Sunday, April 24, 2005
The Claws of Axos
The latest WHO DVD from the BBC is a favourite story of mine: The Claws of Axos, first transmitted in 1971. The DVD is as usual packed with extra goodies. This time there's a tremendous selection of material from a studio tape from the story (this is the material recorded by the cameras in the studio, unedited and with all the retakes and so on intact. This footage is presented with optional captions which explain what is going on, and these are really helpful in understanding and appreciating the reasons for retakes and so on. We get to see a variety of goofs and fluffs, and also the recording of various different parts of the story. Of particular interest is the sequence in the UNIT lorry where the driver is hypnotised by the Master ... recorded in a studio and faked to look like it's all in the lorry ... very effective it is too. There's a mini-documentary about the locations, which is impressive for the time and effort that the makers have gone to in order to duplicate exact camera angles and pans so that the picture can be faded from the original footage to the location today ... very impressive indeed. The tapes of The Claws of Axos were recovered from America and so had to be converted from NTSC back to PAL in order to release them, and there's a very technical documentary about Reverse Standards Conversion here which explains all the gubbins which goes into the process and what they did. The results speak for themselves and the split-screen sections showing the normal conversions verses the RSC conversions highlight the superb quality of the DVD presentation. Unfortunately this little documentary goes a little insane at the end and starts going on about aliens and the like, rather spoiling the technical nature of the rest of it. Interesting too that the man who pioneered Standards Conversion from PAL to NTSC in the first place was a Mr Axon ... The photo gallery contains numerous new shots and is accompanied by some great background and sound effects from the story. There's even a piece with the director, Michael Ferguson, on the story and it's always nice to see the behind the scenes people talking about their work. Oh, the DVD even includes the actual story as well ... so you can watch four episodes of Pertwee mastery at your leisure.