Doctor Who – The Complete Specials

I managed to time this just right. The new series starts tomorrow, and I’ve got myself into the right[1] frame of mind by catching up with the DVD set of David Tennant’s last stories. I’ve talked a bit about the episodes before, so this is about the DVD set and the extras rather than the stories.

The packaging is the usual stylish affair, with each episode on a separate disk, and a small booklet with a lovely introduction by David Tennant. So, on to the disks:

The Next Doctor

Much the same as the original release, but with surround sound and the associated episode of Doctor Who Confidential. Unlike previous releases, there is no commentary, which seems a bit odd.

Planet of the Dead

OK, this gets the proper sound mix, but the only extra is Confidential. Naughty BBC, naughty!

The Waters of Mars

Still a superb episode, but as lacking in extras as the previous one.

The End of Time, Part One

This is more like it – in addition to Confidential, there’s the last of David Tennant’s lovely video diaries, which is as enjoyable as the rest. Good to see him still enjoying himself right up to the end. Also on the DVD are the “idents”[2] used by the BBC over last Christmas, and (finally!) a commentary with David Tennant, Catherine Tate and director Euros Lyn, which was loads of fun, with Catherine revelling in not having much of an idea about what’s going on.

The End of Time, Part Two

Another good one – apart from the expected Confidential, Russell T Davies introduces some deleted scenes, there’s a film on what happened when Doctor Who went to ComicCon, and there’s a commentary from David Tennant, Euros Lyn and John Simm.


It’s a shame, really, that more couldn’t have been done with the extras to make this set a bit more special. It does, after all, mark the end of a hugely significant era in the history of Doctor Who, and the biggest change[2] in the show since it went to colour and exiled the Doctor to Earth in 1970. After that point, every change of Doctor was bridged by a companion hanging around for at least a short time, and production team changes were also phased in.[3]

So, what to say about the ending of an era? I know some people didn’t like the Doctor’s prolonged farewell to his friends, but I thought it was a quite appropriate and tender farewell, and yes it did make me :wah: – even on a second viewing. But then, I am an old softie, but don’t tell anyone that, OK?

It’s been enormous fun, and in David Tennant, we’ve had one of the best Doctors ever – I never thought anyone would replace Tom Baker as my favourite, but David may just have done it. We’ll see how I feel in a decade or so..

And now it’s time to look forward. As Ood Sigma said

His song is ending, but the story never ends

Which is, perhaps, the best thing you can say about Doctor Who – there aren’t a lot of TV shows which can periodically replace the entire cast and production team and still be essentially the same. Where will it go from here? Will the Eleventh Doctor come to mean as much as the Tenth? The only certainty is that with Steven Moffat in charge, you should probably get ready to hide behind the sofa again…

I will, of course, be babbling about the new series as it progresses.

[1] Excited :bouncy:
[2] Well, excluding the actual return of the series in 2005, that is
[3] Pretty much. And I’m reasonably sure there was never a new production team, new Doctor and new companion all at once, other than the one-off 1996 TV film and the actual return of the show in 2005.