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BBC Worldwide

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This article is written from a real world point of view

BBC Worldwide, formerly BBC Enterprises, is the commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

History

BBC Video

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

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 VCI Video — 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.

2Entertain

One of the 2|entertain logos.

From 2004 to 2012 2|entertain released Doctor Who DVDs worldwide. They also handled the releases of Torchwood, K9 and Company, and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

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.[1]

2-entertain

Another one of the 2|entertain logos.

In February 2012 it was announced that BBC Worldwide has 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. [2][3]

Marketing

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

"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

Though it disappeared from Region 2 packaging with the end of the VHS line, the BBC Video logo remains a fixture of all Region 1 DVD releases of Whoniverse-related shows — and indeed all North American BBC releases — as of 2010. Thus all Region 1 home videos, regardless of format, have always gone out under the BBC Video logo in North America.

Production

Restoration

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

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 7-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.

Future

As of June 2012, the majority of episodes available from the 1963-89 series had been released by BBC Video/2|entertain in the DVD format, which by this time was slowly being supplanted by the higher-resolution Blu-ray format (a format that will require classic-series episodes to undergo further extensive restoration and remastering in order to be acceptable for release). In October 2009, Steve Roberts of the Doctor Who Restoration Team indicated that DVD-format releases of the classic series are expected to continue until at least November 2013, indicating there are 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 has made it less urgent that Blu-ray versions of the classic series be issued. Blu-ray editions of Torchwood have been available for several years, however, and beginning with Planet of the Dead, new-series Doctor Who stories are being released in both Blu-ray and DVD formats.

Releases

VHS

See main article: List of BBC VHS releases

DVD

See main article: List of BBC DVD releases

Blu-ray

See main article: List of BBC Blu-ray releases

Divisions of BBC Worldwide

External links

Footnotes

  1. BBC press announcement 4 March 2010.
  2. Classic Doctor Who DVDs. Twitter - @classicdw (10 Feb 2012). Retrieved on 21 Feburary 2012.
  3. Chuck Foster (10 Feburary 2012). UK DVDs - a change of identity. Doctor Who News. Retrieved on 21 February 2012.

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