Yes, I’m nearly up to date with my Doctor Who reviews. Now this one was a pleasure to receive. While it’s great to be able to get hold of old favourite episodes, there’s an extra thrill about getting a classic Doctor Who story that I’ve never seen before. This was first shown in July 1965, and was the final story in the second season. William Hartnell is the Doctor, accompanied by Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) and Steven (future Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves). Steven stowed away at the end of the last episode, and he’s a trifle sceptical about claims of time travel…
The story is significant, as it’s the first time that we meet another Time Lord (not that the name was mentioned at the time). Like most renegade Time Lords, this one is a wee bit bonkers. He wants to change the history of Earth by making sure Harold wins the Battle of Hastings, and he’s not afraid of using a bit of high technology to assist. His plan (nicely written out for the Doctor to discover) involves using fancy weapons to see off the Norse invaders in Northumbria, leaving Harold free to see off the Normans. There’s lots of silliness with Saxons and Vikings, and what must have been a shocking moment when it was first shown:
The monk’s got a TARDIS!
Like most of the 60s stories, by current standards the pace is slow, but it’s still very watchable. Definitely recommended.
Special features include:
- The usual commentary – this one is a bit special as one of the participants is the late Verity Lambert, Doctor Who’s first producer. It was recorded a few weeks before her death last year.
- A short look at Verity Lambert’s career in TV.
- Stripped for Action – The First Doctor – the first in a series of features looking at the Doctor’s comic strip adventures.
- Restoration: A short feature showing before and after examples of the
magictechniques used to restore the material for DVD release
- And those ubiquitous production subtitles
 The Doctor is also bonkers, but generally in a good way…