Doctor Who – The Space Museum/The Chase

Of all the William Hartnell stories The Space Museum and The Chase are probably some of the most debated of his tenure. The Space Museum mainly because of its cheapness and The Chase because it’s so long winded. Anyway both have been neatly presented in this new box set and I for one think these two serials need re-appraising.

The Space Museum

When the TARDIS jumps a time track and the travellers arrive on the planet Xeros, they discover their own future selves displayed as exhibits in a museum built as a monument to the galactic conquests of the warlike Morok invaders who now rule the planet. When time shifts back to the present, they realise that they must do everything they can to try and avert this potential future.

The Space Museum and The Chase DVD Box SetOK, this is a solid Doctor Who serial that is memorable not because of the pretty crude effects but because of the anticipation that you know something special is happening on screen. The original “Who” family has started to splinter off. Susan already gone, though Vicki a fine if similar replacement but we know time on board for Barbara and Ian is short. Hartnell seems angered, annoyed at times (more on his temper is highlighted in the extras on this disc) with his companions giving him an edge that is missing from earlier episodes. Yes he trips on a few lines but this doesn’t stop every moment he has on screen being very worthy indeed. The supporting cast take a little longer than usual to get into gear especially Richard Shaw who just doesn’t “get it”. On the whole this is a decent idea which also gives an excuse for the Doctor to hide inside a Dalek! A great story spoiled by cheap staging and poor special effects. You see, money was being saved for the next adventure…

Extras Disc 1:

Commentary – Maureen O’Brien, William Russell, writer Glyn Jones and moderator Peter Purves provide the gag track for this adventure. All contribute to this fun extra, Purves in particular draws out some excellent memories from the aging gang.

Defending The Museum – This ten minute short has news series writer Robert Sherman taking the story by the shoulders and making you come face-to-face with it and liking it. Funny and warm this is an extra that really works.

My Grandfather, The Doctor – Jessica Carney talks about how Hartnell, the first Doctor, was her grandfather and how his most famous TV role changed not only his life but theirs. Affectionate and honest, it’s a lovely ten minutes which for me could have been much longer.

A Holiday For The Doctor – This spoof recollection from Ida Barr (Christopher Green) is the extra that will split fans down the middle. If you like Ali G then this will appeal, personally it left me cold and thought it tried too hard.

Info Text – Oh yes, this beauty is here in all its glory. Where would these releases be without this extra?

Photo Gallery – A large collection of production snaps from the story coupled with sections from the dramatic score.

PDF Materials – Insert the disc into your PC or Mac and access scans of Radio Times listings for this adventure.

Coming Soon – A rather juicy trailer for the next DVD release, the box set known as Myths And Legends.

The Chase

The travellers are minding their own business watching the Time-Space Visualiser the TARDIS has built into it. Each person chooses a key time in human history to visit but as they do their movements attract the attentions of a Dalek ship. Almost captured on planet Aridius, the intrepid team are saved by the Aridians and so begins a chase through space and time.

Loathed and loved by fans, this is one Doctor Who adventure that I for one enjoy even though it’s basically a bloated excuse to have the Daleks in as many episodes as the production would dare. Let’s start with the wonderful news that the infamous Beatles footage is here in all its glory (Ticket To Ride has never sounded so sweet) there’s Mechanoids and the screen image looks amazing. I tip my hat to the Restoration Team once more. As I’ve said this a very self indulgent serial and there’s a fair amount of humour to be found but there’s nothing wrong with that when there are so many important things happening. We venture onto the Mary Celeste, are attacked by classic monsters including Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster and Ian and Barbara decide to leave the Doctor. It’s the fact these two leave after so long and that Hartnell looks genuinely moved by the idea that makes this such a wonderful experience. The Daleks themselves seem a tad silly, especially when at sea, but the production has some decent budget behind it helping to create a solid atmosphere. Writer Terry Nation is at his over-dramatic best here delivering episodes with such grandiose titles as “The Death Of Time”, “The Death Of Doctor Who” and “The Planet Of Decision”.

Extras Disc 2:

Commentary – Maureen O’ Brien, William Russell, Peter Purves and director Richard Martin all contribute whole heartedly to this energetic gag-track. Worth it just to hear the roar of laughter when they see Ian dancing to The Beatles!

Cusick In Cardiff – As the title suggest Raymond Cusick visits the Production Department from the new series. Here he meets news series Production Designer Edward Thomas and Designer Peter McKinstry. Jovial and fun its lovely to see the respect the new team have for the old boy and also Raymond’s admiration for today’s show.

PDF Materials – Here are the usual Radio Times listings from the time of transmission.

Coming Soon – Another chance to view the Myths And Legends trailer.

Extras Disc 3:

The Thrill Of The Chase – Director Richard Martin recollects the recording of The Chase and with some clarity. His honesty about Hartnell’s attitude is refreshing as it’s said without malice; it actually gives us a better insight into the aging actor’s stance on his career. His thoughts on the costumes is also a memorable moment.

Last Stop White City – This is a tribute to the characters Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright and the impact they made in their sixteen adventures through time and space. With contributions from William Russell, author Simon Guerrier, Richard Martin and Clive Doig the Vision Mixer during 1963 to 1966. Again it’s the memories of Hartnell that make this such a strong extra. Tales of how the actors supported him during his illness are heart-warming to say the least and confirm what we all thought of Doctor Who’s first family.

Daleks Conquer And Destroy – Verity Lambert, Raymond Cusick, Richards Martin and others give their opinion on what makes these metal pepper pots so memorable. Yes they’re the most impractical baddies but how they shaped our fear when we first met them! A great extra filled with worthy anecdotes.

Daleks Beyond The Screen – Most of the above return to discuss how Daleks impacted upon the marketplace, the birth of Dalekmania! Mick Hall, a merchandise collector lets us have a sneaky look at his immense collection; to say I’m envious is a bit of an understatement! Comic strips from TV21 are also touched upon in this segment. Now this makes it quite a packed extra which could have easily been longer and maybe in two parts.

Shawcraft: The Original Monster Makers – For anyone who didn’t know Shawcraft Models built many of the props and models for Doctor Who in the 1960s. Here we have a brief look at the way the company was formed and grew by a team of incredibly talented craftsmen and how the BBC used them for our favourite show.

Follow That Dalek – When the preparations were being made for this DVD set, researchers found 8mm cine film from 1967 showing day-to-day life at Shawcraft Models. Here’s is that movie, complete with the option of Info Text. The piece contains many Doctor Who props seen for the first time in colour with the text helping us catalogue each prop. A great nostalgic extra.

Give-a-Show Slides – Another trip down memory lane, sixteen stories, each compromising of seven slides are here from the classic Palitoy Slide Projector from the 1960s.Totally innocent this proves how far toys have come. Hey, could you see one of today’s kids enjoying such simple entertainment?

Photo Gallery – Another batch of production shots accompanied by a dramatic soundtrack.

So then, a monochrome box set not to be sniffed at. This is classic Doctor Who in every sense of the word and any fan of the show should invest in this.

Out now, the The Space Museum and The Chase DVD box set has an RRP of £29.99 – however you can get it right now from Amazon for just £17.98!


James has been a Doctor Who fan for as long as he can recall. A child of the 70s and 80s, he weathered all the storms and controversies the show encountered, though he didn’t buy the “Doctor In Distress” single.

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