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Arthur Hillard
Melbourne Australia

First issued on DVD around 2000. EDGE OF DARKNESS drew much criticism for a poor transfer, lack of extras and bewildering episode navigation. So here we are a year or so later with a chance to make amends with a reissue.

Well, this reissue is better than the original DVD release, but that's not saying much. The transfer is slightly better, but it seems to have been taken from the same grainy tapes used for the original DVD. Knowing the respect the BBC have for their archives, they either misplaced the actual master tapes and resorted to using a backup copy, or found them lying under somebody's dusty desk at the last minute. It seems to be another case of "sorry about the last minute delivery of the tapes chaps, just make sure the work experience boy has them ready for the shops by the end of the week". Dropouts, dirt, scratches and contrast problems plague the transfer throughout.

There are some nice menus and it's much easier to find the start of part 2 this time around (always a bonus when viewers don't actually have to struggle to actually find large chunks of the film they're watching). It's the same 2 part compilation available on all the other releases, broken down into chapters along the lines of the original 6 part series (no, the original opening and closing titles for each episode are sadly not included).

The only real things new here are some fascinating background articles and script excerpts, extras that are not nearly enough to justisfy the cost of replacing your original DVDs or even your well worn VHS tapes.

If you don't already have a copy of EDGE OF DARKNESS then this is, sadly, probably the best version available. Vague rumours of a comprehensive remastering project by the fantastic Doctor Who resoration team continue without any official confirmation. It'll be interesting to see if such a project appears to tie in with the forthcoming Hollywood remake, or whether the groundbreaking original is quietly swept under the carpet.

EDGE OF DARKNESS was a series that showed painstaking and imaginative attention to detail when it was first aired, sadly such attention has not been levelled at it since, in fact even a basic level of professional competence seems beyond the grasp of anybody attempting to reissue it. It may simply be apathy, or it may be that the series was of such high quality, and so politically sensitive at the time, that it shames the unimaginative current BBC management so much that nobody wants to get their hands burnt touching it again.

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