TV & Radio
Blu-ray review: Doctor Who - The Complete Fourth Series
(BBC/Roadshow Entertainment, PG)
Last Christmas Peter Capaldi became the latest actor to play the Doctor.
His few seconds in the role at the end of The Time of the Doctor will have been watched and rewatched by fans the world over who are curious to know what he will make of the job.
While we will have to wait until August to see the new Doctor join Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) on her adventures in time and space a less than subtle clue to Capaldi's abilities appear in the fourth series of Doctor Who episode The Fires of Pompeii recently released on high definition Blu-ray for the first time.
Back in 2008 David Tennant was the tenth Doctor, Catherine Tate his third companion Donna Noble, and Capaldi the Roman trader whose home the Tardis ended up in ahead of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The Fires of Pompeii was a fan favourite long before Capaldi was cast as the Doctor, for all its intrigue and drama, but now you have to wonder whether show runner will find some way of working Fires of Pompeii into the new Doctor's back story. Perhaps we'll see, later in the year, a story which sends the new Doctor back in time to spy on himself when he was gallivanting around space and time with Donna.
The best thing about Doctor Who is that no time, place or genre is off limits. Never has that been more obvious than in the fourth series.
It starts with the Christmas special Voyage of the Damned, a remake of Titanic in space with Kylie Minogue as the Doctor's companion after Martha Jones walked out on him last series.
Somehow it manages to be very daft while tugging at the heart strings.
Partners In Crime, the season opener, is a lightweight comedy episode which sees the Doctor and Donna cross paths for the first time in more than a year as they investigate the effects of a wonder drug for slimmers. Donna was first seen in the previous Christmas special The Runaway Bride.
It's no laughing matter when Blackadder veteran Tim McInnery appears in Planet of the Ood, Doctor Who's own futuristic take on slavery and it's ugly.
Then it's back to present day Earth for The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky two parter which sees an old foes of the Doctor's return. The potato headed Sontarans plan to poison the planet and claim it as their own for the glory of the Sontaran Empire.
The Doctor's Daughter's behind the scenes story is more unbelievable than what transpires on screen. Georgia Moffett, who played the Doctor's daughter in this story, is the daughter of fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison. She went on to marry Tennant in 2011.
While we're talking family Tennant's father, Sandy McDonald, appears as a waiter in The Unicorn and the Wasp. It's a whodunit which cleverly tells the story of the circumstances that led up to crime writer Agatha Christie's disappearance.
The Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead two parter is clever old Moffat at his best. In it he introduces Professor River Song's (Alex Kingston) first and last story. Yet we will see Matt Smith's Doctor marry the professor in years to come!
Davison also returns as the Doctor in this boxed set in the Children in Need skit Timecrash.
Midnight is known in fandom as another of Doctor Who's greatest moments, as the Doctor struggles to make the passengers of a doomed transport listen to him.
Turn Left explores an alternative universe in which Donna never met the Doctor and it's bleak for her and all of human kind.
The dastardly Daleks return for the season finale, along with many of new Who's past companions, for the two parter The Stolen Earth/Journey's End. It's heart breaking as Donna's journeys with the Doctor comes to an end.
Tate's performance as Donna makes her one of the best companions the Doctor has ever had. She's not interested in a relationship with him, just good clean fun as she travels the time vortex with her mate, and at times in this series she almost equals the Doctor.
Extras include the behind the scenes series Doctor Who Confidential, Tennant's video diaries, teasers and trailers.