The DVD commentary for THE DEADLY ASSASSIN is, quite frankly, worth the RRP for the DVD - £19.56
Tom Baker (on seeing a familiar face during the DOCTOR WHO titles sequence): Yes, that's me Still alive you know.
And reassuringly so for commentary listeners, on THE DEADLY ASSASSIN; "God, I remember that".
Phillip Hinchcliffe on the storyline: I had in mind a sort of Political theiller. A sort of JFK story; "Did Lee Harvey Oswald really pull the trigger?"
On the "companionless" story, Phillip Hinchcliffe reminded Baker that he the lead actor did not want a companion; You said, "Why do I need a companion?". But I said, "You need someone to talk to!" But you said, "But can't I talk to myself?"
Tom Baker roars with laughter.
On writer, Robert Holmes, Tom Baker: He was terrific to be with. Puffing on his pipe and making terse comments
On the NEW SERIES casting for the Master, Tom Baker states that he was sworn to secrecy to that Sir Derek Jacobi has been cast. This dates the recording of this commentary to about December 2006/January 2007.
On the design of the Gallifrey Capitiol by Roger Murray-Leach, Tom Baker: It's like the Vatican. I had a blasphemous thought about the Pope. I saw him on television making a speech the other day. I thought he looked like Uncle Fester from THE ADAMS FAMILY. Oh, God, if I'd said that to my mother she'd broken my neck.
Bernard Horsfall: Oh, crumbs.
On the canon within DOCTOR WHO, Bernard Horsfall: A naïve question but who invented a Time Lord?
Phillip Hinchcliffe: Good question.
On guest-star, Llewellyn Rees as President of Gallifrey, Tom Baker: He was once the President of Equity at one time. But not dressed like that.
A discussion of Grandchildren and how entertaining they can be, Bernard Horsfall queried: Do the Time Lords have children?
Phillip Hinchcliffe: How do they reproduce?
Tom Baker: Don't go there.
On Tom Baker's time on DOCTOR WHO, Phillip Hinchcliffe: What frame of mind were you in at the time?
Tom Baker: It filled my life. I became the Doctor. I adored the response of the children. The best think that has ever happened to me. It defined the next 30 years of my life.
In describing the concept of the Amplified Panatropic Computer Net and the cinema production, THE MATRIX, Phillip Hinchcliffe: We did the Matrix 30 years before that happened.
As episode 2 concludes, Tom Baker: Probably as good as any episode as I could remember.
At the start of the episode and the nightmare train heading toward the Doctor, Tom Baker: It's the 7:42 non-stop to Waterloo.
On the bullet wound inflicted on the Doctor, Tom Baker: I've still got that knee you know.
On nearing being drowned - not in THE DEADLY ASSASSIN filming but on holiday with Ian Marter, Tom Baker:
David Maloney's daughter, Sophie, saved my life when I was in Italy. I had been drinking and went for a swim. I never did learn to swim since.
On Peter Pratt playing the Master, Tom Baker: An Operatic star. A lead singer with THE D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY . He loved doing this (the Master) even though you can't see his face.
On the final shots for THE DEADLY ASSASSIN (the Master's Grandfather Clock disguised TARDIS), Tom Baker: What time is it?
The DVD studio commentary is as iconic and as entertaining as the main feature itself. Baker is, as we have known since 1974, stunningly astute & charmingly witty, whilst Hinchcliffe is as informative and rewarding as ever.
A superb combination of humour and humility.
THE MATRIX REVISITED commences with "In the 1970s, DOCTOR WHO was at its peak.". Well, that's good to know if we didn't know already. But it sets the tone for the 30 minute documentary that assesses the Phillip Hinchcliffe produced iconically classic legendary (that covers all bases.) story with contributions from Tom Baker, Terrance Dicks and, even, Brucie gets into the act with a "Nice to see you, to see you."
The documentary is balance, considered and, at times, moving. The late David Maloney (from interviews from 199 and 2003; he died on 18 July 2006) elucidates the filming process, the boundaries that were creatively pushed and the near rebellion of studio extras as they were asked to appear theee times (using split-screen technique) for a single payment. Maloney's THE DEADLY ASSASSIN contribution (and, amongst others, PLANET OF EVIL, GENESIS OF THE DALEKS, THE MIND ROBBER and a British television drama classic TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG) is marked in memoriam and Tom Baker's "yes, I knew him" epitaph and "he compelled affection". Heartbreaking.
Both the contribution of Fred Hamilton (Film Cameraman) and, including a glimpse of actor from a 1967 BBC drama, Peter Pratt are noted as exemplary.
And then there's a fan called Jan. A man not a lady. Drivel. Nonsense. He should get out more.
THE GALLIFREYAN CANDIDATE is an oddity, and for the connoisseurs who have not Chekhov to read. The produces of the DVDs need to focus on DOCTOR WHO content and not veer off toward an attempt at a BBC FOUR documentary series.
The frighten factor is a mini-documentary that seems to have been done before on another DVD (and, even, in 1983 the eyeofhorus printed-fanzine examined Hinchcliffe's fear factor - THE HINCHCLIFFE-HANGERS). Nevertheless, it is always welcome to listen to the cheerful Terrance Dicks and the professional's professional Barry Letts discuss what makes DOCTOR WHO scary & intimidating.
It highlights contributor's "scary moments" since 1963 which include the gassing within FURY OF THE DEEP, the surreal encounters of Tegan in KINDA and, naturally, the contemporary BLINK.
Overall, THE DEADLY ASSASSIN, of course, could stand alone without any DVD EXTRAS as a release from 2|entertain BBC DVD. The "clean-up" of the picture quality is exceptional as is the sound, making the presentation remarkable.
Like, AN UNEARTHLY CHILD and SPEARHEAD ON SPACE it is THE essential - but don't steal a copy, please - DVD that, until TERROR OF THE AUTONS is released, you must own. Must. Recession? Sell your Grandma or a Kidney. Well, think about that first and take legal advice.