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TME > Video > Commercial Releases

The Keeper of Traken
Traken - a planet ruled by the all-powerful Keeper, who rules for a thousand years and ensures that his subjects live a life of tranquility and harmony, free from the forces of evil and corruption. But the Keeper is dying... Summoned by the ailing Keeper, the Doctor and Adric discover that all is not well on Traken. An evil presence threatens the future of the planet. An evil that knows all about the Doctor...

-- from the DVD release, 2007

The beginning of the end for Tom's era saw the return of a familiar face, and obvious fodder for a DVD release in the year the Master returned to our screens...

Episode timings on DVD: 24'05", 24'52", 23'49", 25'31"
Episode timings on PasC: 24'05", 24'50", 23'49", 25'11"


VHS releases

07/06/1993: UK - BBC Enterprises, Ltd - BBCV4973
03/09/1993: Aus/NZ - PolyGram - BBC49732 [not pictured]
??/??/1994: US - CBS/FOX - 5944 [renumbered as E1199 by WHV in 2000]

Cover by Andrew Skilleter.

DVD releases

29/01/2007: UK - 2entertain - BBCDVD1331(A)
05/06/2007: US - Warner Home Video - E4010
??/??/2007: Aus - Roadshow - Cat# unknown [not pictured]

Cover by Clayton Hickman for UK/Aus.

UK and Aus releases formed part of New Beginnings (BBCDVD1331, Aus cat# unknown). US release formed part of New Beginnings (cat# unknown) and an individual release on the same day. Some UK stores displayed a single-disc "display case" rather than the full box set on their shelves (see image right).

DVD Bonus features

The Return of the Master (14'16")
Christopher H Bidmead recalls the decision to bring the Master back, Geoffrey Beevers remembers how he came to be cast (and director John Black on why he cast him) and how fun it was to portray him in a decaying body. He also discusses matching Peter Pratt's performance, and his work as The Melkur.
Camera: Une Herzer
Sound: Angus Anderson
Additional Music: Roger Limb & Dudley Simpson, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Produced by Paul Vanezis 2entertain (c) 2007
Being Nice to Each Other (30'03")
  • Christopher H Bidmead reminds us that Doctor Who wasn't science fiction in the strictest sense of the word and Johnny Byrne that the production office felt very upbeat for this brief period.
  • Byrne talks about how he came onto the show and his history of watching the show. He explains his original idea and how it became The Keeper of Traken.
  • Bidmead explains how Tom Baker's decision to leave folded into the plans for Traken and how the Master was crowbarred in at the last minute, with very little input from Byrne.
  • John Black on how much he enjoyed working on Doctor Who, and his work developing the look of the serial. Sarah Sutton describes her costume as "beautiful" and Sheila Ruskin remembers hers with pleasure.
  • Black discusses the large number of actors involved and the casting difficulties that caused.
  • Beevers and Black discuss the former's voice and how he worked in rehearsals, Ruskin discusses being evil and Black covers the casting of Ainley. Bidmead complains about Tremas' name.
  • Sutton explains how she came to be cast while Byrne, Ruskin and Black discuss some of the more difficult parts of the storyline to shoot.
  • Black and Sutton on working with Tom Baker.

Featuring Geoffrey Beevers, John Black, Christopher H Bidmead, Johnny Byrne, Sheila Ruskin, Sarah Sutton
Narrator: George Williams
Camera: Une Herzer
Sound: Angus Anderson
Colourist: Jonathan Wood
With thanks to Derek Handley, Richard Molesworth, Paul Reeks, Jan Vincent-Rudzki, Doctor Who Magazine
Produced by Paul Vanezis
Produced and Directed by Stever Broster 2entertain (c) 2007

Trails and Continuities

Photo Gallery (8'20")
99 colour and b/w photos from the making of this story.
With thanks to BBC Photographic Library, Derek Handley
2entertain (c) 2006

Information Text

Doctor Who Annual, Radio Times Listings, Season 18 Overseas Brochure
PDF features

By Anthony Ainley, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton and Johnny Byrne. This was fortunately recorded sometime prior to the DVD release, by which time Ainley had passed away.

Isolated Music

The full score for this serial.

Restoration Notes

Compared to its setmates Logopolis and Castrovalva, this story had a relatively easy cleanup process, with some dropouts manually painted out and some video and audio jumps smoothed over during the TARDIS demateralisation and other cuts.


26/04/1993 - Passed as 'PG' by the BBFC for the UK
05/07/1993 - Passed as 'PG' [Low Level Violence] by the OFLC for Aus/NZ
06/12/1996 - Menus passed as 'U' by the BBFC for the UK

Note that in November the BBFC passed the bonus features for Castrovalva and Logopolis, but left no record of the extras from Traken in their database. Similarly, the OFLC does not appear to have classified the same bonuses.

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