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

4.7 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space: Special Edition (Episode 51) (DVD)

The third Doctor's first adventure pits the Doctor against a malevolent collective intelligence from outer space and establishes his uneasy alliance with UNIT.

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Caroline John
  • Directors: Derek Martinus
  • Writers: Robert Holmes
  • Producers: Derrick Sherwin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Color
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005SJGI8Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,727 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space (Story 51) - Special Edition" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
With this release, fans everywhere can finally get what they want: Doctor Who on DVD. We've all been waiting for the show to arrive on disc, and although it's been a bit longer than we'd hoped, this disc (and the other two) are well worth it!
Spearhead from Space - Third Doctor Jon Pertwee's debut story, and the first shown in color - has been carefully restored and remastered for this DVD, and it shows. The DVD looks excellent, with sharp, vibrant colors and a vividness that US fans have never seen before. The disc far surpasses the murky compilation tape put out years ago, with a clear, bright picture, and many of the faults removed.
Besides finally being released episodically - as the story was both broadcast and meant to be seen - the extras are great too. They include a fun, funny commentary by Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) and Caroline John (Liz Shaw), some great Production Notes (listed as a subtitle track), a UNIT recruitment film, a "Who's Who" biography section, and even an Easter Egg.
It's nice to see that the BBC has picked such a good story for its first wave of DVDs. Not only is this a great Doctor Who tale full of action, it introduces us to the Third Doctor's era, the nasty Nestenes and their ability to control plastics, and the beginnings of the extended Doctor Who family the series would enjoy for the next five years. Let's hope all future releases are this nice!
All in all Spearhead From Space has been well-restored, has plenty of extras and entertains thoroughly. It's worthy of any Doctor Who fan's collection, and will easily replace any other version you've got. I highly recommend it.
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Format: DVD
Jon Pertwee's debut story has always been considered to be a superior story, arguably the best written debut of any incarnation of the Doctor, and one which introduced many new aspects to his character. Robert Holmes' third script for Doctor Who and his first bonafide classic, 'Spearhead' is equal parts suspense, action and whimsy, presented in an adult and often chilling manner. That's not to say it is perfect. The puppets used for the Nestenes are no where nearly as frightening as the faceless Autons, and the climax is quite comical (possibly intentionally, as it is preceded by so many disturbing scenes of mayhem).
As is often mentioned, the look of this story is unique. Having been shot entirely on location with film, this story has a gritty, realistic look to it which would never be emulated again by the series after the seventh season. As a result, 'Spearhead From Space' is one of the stories most suited for presentation on DVD. The image transfer is crisp, vibrant and probably looks better than it did upon its original transmission.
The DVD extras are fun additions. Caroline Shaw and Nicholas Courtney provide occassionally nostalgic commentary (Courtney's memory is quite remarkable), though much of it consists simply of their reactions to parts of the story that are chilling or funny etc. Narrated by Courtney and Dexter Fletcher ('Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'), the UNIT recruitment short is amusing and features many short choice scenes from DW stories that have involved UNIT from 'The Invasion' right through 1989's 'Battlefield.' The photo gallery is notable for some charmingly silly publicity poses by Pertwee.
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Format: DVD
"Spearhead From Space" is one of the first three "Doctor Who" DVDs released to North America. It's also the earliest of the stories, a 1970 adventure that introduced both the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and color film to the "DW" universe. A handsomely designed and produced disc, this is instantly one of the best DVDs in my collection, and a real coup for "Doctor Who" merchandise, which has never before seen a release of such high quality.
The story itself is presented in a crisp clear transfer. Most "Doctor Who" fans in the US are familiar with episode quality through nth-generation videotape bootlegs, the occasional commercially-released VHS (of various quality), or through late-night PBS airings. To watch an episode presented so cleanly is a novelty in itself.
It also helps that "Spearhead" is long regarded as one of "Doctor Who"'s finest outings. As the first 1970s tale, it introduces new concepts to the show -- an Earth-bound Doctor, a lack of scaley latex monsters, and a complete lack of time travel. Even 30 years later it's easy to take the story seriously on all levels. It was the only episode shot entirely on film (all on location), and the small cast is (almost) uniformly well-acted.
The story on DVD can be watched on its own, or with a pop-up liner-notes format that highlights technical details, bits of trivia, and even basic information about the show, just in case you're new to the show. In addition there's a commentary track recorded by Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John, two of the stars of the story, both still popular on the convention circuit.
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