Review: 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Doctor Who Soundtrack!

I ordered this way back in April; as you may remember, Silva Screen did a limited-edition 50th Anniversary soundtrack set, but you had to pre-order it, as they would make exactly as many copies as they received orders for.  And if you ordered the TARDIS box set, you’d have to wait extra long, as they were having the actual cabinets built in China.  They’ve done a great job of periodically updating on the thing’s status, even occasionally reporting on where the ship was that was carrying the cabinets, and today I was ecstatic to see a package from them on my doorstep!

It was bigger than I was expecting, and satisfyingly solid:

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The contents were very well packed inside a form-fitting styrofoam insert in, fittingly enough, TARDIS blue:

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Ah, the TARDIS!  Complete with the St John’s Ambulance medallion.  I took it out, removed the tidy plastic binder holding it together inside the foam, and opened the doors:

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If you look closely, you can see the light on top has lit up!  It flashes blue when you open the doors, and plays the TARDIS dematerialization sound effect.  It does this if you open only one door, the other door, or both doors, as each has its own switch.  The doors are also held in place with a discreet magnet so they won’t flop open if you pick it up a little unwisely.  And as the sound plays *continuously* whenever the doors are open, I was also pleased to discover that there is a switch at the back to turn it off.

Next, I slid the set of disks out of the cabinet.  They fit very snugly, with a little lip at the bottom to further guard against them accidentally tipping out.  This is really a very solid, and well-built cabinet.  But next we need to examine the contents; after all, with a TARDIS it is overwhelmingly true that it’s what’s inside that counts!

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There’s one for each Doctor up through Matt Smith (not counting John Hurt, who had not yet appeared at this time this set was planned, and not counting “extra” Doctors of course, like Peter Cushing and so forth).  Each disk has a lovely case, DVD-height rather than CD-height, with the Doctor’s portrait and a picture on the front showcasing highlights of their era.  As you can see above, their spines form a joint picture as well.  There’s also a slim book that you can just see to the right of Matt Smith, discussing the history of music and audio on the series, and with the complete track listing for each CD.  Each CD’s case lists the episodes they cover, but alas does not include a track listing; you have to open up the book for that.  But gosh, they do look nice all spread out:

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So far, I’ve listened to the first disk.  I will enjoy the others over the coming days, but that first one is a magnificent display of Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonics Workshop.  When distracted by the events on screen, one does get somewhat distracted from the eerie atmospheric score — or rather, one forgets about it because it is so effective at adding color that it becomes just part of the overall experience.  Heard in isolation, like this, you really get to appreciate it properly, and this is a real treat.

It’s a pity this set is not available any more, unless you are lucky enough to find a fan willing to part with theirs already.  But hopefully the response was enough to inspire Silva Screen to consider doing more releases of the really old “Doctor Who” music, because this is a lot of fun!

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6 Comments

Filed under Doctor Who

6 responses to “Review: 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Doctor Who Soundtrack!

  1. Tim

    It’s kinda small. Huuh. Reverse dimensionally transendental. How quaint.

  2. Good to read – still awaiting my copy as Silva Screen is negotiating with the Post Office on a misunderstanding over postage.

    I missed out on the initial order window, but asked Silva Screen to put my name on the list if any orders were cancelled. I didn’t expect to hear anything back but was pleasantly surprised a few weeks back when they invited me to purchase an edition. Looking forward to discovering the secrets of this musical box…

    • Oh, I hope it get sorted out quickly for you! It’s well worth the wait. 😉 I’m very glad they were able to make it work for you! I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Silva Screen.

  3. Totally random to comment on this post nearly two years later, but I just managed to snag myself one of these sets and I’m beyond excited! I bid on one through eBay and discovered after I won (for a great Buy It Now price, no less) that Silva were actually the ones selling it. They said shipping would be fairly expensive, but I just happened to be in London this month and they agreed to hold it for me, so I picked it up from them earlier this week. Like you I was a bit surprised at the size and weight of the thing, but it’s a gorgeous set. As spiddly said above, they had some people who either backed out of their pre-orders or never followed through when they were built, but their loss is my gain because the one I got is brand-new in the original packaging (including the TARDIS-blue foam) and I couldn’t be happier. Now that I’m home, I’ve started listening to it and I totally agree with your assessment – the music gets overlooked because it blends in so well, so hearing it on its on is really amazing and makes you realize what an outstanding job all the composers did.

    • Oh, I’m so glad it’s still possible (just) to find these sets! They’re really fantastic. Silva has done amazing releases for a long time, but this one is definitely something special. Congrats on snagging one!

      • Yeah, I really lucked out on finding this one! I just looked on eBay again a couple days ago and saw another one listed by someone else, but it was $1200! No thanks. 🙂 I’ve now listened to the first five discs and they really are awesome. Looking forward to the rest!

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