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Doctor Who - The Beginning Collection
Doctor Who - The Beginning Collection
Actors: William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Carole Ann Ford
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2006     5hr 11min

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 03/04/2008


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Movie Details

Actors: William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Carole Ann Ford
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Classics, Drama, Science Fiction, Classic TV, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/28/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1963
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1963
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 5hr 11min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Rodger S. from JOLIET, IL
Reviewed on 10/24/2011...
Excellent footage of early Doctor Who Series featuring William Hartnell and cast. Simply must have for ANY Doctor Who fan past and present!

Movie Reviews

Kevin J. Loria | New Orleans, LA USA | 01/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"WHAT A WAY TO CELEBRATE 40+ years in time and space with the first 3 episodes! Presented here are the first 3 William Hartnell stories arcs in 1 set. This is a great way to be introduced to the longest running TV sci-fi series in (and of) history. When we first meet the Doctor's "granddaughter" SUSAN, through her concerned and curious school teachers, IAN & Barbara. The Doctor, very the ANTI-HERO, almost frightening in this story, as he almost abducts the pair to protect his secret (not that he is a Timelord) that he is from "the future" and can travel in time and space. The outer shape of the time machine, A.K.A. the TARDIS remains stuck in the famous police-call-box disguise as it appears on the cusp of the "ice age." After a great 2 episode start, "Unearthly Child" becomes a fairly cliched tale of escape and capture RUNNING from and with cavemen. In 1963, Film and time was at a premium for the fledgling show, so many flubbed lines and missed cues remain in this remastered set. IT IS STILL A MUST SEE/OWN STORY FOR new and old DR. WHO FANS.

The next story introduces the Doctors 40 yr. nemesis, and easily he revial for pop culture popularity, THE DALEKS in the aptly title story arc, "The Daleks." For a series that was intended to introduce history to children, the show immediately gets off track in this 2nd story, introducing the Doctor's classic alien-cyborg foe, thank God. Overall, not a great story, but it is so monumentous a meeting that it is fun to watch on that merit alone!

The 3rd story arc "The Edge of Destruction" is what the Trek writers refered to as a "bottle episode." In an attempt to cut costs on enough stories to save money for the big shows, we have a story contained completely in the TARDIS control room. The "characters trapped in an elevator" story is a fast, cheap way of establishing and defining characters early in a series, Edge of Destruction is highly successful in this way.

This is a great set at a good price.

The beginning of a phenomenon
Nigel Sawyer | Decatur, GA USA | 02/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"For those of you who may be considering buying this DVD set as the obvious introduction to "Doctor Who" but don't necessarily know much about it, here is some background to the series (those of you in the know can skip this if you want).

Made by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), "Doctor Who" is the world's longest-running science-fiction TV show, beginning in November 1963 and initially running until December 1989 when the show appeared to run out of both steam and significant viewing figures. A large and loyal global fan base kept the Doctor `alive' however through various alternative medias (such as books, audio CDs and video cassettes) until the triumphant return of the show to television in 2005 where it has once again become one of the BBC's most important, most talked about and most watched TV shows.

Although the program is called "Doctor Who", the main character is consistently known only as "The Doctor" ("Doctor Who" being nothing more than a simple reference to the mysterious lead character). Some of the mysteries surrounding the Doctor are revealed throughout the course of the series when it is established he is part of a race known as The Time Lords from the planet Gallifrey.

At one point in the show's history, it is suggested that the Doctor was bored with merely observing time and space on Gallifrey and decided to "borrow" a TARDIS (which stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) to explore the universe, taking his granddaughter, Susan with him. A TARDIS is a `capsule' engineered by the Time Lords with the ability to travel anywhere in time and space. Its interior is larger than its exterior because it is "dimensionally transcendental". Upon materializing, the exterior of a TARDIS normally blends in with its surroundings to `camouflage' itself. However, the Doctor's TARDIS has a fault in its `chameleon circuit' and so constantly appears as a 1960's British police telephone box, a fault that presumably occurs when the TARDIS leaves 1960's London at the end of the first episode of the very first story, "An Unearthly Child". The Doctor was originally played by William Hartnell but declining health forced him to give up the part after three years and he was replaced by Patrick Troughton. Thus, further "Who" folklore was established by introducing the concept of regeneration - a Time Lord's ability to "cheat death" by "renewing" all the cells in his body leaving him with a completely different physical make-up and personality. This ingenious idea enabled the show to continue without Hartnell and beyond Troughton, making the show somewhat unique in the sense that it is now almost expected to change its leading actor every once in a while.

The first three stories presented here in this DVD set show William Hartnell initially portraying the Doctor as something of an anti-hero. He is suspicious, cunning, patronizing and manipulative. In some cases we learn this is to protect his granddaughter Susan or simply to satisfy his own curiosity. Hartnell is in fine form as the mysterious time traveler, displaying some good alien qualities, particularly in the first story, "An Unearthly Child" in which he shows no sympathy to the plight of two London school teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, whom he feels he must `kidnap' to ensure his presence on earth is kept secret. Indeed, good acting performances are given from the entire main cast in these first three stories. Unfortunately, the captivating other-world qualities displayed by Susan (played by Carole Ann Ford) in the first couple of episodes of "An Unearthly Child" quickly evaporate and from then on she is reduced to playing a clichéd, whimpering, naïve teenage girl.

The epic second story, "The Daleks" turned the initial success of "Doctor Who" into a phenomenon almost overnight. Indeed, this story and it's follow-up, "The Dalek Invasion Of Earth" would later be made in color for the big-screen in two modestly successful films starring Peter Cushing as the Time Lord. "The Daleks" introduces the Doctor's now most famous nemesis on their home planet of Skaro, thousands of years after their war with a blonde-haired race called the Thals. The peaceful Thals live on the surface of Skaro while the emotionless Daleks are mutants who have survived only with the aid of mobile metal casings, confined to within a large city, their battle cry of "Exterminate! Exterminate!" now being a phrase cemented in British popular culture and mimicked in every school yard throughout the past 43 years. After more anti-hero displays from the Doctor at the beginning of this story, the Time Lord actually starts to show signs of a more friendly nature as "The Daleks" progresses.

However, he still retains enough mistrust to accuse Ian and Barbara of tampering with the TARDIS when, in the third story, "The Edge Of Destruction", a number of bizarre things start to happen to jeopardize the lives of all four time travelers. "The Edge Of Destruction" is a two-part story that simply acted as something of a "filler" to restrain budget costs and hence takes place completely within the confines of the TARDIS. The bizarre happenings prove to be a result of the TARDIS's warning system to its occupants that the ship is hurtling back in time to the beginning of the universe. The reason for this is actually rather ludicrous - a faulty spring in the TARDIS's control console being responsible for the near catastrophy! The theme of the TARDIS being an almost "living" entity within itself and capable of warning its inhabitants of potential danger is an interesting one but one that was sadly never really explored again until the new series in 2005. By the end of this story the Doctor actually comes very close to apologizing to Ian and Barbara for his behaviour and from now on the Doctor becomes a much more friendly and approachable character, although one that still maintains a temper when he wants to.

Sadly, the fourth "Doctor Who" story, "Marco Polo" is believed to be no longer in existence, all seven episodes being wiped by the BBC in the 1970's when it was customary to purge old shows once copies had been shipped to foreign TV companies and before home marketing possibilities were made available. However, the audio soundtrack for this story still exists, as do some off-screen telesnap photographs for all but one of the episodes. Presented on this DVD set is a condensed version of "Marco Polo" using the available soundtrack and telesnaps.

All in all this DVD set shows that "Doctor Who" got off to a compelling start with intelligent writing and some noteworthy acting performances and directing. With over 4 hours of bonus material. it is well worth a buy for good entertainment value to watch and enjoy over again.
It's about time!
Dennis Maloney | New York USA | 12/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Finally the first 3 William Hartnell stories released in 1 package. This is a great way to be introduced to the series. The 1st story 'An Unearthly Child' starts off great, the first 1 1/2 episodes are excellent then the story becomes a fairly cliched 'be captured, escape, be captured, escape again' type of story. It's worthwhile because it introduces all the concepts still being used in the series today-the TARDIS, the Doctor as an alien on the run from his own race, having human companions to give the series a human perspective.
Story 2-'The Daleks'. What more can be said about this? We wouldn't be watching Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant today if not for this story. While we're on the subject of the Daleks-Hey BBC how about releasing Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker's Dalek stories soon?
Story 3-'Inside the Spaceship'-an interesting little 'bottle' show using only the 4 main characters and the TARDIS set. This story gets into the psychology of the characters and resolves the issue of distrust among the TARDIS crew, leaving them as a strong and friendly group.
I've also heard there will be a telesnap reconstruction of the 4th story 'Marco Polo' in this set as well. I listened to the audio version of this story and it's great. It's a real shame that this story no longer exists.
Thank you BBC for putting out such a great package!"