ARCHIVED NEWS - 29th September to 5th October 2003

4th October

The next Doctor Who DVD has been formerly announced (well, it's been announced by the numero uno Doctor Who website Outpost Gallifrey, which amounts to much the same thing). It's the story created to mark the series' 10th anniversary in 1973, The Three Doctors, which brought together the Doctor's first three incarnations (William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee) to combat a renegade Time Lord. 

The four-part story will be packaged with a Corgi replica of the Doctor's vintage car, Bessie. The disc has an RRP of £19.99, and is due a day after the programme's fortieth anniversary, on November the 24th. The disc will feature the following bonus features:

  • Commentary by actors Katy Manning (Jo Grant), and Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier), and the series' Producer Barry Letts

  • Pebble Mill at One - Interviews with Patrick Troughton and Robert Wilkie from December 1972  (21m)

  • Blue Peter - Jon Pertwee and the Whomobile in studio  (13m)

  • BSB Highlights - Excerpts from the BSB '31Who' weekend, including a trailer for The Three Doctors, interviews with Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, script editor Terrance Dicks and writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin  (10m)

  • TARDIS-cam no.5 - A CGI sequence featuring the TARDIS traversing a pod of space whales  (2m)

  • BBC2 trailer for a 1981 repeat season, titled Five Faces of Doctor Who, which included The Three Doctors  (4m)

  • BBC1 Trailer - Off-air audio recording of the original 1972 BBC1 trailer combined with re-mastered pictures  (1m)

  • Interviews with Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning and Nicholas Courtney from the 30th anniversary PanoptiCon convention in 1993  (30m)

The first season of Smallville is released on the 13th of October. The five-disc set will contain all the episodes in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. I've been sent four of the five discs, but not the first one. The episodes I've seen have 2.0 Dolby Digital audio (at 192kbps), so, contrary to what you might have read elsewhere, the UK release does not have 5.1 audio. (There's no reason why the episodes on disc one shouldn't be in 5.1, since these were released in 5.1 in Canada, on a standalone disc). You can see a selection of menu screens by clicking on this link.

2nd October

A couple of site updates to start with: the When The Boat Comes In episode guide has been updated to include the third DVD, which was released a couple of weeks ago. I've also made slight amendments to the TV Series part of the Hammer on DVD guide, and to the "Japanese" Millennium DVD box set review.

Two anticipated releases have been taken off the schedules. Revelation has postponed the release of Oktober (see the News entry for the 14th of August) until next year. The Complete Rising Damp, from VCI, which was due on November the 3rd, has been removed from the 2003 schedule. 

Two big Summer blockbusters have been announced for Region 2 release, and the good news is that both seem to be more attractive than their US counterparts...

Ang Lee's thoughtful reworking of The Hulk will be released on DVD on November the 17th, in two versions: a feature-packed retail version, and a stripped-down rental version. For the sake of my fragile, cold-medicine-addled grip on sanity, we'll concentrate on the retail version, which will come on two discs. The bonus features appear to be the same as those on the Region 1 disc, except for some AWOL "Cast and Filmmaker Bios", and who'll miss those, even if they're not included? Anyway, here's the breakdown of the features, straight from the press release:

  • Feature commentary with Director, Ang Lee

  • Hulk Cam: Inside the Rage - Inside access to behind the scenes footage throughout the film (20'36")

  • Thunderbirds Teaser Trailer (45")

  • Superhero Revealed: The Anatomy of the Hulk (interactive) – Manipulate and dissect a 3D Hulk model to explore his extraordinary abilities (9'02")

  • Deleted Scenes (6'13")

  • Hulkification – “You’re Making me Angry” scene drawn by accomplished illustrators from around the world (in Japanese Anime, Euro Style and Marvell Comics style) (30'54")

  • Evolution of the Hulk – A deep look into the production and technology that have brought Marvel’s strongest superhero to life on the big screen (16'15")

  • The Incredible Ang Lee – A tribute to Ang Lee’s hands on directing style and his dedication to the Hulk (14'20")

  • The Dog Fight Scene – Step by step breakdown of the scene from storybook to finished scene (10'08")

  • Making of The Hulk (23'37")

  • Ang Lee – A unique look at the unique comic book editing style of the film (5'00")

  • DVD ROM feature – Featuring PC wallpaper and screensaver

It looks like the Thunderbirds teaser trailer might be exclusive to the UK disc, but the big news is that the UK version will have a DTS track that's not going to be on the US version! RRP for the disc is £19.99.

Yo ho ho! The news gets better and better! 

The UK DVD of Disney's summer blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl will also feature a DTS track, which isn't on the Region 1 release. What's more, we'll get it a day earlier than the Americans, on the 1st of December! RRP is £22.99. Compared to the outrageous £26.99 for Matrix Reloaded, that seems pretty reasonable! The two-disc set will feature the following bonus materials:

  • Three commentary tracks: 1) by Director Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, 2) by producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Keira Knightly, Jack Davenport and 3) by screenwriters Stuart Beattie, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio and Jay Wolbert

  • An Epic at Sea

  • Fly on the set

  • Diaries

  • Below Deck ("an interactive history of pirates")

  • Blooper Reel

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Moonlight Serenade scene progression 

  • Image Gallery

  • Pirates in the parks

  • Enhanced computer features 

That list doesn't quite tally with the one being used by US retailers, but it may well be that the two territories are using different descriptions to describe the same things (the US disc will feature a Making of... featurette, which may be the same thing as An Epic At Sea, for example). None of the bonus materials have appeared on the BBFC website yet, so I don't have durations. Did I mention that the UK version would get a DTS track, too!? 

Here's a look at the sleeve art for these two release...

30th September

Apologies for the belated update.

The winner of the Chaplin Collection competition, which closed on Sunday, was V. Allan. My congratulations to them, and my thanks to Warner Home Video, who very kindly supplied the prize. The answer to the question "Who does Chaplin parody in The Great Dictator?" was Adolf Hitler. There's a terrific documentary about the film being shown on BBC 4 on Saturday night at 7.30pm, Chaplin and Hitler - The Tramp and the Dictator. (It's also on the Great Dictator DVD!)

I now return to my perfectly wretched cold.  Normal service will be resumed ASAP!

29th September

The first season of Alias is released on DVD today, as a six-disc box set (Alias - The Complete First Season). 

The set looks like being a good effort by Buena Vista. I believe Alias is the first proper TV series they've released on DVD in the UK. 

The episodes are presented in anamorphic widescreen format (1.78:1), with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The set also contains several bonus featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel, and four episodes have commentary tracks. 


The winner of the Chaplin Collection competition, which closed yesterday, will be announced tomorrow. 

Last week's News entries can be found by following the link below...  


22nd-28th September 2003

15th-21st September 2003

8-14th September 2003

1st-7th September 2003

August 2003

July 2003




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