Sometimes the Tour has a thought which turns out to be flat out … wrong. Our own confuzzled ‘conventional’ wisdom had it that space in the slow, plodding release of the classic series on blu-ray wouldn’t, indeed couldn’t, extend back to the Troughton and Hartnell eras of the show.
Too incomplete. Too 405-line. Too slow and plodding for modern audiences to appreciate.
In short, too un-commercial. But, as it turns out, we were wrong. Loud wrong.
The announcement that Season 2, the oh-so nearly complete middle-third of the Hartnell era, is coming to blu-ray recently not only left us thrilled. We were shocked.
The miracles of restoration have not always been kind for classic Doctor Who. As welcome as seeing Season 8 in glorious HD, we found the results as muddied as those stories mixed heritage. As that’s for 1971 Doctor Who, let alone 1965. It would be unreasonable for us to expect anything approaching razor-sharpness of image out of 55+ year-old video but here is where being in glorious monochrome could actually help the final product. There’s always a functional distillation in storytelling that black and white provides that color somehow strips away.
Of course there is also a very practical reason to put these stories out in ‘best’ quality as we touched upon last time, the principals involved are really getting up there, and for someone interested in the special features of a classic series boxset which, let’s be frank for this ‘ol website in particular, is practically all of you, it’s important for anyone interested in the historiography of Doctor Who to get these stories recorded and, ultimately, remembered, while these people are still with us.
It will probably be a heavy lift for anyone whose Doctor Who interest does not stretch into the previous century to have an interest in 1964-65 Doctor Who. Even our own feelings for these stories are incredibly mixed on the latter, but we are willing to re-examine our feelings regarding The Web Planet (snooze) or The Time Meddler (great) when the opportunity allows.