Doctor Who - The Complete First Series

Actors: David Tennant, Billie Piper, Christopher Eccleston, Camille Coduri, Noel Clarke
Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs:
Run Time:
545 minutes

DVD Features:

  • Available Subtitles: English
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • 13 episodes on five discs
  • Commentary on all episodes by combinations of writer Russell T. Davies, producer Phil Collinson, actors Simon Callow, Billie Piper, and John Barrowman, and other cast and crew
  • Interview with Christopher Eccleston on BBC Breakfast
  • Destroying the Lair
  • Making Doctor Who with Russell T. Davies
  • Waking the Dead: Mark Gatiss video diary
  • Laying Ghosts: the origin of the unquiet dead
  • Deconstructing Big Ben
  • On set with Billie Piper
  • Mike Tucker's Mocks of Balloons
  • Designing Doctor Who
  • The Adventures of Captain Jack
  • "Doctor Who Confidential" - 165-minute collection of featurettes on the new series narrated by Simon Pegg
  • Backstage at Christmas: an exclusive look behind the scenes of Doctor Who Christmas Invasion
  • Storyboard of opening trailer
  • Launch trailers




The subtitle The First Series is a bit of a misnomer for a TV show which has been around since the 1960s. When they mean First Series they of course mean in the latest 2003 revival.

Doctor Who - in case you're living outside the UK - is a long-running sci-fi BBC show about an eccentric and meddlesome time traveler simply known as the Doctor. The Doctor (who looks human but isn't) travels through time and space in a time machine that looks like a blue telephone booth, called the TARDIS. (Yes, that's where Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure got their idea from.) Unlike Bill and Ted's time machine, the Doctor's TARDIS is much bigger on the inside than on the outside for some reason.

While it ran for ages on the BBC, it seemed as if the show was doomed when a feature-length attempt at making the show more palatable to an American audience (and audiences accustomed to better special effects and sets than the incredibly cheapo ones in the BBC show) flopped in the mid-1990s.

The Doctor (by now having been played by something like eight actors!) seemed truly dead, but a loyal and dedicated fan base kept things alive until the BBC recently decided to revamp the show with a much bigger budget, improved CGI effects and a rethink.

THE DISCS: A neat fold-out five-disc box set containing all thirteen forty-minute episodes of the Season. The fifth disc contains several short making of features, but it is best that you watch the entire series before checking them out since they do contain spoilers. Whilst these making of features are interesting enough, one wishes that they were a bit more in-depth and maybe took a more historical approach to the show - how does the interior of the current TARDIS compare to previous ones? What did all the previous Doctors look like? And so forth. Still, this is a minor kibble.

WORTH IT? Those same Doctor Who obsessives who actually kept the franchise will probably find something to gripe about in this new series.

In the original series the good Doctor was a renegade Time Lord, not the last member of his race. The idea of the Doctor also possibly being attracted to one of his female companions (called assistants) may freak those accustomed to the sexless Boy's Own world of Doctor Who.

But fanatical fan boys will always find something to gripe about - after all, you even get the types who believe that the new Battlestar Galactica revival is somehow inferior to the original kitschy 1970s show. And here their case is as unfounded as with Battlestar Galatica: this new Doctor Who is one of the freshest and best sci-fi TV shows doing the rounds.

The writing is consistently clever and original, and the acting more than adequate. The effects and sets are much approved and more in line with what modern audiences expect nowadays. (Hey, did those die-hard fans really like those old cardboard sets that much?) In fact, some of the episodes in this new series are pretty darn good and deserves every SF prize or award thrown at them.

The only complaint is that the incorrectly named Second Series (now being broadcast on BBC) features a new and much younger Doctor, and that is as soon as one has grown to like the old (or is that new?) Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston.

RECOMMENDATION: Highly recommended. This is one of the best sci-fi shows doing the rounds. Hard SF types should check it out.



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