Christmas 2017 Gift Guide: DVDs and Blu-Rays

With Christmas coming up, it’s tempting to give into the easy option: DVDs and Blu-rays – and what the heck, you should give in to temptation!

Nah, don’t go scouting around cheap stores in the hopes of finding a movie from 1938 you think a loved one will like; if your’re buying for a Doctor Who fan, we’ve a few suggestions, perfect for unwrapping on Christmas morning then watching and rewatching over the rest of the festive period. To select audio navigation…

Doctor Who Complete Series 10

This has got to be top of your list, right?

With Peter Capaldi’s swansong as the Twelfth Doctor airing on Christmas Day this year, it feels right to relive his latest run of adventures. For this run of episodes, he’s joined by Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts and Matt Lucas as Nardole; together, they meet the Pilot, head to a future where they have to smile, learn some dubious Victorian values, knock on wood, count their breaths, enter the Haereticum, see an old pyramid that popped up over night, live under Monkish rule, come face-to-face with an Ice Queen, consider death by Scotland, and battle Cybermen.

Phew. They pack a lot in, don’t they?

There are numerous version available, based on whether you want to give a complete boxset, split it up, or just go for last year’s Christmas special, The Return of Doctor Mysterio alone. We rather like the steelbook, with art by Alice X. Zhang, but you can’t really go wrong with the normal complete set either.

Shada Steelbook

This has got to be top (or second from top) of your list, right?

It all depends whether  you think the recipient prefers a bit of Capaldi or a bit of Baker. This is a very special release: BBC Worldwide has taken the only-partially-filmed Shada (never completed and thus never broadcast) and animated all the missing segments. They invited Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, John Leeson, and co. back to record the voice-overs – meaning this is likely the closest we’ll ever get to a completed Shada. Except you can’t watch it episodically. You can’t win them all.

Still, it’s an impressive feat, and beautifully done. In his review, James Lomond said:

“I particularly found the animation captured the era very well. It seems to fit. But that sums up the entirety of this (re-)production. The laudable Mike Tucker – who provided visual effects and model work in the later years of the Classic series and again on its return in 2005 – is back! The story, in fact, opens with live-action model work especially shot for the completed version using the same 16mm film cameras and specific equipment and effects that were being used in the 1970s – though it’s at the more upmarket end of what Doctor Who was using back then. And it looks perfect. There’s no other way to describe it. We are literally seeing new old Who.”

We fell in love with the steelbook immediately: it comes with an additional disc, and has gorgeous art by Adrian Salmon as a wraparound cover. It’s an essential purchase for Classic Who (and Douglas Adams) fans!

The Crown: Season 1

Not Doctor Who, I know, but it does star the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith in a key role: that of Prince Philip!

The Crown is a Netflix exclusive show that charts the life of Queen Elizabeth II, played here by Claire Foy. And you know what? It’s wonderful. Seriously, this is engrossing, intimate, and highly enjoyable. Matt Smith is fantastic as ever, and yet, when he was announced as playing the Queen’s other half, some couldn’t picture him in the part. You can see the same mannerisms he had when he was the Doctor, but he does change much about himself: his voice, the way he carries himself, his sense of purpose, even.

Series 2 hits Netflix on Friday 8th December 2017, but Series 1 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. There’s also a Platinum edition which includes an excerpt from the behind-the-scenes hardback book, an exclusive nickel-plated collector’s coin, The House Of Windsor family tree art card, and a facsimile newspaper article from the day of the Queen’s Coronation. Versions all include the 10 episodes:

  • Wolferton Splash
  • Hyde Park Corner
  • Windsor
  • Act of God
  • Smoke and Mirrors
  • Gelignite
  • Scientia Potentia Est
  • Pride & Joy
  • Assassins
  • Gloriana

While you’re at it, buy one for yourself too. You can always find an excuse to treat yourself!

The Daemons of Devil’s End

The White Witch from The Daemons returns!

In case you’re not aware, The Daemons is a certified classic: the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) senses danger in the village of Devil’s End, and discovers aliens purporting to be devils – channeled by – who else?! – the Master (Roger Delgado). Many Who fans love it, and this DVD set collects together behind-the-scenes material, plus White Witch of Devil’s End, a six-part talking-head tale in which he learn more about Olive Hawthorne, played by the wonderful Damaris Hayman.

Hawthorn is surely one of the most recognisable and much-loved one-off characters from the Pertwee era (indeed, of all Classic Who), so it’s a joy to see her back in the role.

This DVD is unique, however, in also including Return to Devil’s End, a documentary spread over two discs that includes interviews with Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier), Hayman, Richard Franklin (Captain mike Yates), et al. as they return to the original filming locations. The Daemons left a mark on Aldbourne, and this DVD also features footage from conventions held there more recently.

If your loved one enjoys peeking behind the curtain, learning more about what went on when the cameras weren’t running, The Daemons of Devil’s End is a must-have!

It’s region-free too, so if you’re sending abroad, this should play on different DVD players.

Doctor Who Christmas Specials Set

For completists – or anyone who just likes to see a healthy collection of Doctor Who episodes collected together in a beautiful set.

The DVD and Blu-ray boxsets were released a couple of years ago, so it’s missing the two most recent festive specials, but who cares? Because they include The Christmas Invasion, The Runaway Bride, Voyage of the Damned, The Next Doctor, The End of Time, A Christmas Carol, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, The Snowmen, The Time of the Doctor, and Last Christmas. That’s three Doctors, 11 episodes, and a couple of regenerations! These span between 2005 and 2014.

It’s a great festive time capsule that also includes a few special features and five exclusive Christmas cards.

You could supplement this with the further DVDs of The Husbands of River Song and The Return of Doctor Mysterio, but even without them, this is a fantastic present!

I know, we’ve missed lots out. So what’s on your Christmas list this year? Which other suggestions do you have? Let us know in the comments section below!

  • The Lazy Womble

    I will probably be burned at the stake for this, but I found “The Daemons of Devil’s End” quite dull. But I am not so keen on “The Daemons” either.

    • bar

      I find bits of The Daemons quite funny, but hold it responsible for Moffat’s go-to deus ex machina ‘saved by the power of love.’

      • The Lazy Womble

        The Daemons has its charms. The plot holds together quite well. But, as you say, the “love conquers all” denouement is annoying. It has also acquired a reputation (predominantly among the cast) that it doesn’t live up to.

  • Planet of the Deaf

    I’ll wait until after Christmas before buying the S10 boxset, as it’ll be cheaper then 🙂