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Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Story 51) Blu-ray Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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(Aug 13, 2013)
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Frequently Bought Together

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Editorial Reviews

New to DVD! Digitally remastered Doctor Who classic Spearhead from Space Blu-ray! (NOT FINAL) Exile! The Time Lords have banished the newly regenerated Doctor to Earth. But the Doctor isn’t the only alien to have arrived, as a swarm of meteorites have crashed into the sleepy English countryside, bringing with them a terrible new threat to mankind. As the Nestene plan takes shape, UNIT, the Doctor and his newly appointed scientific advisor, Liz Shaw, race against time to stop humanity being replaced by a terrifying plastic facsimile race.

Special Features

* A Dandy and a Clown * Carry On: The Life of Caroline John * Title Sequence Material * Restoration Comparison * Digitally remastered picture and sound quality

Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Caroline John
  • Directors: Derek Martinus
  • Writers: Robert Holmes
  • Producers: Derrick Sherwin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 13, 2013
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C6ACWZ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,353 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Story 51) Blu-ray Edition" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
You are probably wondering why "Spearhead From Space" is available on blu-ray and why there aren't more classic Doctor Who episodes being released in high-definition on blu-ray. Well the fact of the matter is that "Spearhead From Space" has the unique distinction of being the ONLY classic Doctor Who story that was shot entirely on location at BBC Wood Norton and a pub in nearby Radford on 16mm film because of a BBC studio strike. It was also the first classic Doctor Who story to be presented in full colour. Because of this, the 16mm film elements could be scanned into high-definition without any upconversion or loss of definition. The 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which was shot for television, remains at 4:3 full-frame so you will still have the "pillarboxing" black bars on the sides of a 16:9 television.

Nearly all of the classic Doctor Who episodes were shot in the studio on videotape because it was cheaper to produce with post-production finishing and special effects being done onto videotape while location scenes had to be shot on film because, back in those days, it was impractical to use bulky studio cameras that required heavy electrical cabling to shoot outside of the studio, thus nearly all Doctor Who episodes (up until the mid to late 80's when portable broadcast videocameras became standard) constantly intercut between a "live" television studio look and a softer "film" realized look.

But is it really worth upgrading from the recently released DVD Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Story 51) - Special Edition?
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"Spearhead from Space" was the only classic Doctor Who serial to be shot entirely on film (as opposed to videotape) and therefore it's the only serial that can be easily converted into high definition and presented on Blu Ray. Hence this release -- the only 1970s Who story in the Blu Ray pipeline, for the time being.

Now, long-time fans will no doubt be aware that Spearhead has been released before, on VHS and DVD (twice). Thus, we all face a burning question...is it worth triple- (or quadruple-) dipping and buying this same story yet again, in a new format?

The short answer is, yes. The Blu Ray edition of Spearhead has a much nicer print than even the recent DVD special edition, with vivid colors and details; indeed, it simply blows away the washed-out prints of this story that I remember from back when I was a kid. To cite just two examples of how good this print is, I was able to admire the stitching on Jon Pertwee's shirt, and I noticed for the first time that the main villain has yellowed teeth.

That said, Blu Ray is a bit of a double-edged sword. The clarity of the print allows you to see extra detail, but also (in my opinion) makes film grain much more obvious and distracting than it looks on DVD prints. For this release, the Who Restoration Team cleaned up some of the grain but stopped short of "polishing it out" completely, which I think was a good move. The resulting presentation is not totally pristine but still very nice, and looks comparable to other Blu Ray prints of movies/TV shows from this period.

Now, on to the prickly subject of special features. The main offerings on this Blu Ray are two excellent (if a little sad) documentaries on the late Caroline John and Jon Pertwee.
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Just received my UK Blu-Ray of this and YES it really IS worth the upgrade., the restoration, colour grading are spectacular,
the additional doccos are exceptional., real in depth detail into the careers and lives of both Caroline John and Jon Pertwee to a scale never before seen

Kudos to BBC Worlwide - The Restoration Team and PUP Productions
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Verified Purchase
I went ahead and purchased the Blu-ray edition.

If you just enjoy the Dr Who shows, then this is not worth it; if I had two televisions side-by-side, I could probably tell the difference between the DVD version and the Blu-ray version, but I don't, and so I didn't really notice that much of a difference.

However, if you are fan of the larger Doctor Who world, then the Blu-ray is very worth getting for the specials about the lives of Jon Pertwee and Caroline John. These were fairly in-depth (45 min for Jon Pertwee; 30 min for Caroline John), and were interesting. I found the fact that both of these actors had some severe doubt as to their competence as actors because of the Doctor Who production team - Jon because they never asked him to do work on any of their other work, and "Carrie" because they fired her after just one season. Apparently, it affected her pretty deeply. She couldn't have done a second season anyway, but she would have preferred to choose to leave rather than be fired.

There is a very short feature about the restoration; one can see the differences here, but standalone, it would probably be hard for anyone but real video expert to tell the difference.

The final feature is (apparently) a run-through of out-takes for different title sequences; there is no commentary, no notes, no nothing - just a long and tedious run-through of various title sequences; this could have been immensely helped with someone commenting on them; the differences; why some were used; what "look" they were trying for, etc. But just silent outtakes? To quote Peri, "Yuck".

I agree with the other review that the main menu screen is WONDERFUL! I give it six stars. I wish all of the releases used that format; it is really great.
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