“The Tenth Planet” on DVD!

Doctor Who fans–especially fans of the classic series (e.g., me)–will be excited to learn (as I was) that the First Doctor story, “The Tenth Planet” will be coming to DVD sometime later this year. For those not as geeky about Doctor Who as… well, me… why is this such big news? Let me number the ways!:

  • It’s one of my favorite First Doctor stories.
  • This was the the First Doctor’s last story.
  • It introduced us to The Cybermen, who became nearly as infamous as the Daleks.
  • It introduced the concept of “regeneration” when the First Doctor changed into the Second at the end.
  • The fourth and final episode of the story has been missing from the BBC archives since the 1970s. Only brief clips remain of it.
  • The last time the story was available was as a VHS release over ten years ago, where the last episode was reconstructed using the soundtrack (which is still extant thanks to fans of the show who diligently stuck microphones in front of their TVs every Saturday evening), photographs taken by John Cura of the show as it aired, and the aforementioned brief clips.

What’s new about this release?

  • Episodes 1-3 will be cleaned up and made to look and sound all sparkly and new–at least as good as when they were first broadcast (which was in 1966, in case you were curious).
  • Innovative Australian animation studio, Planet 55 Studios, has been commissioned to recreate episode 4 for this DVD release.
  • There will, no doubt, be a feast of extras–documentaries, commentaries, etc.

What’s not happening with this release?

  • Renaming the story. Okay, so this was never discussed (to my knowledge). But according to the story, the Cybermen live on Mondas, a twin planet to Earth, hidden within our solar system. At the time the show aired, Pluto was the ninth planet in our solar system, making Mondas the tenth (hence the title). Since Pluto has been re-classified as a dwarf planet, there are now only eight planets in the solar system, which means Mondas would now be “The Ninth Planet.” Oh well. The story is set in 1986, so I suppose they can get away with it!
  • It’s not coming out soon enough!

Do you have any thoughts to share about The Tenth Planet, The First Doctor, the Cybermen, Doctor Who in general, the DVD range, or any other related topics? Let’s talk in the comments!

2 Responses to “The Tenth Planet” on DVD!

  1. Ooo how exciting! I see a few Doctor Who dvds swimming around HMV – only random Doctors and serials though unfortunately. Another downside is they’re quite expensive. I guess I can understand it but it would be nice if they were in my budget. And put more serials together in one package. Can you imagine how much money you’d spend buying every story and every Doctor?!

    • In the US, I think the DVDs are actually, on the whole, quite reasonably priced given what you get. Few other classic TV shows get the care and attention the Who range gets as far as restoration goes. And then with all the other extras they put on them, most of the time they’re good value for money (if you order from Amazon, anyway!). Saying that, they are not cheap, and I quite understand your situation.

      It happens that I do have every story, but not all on DVD. I started out collecting the VHS tapes (often getting them via Amazon Marketplace for a greatly reduced price), and over the years I’ve been replacing them with the official DVD releases. I’m still waaaay behind, and it will take some time yet for me to collect them all.

      The plan, as far as I know, is for the BBC to release all the existing episodes on DVD by November. I wouldn’t be surprised if, after then, you start seeing season bundles, and perhaps even some special deals. My advice would be to save up for the ones you really want to see, and be patient for the rest. If Who continues to be as popular as it is on both sides of the Atlantic, these DVDs’ll be around for a while. :)

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