"The Key to Time" DVD Feature Comparison

Two versions of this landmark season's stories have become available in recent years.
Doctor Who DVD releases were relatively new in 2002 when these six stories were rushed to market exclusively in the North American Region 1 NTSC format, to bump up the number of available Tom Baker releases, since it was thought he dominated in popularity over other Doctors even more here than elsewhere in the world. I wasn't complaining as season 16 is my favourite out of the 30+ seasons I've seen so far.

For this quick 2002 release, the extensive restoration and remastering process found on other Doctor Who releases was skipped, and each story's special features were pretty much kept to a bare minimum of an audio commentary, production subtitles, silent photo gallery, and a "Who's Who" text biography of the actors. Only "The Pirate Planet" went a bit further with some film footage featuring deleted and extended scenes.

When British fans were finally welcomed to join in the fun of season sixteen with a Region 2 PAL European Limited Edition DVD release in 2007, all the stops were pulled out. The stories themselves got the full treatment of picture & sound restoration & remastering that has breathed new life into the entire Doctor Who line. All the commentaries & subtitles from the 2002 set were included, while Tom Baker was brought back to add 3 more commentaries for the stories he had not previously done, along with co-star Mary Tamm and other production personnel. Best of all, a full set of making-of and other featurettes were included with each story. Photo Galleries were also upgraded to montage sequences with an audio track of sound effects. The "Who's Who" biographies, however, remain unique to the older set.

The full fruition of this compilation came in 2009, when it arrived in North America as a "Special Edition" version, and then went beyond the "limited edition" status in Europe to a more general and widespread re-release. While North Americans were once again given the option of either getting all six stories in a box set or collecting just the ones they wanted individually, the season was only offered as an all-or-nothing box set in the European Region 2 format.

This chart compares the features and extras on both sets of discs in greater detail. As you will see, for those that enjoy this era, the "double-dip" is well worth it!



2002

2009

Story No. 98

1. The Ribos Operation

  4 episodes
Story: The White Guardian recruits the Doctor, K9, and an inexperienced academy graduate named Romana to reassemble the six disguised segments of the Key to Time. But nothing, including the first segment, is quite what it seems on the snowy, mediaeval planet Ribos, when amongst the natives, two con men are found trying to sell the planet to a space-faring warlord....

- Buyers' Guide Review
- In-depth Analysis WITH SPOILERS

  • Picture & Sound restoration & remastering.
  • Audio commentary by actors Tom Baker (The Doctor) and Mary Tamm (Romana).
  • "The Ribos File" making-of featurette (19 min.)
  • "A Matter of Time" featurette on the influence of producer Graham Williams on Doctor Who. (60 min.)
  • Pop-up Production Note Subtitles by Martin Wiggins
  • Silent menus
    SFX Montage
    (6 min.)
  • Photo Gallery
  • "Who's Who" actor biographies (text only)
  • Continuity announcements and trailers


  • 2002

    2009

    Story No. 99

    2. The Pirate Planet

      4 episodes
    Story: Aiming for the planet Calufrax, Romana lands the TARDIS on Zanak instead, although the tracer insists that the second segment of the Key to Time is somewhere nearby. The citizens of Zanak enjoy a carefree life, as long as they never question the cyborg Captain living in the mountain citadel who makes them rich: New batches of precious gemstones regularly litter their streets. The Doctor soon suspects he may have stumbled upon one of the most heinous and mindboggling crimes in the galaxy....

    - Buyers' Guide Review
    - In-depth Analysis WITH SPOILERS

  • Picture & Sound restoration & remastering.
  • Audio commentary by actor Bruce Purchase (The Pirate Captain) and director Pennant Roberts.
  • Audio commentary by actors Tom Baker (The Doctor) and Mary Tamm (Romana), and
    script editor Anthony Read.
  • Making of "The Pirate Planet" featurette (30 min.)
  • Pop-up Production Note Subtitles by Martin Wiggins
  • 10:22 duration
    film only
    13:57 duration
    film & video
  • Raw footage featuring deleted and extended scenes
  • Silent menus
    SFX Montage
    (7 min.)
  • Photo Gallery
  • "Who's Who" actor biographies (text only)
  • Spoof featurette: "Wierd Science" (17 min.)
  • Continuity announcements and trailers (3 min.)
  • No.
    Nope. ARRGGHHH!
  • but....what? Still no optional new CGI lasers? ARRGGHHH!


  • 2002

    2009

    Story No. 100

    3. The Stones of Blood

      4 episodes
    Story: The intermittant signal from the third segment of the Key to Time brings the Doctor and Romana to a stone circle in England. Aided by Professor Emilia Rumford, they investigate the various alien powers behind a modern cult practicing sacrifice, and the interdimensional properties of the circle itself....

    - Buyers' Guide Review
    - In-depth Analysis WITH SPOILERS

  • Picture & Sound restoration & remastering.
  • Audio commentary by actress Mary Tamm (Romana) and director Darrol Blake.
  • Audio commentary by actors Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana) and Susan Engel (Vivian Fay), and writer David Fisher.
  • "Getting Blood from the Stones" making-of featurette (26 min.)
  • "Stones Free" Mary Tamm researches the stone circle on location (9 min.)
  • "Model World" clip of Mat Irvine building the story's miniatures (3 min.)
  • Tom Baker interview on Nationwide (9 min.)
  • Pop-up Production Note Subtitles by Martin Wiggins
  • Silent menus
    SFX Montage
    (8 min.)
  • Photo Gallery
  • "Who's Who" actor biographies (text only)
  • Featurette on the influence of "Hammer Horror" on Doctor Who (13 min.)
  • Deleted scenes (2 min.)
  • Blue Peter celebrates Doctor Who's 15th anniversary (6 min.)
  • Continuity announcements and trailers (2 min.)


  • 2002

    2009

    Story No. 101

    4. The Androids of Tara

      4 episodes
    Story: Romana is quick to find the fourth segment on the planet Tara, but extricating herself from the knights, castles, political intrigue, and android duplicates of Taran society is another matter, for which she will need the Doctor and K9's help.

    - Buyers' Guide Review
    - In-depth Analysis WITH SPOILERS

  • Picture & Sound restoration & remastering.
  • Audio commentary by actors Tom Baker (The Doctor) and Mary Tamm (Romana), and director Michael Hayes.
  • "The Humans of Tara" making-of featurette (21 min.)
  • "Now and Then" featurette on how the location has changed over 30 years (10 min.)
  • Pop-up Production Note Subtitles by Richard Molesworth
  • Silent menus
    SFX Montage
    (8 min.)
  • Photo Gallery
  • "Who's Who" actor biographies (text only)
  • Featurette on the use of doubles in Doctor Who. (11 min.)


  • 2002

    2009

    Story No. 102

    5. The Power of Kroll

      4 episodes
    Story: Deep in the swamps of the moons of Delta Magna, natives struggle to maintain their claim on their land against the encroachments of space-faring Earthlings. The Doctor and Romana soon find the natives' legends of the biggest creature the Doctor's ever encountered may hold the secret to the identity of the fifth segment of the Key to Time....

    - Buyers' Guide Review
    - In-depth Analysis WITH SPOILERS

  • Picture & Sound restoration & remastering.
  • Audio commentary by actors Tom Baker (The Doctor) and John Leeson (Dugeen / Voice of K9).
  • "Variations" goes behind the scenes during the making of "The Power of Kroll" (6 min.)
  • Mary Tamm's Doctor Who career Retrospective (10 min.)
  • Philip Madoc's Doctor Who career Retrospective (9 min.)
  • raw BW studio footage (11 min.)
  • Pop-up Production Note Subtitles by Richard Molesworth
  • Silent menus
    SFX Montage
    (5 min.)
  • Photo Gallery
  • "Who's Who" actor biographies (text only)


  • 2002

    2009

    Story No. 103

    6. The Armageddon Factor

      6 episodes
    Story: The Doctor, Romana, and K9 get caught in the nuclear crossfire between the warring planets Atrios and Zeos, cautiously adding their influence to the stifled voices of peace on Atrios. But who is really pulling the strings of the Atrian Marshall leader? And why have no Zeons been seen since the start of the war? The Doctor knows he will have to face and outwit the dark forces that also seek the Key to Time, and learn the secrets of the Key itself before the final segment is revealed....

    - Buyers' Guide Review
    - In-depth Analysis WITH SPOILERS

  • Picture & Sound restoration & remastering.
  • Audio commentary by actors Mary Tamm (Romana) and John Woodvine (The Marshall),
    and director Michael Hayes.
  • Additional audio commentary by actors Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), and
    John Leeson (Voice of K9).
  • "Defining Shadows" making-of featurette (15 min.)
  • "Rogue Time Lords" featurette (13 min.)
  • Michael Hayes on directing Doctor Who (8 min.)
  • Pop-up Production Note Subtitles by Richard Molesworth
  • Silent menus
    SFX Montage
    (5 min.)
  • Photo Gallery
  • "Who's Who" actor biographies (text only)
  • 1978 interview with Tom Baker (8 min.)
  • 2 clips going behind the scenes for sound effects (5 min. total)
  • BBC Christmas Tape extract (1 min.)
  • Extended scene (3 min.)
  • Late Night Story: Tom Baker reads 5 stories (70 min. total)
  • Continuity announcements (3 min.)
  • Dr. Who 1979 Annual .pdf
  • No.
    Nope. ARRGGHHH!
  • but....what? Still no optional new CGI lasers? ARRGGHHH!

  • SEASON SIXTEEN - THE KEY TO TIME

    (1978-1979)
    2009 Special Edition!
    6-story set (7 discs)
    DVD NTSC Region 1
    for North America
    in the U.S.
    in Canada
    7 DVD Boxed Set,
    PAL Region 2 for the U.K. / Europe
    for the U.K., limited edition
    for the U.K., 2009 re-issue
    6 DVD boxed set
    2002 release
    with limited extras
    NTSC Region 1
    for North America
    in the U.S.
    in Canada
    all sets include stories 98-103. See above for more details.


    LYRATEK.COM


    See a complete list of stories from seasons 12 through 18 in:
    The Tom Baker Era (1975-1981) section of our Episode Guide Catalogue.



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