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Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 9 Blu-ray review [Limited Edition]

Season 9 finds Doctor Who in rude health. Having slowly regained its footing after a near-miss with cancellation at the start of the decade, both the programme and Jon Pertwee‘s earthbound Third Doctor reached dizzying new heights of popularity during his first two seasons in the role. Season 9 continued that trend considerably, and in many ways, easily eclipsed what had gone before. Under the stewardship of Producer Barry Letts and Script Editor Terrance Dicks, the programme’s ninth year immediately displays a confidence and sense of derring-do that’s utterly awe-inspiring – a feeling that is especially evident when watching the Season’s opening adventures.

The season kicks off with Day of the Daleks, an ambitious action-packed thriller that boasts the return of the show’s iconic monsters for the first time since 1967. Louis Marks‘ story of time-travelling freedom fighters and a dystopian future earth under Dalek rule pre-dates The Terminator by almost twelve years, and like that film, plays with some interesting ideas about rebellion vs collaboration, guerrilla warfare and time travel paradoxes. The production values leave much to be desired sadly, especially in the underwhelming Daleks battle that occurs in the serial’s final episode, but the 2011 Special Edition included on the second disc patches up a lot of these issues thanks to a hefty combination of replacement CGI effects, re-recorded Daleks voices and new retro-style footage inserts.

Next in the run is The Curse of Peladon by Brian Hayles, a lavish production that combines pseudo-medieval aesthetics with Star Trek style political allegory, as the Doctor and Jo attempt to unravel a conspiracy that seeks to prevent the planet Peladon joining the Galactic Federation. Arguably one of the Pertwee era’s finest hours, the whole affair is a delight from start to finish, bolstered by fabulous performances (particularly those of co-star Katy Manning and guest artist David Troughton), inventive monster designs and a terrific mystery at its core. It’s also never looked better, thanks to the considerable HD restoration on display here.

The third story contained within the set, The Sea Devils, is the definitive highlight of the season however, despite it being a partial retread of writer Malcom Hulke‘s previous story Doctor Who and the Silurians, which aired in 1970. Combining beautifully realised monsters with the long-awaited return of Roger Delgado‘s Master, the six-episode story is an epic swashuckling adventure that probes greater depths with its exploration of peaceful co-existence and cold war parallels. The scale of the production is enormous, thanks in part to the cooperation of the Royal Navy in filming the audacious sea-faring scenes, and the resulting epic never feels long-winded or protracted.

Sadly, the other two six-part stories in the collection (The Mutants and The Time Monster) massively overstay their welcome. The Time Monster is particularly misjudged in execution, despite some strong ideas at its core, whilst The Mutants suffers from some clumsy plotting and even clumsier political parallels. Both stand-out as particularly poor examples from not only this era of Doctor Who, but also the wider canon of Doctor Who. That said, the chance to revisit them in freshly restored HD transfers is reason enough to pop them on, and even the most critical fan will find something to love in each of them.

Purely based on the stories themselves, Season 9 is another worthy addition to the shelf for fans of classic Who. Beautifully restored and still crackling with that almost undefinable energy fifty years on, it’s easy to see how and why these beloved stories helped sustain Doctor Who‘s popularity all those decades ago.


A solid collection of new documentaries accompany the episodes across this lavish new Blu-ray boxset. Location, Location, Location is a lovely nostalgic trek to a number of key locations from Season 9 in the company of Katy Manning and a few surprise guests. A brand new Making-of documentary for The Time Monster is also a welcome addition, with host Toby Hadoke chatting to the cast and crew on location at Swallowfield Park in Berkshire.

There’s a nice selection of new interviews here too – regular 70’s Who director Michael E. Briant is profiled in a new feature about his illustrious career, whilst long-suffering stuntman Stuart Fell provides tons of anecdotes and insights about his own experiences in film and television as part of The Fell Guy. Both men prove to be engaging and charming subjects with plenty of new tales to tell, despite having been interviewed countless times before for various DVD documentaries and featurettes.

Fans of the ongoing Behind the Sofa series will enjoy the five new instalments which accompany each story across the boxset, which this time feature the likes of Manning, Briant and other Doctor Who cast-members providing lively commentary as they sit down to view various highlights from Season 9. Elsewhere on the discs, you can find movie-length omnibus edits of Day of the Daleks and The Sea Devils, specially recreated for this collection, as well as countless hours of convention footage, audio features, photo galleries and PDF material. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the previously released DVD commentaries, documentaries and features, which are all collected here for posterity. An exhaustive, definitive collection for fans.

Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 9 is available now: https://amzn.to/42NPVLo


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