Review: Doctor Who: The Aztecs Special Edition (DVD)

dw_aztecs_300A harsh lesson for Barbara, and some treats for fans…

The Aztecs Special Edition gives you two stories for the price of one: the second ever historical story in all its cleaned up and VIDFIREd glory, and Derek Handley’s reconstruction of Galaxy Four, incorporating the recently discovered episode 3, ‘Air Lock’.

As snapshots depicting how Doctor Who changed during its early years on air, they’re fascinating: The Aztecs shows hints of Hartnell’s softening of the character from his early abrasive version, particularly in the scenes with both Cameca and towards the end with Barbara. Galaxy Four features a Doctor who seems to be highly amused by much of what is going on around him, but who is quite willing to leave the bad guys (or girls in this case) to die as a planet explodes around them. It’s good to see the cleaned up version of ‘Air Lock’ (a copy of the original version was doing the rounds after it was discovered, and the Restoration Team have done another great job on the technical side of it).

The extras include everything that was on the original disc (commentaries; odd animations etc.) but also now feature a Chronicle episode about the Aztecs, a four and a half minute mini-interview with Daleks Invasion Earth director Gordon Flemyng (whose pragmatic attitude is actually refreshing), and the start of the Doctor Forever series, looking at the toys. There are some interesting lacunae in this – there’s loads about Weetabix, but where’s the Typhoo Tea material from the same era? Come to that, I’d’ve expected to see David J. Howe pop up, given how much he’s written about Who toys over the years. Shame there wasn’t a shot of Russell T Davies’ Dalek Army in his kitchen…

Verdict: One of the best early stories matched up with some fine extras. 8/10

Paul Simpson

 

Click here to order Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) from Amazon.co.uk

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