Doctor Who Series 9: Part 1: DVD Review
Released by BBC and Roadshow Home Ent
Wisely shorn of the debate over whether Peter Capaldi's Doctor is a good man or not and of Jenna Coleman's Clara no longer mourning Matt Smith's 11th Doctor, the new season of Doctor Who can simply get back to the basics - and revive the premise of two friends hurtling from one adventure to the next.
But as ever, with these six episodes of the ninth series since the relaunch, a shadow's been cast with the announcement that Jenna Coleman's Clara is leaving the TARDIS.
However, while the first batch of six episodes dwells a little on that, with the stories having an element of death within them, the foreboding doesn't stop the ninth series getting off to a brilliant start and giving Capaldi the material he needs to cement his place as the Doctor.
Equally, the creative elements and decision to essentially create two parters every week has reinvigorated the story-telling, giving moments a chance to breathe and stories a chance to evolve. Of the first three parters, the first (The Magician's Apprentice / The Witch's Familiar) brings the return of a nemesis not seen for years, and an opportunity to explore the Doctor's raison d'etre; a second two parter sees the underwater base under siege story redone but offers up one of the most shocking cliffhangers - and the third sees Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams enter the world and the reason why the Doctor's taken the Capaldi face from the Fires of Pompeii given form.
But this series feels like the show's come into its own again (aside from the Sonic screwdriver being ditched in favour of sonic glasses and the Doctor's propensity to play rock guitar) and for once, avoiding spoilers provides a great journey this year. However, it belongs to Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi, whose acting this year really makes the script sparkle. Capaldi, shorn of his brooding, appears to enjoy it more and Coleman seems to be the Doctor's equal - there's a real sense that when this partnership falls apart, it will be the end of something special.
Extras: 3 mini featurettes; nothing spectacular, but in keeping with the BBC's insistence on splitting the sets.