Doctor Who – The Key to Time

Those nice people at 2entertain are really making good on their promise to increase the rate of releases of classic Doctor Who DVDs. There was a time when we were getting around six releases each year, which led to someone calculating that it would take another 18 years to release all the surviving stories, not allowing for any nifty reconstruction jobs that might happen in the future. So, they started to speed things up a bit, which has involved releasing some stories with a smaller selection of special features along with the usual full releases. There have been so many that I’ve got no less than five in the “things to review” pile on my desk. And I’m afraid they’ll have to stay there a little longer, as this latest release has to take precedence.

This is a numbered limited edition box set[1] of the complete 16th series, which ran from September 1978 to February 1979. This was an unusual series – for the first time, there was a link between the stories. The Doctor (played by Tom Baker) and his new companion Romana (that’s the first incarnation, played by Mary Tamm) have to find the six parts of the Key to Time, which is required to restore order to the Universe[2]. The parts have been scattered widely, and each is disguised in a different form. So it makes a lot of sense for the six stories to be released together like this. And while it’s not exactly a cheap box, it’s not a bad price for six full-length classic Doctor Who stories that have never been available on DVD before.[3]

Rather than create what would inevitably be the longest post ever, I’ll review each story separately. I’ll update this post with links to the separate reviews as I complete them. So all I have to add for now is that the box has a transparent sleeve with the titles and picture printed on it. Removing the sleeve reveals a purple (or is it mauve?) box which looks a bit like the assembled Key to Time. This unfolds to reveal six normal Doctor Who DVD boxes – no unusual packaging or extra booklets are involved, it’s just a collection of what could have been separate releases.

Anyway, these are the stories:

  1. The Ribos Operation
  2. The Pirate Planet
  3. The Stones of Blood
  4. The Androids of Tara
  5. The Power of Kroll
  6. The Armageddon Factor

The individual reviews will follow in due course…

This has since been reissued in a less limited edition. Cheaper, too.

[1] Mine is labelled “5156 of 15000”
[2] More details will follow, trust me…
[3] Well, not quite. A version of this set was released in the US a few years ago, but this one does contain some new documentaries and other features

2 thoughts on “Doctor Who – The Key to Time

  1. Giuseppe Massari

    I understand this was a collector’s edition, limited edition etc. etc.
    But now what about all people who lost it and would like to have “The key to time”, also in a “normal” edition? Will they wait forever? I really hope in a new release, also with separated dvds, before the remaining copies reach
    £ 1.000,00 or similar… :no: :wah: :angry: :crazy: :rant:

  2. Les Post author

    I don’t have any details, but there was a brief comment in Doctor Who Magazine suggesting that there will be a re-issue in less fancy packaging. Don’t know when, though.

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