Doctor Who – Delta and the Bannermen

While we try to cope with the long gap between new Doctor Who specials[1], there is some relief in the fact that we’re getting lots of old Doctor who on DVD this year. Next month will see a particularly welcome Patrick Troughton release[2], and in August there will be one of those themed mini-sets. And there’s even more in September.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This month’s release is the moderately silly Delta and the Bannermen, starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Bonnie Tyler as Mel. First shown in November 1987, it’s a three-part story, which was more or less typical of the period.

After an encounter with Ken Dodd[3], the Doctor and Mel find themselves at a holiday camp in South Wales in 1959. They were supposed to be going to Disneyland, but the tour bus collided with an American satellite…

This would all be good fun, but there is, of course, trouble ahead. Mixed in with the tourists is Delta, last surviving Chimeron Queen, who’s being hunted by the rather nasty Bannermen, who are on a mission to wipe out her race. Lots of the usual fun, games and chasing follows, with some interesting guest characters…

This story marks a turning point in Sylvester’s time in the series – in the next story, Mel would leave to be replaced by Ace, and the Doctor would begin to develop into the darker and more manipulative character who dropped hints about there being more to his past than we previously thought.

Special features are a little different from the usual, with more archive material and a distinct lack of the usual new “making of” documentary. Here’s what you get:

  • But First This – a Children’s BBC on location feature recorded during the making of the story
  • Wales Today – a location report from the evening news programme
  • Part One: First edit – an early, longer version of the first episode without music or effects. I haven’t watched that yet – I tend to think of that kind of thing as of curiosity value only
  • Clown Court – Where are they finding this stuff? A bit from a Noel Edmunds Saturday night TV show featuring just some of Sylvester McCoy’s famous fluffs. Good fun, actually
  • Stripped for Action – another in the occasional series of docmentaries on the Doctor Who comic strips, this time looking at those based on Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor
  • Hugh and Us – an interview with Hugh Lloyd, who played the slightly mysterious beekeper Goronwy
  • And the usual trailers, galleries and production subtitles

[1] “Novermber-ish” is still the best I’ve heard for the next one
[2] More about that when it appears
[3] Guest stars were quite a popular thing at the time

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