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Doctor Who - The Key to Time Collection

77 customer reviews

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6-Disc Version
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Who could possibly resist this extravaganza of intergalactic adventure, eccentric characters, and over-the-top sci-fi special effects? Certainly not the good Doctor's legions of fans, who will relish all 26 episodes featuring tousle-haired Tom Baker and, as the luscious Ramona, Mary Tamm. Polished writing by Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and Robert Holmes makes the preposterous seem almost possible. DVD extras include pop-up production notes, a photo gallery, and a who's who on each disc. 9 hours on 6 DVDs.

The Key to Time: The Complete Adventure encompasses one of the more ambitious chapters in the history of the long-running BBC television series Doctor Who, and its landmark status, combined with the presence of the well-loved Tom Baker in the title role, should make this six-disc boxed set irresistible to Who fans. The 26-episode series was conceived by producer Graham Williams, who was intrigued by the idea of a season-long story arc, and after several setbacks he finally achieved it in 1978-79 for the program's 16th season. In The Key to Time, the Doctor and his new companion, the elegant and sharp-witted Time Lady Romana (Mary Tamm) are dispatched by the White Guardian to recover the six segments of the Key of Time, a powerful device with the ability to stop time. The Doctor and Romana must travel the universe to find the hidden segments before the nefarious Black Guardian discovers them. Their adventures bring them in contact with a host of unusual personalities and, in a time-honored Doctor Who tradition, a number of terrifying monsters.

Unlike the other Doctor Who DVDs from BBC America, The Key to Time: The Complete Adventure is debuting in North America rather than the United Kingdom, the reason being that the Baker serials have proven more popular with American audiences. And while offering somewhat fewer supplemental features than the previous releases, the boxed set is a rare opportunity to own an entire season of Doctor Who at one time. For fans of the series and Baker in particular, The Key to Time: The Complete Adventure is a must-have. --Paul Gaita

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Special Features

  • Includes: The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Stones of Blood, The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll, and The Armageddon Factor
  • Optional subtitled production notes
  • Who's who
  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, John Leeson
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 542 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067FPE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,285 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who - The Key to Time Collection" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

197 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Matthew L. Roffman on August 22, 2002
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The BBC has gone all out with this Dr. Who DVD set of Season 16 "The Key To Time". The great thing about these DVDs is that they all have commentary and Tom Baker himself has done commentary on half of them. This is great compared to other show DVD releases. How many Star Trek Episodes or Movies have commentary by any of the actual stars of the show? (NONE) Here's a description of the stories and extras you'll get in this package...
The Ribos Operations- A pretty good Robert Holms Story about greed for a valuable mineral set in a medieval type culture.
Commentary by Tom Baker and Mary Tamm(Romana). Text commentaries/trivia and photo galleries.
The Pirate Planet- This is the Gem of season 16. One fo the great Douglas Adams Dr. Whos. It's about a planet that continuously experiences economic boons whose native's never bother to question why. The Doctor must face the extremely loud and boisterous Captain to find the answers. Wonderfully humorous dialogue and one of the few Whos that can hold the interest of non fans.
Commentary by Director Pennant Roberts and Bruce Purchase (the Captain) Text commentaries/trivia and photo galleries plus several minutes of additional footage from the location shoots.
The Stones Of Blood- Another excellent story (from a dialogue perspective at least). Satan worshippers pray to giant stones which can move across the countryside sucking the life out of people. There's even a decent slasher film type scene with a couple camping in the woods.
Commentary by Mary Tamm and director Darrol Blake Text commentaries/trivia and photo galleries.
The Androids of Tara- A swashbuckling adventure about an alien civilization who's garb look medieval but who also employ android technology. Kind of silly but kind of fun.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By J. Fuchs VINE VOICE on October 13, 2003
Verified Purchase
Watching the Key to Time series in one piece really fills in alot of blanks for those of us not fortunate to have seen enough Doctor Who episodes to get a sense of the whole. Not that you'll get much of a history of the Time Lords or understand from this series alone why Doctor Who is on the adventure he is on, but it's still a great place to start, not to mention that this series contains two of my all-time favorite Who episodes, The Pirate Planet and The Androids of Tara. The search for the Key is really just a convenient excuse to send the Doctor off on a series-long adventure. Some of the episodes barely make mention of the Key, while others focus on it more intently.
This series comes from the Tom Baker years, and shows both the scarcastic wit and the caring that made these years so popular with viewers, especially in America, where Baker has been by far the favorite of the doctors. These years also featured K-9, the robotic dog who has more personality than alot of the humans in the Doctor Who worlds and whose near demise in the final episode is surprisingly moving. It also features the beautiful Mary Tamm as Romana, the youngish time lord who is foisted on Doctor Who against his will but becomes his treasured companion. Tamm is fabulous, holding her own wonderfully against Baker and managing to convey intelligence, beauty, humor and compassion consistently. Although you can read about each episode in more detail on the reviews for the individual episodes, here is my quick rundown of each:
The Ribos Operation: 3 stars, not the most interesting Who episode, not the worst either. Introduces the White Guardian and Romana and sets up the search for the key, but is otherwise pretty run of the mill.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By David L. White on October 3, 2002
The Key to Time season, season 16, of Doctor Who is a mixed bag. As fans know, this was the first Doctor Who season to have a true ongoing storyline throughout the entire season. Yes, it's true, Season 8 does have the Master in each story, for a link of sorts. Each Season 8 story can be enjoyed on its own without confusion, while the average viewer watching in the 1970's who had started watching in the middle of the season might wonder what this "Key To Time" is. This experiment works, for the most part, although some of the stories are uneven. If I could, I would probably give the stories alone 3 stars, but the DVD commentaries and pop-up production text bump my rating up to 4 stars.
The Ribos Operation, The Stones of Blood, and The Androids of Tara work quite well, in my opinion. The Pirate Planet, Power of Kroll, and Armageddon Factor don't work quite as well.
The season is full of great double acts. Garron and Unstoffe in 'Ribos', The Pirate Captain and Mr. Fibuli in 'Pirate', Emilia Rumford & Vivien Fay in 'Stones' and Major Shapp and the Marshall in 'Armagedon'.
Tom Baker gets rather silly in some of the stories and, in my opinion, was allowed too much control with the character. A little flippancy is fine, but Tom's mugging to the camera and doing silly things like throwing coins in the air that take forever to fall would have never been allowed under Baker's first producer, Phillip Hinchliffe. Graham Williams needed to keep better control of his star. Tom's little eye rolling mad speech at the end of 'Armageddon Factor' is amusing but far too jokey.
Still, Tom Baker gives mostly marvellous performances and Mary Tamm shines as Romana.
The set is well packaged, with the 6 individually plastic cased stories in a nice presentation box.
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