Doctor Who fans in North America have had to wait a couple of extra months for it, but the twenty-sixth and final season of the Classic Series is out now on Blu-Ray!
It’s funny that Doctor Who ended when it did. At least, with the Classic Series. The third and last decade of the show’s original run had seen some major highs and lows, and wasn’t looked on favorably by many people in the BBC. In fact, they tried to cancel it after Colin Baker’s first complete season, but the huge outcry from fans was enough to bring it back. The first time, at least.
However, we weren’t exactly lucky the second time. In 1989, after Sylvester McCoy’s third season as the Seventh Doctor, the show was quietly rested. Not exactly canceled, not officially. Script editor Andrew Cartmel put it best during a BFI event late last year:
People ask me about the cancellation… we weren’t really cancelled, it’s just like ghosting your girlfriend, they just never phoned us back!
What made the “ghosting” of Doctor Who so ironic was that, in some ways, the show was arguably better than it had been in years. The previous season had given us some really great stories, including The Greatest Show in the Galaxy and Remembrance of the Daleks. (Also, The Happiness Patrol is a great piece of underrated satire.)
Season 26 was just as good, if not better. It gave us stories of knights and witches; monsters and ghosts; curses and vampires. More than that – it also featured some significant character development for Ace, as well as some major revelations.
Today, North American fans can see for themselves why this era was so strong. Two months after its UK release, Season 26 of Classic Who – or Doctor Who: Sylvester McCoy: Complete Season Three, as it’s been released over here – is finally available on Blu-Ray.
Along with featuring all four serials from Doctor Who‘s final season – including Battlefield, Ghost Light, The Curse of Fenric and Survival – the box set also contains a huge number of special features. These include multiple editions of the first three serials – ranging from extended cuts of the original episodes to special editions with brand new effects; new documentaries; 5.1 surround sound and so much more – including previously released content from the DVD releases!
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Of the new special features, there are several that will be of particular interest to fans. One example that stands out is Showman – The Life of John Nathan-Turner, an in-depth look at Doctor Who‘s longest-running producer. There’s also In Conversation, in which Matthew Sweet talks to Sophie Aldred, who played Seventh Doctor companion Ace. And Ben Aaronovitch, Marc Platt, Ian Briggs, Rona Munro and Andrew Cartmel feature in The Writer’s Room to discuss the season.
These are just some of the special features included in this box set, and considering the extremely high quality of previous releases, each of these will definitely be worth a watch. So even for a relatively short season, this will be well worth the purchase for many fans.
Will you be getting Classic Who’s last season on Blu-Ray? If you’ve watched the season before, which is your favorite story? Let us know in the comments below.