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Doctor Who - Update on DVD for Douglas Adams' City of Death

Posted by David Lambert
In our news last week about the November 1st Doctor Who releases, we mentioned that Story #105: City Of Death was not a Restoration Team title. This conclusion on our part was based on the lack of a mention of any work done to this release at the official Doctor Who Restoration Team website. Now, that title has been added to their site, so we now know that City of Death *will* undergo the excellent restoration treatment given to most of the other Timelord titles. Excellent to know, especially from fans of Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the co-writer of this particular storyline.

The Restoration Team entry shows that City of Death will be a 2-DVD affair, mainly because of a very full extras package. Although Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) and Lalla Ward ("Romana") were not available to participate in the bonus material, Doctor Who fans will in all likelihood be excited to get the following:
  • Commentary Track with actors Julian Glover and Tom Chadbon, and director Michael Hayes
  • "Paris in the Springtime" (45 min.) Toby Longworth narrates. This goes behind the scenes on the production, emphasizing Douglas Adams' contribution. Look for Douglas Adams, Julian Glover, Catherine Schell, Tom Chadbon, Michael Hayes, Anthony Read (script editor), David Fisher (writer of the original version of this story, "A Gamble with Time," which is re-told in this documentary with new illustrations by Jason Lythgoe-Hay), Pennant Roberts (director of "The Pirate Planet," Adam's other Doctor Who episode), and writers Steven Moffat and Rob Shearman from the new 2005 version of Doctor Who.
  • Paris, W12 - a rare 20-minute look inside the studio during the recording of the story, courtesy of lovingly restored extracts from studio tapes loaned to the Restoration Team by Jan Vincent-Rudzki and which proved extremely difficult to find a way to play back, as they are of an obsolete "Shibaden" format which it seems to be difficult to find playback devices for which work! The Restoration Team didn't let us down, though!
  • Prehistoric Landscapes - a short montage of the model landscapes and spaceship effects used in the story, some of which did not make the final edit.
  • Chicken Wrangler - A comical look at the pitfalls of trying to film live chickens for one of the effects sequences, along with a rather too-animated model chicken!
  • Eye on... Blatchford - This BBC program follows a day in the life of Sardoth, the Second-to-Last of the Jagaroth, as he tries to balance the responsibility of saving his race with his own attempts to fit into life in the rural village of Blatchford. It's not easy when you're green.
  • Photo Gallery (8 mins.) - Highlights cast and design photographs from the story, as well as studio floorplans and set models.
  • Production Notes by Dr Martin Wiggins
  • Easter Eggs
  • DVD-ROM material: 1980 Doctor Who Annual (.PDF format)

Just remember that this is what the Restoration Team is working on overall for both the UK and USA releases, and that nothing listed here is finalized for Region 1 until the BBC and distirbutor Warner Home Video announce it. But it all sounds yummy, and we hope to feast ourselves on this great repast! Our thanks to reader Jessie Loflin for tipping us off to the Restoration Team's listing of this title after our initial story ran. For Restoration Team information on the other Nov. 1st Doctor Who title, see the RT website listing for The Claws of Axos, starring Jon Pertwee.

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