Health fanatics rejoice! We’ve got good news from the world of ‘supposedly on its last legs’ physical media. Only months after their last Classic Doctor Who Blu-ray release, the BBC are set to unleash a restored, remastered and extended version of Season 23 – better known as Trial of a Time Lord – in less time than it takes for the Doctor to fall off his exercise bike.
There are 14 episodes in this particular collection, which may not seem like a lot, but the series had just come back from an 18-month hiatus and fans were frankly happy that it hadn’t been cancelled altogether (that’d happen later). The box set is scheduled for UK release on Monday 23 September – U.S. and Canada dates are still TBC– and it’s been announced courtesy of a rather amusing little video in which Colin Baker explains to a magistrate’s court exactly why he hasn’t paid an outstanding parking ticket. (It’s worth hanging out for the punch line as well.)
Trial of a Time Lord was, of course, renowned for its ambitious (if occasionally confusing) series arc, which saw the Doctor stand trial in a kangaroo court for crimes against the universe. It’s basically an excuse to tell four barely connected stories, which saw the Doctor rub shoulders with Sabalom Glitz (Tony Selby), lock horns with Sil (Nabil Shaban) and run into the…um, questionably shaped Vervoids – possibly the only time the charge of genocide might be excused on the grounds of taste and decency. Presenting evidence for the prosecution is the mysterious Valeyard, who hides a dark secret that we won’t reveal here, just in case you’re about to experience it for the first time.
As well as the usual remastering, the extended capacity of Blu-Ray discs means that there’s ample room for extras. And while full details of these are yet to be unveiled, we do know there’ll be documentaries, interviews with the likes of Bonnie Langford – oh, and a cast bake-off.
What’s that? You want a list, you say? Oh, very well:
· Extended edits – of all 14 episodes
· Terror of the Vervoids – four-part standalone edition with updated FX
· Immersive 5.1 surround sound & isolated scores – on all 14 broadcast episodes
· Behind the Sofa – new episodes with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Bonnie Langford, Mark Strickson, Frazer Hines and Matthew Waterhouse
· The Writers’ Room – Eric Saward, Philip Martin, Christopher H Bidmead & Waly K Daly discuss the ‘lost’ Season 23
· The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited – brave cast members tackle their original recipes from the 1980s official cookbook
· The Doctor’s Table – join Colin Baker and friends for dinner
· In Conversation – Matthew Sweet chats to companion Bonnie Langford
· Unseen studio footage
· Rare archive treats
· Convention footage
· Blu-ray trailer
That ought to be slake the thirst of even the most die-hard fan, although it’s always fun to speculate what ‘rare archive treats’ might actually encompass. And here at the DWC offices (yes, there is an office, although occasionally we move it when the high court sheriffs are about to bang on the door) we’ve got our own personal wishlist – including an hour-long retrospective of Chibnall’s Open Air appearance, a re-recorded Doctor In Distress (vocals by Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran), and a brand new audio track in which every one of Mel’s screams has been dubbed over with a Tarzan yell. Well, you can dream.
Will you be forking out for this bounteous marvel when it’s released in September? And what would you like to see propping up the bonus features menu? Let us know in the comments!