1 February 2010 | timdalton007
The Best Documentary On The Original Series Of Doctor Who
Produced as part of the thirteenth anniversary year of Doctor Who, More Then Thirty Years In the TARDIS is a look at the first three decades of the long running show's existence. While perhaps not as informative as many of the documentaries now found on numerous Doctor Who DVDs, this documentary has something else. It is perhaps the single best look at the original run off Doctor Who overall and is screaming for a DVD release in some size, shape or form. In short this documentary covers a lot of ground and does it very well.
There is a large amount of archive material to be found within it for example. The footage ranges from rare footage of William Hartnell at a 1966 air show, Jon Pertwee's appearance with the Whomobile on Blue Peter (which can be found in full on the The Three Doctors DVD), Dalek creator Terry Nation being interviewed on Wicker's World, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward appearing in TV ads for Prime Computers (which can be found on on The Destiny Of The Daleks DVD), studio recordings from several stories (including Death To The Daleks and Ghost Light), Doctor Who spoofs from British comedy shows, plus footage from the two 1960's Dalek movies, Jon Pertwee's 1973 single "I Am The Doctor" and much more. While some of this material can be seen now as extra's on the various Doctor Who DVDs releases, this documentary has much of the same material in one place and is indispensable for that reason.
There's also a lot of interviews as well. While many of those interviewed have subsequently been interview for the DVD releases, there are interviews here that can't be found anywhere else such as William Hartnell's granddaughter who was researching a biography of him at the time or celebrity appearances as well including Gerry Anderson (creator of Thunderbird's etc.) with his son and many people who watched the series while growing up. There's also interviews with several people who are no longer with us such as third Doctor Jon Pertwee, writer Douglas Adams (better known for his later creation The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy) or producers Verity Lambert (the first producer of the series), Barry Letts and John Nathan-Turner. Even from those interviewed elsewhere give interesting remarks here including writer Terrance Dicks on the various aspects of the series, actress Elisabeth Sladen (with her daughter at one point) discussing the role of the companion, plus seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy and actress Sophie Aldred (who played his companion Ace) as they discuss there time on the show and how they both learned it had ended. There's also those interviewed in the archive footage such as Patrick Troughton or Tom Baker. Perhaps the most interesting interview piece is the short appearance at the end of the documentary by BBC One Controller Alan Yentob when asked about Doctor Who's future at the time (which would lead first to the 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie before the show returned full force in 2005). While they may be interviewed in more depth elsewhere, like the archive footage, the fact that so much material is in one place and is indispensable for that reason.
There are other things that makes this documentary unique. These include recreated scenes filmed around many of the place where the original scenes were, these scenes bring classic moments from the series back to life. These include Daleks crossing Westminster Bridge, Cybermen walking down the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral and Autons breaking through window shop windows and the like. There's also the narration of actor Nicholas Courtney aka the Brigadier who also dispenses out numerous pieces of trivia as well along the way. There's also appearances from numerous monsters (including those mentioned above), props (including the Whomobile, K9 and Cybermats) and sets including a wonderfully done version of the TARDIS console room. There's also some good special effects work done as well including a beautifully done shot of a young boy opening the TARDIS door and stepping into the large TARDIS console room done all in one shot. While there are moment's where the effects can be iffy (such as the Dalek Hoverbouts) for the most part they work. The result is that, when combined with the other elements found elsewhere, they make this documentary even better.
More Then Thirty Years In The TARDIS is perhaps the best documentary that looks at the original run of Doctor Who overall. With its combination of archive footage, interviews, recreated scenes, effects and more this documentary may not be as incredibly detailed on aspects of the show as those now found as DVD extras but it really shouldn't be. It is a look overall at the first three decades of a beloved show and a look at why it is so beloved. If one is looking for a good documentary on the original series as a whole then this documentary is perhaps the single best place to look. Sadly only available on an out of print VHS this is screaming for a DVD release of its own in some size, shape or form please!