The Rescue & The Romans - DVD

Paired together on DVD as they were for their VHS release, these two William Hartnell stories from the show's second season feature the first introduction of a new companion into the TARDIS crew since Ian and Barbara walked in from a junkyard in Totters Lane at the beginning of series one.

Both stories exist as 16mm film recording negatives in the BBC library. All six episodes were transferred to Digital Betacam videotape by Jonathan Wood as a 'one-light' pass on the Spirit telecine, before tape-to-tape grading and the application of dirt and grain reduction. Optical audio from a set of prints was also transferred to the tapes along with the audio from the negatives, giving Mark Ayres more material to work with. Generally print audio is preferred because the optical track is black on a print in the absence of sound, whereas on a negative it is transparent and  produces much more hiss. Photochemical distortions in the optical waveform on the negative are cancelled out by the printing process, producing a soundtrack with much less of a tendency towards sibilance.

Whilst Mark worked on the soundtrack restoration, the pictures were sent up to SVS for manual cleanup to remove dirt and scratches and fix any other problems that were noticed.

Episode one of 'The Rescue' contains unstable inlay shot of Barbara and Ian looking out onto model spaceship set (presumably one or both images were poorly locked to house sync). The two elements have been separated, stabilised and recomposited. Although some slight artefacts remain on close observation, the shot is now much more satisfactory, much to Christopher Barry's relief as he was always disappointed by the poor effect. Episode two suffered throughout from severe vertical instability due to a misadjusted pull-down mechanism in the film recorder. All shots were stabilised using The Foundry's "Furnace" suite for Shake. After stabilisation, the results actually exceeded episode one, so it was decided to stabilise most, if not all, b/w episodes in future prior to VidFIRE processing, even if jitter is not severe.

Episode one of 'The Romans' also suffered from film recorder jitter, but with the added problem of more video playback problems. There was a lot of line pulling and many small off-locks requiring repair. One major off-lock lasting almost a second was improved but could not be completely fixed due to the complexity of movement within the shot.

Finally, the VidFIRE process was applied to return the original studio interlaced video look to the episodes and the restored pictures married up with the restored soundtrack.

DVD extras for 'The Rescue' include:

Commentary with actor William Russell, director Christopher Barry and designer Raymond Cusick, moderated by Toby Hadoke.

Mounting The Rescue (dur. 21' 45") - cast and crew look back on the making of the story in this feature from Steve Broster. With actors William Russell, Maureen O'Brien and Ray Barrett, director Christopher Barry, designer Raymond Cusick and 1960's viewer Ian McLachlan.

The extras for 'The Romans' form a more substantial package including:

Commentary with actors William Russell, Nick Evans and Barry Jackson, designer Raymond Cusick (episode four only) and director Christopher Barry, moderated by Toby Hadoke.

What Has ‘The Romans’ Ever Done For Us? (dur. 33’ 58”) – actors, crew and historians look at both the reality and fantasy behind the story of ‘The Romans’ in this fascinating feature from Steve Broster. With actors William Russell, Kay Patrick, Barry Jackson, Anthony Andrews and Christopher Biggins, director Christopher Barry, designer Raymond Cusick, historian Dr. Mark Bradley, writer James Moran, Doctor Who Magazine editor Tom Spilsbury and 1960’s viewer Ian McLachlan. Narrated by John Bowe.

Roma Parva (dur. 2’ 31”) – (Latin: 'Little Rome') Director Christopher Barry demonstrates the use of a model of the studio set in the planning of camera positions and moves during recording in this short feature from John Kelly.

Dennis Spooner – Wanna Write a Television Series? (dur. 17’ 45”) – Robert Fairclough's first feature for the range looks at writer Dennis Spooner’s work on Doctor Who. With actors William Russell and Peter Purves, script editor Donald Tosh, writers Brian Clemens and Rob Shearman, and Spooner’s friend Jane Clemens. Narrated by Anna Hope.

Blue Peter (dur. 7’ 14”) – The Blue Peter team hold a Roman banquet in the studio.

Girls! Girls! Girls! – The 1960’s (dur.17’ 39”) – an affectionate look back at the sixties Who-Girls from producer Robert Fairclough. With actors Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, Peter Purves, Anneke Wills, Deborah Watling, Frazer Hines, Jean Marsh and Honor Blackman, script editor Donald Tosh and director Christopher Barry. Narrated by Dona Croll.

And as usual there's the Photo Galleries, Coming Soon trailer,  Radio Times Billings PDF, Programme subtitles and Subtitle Production Notes.


Copyright Steve Roberts,  14 January 2009. No reproduction allowed without written permission.