Two new Classic Doctor Who stories are being released on DVD this week and they are two of the most important of all time. Both are from the Third Doctor’s era (1970-1974) and contribute greatly to the legacy of the show.
First up is Terror of the Autons from 1971. This is one of the most controversial stories in the series’ history due to its graphic depiction of evil living plastic toys. It also features the first appearance of the Doctor’s arch nemesis, the Master, played by the brilliant Roger Delgado. The Master would feature in all of the stories of season 8 and would appear several more times throughout the classic series. Extras on this single-disc include audio commentary, a featurette about the Master, a featurette about the making of the story, and a bit about the Autons in general.
The second release is the Third Doctor’s swan song, Planet of the Spiders from 1974. It culminates in the Doctor’s third regeneration, and first where the term “regeneration” is actually used. It’s a big ol’ action romp and as silly as it gets toward the end, with rod-puppet spiders “talking,” the final goodbye between the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane is quite profound. Extras on this two-disc affair include audio commentary, a doc about the final days of the Pertwee era, a discussion with the late Barry Letts about his time directing the show, and an “Omnibus” version of the story, which is basically the six episodes edited together into one long film.
If you’re at all interested in the Third Doctor or just the history of the show in general, these are two monumental serials well worth a look. I’ll get them because I’m a huge Pertweephile.
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