The Blu-Ray release of ‘Spearhead From Space’ was one of my most anticipated Doctor Who home video releases for the year due to it’s unique status as the only classic Doctor Who story to be released in high definition. Unlike every other episode of classic Doctor Who, ‘Spearhead’ was recorded entirely on film – other episodes were either all videotape or a mixture of film and tape – and this fact enables an HD transfer of the original source material.
For those unfamiliar with the episode, this is the 3rd Doctor’s premiere episode where, after the events of ‘The War Games’ he finds himself regenerated and exiled to Earth by the Time Lords. With his ability to travel through time and space taken away from him, he helps U.N.I.T. stop and alien invasion and becomes U.N.I.T.’s scientific advisor. Fans of “new Who” may be interested to know that this is the episode that introduces the Nestene Conciousness, which returned in the episode that brought Doctor Who back to the world – “Rose”.
The DVD release of “Spearhead” is already in my collection and looks great, so I wasn’t sure if I’d find the quality of the Blu-Ray release to be markedly improved. Once through the title sequence I immmediately saw the difference. I was blown away by how amazing the picture looked – the picture quality, colors, sharpness were all incredible. The special effect shots (which were limited in this episode due to the location shooting) also looked great. The audio track is clear, but seems unchanged from the DVD release.
Special features on the Blu-Ray release of “Spearhead From Space” include ‘A Dandy and a Clown’ – a profile of Jon Pertwee, ‘Carry On: The Life of Caroline John’, ‘Title Sequence Material’ and ‘Restoration Comparison’. I’ve not watched any of the special features yet, so I cannot comment on them. But they are there.
Ultimately, this Blu-Ray release far exceeded my expectations and redefined how good a classic Doctor Who story could look. Paired with the fact that ‘Spearhead from Space’ is a solid, well paced story – you end up with quite an excellent release. There is a bittersweet aspect however, now that I’ve seen HD Classic Who there aren’t any other stories that are ready candidates.