Doctor Who Season 2 is coming to Blu-ray! This jam-packed box set is the latest release in The Collection series, featuring a mammoth 37 episodes from William Hartnell’s second season. But what can fans expect from this nine disc offering?
First, these Doctor Who Season 2 episodes are going to be the best they’ve ever looked. You probably know that the original video tapes were wiped decades ago (full story here) but the stories have survived through film copies that were sold oversees, and returned to the BBC. And over the years, teams of dedicated Doctor Who fans-turned-professionals have sunk countless hours into restoring these films to their original quality. That said, even when the episodes were released on DVD, many of them looked better than they did on their original transmission.
So whilst these Doctor Who Season 2 episodes are never going to have the dazzling high definition quality of modern television, they’re sure to look better than ever. Moreover, there is the option with Doctor Who Season 2’s second adventure – ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ – to watch the story with modern CGI, including a rather impressive Dalek saucer. Indeed, this design (originally released in 2003) went on to inspire the look of the Dalek spaceships in the 2005 series.
‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ is also getting an “exclusive enhanced soundtrack,” although further details about this have yet to be released. Perhaps it will include new Dalek voices provided by Nicholas Briggs, or alternative music. Watch this space.
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest questions surrounding Doctor Who Season 2 is how, exactly, the missing episodes will be handled. Certainly, Doctor Who Season 2 is a good choice for a box set release as, remarkably, only two out of its 37 episodes are missing from the BBC archives. These are episodes two and four of the historical adventure ‘The Crusade,’ and for The Collection release they have been recreated using still photographs and the episodes’ original soundtracks.
Without doubt, this will come as something of a disappointment to those fans who have previously enjoyed lavish animations of missing episodes such as ‘The Web of Fear‘ episode three and the complete ‘The Power of the Daleks.’ (And the fully animated version of ‘The Abominable Snowmen‘ is set for release in 2022.) So there will be a degree of disappointment surrounding the lack of animation for ‘The Crusade’s missing episodes, but the reconstructions do at least allow viewers to enjoy the story in its entirety.
Moreover, this Doctor Who Season 2 release will also feature an additional commentary on the first episode of ‘The Crusade.’ This episode was missing from the BBC archives until 1999 when it was returned from New Zealand by a small band of dedicated fans and film collectors. The commentary from The Collection release will tell the story of the episode’s return from three of the people responsible for its recovery.
Of course, a number of Doctor Who fans will have seen Doctor Who Season 2 many times over, and so much of the appeal of these Collection box sets is the impressive array of documentaries and features. In this respect, Doctor Who Season 2 has much to offer. There will be an overview of the production of Season 2, along with a documentary about the Doctor Who collectables from the 1960s (and the people who have made it their mission to collect them) plus a documentary about one of Doctor Who‘s first script writers David Whitaker, who we recently wrote about in this article.
And then there are the interviews. The Collection box sets are known for their lengthy one-on-one conversations with the charismatic Matthew Sweet, and for Doctor Who Season 2 we have something of a double feature. In this release, Sweet will have in-depth chats with two of the Doctor Who companions from the 1960s – William Russell, who played one of the very first companions Ian, and Maureen O’Brien, who joined the TARDIS team in Doctor Who Season 2 as new companion Vicki.
And speaking of Vicki, there will also be something of a short film included with this release. Over the years, it has become traditional for The Collection box sets to be announced by way of mini dramas that star one of the former companions. And for Doctor Who Season 2, Maureen O’Brien has reprised her role as Vicki who is now living as a senior citizen in ancient Greece, which is where the TARDIS left her in the final episode of ‘The Myth Makers.’ In this short film-cum-trailer, Vicki reminisces about her time travelling with the Doctor, and regales her granddaughter with anecdotes (and Dalek impressions!) from her time in the TARDIS.
In terms of other special features, everything that was available on previous DVD releases is included in the Doctor Who Season 2 box set, plus the ever-popular ‘Behind the Sofa’ episodes, this time featuring Maureen O’Brien, Peter Purves (Steven) Carole Ann Ford (Susan) Janet Fielding (Tegan), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Bonnie Langford (Mel) and Sophie Aldred (Ace.) There will also be a slew of PDF materials and high definition photographs included on the discs.
And if you’re new to the Whoniverse and have yet to experience the adventures of Doctor Who Season 2, the stories in question are: ‘Planet of Giants,’ ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth,’ ‘The Rescue,’ ‘The Romans,’ ‘The Web Planet,’ ‘The Crusade,’ ‘The Space Museum,’ ‘The Chase’ and ‘The Time Meddler.’ The season is notable for featuring the very first companion departure, plus the return of the Daleks, the introduction of the Mechanoids, and the first instance of the Doctor encountering another member of his own race. For these reasons, Doctor Who Season 2 has an important place in many a Doctor Who collection.
What are you most looking forward to in the Doctor Who Season 2 box set? And which is your favourite story? Let us know in the comments below.
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