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Doctor Who: The Key to Time (Special Collector's Edition) (Stories 98-103)
Doctor Who The Key to Time
Special Collector's Edition
Actors: Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, John Leeson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2009     10hr 27min

In a story arc that continues throughout Season 16, the White Guardian gives the Doctor a quest to find the six disguised segments of the Key to Time which, when assembled, will be used to restore the balance of the cosmos...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, John Leeson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Drama, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/03/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 10hr 27min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 7
SwapaDVD Credits: 7
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
Edition: Box set,Collector's Edition,Special Edition
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Double-dip to Excellent Tom Baker Season
Violin MD | USA | 12/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Yes, these are technically re-releases of shows that have already been put out on DVD. For the 'die-hard' fans these may not be totally redundant like Lucas and his Star Wars releases.

The Key to Time Series: I would get this again ONLY because it is loaded with commentaries by Tom Baker and Mary Tamm which were not available on some of the episodes within the previous DVD set released. As well, there are new making-of documentaries regarding each of the shows per each segment of the Key that are, again, totally new.

I am biased towards loving this season of Tom Baker's run. Thus, if you aren't that crazy about these then, yes, the purchase is totally unnecessary. However, if you are 'avid', then this set should be rewarding to succumb to the 'double-dip'... with the new special features in plenty...

The NEW 350 minutes-worth of special features details are as follows. All the making-of features are new and NEW commentaries are marked with an *:

I. The Ribos Operation: Special Edition (1 DVD; 4 episodes; 98 mins)
1. Commentary with Tom Baker and Mary Tamm
2. A Matter of Time - A new 60-minute Documentary
3. The Ribos File - Cast and Crew Interviews about the making of
this story
4. Continuities - off-air continuity links from the story's
original BBC1 transmission
5. Season 16 Trailer - BBC1 trailer for the forthcoming season
6. Photo Gallery

II. The Pirate Planet: Special Edition (1 DVD; 4 episodes; 100 mins)
2 Audio Commentary Tracks:
1. Commentary with Bruce Purchase and director Pennant Roberts
2. * Commentary with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and script editor Anthony
3. Parrot Fashion - Documentary that includes old and new
interviews, including Douglas Adams
4. Film Inserts, Deleted Scenes & Outtakes
5. Weird Science - A funny look at the science seen in The Key to
6. Continuities - off-air continuity links from the story's
original BBC1 transmission
7. Photo Gallery

III. The Stones Of Blood: Special Edition (1 DVD; 4 episodes; 95 mins)
2 Audio Commentary Tracks:
1. Commentary with Mary Tamm and director Darrol Blake
2. * Commentary with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, Susan Engel and writer
David Fisher
3. Getting Blood from the Stones - Cast and Crew Interviews about
the making of this story
4. Hammer Horror - Featurette about the influences of horror films
on Doctor Who stories
5. Stones Free - Mary Tamm visits the Rollright Stones location and
talks to local experts
6. Deleted Scenes
7. Continuities - off-air continuity links from the story's
original BBC1 transmission
8. Excerpt from 'The Model World of Robert Symes'
9. Blue Peter segment about the 15th anniversary of Doctor Who
10. BBC's Nationwide news program segment about the 15th
anniversary of Doctor Who
11. Photo Gallery

IV. The Androids Of Tara: Special Edition (1 DVD; 4 episodes; 97 mins)
1. Commentary with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and director Michael Hayes
2. The Humans of Tara - Cast and Crew Interviews about the making
of this story
3. Now & Then: The Androids of Tara - compares and contrasts
present day locations as they are now with how they appeared in
the story
4. Double Trouble - a brief history of 'doubles' in other Doctor
Who stories
5. Photo Gallery

V. The Power Of Kroll: Special Edition (1 DVD; 4 episodes; 90 mins)
1. Commentary with Tom Baker and John Leeson
2. In Studio - a glimpse inside the studio during recording of the
3. Variations - a BBC local news programme visits the story's
location during filming
4. There's Something About Mary - Mary Tamm looks back at her
single-season starring role as the Doctor's companion
5. Philip Madoc: A Villain for All Seasons - Madoc looks back on
his numerous roles as a Doctor Who villain down the years
6. Continuities - off-air continuity links from the story's
original BBC1 transmission
7. Photo Gallery

VI. The Armageddon Factor: Special Edition (2 DVDs; 6 episodes; 147 mins)
2 Audio Commentary Tracks:
1. Commentary with Mary Tamm, John Woodvine and director Michael
2. * Commentary with Tom Baker, Mary Tamm and John Leeson
3. DVD-ROM: 1979 Doctor Who Annual in Adobe PDF format
4. Defining Shadows - Cast and Crew Interviews about the making of
this story
5. Alternative / Extended Scene
6. Directing Who - Michael Hayes looks back on his directing career
on Doctor Who
7. Rogue Time Lords - a potted history of errant Time Lords
8. Pebble Mill at One - Tom Baker interview from 1978
9. Radiophonic Feature - a Pebble Mill at One interview looking at
Radiophonic music and effects in Doctor Who
10. The New Sound of Music - Dick Mills talks about creating Doctor
Who sound effects
11. Merry Christmas, Doctor Who - a special Christmas sketch,
recorded on the set of 'The Armageddon Factor' for the BBC
Christmas Tape that year
12. Continuities - off-air continuity links from the story's
original BBC1 transmission
13. Photo Gallery
14. Late Night Story - Tom Baker reads five spine-chilling stories
from this 1978 series:
a. The Photograph by Nigel Kneale
b. The Emissary by Ray Bradbury
c. Nursery Tea by Mary Danby
d. The End of the Party by Graham Greene
e. Sredni Vashtar by Saki (never broadcast)
15. Easter Egg

Adding up the running times gives us 627 minutes for the box set. All episodes are presented in full frame video, with the original English mono audio and with English subtitles."
DJ PHILLY B? | Palm Bch. Gardens Fl. | 03/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have been reading the reveiews for the new "Key To Time Set", and I find it funny that they only get the story only half right on why they have re-released this set.

So I checked on (Steve Manfred's website) who is the man to talk too about all Doctor Who DVD (and hell, even VHS) releases in the US. FROM STEVE MANFRED's WEB SITE:

A very Frequently Asked Question I've been getting lately is "Why are they re-releasing The Key to Time (especially when half the rest of the series isn't out yet?)"

The answer has to do with how and why we got the 2002 edition of this set. In their first DVD releases in North America in 2001 and early 2002, BBC Worldwide Americas included a questionnaire that pointed to a website poll where their customers could choose from amongst a list of titles which Doctor Who title they would most like to see released next. On that list was The Key to Time, and it won the poll. They went back to their partners in the UK and requested that it be released. They met with some resistance as the UK BBC people didn't feel the time was right for their market for a box set of this many episodes to be released, however the BBC WA people emphasized how important box sets had already become in the North American market and how having one was in fact now essential to get stores to stock Doctor Who titles at all. They'd had a wave of some individual titles in 2002 that many chains chose not to stock because all they were was individual stories. A box set was now seen as a requirement to save the range's future in North America. And so an agreement was reached whereby The Key to Time could be released in late 2002 in North America without there having been a UK release first. This is the only time that this has happened, and it probably will never happen again. Due to there being no UK release, the volume of episodes in the set, and the quick turnaround time needed, the titles in the 2002 set came out with only minimal extras. Although they did all have commentaries and production notes, they had no featurettes, only a few deleted scenes, and the restoration work was very minimal.

Nowadays, with the revival of the series' fortunes that began with the coming of the new series, the market for classic Doctor Who in the UK has become much healthier, and box sets have become much more attractive, and you'll have noticed there have been more of them in recent years, and that when they come out they get the same full treatment extras-wise that the individual titles get. And so in 2007, they decided to bring The Key to Time to the UK, with that full press of extras. The release pattern in North America is for them to bring out the UK's recent titles in largely the same order that they come out in the UK, but they decided to hold off for a while on this particular title as they already had the old edition on the market, and also they'd fallen behind the increased pace of releases coming from the UK and wanted to catch us up on the titles we had never seen before first. Now in 2009, that catching-up has been largely completed, and they feel they can spend a release slot on bringing us the UK's edition of The Key to Time, and will begin selling it in North America on March 3 with the "Special Edition" moniker attached to all the titles to distinguish it from the original edition.

The only things that were on the 2002 edition that are not in the Special Edition are the original photo galleries(which were very minimal and have been replaced by much better ones on the special edition) and the Who's Who text file biographies of the principal cast members, which were discontinued from all releases some time ago.

I hope this all helps!

A quite excellent set; upgrading is practically obligatory
Nathan Redmond | Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | 03/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I did not buy the original 2002 Key to Time set; I figured that I would wait until the UK came out with its own version of the set, which would, in keeping with all Doctor Who DVD releases, be fully remastered and jammed to the gills with quality bonus features. So, over a year after the UK got the Key to Time in a fully remastered box set, North America receives the upgraded set.

I'll break this review down into two questions.

Firstly, is the new edition worth buying for those who've already bought the original?

Yes, it is. The picture is fully remastered and quite good-looking and sounding for late 70's videotape. The Pirate Planet's film sequences have also been remastered and look much improved. The special features are bound to keep even the most hardcore fan occupied for days, with everything from the continuity announcements for the original broadcasts (relatively insignificant, but I enjoy them) to the obligatory audio commentaries (while the commentaries from the 2002 edition are reused, there are a couple of new ones as well), as well as some documentaries on the production and an easter egg reconstructing a technical breakdown that occurred on the original broadcast of part five of The Armageddon Factor. All in all, the usual stuffed package we've come to expect from the BBC.

If you didn't buy the original set and are interested in the episodes, how good is it?

Well, this set comprises the entire sixteenth season of the show. I'll break it down, story by story:

The Ribos Operation is a great opener to the season, written by the majestic Robert Holmes. It boasts some great dialogue and surprisingly good production values for a studio-bound story, and is a promising start.

The Pirate Planet, written by Douglas Adams, is even better, overflowing with wit and humour. The aforementioned location filming is quite effective in creating atmosphere (particularly the cave sequences from parts two and three), and the story is also one of many in this season to mesh drama and humour effortlessly.

The Stones of Blood starts interesting and gradually gets better as we get into part two, held up by some of the greatest acting ever seen in the show. Unfortunately, once we reach the last episode and the "twinkle twinkle little star" judge and jury beings show up, it completely falls to pieces.

The Androids of Tara is a great costume drama, compounded by a really well done sword fight in the final episode. The cliffhanger to part two is also brilliantly shocking and suspenseful.

The Power of Kroll... oh dear God. I still can't believe Robert Holmes wrote this (yeah, the same Robert Holmes who wrote Ribos). It's incredibly dull (not helped by the fact that I watched it at 1 in the morning), there isn't any good dialogue, the visual effect shots of Kroll, while improved slightly for this re-release, are laughable, and it suffers from the age old end-of-season "OMG we're out of money" effect, not helped by poor acting and unlikeable characters.

The Armageddon Factor, while not a particularly good story and a lacklustre end to the season, is at least better than what preceded it. I do admit, though, that sequence in part six where the Doctor has assembled the Key and flutters his eyelids while ranting about having power over everything made me laugh quite hard. Speaking of which, the villain in this story has a stereotypical "mad" laugh that even Mojo Jojo would probably find a bit too extreme.

All in all, a pretty good season of the show wrapped up nicely in an excellent DVD set. A must buy, in any case."
Some of the best (and funniest) classic "Doctor Who" stories
S.O. Kong | 09/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Key to Time season features, without a doubt, some of the best of the various aspects of "Doctor Who" that have made the series so beloved:

1. Strong, competent companions: in this case, we get two. There's Romanadvoratrelundar (the Doctor gives her the choice of shortening her name to Romana or Fred), played by the beautiful Mary Tamm; and K-9 Mk. II, voiced by John Leeson. Though she starts out somewhat irritating, Romana soon becomes one of the Doctor's most capable and helpful companions (sometimes even managing to upstage the Doctor in brilliance), while K-9 is as helpful and adorable as ever.

2. The plots, while not always making sense, go along at a nice clip, with little to no padding. My particular favorites are "The Pirate Planet," "The Stones of Blood," and "The Androids of Tara."

3. The hammy performances. Oh God, the hammy performances. In "The Pirate Planet" alone (written, appropriately enough, by Douglas Adams) we get the Captain, who gives us such wonderfully bombastic lines as "NO! BY THE WINGS OF THE SKY DEMON, I SAY NOOOOOO!!!" This is the kind of ham that is a joy to watch, rather than a chore to sit through.

4. The humor. In particular there's "The Stones of Blood," in which every other scene after the first episode has some sort of funny moment, whether it's the Doctor insisting that K-9 has always wanted to be a bloodhound, despite the robot dog's insistence to the contrary; or the Doctor's wily maneuvers during his trial by the Megara.

For those of you who have never seen classic "Doctor Who," or have never seen "Doctor Who" at all, this is a perfectly good way to begin."