The distribution information contained in some of the early issues of the newsletter is now out of date. Please consult the main reconstruction website for up-to-date information on obtaining copies of the reconstructions mentioned in the various issues of the newsletter.
When I started the reconstructions about four months ago, it was just me, a few dodgy audio soundtracks, and a couple of dog-eared DWB photonovels. And no-one to write E-mail messages to! But, I’m very glad to say, this is all starting to change. I now have more telesnaps, much-improved soundtracks, and a beefed-up PC. Most importantly, I have interest from other fans. And I wish to thank you all straight away for the interest – it’s very heartening when fans write to you offering all sorts of assistance.
Unfortunately, the down side is that while I would love to write long messages to you all, I just don’t get the time. In any event, I tend to repeat a lot of what I say in my messages. Therefore, the answer was simple – start a “mini-newsletter”, which just gives a brief summary of what is currently happening in the world of Doctor Who reconstructions.
So here goes! I don’t intend sticking to any rigid guidelines.
I’ll just issue a new update when I feel there is something to report.
Like right now.
Some of you might not be totally familiar with what is involved in reconstructing missing Doctor Who episodes. Therefore, a quick run-down is in order. The reconstructions are basically a combination of a number of “multi-media” items. There are five major items :
(a) The Soundtrack
Many fans are unaware that high-quality recordings do exist from all of the missing Doctor Who stories. Some have been released officially by the BBC, e.g. The Evil of the Daleks, with Tom Baker doing the narration.
Back in the sixties, a British fan made high-quality off-air recordings of a number of Doctor Who episodes. From the The Dalek Master Plan onwards, high quality recordings were made of all episodes.
For some time, the stories before The Dalek Master Plan either did not exist at all (e.g. Galaxy 4), or existed only with poor quality (e.g. Marco Polo). But thanks to a fortuitous discovery recently, ALL the episodes pre-Master Plan were discovered. What’s more the quality was excellent, even after twenty five plus years.
I am fortunate enough to have access to the best quality audios available. Therefore, at least one part of the reconstructions will be impressive!(b) The Telesnaps
John Cura, a BBC employee in the sixties, made a comprehensive set of telesnaps for many of the Doctor Who stories. I'm not entirely sure WHAT stories were telesnapped, so if anyone has any further information, I will be grateful.
I always believed that the telesnaps started around The Savages, and continued on to the end of Season 5 (The Wheel in Space). However, it is possible that stories as far back to Marco Polo were also telesnapped. What a discovery that would be!
The telesnaps consist of around 60 to 65 images per episode. They are fairly comprehensive, meaning that most scenes do exist in one form or another. However, the major problem (from the reconstruction point-of-view) is that the pictures are quite small – about 3cm by 2cm. Although, they still scan reasonably well, this is definitely one part of the reconstructions that could be improved. However, I shouldn’t complain too much – at least this is better than NO telesnaps.(c) Other Photographic Material
Obviously, where no telesnaps have been found for an episode (e.g. Marco Polo), other photographic material has to be used. This can take a number of formats. There may be “official” publicity shots, or photographs taken by the cast and crew at the time of production.
Although mainly required for non-telesnapped stories, I still like to receive as much photographic material as possible for ALL stories. This can be useful for a number of reasons. They can help to clarify certain parts of the story, which cannot be resolved from the soundtrack alone. I also like to include the pics as part of the on-screen introduction to the story.
Please write to me if you think you are able to help! In particular, DWMs are an excellent source for photographic material.(d) The Script
Although Titan Books have released a number of the sixties stories in script format (e.g. The Tomb of the Cybermen), these do not tend to be a completely accurate version of the finished episode. Right up to the recording stage, last-minute changes are made to the story, and these are not reflected in the published script. This particularly happens when one of your actors is William Hartnell, who was notorious for last minute script changes!
Therefore, the only way to obtain a completely accurate copy of the script, is hard work! That’s right – sit down and actually transcribe the episode. However, with a high-quality soundtrack, this is not as laborious as it sounds.
The script is needed for a number of reasons. Obviously, it is easier to arrange the timing of the slides with a copy of the script in front of you. I have also decided to integrate the script as part of the my final production. This means that all dialogue is displayed on-screen as the soundtrack is playing. I also believe this helps in explaining scenes where there is no dialogue (e.g. “The two savages kept a careful watch on the Doctor as he moved through the undergrowth.”).(e) Video Footage
This can take a number of forms. First of all, whole episodes may exist for the story, eg The Crusade episode 3. This will obviously be part of the final production. I will also take a number of still pictures from the existing episode for use in reconstructing the other episodes.
There may also be “official” BBC clips, such as the clips from Galaxy 4, The Power of the Daleks, and The Dalek Master Plan. These tend to be of excellent quality, so can easily be integrated into the final production.
The third category are the “unofficial” clips. And no, I’m not talking about Tenth Planet :4! These clips consist of the silent telecine footage that has recently discovered in Australia. The quality of the telecine is reasonable considering that it is simply a filmed copy of images as they appear on a TV screen. However, the clips do play at a slightly faster speed than they should.
The clips WILL appear in the reconstructions, but not in full-screen format. The clips are too short to be manually edited into the final production, but they can be captured in PC-format. Anyone who has experience in video-capturing will realise the difficult in doing full-screen video clips (the drain on resources is incredible!) Therefore, I've had to compromise and include small inserts. For The Savages, some footage does exist (mainly from episode 4), so you will get the chance to see the footage for yourself.
With the help of my PC, the five items above are all combined into one ‘production’, and copied on to standard VHS video tape. Incidentally, the name of the my production venture is “A Change of Identity”, which explains the title of this newsletter. This name is taken from episode 5 of The Reign of Terror, which itself is a missing episode.
If anyone has any further information on what I have said above, I would love to hear it (see below for my E-mail address). In future issues, I may concentrate on one item in particular, and provide a more in-depth discussion.
The first story attempted, The Savages, has now been completed. See below on details about obtaining a copy of the video.
I hope you all take the opportunity to see the story. Overall, I’m fairly pleased with the outcome. The telesnaps certainly came up better than expected – because a TV screen is at a much lower resolution than a PC monitor, the snaps look quite good. It is certainly not that obvious that they have been scanned from tiny 3cm pics. I’m also happy with how the script came out – it is well-timed with the soundtrack, and certainly helps in understanding the story.
Thanks to those who helped with The Savages, in
particular, Simon Hunt and Harold Achatz. I will be doing a small thank-you
screen at the end of every story to acknowledge those people who have assisted
in the production. If anyone has any objections to having their name appear,
please write, and your name will be removed.
Originally, I was going to do Marco Polo as my second story. However, considering that I had ample photographic material for The Power of the Daleks, and very little for Marco Polo, I thought it made more sense to do Power next.
Currently, I have scanned versions of all the telesnaps, a crystal clear soundtrack, and a copy of the script. However, I am still interested in obtaining a few more non-telesnap stills. Since The Power of the Daleks was such a milestone in the show’s history, there are quite a few photos that exist, particularly of Patrick Troughton (the one of Pat holding the 500 year diary should be familiar to all).
Please contact me if you believe you can help. Do not
send scanned photos before writing to me first. I may already have the
photos. Could you also state whether you are able to scan photos yourself,
and if so, the type of scanning (i.e. black/white or colour). If you don’t
have access to a scanner, we will have to arrange something else.
Being a personal favourite of mine, I was always keen to produce a reconstructed version of the story. Unfortunately, it is probably one of the most difficult stories to do, particularly due to its length (7 episodes, or almost 3 hours of television).
The good news is that I now have a high quality soundtrack, as well as a copy of the script (although it does need to be reviewed against the crystal clear soundtrack).
The bad news is, obviously, stills! This is not one of the stories where a complete set of Cura telesnaps exist. Therefore, I have had to resort to every other still picture that exists from the story. Currently, I have about one hundred scanned images. But, I am definitely aware that MORE photographs do exist. If you feel you might be able to help, PLEASE write!
One problem with my current images, is that many have been grabbed from video tape. I have received an excellent video slide show that was created by a fan in Australia (thanks Harry!) The slide show consists of about 70 still images, some colour, some black/white. Although, the quality of the video was very good, the final stills tend to vary in quality. Therefore, I am interested in obtaining better quality copies of some of the images.
As an addendum, I have just received a copy of DWM #240,
which contains an excellent feature on Marco Polo. Accompanying
the article were a number of off-screen still images, many of which have
not been previously published. So this is certainly good news! I am aware
that there are a number of other issues of DWM which contain features on
Polo (eg #162, and a summer special, maybe 1990?). I would be very
grateful if anyone could help!
While my main concern is with the three stories above, I am looking at the future. Currently, I am scanning the telesnaps for The Highlanders, and developing a script for The Invasion 1 & 4. Therefore, I will be in contact with you all for help with future productions. In particular, I am interested in obtaining the recent DWMs, which each contain the complete set of telesnaps for a sixties episodes.
If anyone has any particular favourites they would like
to see reconstructed (please don’t say Dalek Master Plan!!!), please
write and they will be considered.
As stated above, The Savages has now been completed. Therefore, I will be able to start making copies and sending to others. Most of you I have probably made arrangements with already – usually we would have arranged some sort of swap. For these people, I will write to you all individually to finalise our arrangements.
For everyone else, I am happy to provide you with a copy of The Savages. There are two ways to go about this. The preferrable way is for us to arrange a swap (I believe it is fairer for both sides this way). I’m not too fussy when it comes to swaps. Although I am mainly interested in obtaining material for future reconstructions, I don’t mind swapping for other Doctor Who related items. For example – New/Missing Adventures, interesting video footage.
The second way is to send me a cheque to cover the costs of the video, and return postage. Because I will be using high quality tapes (i.e. BASF or TDK), the cost will be $15. If you don’t mind using lesser-quality tapes, then this cost can be reduced to $12. Alternatively, you can just send me a blank tape through the mail, with a cheque/money order for $7. This covers packaging, posting, plastic video cover, and a printed colour sleeve.
Regardless of what you decide, please write to me first. Those of you live overseas will definitely need to write first!
And one other thing, I encourage you to make copies of
the video for other people. I certainly have no intention of restricting
access to the video for a “select few”. Just remember to keep the credits
I just want to make it quite clear that this is a completely NON-PROFIT venture. This is purely being done for the love of the show, and to contribute something back to the show after years of enjoyment. Any costs asked for, are purely to cover the cost of distributing videos.
Just so anyone doesn’t get the wrong idea ...
If you have any further questions, or any comments to
make (I’d love to hear your views on The Savages), please write
to me at email@example.com.
Note that due to work commitments, I generally only check my mail at weekends,
which probably explains why you always receive my messages on Saturday
I hope this update has been useful in clarifying the task I have set for myself. It certainly has been a lot longer than expected! If you know other people who would be interested in receiving this update, please write to me and I will add their name to the mailing list. Note that it is not necessary for the person to have an E-mail address – I can send copies of this update via snail mail.
Also write to me if there is something you would like to see in future updates. For example, some people might like to see a complete list of all missing Doctor Who episodes. I would also like to hear any further information on what has been mentioned in this update.
For now, enjoy The Savages. All I ask is that you
form your OWN opinion of the story, rather than just relying on what has
been said previously. You may be pleasantly surprised ...
Doctor Who is copyright the BBC and worldwide affiliates.
“A Change of Identity” is a completely non-profit venture. No attempt is
made to supersede existing copyright. The views expressed in this publication
do not necessarily represent those of the editor. Some editing of contributions
has been made.
Please send all comments/suggestions/questions to