The second UK release of 2008 is the popular First Doctor pseudo-historical story, 'The Time Meddler', starring William Hartnell, Peter Purves and Maureen O'Brien, with a guest appearance from Peter Butterworth as the Meddling Monk.
'The Time Meddler' is one of the few complete William Hartnell stories that doesn't exist in the archive on high-quality original film recording negatives. Instead, the episodes were recovered from overseas customers of BBC Enterprises as film prints, some of which were incomplete and in poor condition. For this reason, it also becomes one of the first releases not to undergo the VidFIRE videoising process on technical grounds. It was felt that the resulting images would fail to convince the viewer that they were watching a video recording.
With the exception of episode one, which was retransferred again to attempt to get more viewable area from the film print, the transfers are simply cleaned up versions of the masters produced for the VHS release as part of 'The First Doctor' boxset in 2002. The stockshots of the Viking ship, taken from a 35mm newsreel film have been reinstated from film to enhance the quality of these scenes.
The Extras package for this Standard Edition release consists of:
• Commentary with actor Peter Purves, producer Verity Lambert, script editor Donald Tosh and designer Barry Newbery. Moderated by Clayton Hickman.
• Stripped for Action - The First Doctor (dur. 14' 04) - a look at the First Doctor's comic strip adventures. Featuring interviews with artist Bill Mevin, comics historians Jeremy Bentham and John Ainsworth, former Doctor Who Magazine editors Gary Russell and Alan Barnes.
• The Lost Twelve Seconds (dur 1' 04") - twelve seconds of episode four are still missing, excised by overseas censors prior to recovery of the print. This short item uses off-air audio recording and the original script to place the cut in context within the story.
• Restoration (dur. 4' 52") - a short featurette showing 'before and after' examples of techniques used during the restoration of this story.
• Photo Gallery (dur. 2' 38") - production and publicity photos from the story.
• Coming Soon (dur. 1' 12") - a trail for the forthcoming DVD release of 'The Five Doctors - 25th Anniversary Edition'.
• Radio Times Billings PDF - Radio Times articles and billings for the story as Adobe pdf documents for PC and Mac.
• Programme Subtitles • Subtitle Production Notes
Copyright Steve Roberts, 25th January 2008. No reproduction allowed without written permission.