The Aztecs - Special Edition DVD

A new remaster for this classic first season story, plus an expanded set of extras that include the only surviving episode of 'Galaxy 4', returned to the BBC in December 2011 and released here commercially for the first time.

Disc 1

• 4 x 25 mins approx monochrome episodes with mono audio. Optional Arabic soundtrack for episode four only.

Commentary with actors William Russell and Carole Ann Ford, producer Verity Lambert OBE.

Remembering The Aztecs (dur. 28’ 20”) - Actors John Ringham, Ian Cullen and Walter Randall recall the production of the story and of television production in the sixties in general.

Designing the Aztecs (dur. 24’ 40”) - Designer Barry Newbery talks about his work on the story, illustrated with many never-before-seen production drawings and photographs from his personal collection.

Cortez and Monezuma (dur. 5’ 56”) - An extract from a 1970 ‘Blue Peter’, introduced by Valerie Singleton on location in Mexico, giving historical background to the Aztec belief in human sacrifice.

Restoring the Aztecs (dur. 8’ 10”) - A short featurette demonstrating the restoration and videoisation effects used for the release. With subtitles.

Making Cocoa (dur. 2’ 30”) - An animated guide to making cocoa the Aztec way, voiced in character by John Ringham as Tlotoxl and Walter Randall as Tonila, with both characters animated and presented in ‘South Park’ style…!

TARDIS-Cam no.3 (dur. 1’ 06”) - The third of BBCi’s TARDIS-Cam shots. 16:9 FHA.

Intro Sequences - The umbrella story title ‘The Aztecs’ does not appear on any of the episodes, so for (outdated now) BBFC compliance a caption card with the title has been provided. To add interest, six versions have been provided, each with a different voiceover, in character, from three of the actors involved in the production. The intention is that the disc will randomly select one of these six sequences and play it out at the appropriate point as the disc producer sees fit. One suggestion is that the caption plays out the first time an episode is selected for play.

Disc 2

Galaxy 4 (dur. 64’ 43”) – a shortened reconstruction of the missing story ‘Galaxy 4’, using off-screen stills, audio recordings and animation plus the recently recovered complete episode three to tell the story.

Chronicle – The Realms of Gold (dur. 49’ 50”) – John Julius Norwich’s superlative 1969 retelling of the story of the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the Aztecs, which also features music by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop .

Doctor Forever – Celestial Toyroom (dur. 22’ 34”) – the first of a new five-part series introduced by Ayesha Antoine looks at Doctor Who toys. With original series producer Verity Lambert, new series creator Russell T Davies, writers Mark Gatiss, Rob Shearman, Paul Cornell and Joseph Lidster, BBC Worldwide product licensing executive Richard Hollis, product approval executive Dave Turbitt and ex- range editor Steve Cole, Audiogo commissioning editor Michael Stevens, Character Options’ Alasdair Dewar, DWM’s toy reviewer Jim Sangster and last, but by no means least, Doctor Who’s very own Winston Churchill, actor Ian McNiece.

It’s a Square World (dur. 7’ 20”) – the very first Doctor Who skit (as far as we can ascertain), with Clive Dunn in full First Doctor costume as a scientist demonstrating his new space rocket to Michael Bentine, resulting in Television Centre being launched into space! Features cameo appearances by Patrick Moore and Albert Steptoe.

A Whole Scene Going (dur. 4’ 31”) – an excerpt from a recently recovered edition of the sixties music and arts programme, featuring an interview with director Gordon Flemyng and a behind the scenes look at filming of his movie ‘Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 AD’.

• Plus of course the usual PDF materials, Coming Soon trailer, Programme Subtitles, Subtitle Production Notes and Photo Gallery.

Copyright Steve Roberts, 27 June 2013. No reproduction allowed without written permission.