More Than
30 Years in the TARDIS

Synopsis: An updated version of the 30th anniversary documentary.


A celebration of the series by Tim Roll-Pickering 10/3/03

Before The Five Doctors - Special Edition came along, producer/director Kevin Davies put together this substantially re-editec and enhanced version of 30 Years in the TARDIS which had formed a part of the 30th anniversary celebrations on television. This different version provided a strong incentive for purchasing it barely a year after the broadcast as well as containing many gems. Before the DVDs began (and given their current rate of release probably for many years to come) this video contains numerous gems such as outtakes, behind the scenes footage, spoofs, adverts capitalising on Doctor Who, trailers for the 1960s Dalek movies, contemporary interviews, Blue Peter items and so much more. There are clips aplenty from the series but few seem in any way out of place as they often serve to adequately explain the point being made. Then there are the new material recorded such as the Daleks gliding over Westminster Bridge, the Cybermen returning to the steps of St. Paul's, Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred searching for each other in an underground location and encountering some old monsters, Jon Pertwee driving the 'Whomobile' and encountering a dinosaur or Elisabeth Sladen and her daughter searching a house and encountering a Sontaran. Throughout the entire 90 minutes the documentary never once lets up or feels tired and that's no bad thing.

There is a clear structure as shown by the titles of the individual episodes: 'Doctor Who and the Daleks', 'Monsters and Companions' and 'Laughter and Tears behind the scenes'. The only place in which this structure falls down slightly comes with the discussion of the three 1980s Doctors coming towards the end rather than in the first section. Otherwise everything comes in the right place. A lot of the new material features Josh Maguire as 'The Boy', representing a young viewer getting caught up in his imagination like many a fan over the years, although the ending shows how things are never quite what they seem...

The only other disappointment comes with the closing credits. Using a single about the series by one of the cast may seem like a good idea, but it just shows how such a single should always be treated wearily. Fortunately Jon Pertwee doesn't actually sing, but 'I am... The Doctor' is utterly dire. However the behind the scenes shots are a wonder to behold.

Compared to the transmitted version, More than 30 years in the TARDIS is far superior, not only due to the length and additional material but it also feels as though a lot more care has been put into it by fans of the series. Some material has been dropped such as Ben Arronovitch's comments about what he would do for the last ever Doctor Who story, but this helps to give a more upbeat look at the series. The brief interview with Alan Yentob is included at the end where he is asked about the then-rumours that the BBC was negotiating with Stephen Spielberg over a new series but he gives away very little. However it does at least show how difficult it is to quash rumours given the very different priorities of the BBC management and fans.

Above all More than 30 Years in the TARDIS is an excellent celebration of the series that manages to do so much in such a short amount of time. With DVDs of the series now being released a lot of the interviews and other extras might pop up on the discs but this documentary does so well in showing all these things. Definitely recommended. 10/10