Friday, 20 January 2012

The UNIT Files: The Android Invasion: Extras. Review by James Hadwen

The risk with box sets, where there’s not a strong link between the stories, is that the extra material is going to end up feeling rather samey. Thankfully “The UNIT Files” manages to avoid this trap and the extra material is sufficiently different on the two stories to make the material on “The Android Invasion” seem quite special, whereas if it had been a solo release there might have been comments about it being a bit lightweight.

The main feature, The Village that Came to Life, is the compulsory making of documentary. Fronted by Nicholas Briggs it comes across almost as an apology for the story. Very few people pull punches about the production and many of its flaws being highlighted and discussed in detail. It starts more as a Terry Nation based documentary but they soon get around to talking to the cast and crew of the story and Nicholas Briggs spends a fair amount of time wandering around the locations which means this also, effectively, doubles as a “Then and Now” feature as well.

Philip Hinchcliffe gets a feature to himself and this, to me, was far more interesting than the making of one as I knew very little about his career after Doctor Who and the documentary shows just how much he really has done and the range of productions he’s been involved in. It also has the “gimmick” that the interviewer is his own daughter... charming, fascinating and compulsive viewing. To complete the disk there’s also the rather random “Weetabix” advert and a PDF of the Weetabix promotions of the era. Nothing really to do with the story but a curio nevertheless.

It’s a set of extras that go for the interest angle rather than the detailed information one and it’s probably all the better for it. The story might not be high on everyone’s list of favourites but I challenge you not to be won over by the disk as a whole.

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