TV Review: Dr Who Legacy Collection

TV Review: Dr Who Legacy Collection DVD

The ultimate collectors box-set 

By Mark HadleyMonday 7 Jan 2013TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

The ultimate collectors box-set hits shelves

Rating: PG
Distributor: BBC
Release Date: January 9 

In the post Christmas malaise many people will be counting up gift certificates, some of which began their life at an ABC Shop. If you have one and happen to know a Doctor Who fan, or better yet are one yourself, then there’s a purchase waiting for you.


On January 9 the BBC released the Doctor Who Legacy Collection which not only brings together an assortment of seldom seen interviews and documentaries, it also provides fans with a chance to see a newly assembled adventure that never made it to air. Shada is a six-part story featuring Tom Baker as the fourth incarnation of the world’s best-known time traveler. One of the features explains how industrial action exploded the adventure before it could be broadcast, but Baker now fills in the missing bits so the classic story can be enjoyed as it was intended.

Doctor Who arrives at Cambridge after picking up a message from a retired Time Lord turned professor. It appears that a powerful book from Gallifrey, their home planet, has fallen into the wrong hands – dum dum daahhhhhh! The crazed alien scientist Skagra intends to use this ancient relic to unlock the dark secrets of Shada, the lost prison planet of the Time Lords. And unless the Doctor and his companion Romana can stop him, his quest for knowledge and the power that comes with it will doom every sentient being in the universe.

Shada is classic 70s Doctor Who with six cliff-hanging installments crammed with weird looking aliens sporting bizarre silver cloaks, our scarf-wrapped hero with that familiar maniacal gleam in his eyes and a villain who is likely to destroy all life as we know it – again. But if that wasn’t enough the BBC has also included an animated version of the series produced in 2003 featuring the eighth Doctor Paul McGann. There’s also More Than 30 Years In The Tardis, a documentary first shown in 1993 as part of the 30th anniversary of this TV phenomena that includes insights from five other Doctors and a host of their companions. And finish it all off with a slew of shorter interviews with key characters, producers, and writers – enough to see any budding Time Lord through the doldrums of an Australian summer.

Doctor Who has examined almost every conceivable moral issue since it first aired in 1963. However one of the more consistent themes which returns in Shada is the danger of unrestricted power. A number of key characters – the retired Time Lord Professor Chronotis, the scientist Skagra – underestimate the significance of the forces they are toying with. It may sound like science fiction but it’s a melodrama that also playing out today. From a Christian perspective, the dangers associated with unrestricted power threaten every human being who decides to live their life without reference to God. The environmental damage that plagues our planet is a result of not following our Creator’s directive to steward our resources. The social damage our society suffers is a result of not respecting the restrictions of His laws. Even the personal damage we do to ourselves is a result of the abuse of the power of choice.

As always the Doctor comes to the rescue so that humanity can continue blithely on its way. And once, again, it’s worth considering his motivations. The Doctor understands the consequences that will result if power is used irresponsibly, and feels duty bound to both share that knowledge and act to save even those who seem set on self-destruction. As the DVD ends we might consider how ready we are to follow his lead when we’re confronted with people heading for spiritual ruin.

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