Doctor Who
Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity

Starring: Peter Davison
RRP: 29.99
Certificate: PG
Available 06 August 2007

The BBC continues its quest to complete the
Doctor Who back catalogue on DVD (where are the Blu-ray versions) and what a good job they continue to do. This release sees the release of two Peter Davison stories in one collection - Time Flight, the last episode of Season 19, and Arc of Infinity, the first story of Season 20....

Time Flight is a four part story that was written by Peter Grimwade and directed by Ron Jones. It was originally transmitted in March 1982.

Following the death of Adric (hooray) the Doctor is trying to take Tegan and Nyssa to the Great Exhibition when the Tardis is caught in a time wake and forced to make an emergency landing at Heathrow airport. They discover that the wake coincided with the disappearance of a Concord. Using the Tardis inside another Concord, the doctor travels back in time to discover that Kalid, an alien wielder of magic is attempting to harness the power of the Xeraphin.

Like a lot of the shows of this period Time Flight ended up far too convoluted for its own good. Anthony Ainley is almost completely wasted as the Master/Kalid, which is a shame. As a side note, as a callow youth I found his number in an actor's directory and gave him a ring. Rather than telling me to bugger off, he spent a good hour chatting to me. What a nice man. However, in this show he disguises himself as Kalid, which made absolutely no sense. After all, until the doctor turned up, he was the only living person there. Who on earth did he think he was hiding from. When the Doctor first meets him you get the feeling that the only reason he's dressed like that is that the Doctor has stumbled across the Masters grubby weekend secret.

As a premise the idea of a Concord being drawn back to a prehistoric setting as a springboard for a Doctor vs. Master story sounds like a good idea, until you remember that at this time the BBC wasn't exactly throwing money at the show. In the accompanied interview Peter Grimwade states that a writer should push the boundaries, which as an idea sounds great until you discover that in order to realise you're dream the BBC is going to give you ten bob and a pack of sticky backed plastic. The scenes in Heathrow are the high point of the show. It is only when they travel back in time that the show's limitations become obvious. The sets are cheap and unconvincing.

That said the cast do what they can with Grimwade's script, though you get the feeling that they were getting a bit knackered in the last show. The season had seen better scripts and better acting.

The disc is presented in the original 4:3 presentation, with optional subtitles, and the picture is surprisingly clear for a show of this age. Even with one of the naffer stories the Beeb still finds loads of great extras to sweeten the pill. First off we have Mouth on Legs (13 min 39 sec) which is an amusing interview with the lovely Janet Fielding (Tegan) about how she came to be in Doctor Who and her experiences on the show. There are three deleted scenes, some leftovers from the studio recordings (19 min 34 sec), some outtakes and a short interview with Peter Grimwade (4 min 13 sec).

On the second page of extras you get a photo gallery, which irritatingly you still can't use as wallpaper and two PDF's of the Doctor Who Annual and the Radio Times listings for the show. Having learnt from other DVD producers, the Beeb has included a trailer for the forthcoming Time Warrior DVD, with what looks like new special effects. Last, but not least, is the option to have either a feature length commentary or production notes in the form of subtitles. What can you say but thanks to the generous old Beeb.

The second story is also another four part story. Arc of Infinity was written by Johnny Byrne and directed by Ron Jones. It was originally transmitted in January 1983.

Alone in the Tardis, having left Tegan in Heathrow, the Doctor and Nyssa are attacked by an antimatter creature who requires the imprint of a Time Lord to manifest. They travel to Gallifrey to discover who has leaked the information and are drawn into a desperate fight to stop the creature from crossing over and destroying the matter universe. Meanwhile, a backpacker goes missing in Amsterdam and his friend turns to the only person who can help - the backpacker's cousin, Tegan.

Wow what happened here, the Beeb must have won a few bob on the races as production values on Arc are very high, including filming in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, it's a case of nice pics shame about the script and what's with all the running? The first story starts positively sedately compared to when the Doctor reaches Gallifrey, which has transformed itself into a combination of coffee bars and corridors - corridors which are apparently impossible to walk down. All that running started to exhaust me after a while. That said the show looks positively sumptuous compared to Time Flight. There's new sets, new costumes, especially the impressive design for Omega's costume. Though in the same breath Omega's henchman, the Ergon, looked just like an elongated rubber chicken.

Oddly enough for the first and only time in Who history an actor appear who would eventually play the Doctor. Colin Baker stars as Commander Maxil.

Once again the show is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio, with a print that is a little grainy at times. You get the option of subtitles, as well as a full length commentary, and the chance to listen to the music only; there is also an informative production text option.

For extras the disc kicks off with Anti-matter from Amsterdam (34 min 57 sec) which looks at the making of the show, with many of those involved adding their points of view. The Omega Factor (14 min 57 sec) concentrates on the character of Omega. There are some deleted scenes and the choice of watching the show with either the new CGI shot on or off (go with on) and a piece called Under Arc Lights (11 min 33 sec) which is some leftover studio shots of the show being made. You get the continuities and a photo gallery as well as a PDF of the Radio Times and the Doctor Who Annual as well as the same trailer for Time Warrior that was on the previous disc.

Although both shows have their weakness' they still represent great nostalgia value. Throw in the absurd amount of extras on the two discs and you have a package that is defiantly well worth the money.

Charles Packer

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