Doctor Who-The Edge of Destruction (1964)

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Released 2-Mar-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Doctor Who: Origins
Featurette-Over The Edge
Featurette-Inside The Spaceship
Featurette-Masters Of Sound
Featurette-Marco Polo
Alternate Audio-Episode 2 With Arabic Soundtrack
DVD-ROM Extras
Informational Subtitles
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 78:52 (Case: 193)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Frank Cox
Richard Martin

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring William Hartnell
Carole Ann Ford
William Russell
Jacqueline Hill
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Information
Smoking Yes, in Extra Features
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Written by script editor David Whittaker to fill in a short gap in production, the two-part serial The Edge of Destruction reveals something of the Doctor's darker side but also resolves the somewhat icy relationship developing between the Doctor (William Hartnell) and Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill). After leaving Skaro, the TARDIS is brought to a sudden halt by a shock wave. As the crew slowly come around, amnesia and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the TARDIS set the companions against each other. The Doctor is determined to evict Ian and Barbara from his ship and Susan (Carole Ann Ford) develops a homicidal attraction to scissors. The TARDIS continues to send shock waves through its occupants and the usually reliable Fault Locator doesn't reveal a thing. Perhaps the TARDIS is trying to tell them something?....

    The Edge of Destruction, although a little hurried, works effectively in producing a very eerie atmosphere. The set is almost silent, and the inexplicable actions of the characters, especially Susan, carry very dark undertones. Most importantly, though, the rift between the Doctor and his kidnapped companions is given a chance to heal. After wild accusations from both sides, the TARDIS crew learn to work together and recognize each other's strengths. By the end of the serial, Ian and Barbara have accepted their fate and are able to share a happy moment or two with the Doctor.

    After the Daleks serial, Edge of Destruction feels a little of a let-down in terms of action and excitement. But its foreboding atmosphere and exploration of the TARDIS, mixed with a little character development, helps strengthen the foundation for Dr Who.

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Transfer Quality


    Once again, considering the source material, The Edge of Destruction video transfer is very good. The serial has been transferred in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    Sharpness is good. Film segments are softer on detail than video. The presence of video grain throughout tends to soften the image and blur motion a little. The limited focus depth of the cameras used leave some elements unfocused. Shadow detail is a little murky, but quite decent. The serial is considerably sharper and more detailed than the footage presented in the extra features. Contrast and grey scale are good.

    MPEG artefacts are mostly absent. The opening credits exhibit some relatively heavy macroblocking, but the rest of the feature shows only minor pixelization due to visible grain. I also noticed some moments of posterization at times. Hard lines can show aliasing at times. Some minor edge enhancement is visible as is a little interlacing. A few specks of dust are visible but the transfer is quite clean in general.

    Subtitles are excellent, as always, and presented in a readable, white font. Very few words are dropped from the titles. Also included are the usual informational subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono and is adequate and faithful to the source.

    Dialogue is clear and audible. Constant hiss is audible during the entire serial. The mono audio is naturally somewhat flat and undynamic, but perfectly acceptable. Audio sync is accurate.

    Incidental music was taken from stock music files and has been selected to heighten the foreboding atmosphere.

    There is no surround or bass information.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Introduction

Menu Animation & Audio


    Dr Who - Origins (53:51) - An excellent and very thorough recounting of the development and beginnings of Dr Who. Features recent interviews with producer Verity Lambert and directors, actors, and crew members and archive interviews with the head of drama at the BBC, Sydney Newman, the documentary is well worth watching and contains a wealth of information.


    Over the Edge (29:22) - Documentary on the making of the serial, revealing the reasons for such a short story and why two directors were involved along with the usual information on filming and development.


    Inside the Spaceship (10:14) - Documents the development and design of the TARDIS.


    Masters of Sound (12:23) - Unseen footage from the 1993 documentary Thirty Years in the TARDIS. Focuses on the BBC Radio Workshop's contributions to Dr Who in creating Foley effects and producing the title theme. Ever wondered how they created the TARDIS' woosh or how the theme was composed and recorded? It's all here.


    Marco Polo (31:25) - Every Who fan holds a small grudge towards the BBC and its policy of erasing early broadcasts. Several Dr Who serials are all but lost, including the Doctor's fourth adventures in the Himalayas with Marco Polo. The studio sound recording survives and the serial has been reassembled in a shortened version using stills from the shoot. The story is actually quite enjoyable, if a little culturally insensitive, and its condensed form has it moving along at a rollicking pace. An excellent and valuable inclusion.


    (5:09) - Behind the scenes photographs accompanied by audio.

Alternate Audio

    The second episode includes an Arabian soundtrack. Just for kicks I suppose.

DVD-ROM Extras

    PDF files of the shooting script for Episode One and clippings from the Radio Times magazine showing broadcast details for the early Dr Who serials.

Informational Subtitles

    Trivia titles with information culled mostly from the extra features already listed.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Both the Region 1 (bar NTSC formatting) and Region 2 releases are identical to ours.


    Short in length but high on atmosphere and character development, The Edge of Destruction plays an important role elevating Dr Who above and beyond standard children's television.

    Video and audio have been transferred well and are very good, considering source limitations.

    Extras are expansive and informative and relevant to each of the serials included in the Beginnings box set.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Atkinson (read my bio)
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S336, using Component output
DisplayLG Flatron Widescreen RT-28FZ85RX. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V357
SpeakersDB Dynamics Belmont Series: Fronts: B50F, Centre: B50C, Rears: B50S, Sub: SW8BR

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