DVD Extras include:
Episode One - The Edge of Destruction - directed by Richard MartinThis story gets off to a very shaky start, as David Whitaker's writing of incoherent characters does not make very good television viewing. The director and the cast of companions do very little to make the early scenes bearable either.
Finally, the Doctor wakes up, and William Hartnell's screen presence quickly restores drama to the proceedings. Now there is plot, intrigue, and realistic emotional expression. Susan makes a comeback with some very memorable moments in her performance, (finally some nice direction with moving camera angles here!!) although this quickly decays into hamminess, relying on the perfect music to carry the scene further. (The SPOILERS required to identify these exact moments can be read in the In-depth Analysis version of this review.)
Barbara also has the chance to give the Doctor the sharp end of her tongue, a great dramatic moment that is enjoyable to watch.
This two-part story was supposedly meant to re-introduce viewers who may have missed the pilot to the main characters and the TARDIS and to expand and develop them, and dig deeper into who they are. It was poised to do so perfectly, and managed it somewhat - The TARDIS (a fifth character) comes out of this story with the best development, and the Doctor and Barbara are close seconds. But all this ridiculous concussed behaviour business really should have been under much tighter control, because it is ugly to watch, and only shows us who our characters are NOT.
This story is famous for being the first to really explore the interior of the TARDIS, but it is interesting to note that nearly ALL of the deep interior scenes beyond the console room appear in this first episode of the story, particularly the rooms with the strange bucket-seat beds.
Episode Two - The Brink of Disaster - directed by Frank CoxSomeone once asked what the longest scene in Doctor Who was, and the erroneous reply was the first scene in the TARDIS interior in "An Unearthly Child" (story no. 1). Well, sorry, no, I disagree. After the reprise from the previous episode, what follows is most DEFINITELY the longest scene ever in Doctor Who. Recording for "THE BRINK OF DISASTER" begins in the console room and stays there for a full 18 and a half minutes, right past the dramatic climax of the story. This is almost the full 25 min. episode, so I dare any fan to show me a longer uncut scene of original Doctor Who! (Yes, I know, "Midnight" (story no. 201) has recently set a new record in the 45-minute episode format, but that episode still has much to learn from the achievement here.)
I have to hand it to director Frank Cox, and the cast of Doctor Who (William Hartnell in particular) for being able to pull this off without it seeming to become long, or boring, or claustrophobic, or anything other than good riveting drama all the way through. There are only a few minor glitches in the production - chiefly making Ian seem less than credible or inspiring.
The Doctor is largely responsible for solving the mystery and employing the solution. This is the best example of a heroic Doctor that the series has come up with so far. Nice one David Whitaker!
This story has become available on DVD as the third adventure in "The Beginning" DVD box set.
Although the popular original edition from 2006 has now become a rare item, a newer 2013 re-issue offers identical content at a more competitive price...
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