- You may be looking for the short story.
Sets were released in the UK as "Doctor Who: The Collection" followed by the season number. Each set comes in identical cardboard packaging, with artwork displaying the Doctor superimposed by villains from the season on the front and a notable moment from the season on the back. The spine of each box featured clean artwork of the Doctor's face from the cover (except season 23, where due to an oversight the villains were added by mistake, and season 8, where the Master is visible), the Blu-ray, BBC and Doctor Who logos, the words "The Collection", the season number and another BBC logo at the bottom.
Opening the box reveals the discs, which each have an image featuring characters from the specific story, and are stored in a flippable disc tray stuck to the right side of the interior. Behind the disc tray is an image of the face of the relevant Doctor, which can be seen by removing the last disc.
On the left side of the box interior, there is an openable card case, which is sealed with plastic Velcro and opens horizontally. The front of this case features artwork with the TARDIS, taken from a memorable or significant moment from the season. Behind this cover is another piece of artwork, with the type of artwork varying from season to season. Some seasons, such as 12 and 19, used a montage of the main characters from the season. Usually though, they featured another memorable or significant moment from the season. This artwork is on two flaps, which open out vertically. Stored underneath is a booklet, which featured the same artwork as the vertical flaps. This booklet contained an introduction to the season, lists of special features and a detailed article on each story, along with various images. This booklet is tucked in front of a small diorama of the TARDIS console room from the season.
The box has a cardboard wrap, called a J-card, which helps protect the box from wear and tear. The back of the J-card is the same height as the box, while the front and sides are about a quarter of the height. The back of the J-card features a description of the season, a list of new special features and technical specifications. The J-card can be removed and optionally discarded, revealing the cover unencumbered by branding, logos or text. The spine of the J-card features the season number, the BBFC age rating and the BBC logo.
Due to authoring errors, replacement discs were made available for seasons 12 and 18 to correct audio mixing issues. Reissues of these sets included the replacement discs.
In Australia, the logo and cover text were reduced in size to accommodate the Australian age rating on the front cover. The Season 12 and 19 releases matched that of the UK release, minus the J-card, which was slightly different. Subsequent releases, starting with season 18, were put out in a slipcase style, with a grey sleeve replacing the interior card case, resulting in a loss of several pieces of artwork.
In the US, the sets were numbered based on the actor playing the Doctor - for example, season 12 was released in the US as "Doctor Who: Tom Baker Complete Season One". These sets come in standard Blu-ray packaging, resulting in varied widths depending on the number of discs when compared to the uniform width of the UK packaging. The discs were slightly different all simply showing the cover art instead of individualised art per disc, and with a small number of special features absent due to rights issues. Seasons 12, 19 and 18 were originally released with card slipcases, however no slipcase was included with the release of season 10 onward, and reissues of seasons 12, 19 and 18 also did not include slipcases. No booklets or additional physical materials were included with the US release, with the exception of a single double-sided paper listing the special features on each disc included in Seasons 12 and 18.
Similar to the classic series DVD range in the US, cover art for the US releases was not always consistent - the font size for the actor's name on the cover and spine has been shown at various sizes, becoming noticeably smaller following the release of season 26 (Sylvester McCoy's name being the longest of the classic series actors to play the Doctor, requiring a reduction in font size that was not changed back for later releases). The Doctor Who logo has been shown at differing sizes, and the back cover text is seldom uniform. While UK releases typically show the Doctor without the enemies that appear in the season, US sets simply crop the existing cover art.
For Season 10, Jon Pertwee's face was reversed on the US cover - when the set was initially announced in the UK and the cover art revealed, someone on Twitter asked cover artist Lee Binding if he'd noticed Pertwee's face was reversed. Binding had not, and corrected the issue for the UK and Australian sets. However, the US version of the set did not use the corrected artwork, resulting in Pertwee's face remaining flipped on the front cover.
As with the UK releases, disc replacements were made available for seasons 12 and 18, and reissues included the replacement discs.
Each set contains every serial from the season in question, along with all previous bonus content produced for the DVD range - these specials, like the show itself, are upscaled. Additionally, new features such as Behind the Sofa are produced in HD, and where possible previously unreleased versions of serials, such as the omnibus edition of Genesis of the Daleks, are included as well.
In some cases, visual effects have been improved - improved exterior shots of the Pharos Project were used to replace models in some instances, including brand-new location shots filmed using drones. As with such improvements on the DVD range these changes are optional, and can be enabled or disabled at will. Serials have also been remixed in 5.1 surround where possible.
Starting with season 19, the second set released in the collection, BBC Video began producing short videos promoting the upcoming release. This initially began with a tongue-in-cheek airline safety video presented by Tegan Jovanka, and eventually evolved into videos such as Jo Grant Returns and Ace Returns, which depict present-day adventures with the characters that hark back to the adventures contained in the sets they were produced to market.
In the US, the release of Tom Baker - Complete Season One was marked with a screening of the aforementioned omnibus edition of Genesis of the Daleks in theatres across the country. The release of Tom Baker - Complete Season Seven was similarly promoted with an omnibus screening of Logopolis, demonstrating the revised visual effects. Both screenings featured exclusive bonus content after the showing, and were organised by Fathom Events in partnership with BBC Studios.
Release & reception
In the UK, Collection releases would sell out almost immediately, resulting in a high resale value. Season 12 was reissued, with near identical packaging and contents (the only changes being that the set was marked as a second edition on the bottom of the j-card and slightly altered artwork on the spine), in 2020. This too sold out incredibly quickly.
Sets would also sell out quickly in Australia, where, beginning with season 18, standard slipcase-packaged versions were released alongside the specially-packaged versions. As sets were more readily available in the US and were often more affordable, collectors who missed the chance to buy in the UK and Australia often resorted to importing their sets from the US. After the UK sets had sold out, both Amazon UK and Amazon Australia listed the US sets more readily.
In 2021, the BBC announced reissues of seasons 12 and 19 in simpler packaging with a standard slipcase. These reissues included a "condensed" booklet and the same disc content (although a typo in the end credits of Meglos was corrected on the Season 18 set), and were released on 31 May. They later announced similar reissues for seasons 10 and 18, scheduled for release slightly over a month later on 5 July. According to the BBC, the plan was to continue to release the specially-packaged editions, but to rebrand them as "Doctor Who: The Collection Limited Edition Packaging". This branding is already visible on the Amazon UK product listing for Season 8.
|Season||Limited Edition UK release date||Slimpack UK release date||US release date||AUS release date||Webcast promo|
|Season 12||2 July 2018||31 May 2021||19 June 2018||1 August 2018||None|
|Season 19||10 December 2018||31 May 2021||4 December 2018||23 January 2019||The Season 19 Safety Video with Tegan Jovanka|
|Season 18||18 March 2019||5 July 2021||19 March 2019||17 April 2019||Season 18 Announcement Trailer|
|Season 10||8 July 2019||5 July 2021||15 October 2019||13 November 2019||Jo Grant Returns|
|Season 23||7 October 2019||TBA||3 December 2019||4 December 2019||The Sixth Doctor is on trial AGAIN!|
|Season 26||27 January 2020||TBA||24 March 2020||11 March 2020||Ace Returns!|
|Season 14||4 May 2020||TBA||4 August 2020||15 July 2020||The Home Assistants of Death?!|
|Season 8||8 March 2021||TBA||1 June 2021||26 May 2021||Jo Grant vs the Autons... Again?!|
|Season 24||28 June 2021||TBA||21 September 2021||25 August 2021||24 Carat|