Doctor Who : Complete BBC Series 4 [2008] [DVD]

Kicking off with a jam-packed Christmas special and ending with a blockbuster extended closing instalment, Doctor Who?s fourth series since it was revived is a breathless, exciting one, that also boasts some exceptional episodes.

You get fourteen episodes for your money here, and the ones in particular to watch out for are the outstanding Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead double header, the almost single-location creepfest that is Midnight, and the trio of Turn Left, The Stolen Earth and Journey?s End that round off the series. In the midst of those is also one of the very best cliffhangers that Doctor Who has ever employed in its long and glorious history.

This is also the series of Doctor Who that introduces Catherine Tate as full-time companion Donna Noble, working alongside David Tennant?s Doctor across time and space. And it?s–against initial expectations–arguably the best combination since the show returned. Here, there?s no hint of romance between the pair, as they instead knuckle down to business, occasionally helped by the likes of Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).

Let?s not forget too the collection of monsters we meet this time round. The daleks and Davros are the main attractions in Doctor Who Series 4, while the return of the Sontarans proves to be a bit of a disappointment. But, after viewing the series, chances are you?ll be counting shadows around you, and wary of getting on the wrong side of the Ood.

As with most series of Doctor Who, there are one or two bumpy episodes and missteps, but this is still unmatched at what it does, and finds the show in even more confident form than last time round. That, along with the immense rewatch value, is what makes this terrific piece of family entertainment such a compelling buy. —Simon Brew