When it was first transmitted in 1982, 'Black Orchid' was the first true historical story since 'The Highlanders' sixteen years earlier. With its sumptuous location filming and costumes helping to make the most of the story's 1920's setting, 'Black Orchid' makes a welcome appearance on DVD in April 2008.
The large amount of 16mm location filming for the story and its historical setting really helped to make 'Black Orchid' look a step up from some of the more studio bound science-fiction adventures that had been the staple Doctor Who production for many years. Fortunately, the 16mm camera negatives, cut up into A/B roll format for printing, were retained by the BBC library. As with other stories from that season, we were able to telecine these to obtain the best possible image area and picture quality. The results are impressive, with much better levels of detail, more vibrant colours and better stability.
Due to a re-ordering of the release schedule, none of the previous releases include a 'Coming Soon' trail for the story. 2entertain have kindly allowed it to be included on this page. If no mini-player window is visible immediately below, click here for a direct link (wmv format, 3.5Mb). See copyright notice at foot of page.
Despite being one of the lower-priced Doctor Who releases, 'Black Orchid' includes a full range of special features:
The commentary features all four of the TARDIS crew - Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse.
Richard Bignell's latest Now and Then (dur. 9' 02") goes behind the scenes at the locations used in the making of the story, comparing how they were then with how they are today. Narrated by I.T. Williams.
The archived film sequences and a viewing cassette kept by the story's producer, the late John Nathan-Turner, were the source for a Deleted Scenes package. (dur. 7' 03")
A Film Restoration featurette (dur. 2' 39") shows 'before and after' examples of techniques used during the restoration of the location film elements of this story.
The latest in Phoenix Media's Stripped for Action (dur. 16' 05") series looks at the Fifth Doctor's portrayal in comic strip adventures. Featuring interviews with artist Dave Gibbons, editor Alan McKenzie, and former Doctor Who Magazine editors Gary Russell and Alan Barnes.
An extract from the children's magazine show Blue Peter (dur. 8' 37") follows presenters Sarah Greene and Simon Groom as they visit the theatrical costumiers responsible for the period costumes used in the story.
In Points of View (dur. 2' 24") presenter Barry Took airs disgruntled viewer's letters about the rescheduling of Doctor Who to weekday nights in this extract from the popular BBC series.
The Photo Gallery (dur. 4' 40") features rare production and publicity photos from the story.
And as usual there's the Coming Soon trailer, Radio Times Billings PDF, Programme subtitles and Subtitle Production Notes.
Copyright Steve Roberts, 12th March 2008. No reproduction allowed without written permission. Trailer courtesy of 2entertain Ltd. Webmasters: Please link only to this page, no direct links to the video please!