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Doctor Who - 'Limited Edition All Blu-ray Gift Set: Complete Seasons 1-7' is Coming!

An Amazon pre-order listing shows that the first 4 seasons, shot in standard-def, have been upconverted to 1080p for this high-def Blu-ray release

Posted by David Lambert
As many Whovians (fans of Doctor Who) know, the original 1963 program was shot on videotape, not on film, with the sole exception on the January 1970 debut of Jon Pertwee as the 3rd Doctor: Story #051: Spearhead From Space, which was shot entirely on film due to a strike going on then at the BBC (which is why a Blu-ray of Spearhead is on-the-way for release August 13th). And then, when the show resumed in 2005 with the 9th Doctor, it was also shot on video, in standard definition (at PAL 576p, which is a bit more lines of resolution than NTSC 480p, but still "SD" rather than high-def). That continued until the April 2008 special "Planet of the Dead," starring David Tennant and Michelle Ryan: it was the first-ever Doctor Who television episode to be shot with HDTV (and, hence, Blu-ray Discs) in has every episode shot since then.

Which is why it caused a stir back in late 2009 when BBC Home Entertainment announced that a 2/2/2010 release of "Doctor Who - The Complete Specials" would be available on Blu-ray Disc as well as DVD: the Planet of the Dead special and the three which followed it were all shot in HD, but the one preceding it had been recorded only in standard-def. So how was "The Next Doctor," with guest star David Morrissey, going to be included on Blu-ray? The BBC answered that question with a statement which included this information: "Doctor Who: The Next Doctor was shot in standard definition and has been "up-converted" for the Blu-ray disc."

With the success of that up-conversion effort, it looks like the BBC has decided to go back and utilize that same process on all the previous episodes of the 2005 show, to bring the first four series (seasons) of it into the 1080p realm. A new Amazon pre-order listing for Doctor Who - Limited Edition All Blu-ray Gift Set: Complete Seasons 1-7 shows that this is indeed happening, which Series 1, 2, 3 and 4 available on Blu-ray Disc for the first time. Here's a studio description of the set, which is found at Amazon's entry:
    For the first time ever, BBC Home Entertainment is collecting the complete new Doctor Who together on Blu-ray plus an amazing assortment of additional items including the totally unique Doctor Who Universal Remote Control Sonic Screwdriver and more! The collection includes Series 1-4, featuring Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston and Tenth Doctor David Tennant, making their Blu-ray debut in newly remastered versions at full 1080p resolution, plus Series 5-7 featuring Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, also on 1080p high definition Blu-ray. Catch up with the complete new Doctor Who in high definition just in time for the historic 50th Anniversary Special this fall.
As you can see, it says that this will be available before the November 23rd debut of the "Doctor Who - 50th Anniversary Special" (which has been shot in high-def 3D and - at least in the U.K., and probably in the USA as well - will be shown in some theaters that day, as well as broadcast on TV). However, Amazon's listing for the Doctor Who - Limited Edition All Blu-ray Gift Set: Complete Seasons 1-7 doesn't currently show a release date; instead it merely says "This title has not yet been released. You may pre-order it now and we will deliver it to you when it arrives." Pricing is available, however, showing $349.98 SRP for this BD collection. And you won't just get the episodes, either: as mentioned in the description above, and as you can see from the package art shown below, enclosed in the box is one of the Doctor Who Universal Remote Control Sonic Screwdrivers...and item which is sold separately as a $119.95 SRP value.

Clearly, this is VERY similar to the Doctor Who - Limited Edition Gift Set (Seasons 1-6) sold on DVD last year during the holiday season (which, being a Limited Edition, was quickly sold out and is not longer available except via the after-market circuit at VERY high prices!). However, last year's was in DVD format, while this year's new version is on Blu-ray, and contains one additional season. Plus this time the Sonic Screwdriver is more than just a toy, but has a function it performs.

For those of us (like me!) who have all the available Blu-rays of the later seasons, Is the BBC planning on selling separate season sets of The Complete 1st Series, 2nd Series, 3rd Series and 4th Series? Frankly, we don't know at this time. There was never a separate Blu-ray release of the 2008 Christmas Special, The Next Doctor; it was only available in the Blu version of The Complete Specials. But seasons are a different kettle of fish altogether, so it's possible that those will be made available to fans down the road. Also, it's worth pointing out that the above-quoted description says that the entire release is in 1080p definition, where the previous Blu-rays for Doctor Who have been 1080i all along; have they changed it for the final 10th Doctor specials and for all of the 11th Doctor episodes? I suppose we'll have to wait and find out. For now, though, there's no word about that. And no official BBC announcement yet, for that matter, on this "Limited Edition All Blu-ray Gift Set: Complete Seasons 1-7" package...just the pre-order listing. But it's a good start! Here's a button link to lock in your copy, and a look at the package itself. Our thanks to all of our readers (and there were a number of you!) who took the time to write in this morning and make sure we knew about it. Stay tuned for updates, as further developments occur!

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Doctor Who - Limited Edition All Blu-ray Gift Set: Complete Seasons 1-7

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