Jon Pertwee stars in Doctor Who: Inferno

The Doctor Who DVD Conundrum

Since 1996 BBC Worldwide (in its various guises) has released every complete Doctor Who story (and a few that are not) on DVD. Some might expect that to be the end of it – except that the releases haven’t stopped.

Jon Pertwee stars in Doctor Who: Inferno

Since 2010 several “special editions” have been released – first as part of the Revisitations box sets and latterly (in the case of, say, 1970’s Inferno and 1973’s The Green Death) as single releases. Now, these are excellent releases, full of excellent new special features alongside those found in the originals, new commentaries and often freshly upgraded video and audio.

In fact, it’s wonderful that BBC Worldwide and the Restoration Team are able to have the time and resources to dedicate to these special editions, and long may this situation continue. The problem for older fans, however, is what to do with the original DVDs…

It isn’t easy parting with much-loved Doctor Who; I still have several VHS tapes on my shelf, such as The Tom Baker Years and More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS (although only one of these has been released on DVD…). But if you need to make space for the new special editions, there are several things you can do.

  1. First and foremost, consider donating your old DVDs to a local charity shop, one that could do with the money and relies on the goodwill of donations and volunteers. In my view you should steer clear of the “corporatised” charities and stick with local causes that you preferably already know about.
  2. If this isn’t possible for some remarkable reason, why not donate your DVDs to a school or library? Local colleges running media production courses may also welcome the gesture.
  3. Are there any young Doctor Who fans in your area? Such a concept was barmy back when I bought the TV Movie on DVD, but these days fans are everywhere, so you might be able to score some credibility giving some classic Who to younger neighbours or relatives.
  4. Finally – and it pains me to suggest this – you might also sell your old DVDs online. This would be a particularly useful option if you’re short of cash and want to collect the special editions. You might, for example, sell an old copy of The Visitation to help towards the new release.

Doctor Who DVDs are so popular these days, and it’s an odd state to be in, especially for the older fans who spent years willing the show to come back and snapping up the limited number of cassettes and DVDs in WHSmith or HMV before their local rivals got in first.

Shelf space aside, this isn’t a bad problem to have really, is it?


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