BBC Worldwide, formerly BBC Enterprises (until 1995) was the commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation from its foundation in 1979 until 2018, when it was absorbed into BBC Studios.
History[edit | edit source]
BBC Video[edit | edit source]
BBC Video began its life as division of BBC Enterprises, the forerunner to BBC Worldwide. It was tasked with releasing Doctor Who onto home video cassette. Fans attending the 1983 Longleat convention were polled to determine the first title to be released. The Tomb of the Cybermen topped the poll, but, as that story would not be recovered till 1992, BBC Video elected to release another Cybermen adventure instead. Thus, Revenge of the Cybermen became the first Doctor Who adventure released to home video.
While The Five Doctors had an illustrated cover, the releases up to and including 1989 were primarily photographic in nature. During the 1980s the stories released were also edited into a movie-length format (similar to the version of the series usually aired by the Public Broadcasting Service in the US at the time), and sometimes contained other minor cuts. For instance, until the late 1990s, the early William Hartnell stories would also be edited to remove the "Next Episode" captions that led into the next episode. Carnival of Monsters was accidentally released with the 1981 edit instead of the unedited 1973 version and the episodic version of Death to the Daleks released in 1995 was also slightly edited. These edits prompted complaints from fans.
BBC Video ceased its VHS releases of Doctor Who in 2003, by which time the series' release to DVD had been underway for four years. In total, the division spent twenty years releasing Doctor Who on VHS.
2|entertain[edit | edit source]
In the earliest years of the 21st century, the BBC were looking for a partnership to allow them to release their video content, whilst reducing their overhead and providing a legal liability shield. Accordingly, they approached the retail distribution giant Woolworths to create 2|entertain. In the terms of the original 2004 incorporation, 2|entertain was a 60/40 partnership between BBC Video and Woolworths. The largest division of the 2|entertain Group became 2|entertain Video, which in turn was created by the merger of Video Collection International — then controlled by Woolworth — and BBC Video. As part of the terms of the merger, BBC Worldwide — BBC Video's parent — achieved the controlling stake in 2|entertain Video. BBC Video nominally retained its corporate identity as a division within 2|entertain Video.
The larger 2|entertain Group was also instrumental in the creation of original documentaries released as special features on DVDs. Indeed, one of the most obvious indications of a "2|entertain Doctor Who DVD" versus a "BBC Video Doctor Who DVD" is the presence of significantly greater numbers of documentaries and other special features.
In 2008, however, Woolworths entered bankruptcy administration, threatening the stability of the partnership. BBC Worldwide began to bid aggressively for its junior partner's stake in the company. After some eighteen months, Worldwide reached an agreement with Woolworth and 2|entertain in March 2010. It became the full owner of 2|entertain.
In February 2012 it was announced that BBC Worldwide had fully integrated 2|entertain into its consumer products division. It was stated by BBC Worldwide that the 2|entertain logo would no longer appear on DVDs and a new logo would be shown on the Doctor Who DVDs. In the UK the Doctor Who DVD covers would continue to be reversible featuring the "old" BBC logo on the spine of the covers to match the BBC's earlier DVD releases. 
Marketing[edit | edit source]
During 2|entertain's period as the publisher of DVDs it played a major role in the production of home video; a BBC logo has nevertheless remained dominant on Doctor Who universe home video packaging since the earliest VHS days. The BBC Video logo appeared on all VHS releases. However, different BBC branding has appeared on Region 1 and Region 2 DVD packaging, underscoring a difference in the precise arm of the BBC handling domestic and international releases.
Region 2[edit | edit source]
"BBC DVD"' has been the brand identity seen on BBC Video DVDs released in Region 2 since the 2004 creation of 2|entertain Video. The first DVD to receive this branding was The Visitation. Prior to this release, the BBC's Region 2 DVDs went out under a simple BBC logo. The mark has never been used on Region 1 or Region 4 DVDs.
Region 1[edit | edit source]
Though it disappeared from Region 2 packaging with the end of the VHS line, the BBC Video logo remained a fixture of all Region 1 DVD releases of Whoniverse-related shows — and indeed all North American BBC releases — until it was replaced with a simple purple BBC logo in the early 2010s. As of 2017[update], the purple logo is still in use.
Production[edit | edit source]
Restoration[edit | edit source]
Beginning with the March 1992 release of Terror of the Autons, BBC Video formed an alliance with the independent Doctor Who Restoration Team. The Team were at first focused on the singular goal of restoring colour to certain episodes of the Jon Pertwee era which had come to exist only in their monochromatic form in the BBC Archives. After successfully restoring Autons, The Dæmons, and Doctor Who and the Silurians, the Team turned their attention to other ways in which they could improve the master tapes within the BBC Archives. These improvement projects — which ranged from offering a slightly extended cut of Battlefield to wide-ranging cleanup of most black-and-white episodes to the insertion of updated special effects shots — were commissioned by BBC Video. The relationship between BBC Video and the Restoration Team continued after BBC Video began releasing DVD versions of its stories.
With the advent of 2|entertain, the Restoration Team continued to be contracted for each new DVD release of the 1963 version of Doctor Who. It is now generally expected by fans that each new DVD release will offer a "better" copy of the adventure than when originally aired. Even episodes which were substantially restored for VHS release typically undergo a further "cleaning" when re-released on DVD. 2|entertain have also been a bit more aggressive about the inclusion of new special effects shots provided by the Restoration Team. Even Earthbound stories like The Time Warrior have been allowed a budget for special effects enhancements by 2|entertain.
So far, in all cases where new effects have been created for a story — for example, The Ark in Space, which had new computer-generated shots of Nerva Beacon created — viewers have been given the option of watching the story with these enhanced effects, or with the original effects.
New material[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Documentary
Bonus material has been included on every Doctor Who DVD, even if just audio commentary and an "info text" subtitle track. These features were a part of BBC Video's budgets, and continue to be a part of 2|entertain Video's plans for the Doctor Who line. 2|entertain, however, have arguably been more aggressive in their pursuit of bonus material. Since 2004, almost every serial's DVD release has contained at least one newly-produced documentary. It is usual for this documentary to be a short film which explains the making of that particular serial. However, many DVDs released by 2|entertain have included additional material, perhaps giving an overview of a companion's tenure on the show, or a species' various appearances. With the releases of The Time Meddler, Black Orchid, Delta and the Bannermen and The War Games, 2|entertain have embarked on a 9-part documentary detailing the history of Doctor Who comics. Sometimes, explanations of particular aspects of production, such as set design or musical scoring, are included.
Nevertheless there have been a few serials released by 2|entertain which have not included an original documentary, such as Four to Doomsday. There was also the case of Planet of Fire in which, due to licensing issues, the Region 1 release of the story omitted the documentary included in the UK original.
Later years[edit | edit source]
By the end of 2015, all surviving/recovered episodes from the 1963-89 series had been released by BBC Video/2|entertain in the DVD format. There had also been one special release in the higher-resolution Blu-ray format of Spearhead from Space, which was made possible due to its unique nature of having been completely shot on film. A Blu-ray release of the 1996 TV movie has also been discussed. Due to the video/film hybrid nature of the Classic Era series, Blu-ray release of the remaining stories is, at present, considered impossible.
In October 2009, Steve Roberts of the Doctor Who Restoration Team indicated that DVD-format releases of the classic series were expected to continue until at least November 2013, indicating there were no immediate plans for the format to be retired. Blu-ray players are, at present, backwards-compatible with DVD, though picture and sound quality varies depending on the type of television used. This made it less urgent that Blu-ray versions of the classic series be issued. Ultimately, most major releases were completed by the end of the 50th anniversary year, however due to the post-2009 recovery of a number of lost episodes (including the entirety of The Enemy of the World, most of The Web of Fear, and other individual episodes, new issues in DVD continued into 2015, with the final release (barring any future episode recoveries) being The Underwater Menace.
BBC Video moved into Blu-ray editions of Torchwood have been available for several years, however, and beginning with Planet of the Dead, new-series Doctor Who stories were released in both Blu-ray and DVD formats.
Releases[edit | edit source]
VHS[edit | edit source]
- See main article: List of BBC VHS releases
DVD[edit | edit source]
- See main article: List of BBC DVD releases
Blu-ray[edit | edit source]
- See main article: List of BBC Blu-ray releases
Divisions of BBC Worldwide[edit | edit source]
- BBC Audio
- BBC Books
- BBC Children's Books
- BBC DVD
- BBC Magazines
- BBC Radio
- BBC Television
- BBC Video (1983-2003)
[edit | edit source]
- Official website
- The Classic Doctor Who YouTube channel
- Twitter - Classic Doctor Who - Official Classic DOCTOR WHO tweets from BBC Worldwide