasnâ€™t a commentary.
EPK â€“ Put out by Fox in 1996, this Electronic Press Kit that lasts just over quarter of an hour is a polished look at the storyâ€™s production, done in the usual over-the-top American way. Things like this are made so broadcasters can put together their own pieces about the show and itâ€™s a reminder of how they do things differently over the water.
Behind The Scenes â€“ More on set footage, this time it’s the location filming thatâ€™s looked at. Running under five minutes thereâ€™s plenty of shots of explosions and gun fire, stuff that would cause it some trouble when it came to be shown and certified at the BBFC. Its good to see some scenes being organised and the cast preparing for takes, seems as if they had a lot fun here.
Philip Segal’s Tour Of The TARDIS Set â€“ Exactly what it says on the tin. This is a short piece which shows the amount of detail which went into the impressive set. I loved the look of this and thought it suited the character perfectly. Here we get a chance to see a lot of stuff that was passed over during the story.
Alternate Takes â€“ A couple of alternative versions of scenes from the movie. One for completists only.
BBC Trails â€“ The original on screen promos for when the story was originally broadcast in 1996. Fun with an over enthusiastic narrator, it sells the movie well and again pre-dates the pomp and fun of the new series trails.
Who Peter 1989â€“2009 â€“ The short series comes to an end with a look at how it kept the show in the minds of viewers during the time when it wasnâ€™t on screen, apart from the TV Movie. Itâ€™s a nostalgic and fun half an hour that talks to the people who won the competitions that the show ran and the Producer of the time.
The Wilderness Years â€“ The period between 1989 and 1996 was a strange one for fans. Though the show was off air it was kept alive by fan produced productions, DWM and the Virgin series of books. This look at this inventive period is nostalgia at its best and one of the strongest extras of the whole set.
Stripped For Action â€“ The series comes to an end with a look at the Eighth Doctorâ€™s comic-strip adventures. I was never a fan, still ainâ€™t, but itâ€™s a solid enough piece which chats to writers Scott Gray, magazine editors Gary Russell, Alan Barnes and Clayton HickmanÂ as well as some of the artists.
Tomorrowâ€™s Times â€“ A rather tired looking Nicholas Courtney looks at the news coverage the TV Movie generated. Done in the style of What The Papers Say and Points Of View itâ€™s a nice filler to end the set with.
So at last the TV Movie is given a release it deserves and whether you liked it or not it helped form the look of the new series.
The Revisitation Set is just Â£26.47 on Amazon – not bad for a colelction featuring the TV Movie, Caves of Androzani and The Talons of Weng-Chiang – and is an excellent addition to the DVD releases and helps bring long released stories the release they deserve. Should be at the top of every Christmas list.