The Greatest Show in the Galaxy - DVD

The planet Segonax is home to the self-titled Greatest Show in the Galaxy, which the Seventh Doctor and Ace soon discover to be a run-down travelling circus holding a very dark secret...

The first three episodes of 'The Greatest Show in the Galaxy' still exist on 1" videotapes as so-called '71 edits - the first edit of the episode, which would then be refined further to produce the finished transmission version. Because of the rapid quality loss involved in multi-generation 1" editing, the '71 edits are cleaner than the transmission version and there is a worthwhile quality improvement to be made by utilising them. The 1" tapes of these episodes were officially junked by the BBC, but were retained by 2entertain at our request specifically for these sorts of scenarios.

The three episodes were brought over to Television Centre and transferred on a Sony BVH-3100 machine to Digital Betacam videotape via a PAL transform decoder for optimum quality. These longer versions of the episodes and the transmitted version of part four from D3 tape were then graded by Jonathan Wood. The transmission versions of the first three episodes were also transferred from D3 to Digibeta to act as a guide.

Peter Crocker at SVS then reconformed the graded '71 edits to match precisely to the transmission versions, effectively remaking the transmitted episodes in higher quality. Deleted and extended scenes could be easily spotted at this point, so they were put aside to enable a package to be edited as part of the DVD extras. Some shots on the transmission versions weren't present in the '71s, so these were taken from the transmission tape and graded separately back into the new version. The vast majority of the content of all three episodes could be taken from the '71s however. The episodes were then viewed synchronously against the transmission versions on a pair of side by side monitors to ensure that the two were perfectly matched and that no errors had been introduced.


• 4 x 25 mins approx colour episodes with stereo audio and optional Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

Commentary with actors Sophie Aldred, Jessica Martin and Christopher Guard, writer Stephen Wyatt, script editor Andrew Cartmel and composer Mark Ayres. Moderated by Toby Hadoke.

The Show Must Go On (dur. 30’ 16”) – cast and crew look back on the making of this story. With actors Sophie Aldred and Ian Reddington, producer John Nathan-Turner, director Alan Wareing, script editor Andrew Cartmel, designer David Laskey and visual effects assistant Mike Tucker.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (dur. 11’ 09”) – deleted scenes taken from early edits of episodes one and three.

Lost in the Darkness (dur. 2’ 05”) – Mike Tucker explains why the model effects shot for the story never made it to the final programme.

The Psychic Circus (dur. 3’ 50”) – a music video set to a song written by Christopher Guard and featuring vocals by Christopher Guard, Jessica Martin and T.P. McKenna. Produced by Mark Ayres. Option of Stereo or 5.1 audio.

‘Remembrance’ Demo (dur. 3’ 22) – two scenes from ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ re-scored by Mark Ayres as a demonstration for John Nathan-Turner. This demo was responsible for Mark being awarded the job of composer for ‘Greatest Show’. Option of Stereo or 5.1 audio.

Tomorrow’s Times – The Seventh Doctor (dur. 14’28”) – our ongoing series looking at the press coverage of Doctor Who reaches the Sylvester McCoy era. Presented by Anneke Wills.

Victoria Wood (dur. 1’ 13”) – a Doctor Who sketch from ‘Victoria Wood – As Seen on TV’.

Isolated Music – option to watch the programme with the isolated music soundtrack.

• Plus of course the usual PDF materials, Coming Soon trailer, Programme Subtitles, Subtitle Production Notes and Photo Gallery.


Copyright Steve Roberts, 16 August 2012. No reproduction allowed without written permission.