INSIDE THIS ISSUE
|INTERVIEW WITH MESSRS. HOLMAN AND BUTLER|
|MARCO POLO STORY GUIDE|
|FILM & VIDEO FORMATS GUIDE PART 1|
|THE SEASON 1 CLIFFHANGERS|
|EXCITING RECONSTRUCTION DEVELOPMENTS!|
Welcome again to a new year, and a new newsletter ... well in the case of the latter, not really. Even though the name might have changed, the scope of the newsletter is still the same. In the future though, we hope to examine the Hartnell/Troughton eras more generally (i.e. missing AND existing episodes). Of course, we will still focus heavily on the reconstructions.
Robert probably has something to say as well (he usually does)...
The survey started out as a simple idea — find out what people like and dislike. However you told us much more than just that. In fact, we received so many comments, it will takes us ages to examine them all. It was amazing how many people didn’t even know about the newsletter — they just happened to “surf” into the web site. Overall, the survey was a huge success. Hopefully, with so many interesting ideas, the newsletter can continue to be a helpful source of info for all.
Take care and enjoy the newsletter!
Bruce and Robert
Thank you to those who responded with suggestions for a new name for the newsletter. Some interesting suggestions were : ‘Toymaking’, ‘Recovery Seven’, ‘The Crusade’, ‘Senior Construct’ (anagram of reconstructions), ‘Cura for Sanity’ (!) and ‘The Pamela Nash Appreciation Society’ (!!).
In the end, it was actually your two editors that came
up with the name ‘The Disused Yeti’. Basically, we did not want a name
that was too focused on the reconstructions/missing episodes. Therefore,
we decided that something unusual and obscure, but still linked with the
Hartnell/Troughton era, was called for! As the quote at the start of this
issue indicates, ‘Disused Yeti’ is a throwaway line from The Enemy of
the World episode 2.
Here’s a brief update on some of the reconstructions we can expect to see in the near future. Just a reminder that when we talk about “telesnaps”, we are referring to the official John Cura telesnaps only. To avoid confusion it should be pointed out that the non-telesnap stories often use screen grabs, or tele-photos, but not official Cura Telesnaps.
THE CELESTIAL TOYMAKER (update by Michael Palmer)
I am delaying this reconstruction until later in the year. This will allow me more time to gather every possible photo available from the story.THE POWER OF THE DALEKS (update by Bruce Robinson)
The enhanced version of Power has been delayed while I complete work on The Enemy of the World. However, some preliminary work has commenced on Power, and I’m still hopeful of having the story released at roughly the same time as Enemy.THE EVIL OF THE DALEKS/THE WEB OF FEAR (update by Michael Palmer)
The two stories mentioned above will be the first in a series of updates to Richard Develyn’s reconstructions. The enhancements are a “joint venture” between Richard, myself and Robert Franks, who will continue to provide the credits. Several other people will also be helping out with episode details etc.
The telesnaps have been re-scanned using a very high quality scanner, and the end results are superb. Text captions have been added to explain a scene where the actions are not clear from the audio and/or telesnaps. It should be noted though that the text captions will be used sparingly.
There have also been a few picture changes, such as ensuring that people face each other when talking. Also, where possible, the original BBC trailer has been reconstructed to accompany the story.
Eventually, all the telesnap reconstructions will be updated in a similar way. Expect the first of the new joint ventures to be released sometime around February or March 1998.THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD (update by Bruce Robinson)
As of writing, the reconstruction work on Enemy is progressing well. The story should be completed by February 1998 (in time for its premiere at ‘Gallifrey’, a big US convention held every year in February). The enhancements to the reconstructions as described by Michael above (i.e. the clearer telesnaps) will also be apparent in Enemy and Power. Of course, the greatest challenge for Enemy will be the reconstruction of episode 4 – unfortunately no telesnaps exist for this episode.
A big THANK YOU to all those who responded to the survey which was distributed with issue #9. The response rate was excellent — a total of 272 responses were received. Even more pleasing, was the fact that many, many interesting comments were received.
The survey results will be released in three to four weeks
time as a supplemental to the newsletter. Due to the enormity of the results,
people receiving this newsletter via the post will have the survey results
counted as an “issue” against their subscription.
In issue #6 of the newsletter, an interview was published with Graham Strong. For those unfamiliar with Graham’s contribution to sixties ‘Doctor Who’, Graham was one of the people primarily responsible for recording the “crystal clear” audios of the missing episodes. However, Graham was not alone in his endeavour. Two other fans of early ‘Doctor Who’, David Holman and David Butler, also made audio recordings of ‘Doctor Who’ episodes. We now talk to these two gentlemen to find out some further details on their recordings ...
(1) When did you first become interested in ‘Doctor Who’? In particular, what attracted you to the show?
David Holman : Right from the beginning. A serial about time travel was unheard of at the time — it was a new and exciting idea that I wasn’t going to miss.(2) When did you first consider the idea of recording ‘Doctor Who’ episodes on to audio tape?
David Butler : I watched the first episode in 1963, mainly out of curiosity, I think, as the programme was described as “an adventure in space and time”. I thought it was brilliant, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I was already interested in SF, having watched the ‘Pathfinders’ serials in the early sixties. Although, having seen a few clips from ‘Pathfinders To Mars’ on BBC2 recently, I suspect that they would be embarrassingly awful if seen again now!
I should explain at this point that I never went through the “hiding behind the sofa” stage as a ‘Doctor Who’ fan. I was already in my early teens when the show started.
DH : After the first Dalek story had started. I knew by now that this was a very special programme.(3) How did you first go about the process of making the recordings? Was this a costly process at the time?
DB : It started by accident really. The first episode that I ever listened to on audio tape was episode 1 of The Sensorites. A relative recorded it for me while I was on holiday. The recording no longer exists — I had to give the tape back after I’d finished with it. I started making my own recordings in 1965 with one of the episodes of The Web Planet. I didn’t have a tape recorder at this time, so I had to borrow my father’s.
DH : Simply by holding a microphone to the television speaker. It was a great expense at the time for a schoolboy to find money for the tapes.(4) As the early ‘Doctor Who’ seasons were screened, did your approach to the recordings change in any way? If so, how?
DB : I didn’t have any special equipment — it was just a case of placing the microphone in front of the TV speaker and telling everyone to keep quiet while the programme was on. Even so, you can still hear the odd cough or sneeze in the background on some of the tapes. Eventually, I managed to get an old TV of my own in my bedroom, so that I could record the episodes without any extraneous noises.
It was very expensive at the time, which is why I could not afford to record too many episodes. A 600 foot tape, which could record two episodes, one on each side at 3.75 inches per second, cost about ten shillings in 1965 (these were cheap tapes that I used to buy from an electronics shop. The good quality brand-name tapes, such as Philips or BASF, cost twice as much). Also, bear in mind that I was still at school, and received only two shillings a week pocket-money from my parents (and sometimes a bit extra from my grandmother).
DH : No, although I did obtain a better tape recorder and television set.(5) Do you still have most of your original recordings today?
DB : Not really. As I have already indicated, cost was the crucial factor in determining how many episodes I could record. However, it is true that I did record more episodes during Patrick Troughton’s time as the Doctor. Although I am unquestionably a big fan of Troughton, this was mainly because I had acquired a Saturday morning job by this time, so I had a bit more money.
DH : Yes, I still obtain copies of all of them.(6) In general terms, what eras of ‘Doctor Who’ did you manage to record? Were you able to record all episodes, or do you have the odd gap in your collection?
DB : I still have all of them. The tapes are in a box in my loft. Some of the oldest tapes started to show signs of age about fifteen years ago, and I transcribed all of the tapes onto cassettes. My old reel-to-reel tape recorder is also long past its best, and I doubt if I’ll ever listen to the original tapes again. In fact, the last time I tried to listen to one, it snapped – the tapes are very brittle now. A couple of years ago, some audio enthusiasts on the south coast borrowed all my tapes and successfully copied them onto digital audio tape, so the recordings are now preserved for the future.
DH : I recorded all episodes from Marco Polo to The Three Doctors.(7) How were your audios brought to the world’s attention?
DB : Most of my recordings were made in the black and white series of the 1960s. I did make a few after that, but as I got older, I had less time to listen to ‘Doctor Who’ tapes. Also, my inclination to record them diminished, as I was more interested in girls than ‘Doctor Who’ at this time! As I have already said, cost prevented me from recording every episode. It was rarely possible for me to record more than one, or at most two, episodes of a story. The only exceptions being The Evil Of The Daleks and The Web Of Fear, where I managed to get enough tapes to record the whole story. I do have audio copies of quite a few of the missing episodes.
DH : I provided another ‘Doctor Who’ fan with copies of the audios. He then informed other people, who contacted me as well.
DB : In late 1983, I finally got around to joining the DWAS and also became a member of the South Surrey Local Group. The group, run by John Ryan, produced an audio fanzine called ‘Zero Room’, which some people may remember. When I joined, I did tell John Ryan that I had a lot of old audio material that he might find useful, but, as I recall, he didn’t seem too enthusiastic.
One Sunday in 1984, at a Local Group meeting, someone was bemoaning the fact that many ‘Doctor Who’ stories appeared to be totally lost, with nothing remaining – not even an audio tape. For example, stories like Galaxy Four and Mission To The Unknown. At this point, I casually dropped into the conversation the fact that I had a near-perfect audio copy of Mission To The Unknown. I was immediately deluged with requests from everyone in the room asking if they could borrow it! This reaction startled me as I quite unaware of its rarity value. For me, it had never been a missing episode as I had had the tape since I recorded it in October 1965.
After this, people became quite keen to borrow cassette copies of my tapes. Although audio copies of some of the episodes I had recorded were fairly readily available at the time, mine were generally of better quality than the copies previously in circulation.(8) Thank you both for your time!
In fact, the situation regarding missing stories has changed in the intervening years. There are now no ‘Doctor Who’ stories that are completely lost. Audio copies exist of all of the “missing” episodes.
One of the greatest annoyances for fans interested in the Hartnell era, is the fact that the final episode to a story is often edited at the conclusion. This is normally the part of the story which contains a “cliff-hanger” introduction to the next story, as well as a “Next Episode” caption. Due to a variety of reasons (presumably to hide the fact from the casual viewer that a “next episode” does exist, or indeed does not exist, as the case may be), these final scenes are edited from the story before being re-aired. Many of the BBC Videos also suffer from this fate.
Because of these edits, many fans would be unaware as to the exact endings of the Hartnell stories. Therefore, we’ve decided to examine each story in detail (with particular emphasis on missing or incomplete stories), and provide a list of “true” endings. This issue, we start with the first half of Season 1 ...
100,000 BC – ‘The Firemaker’
Scene – The TARDIS has landed the travellers in a petrified forest. The Doctor asks Susan to check the radiation meter. The detector registers no radiation, but as the travellers leave the control room, the needle moves into the “Danger” section.The Mutants – ‘The Rescue’
Caption – ‘Next Episode THE DEAD PLANET’ is displayed over the radiation detector. As the detector continues to flash, the credits commence scrolling. The detector fades completely towards the end of the technical credits.
Notes – A 35mm insert of part of this final scene appears at the beginning of ‘The Dead Planet’.
Scene – Back in the ship, the Doctor busies himself at the controls while Susan and Ian watch. Suddenly, there is a flash of light and an explosion. The Doctor and companions are all thrown to the floor.Inside the Spaceship – ‘The Brink of Disaster’
Caption – ‘Next Episode THE EDGE OF DESTRUCTION’ is superimposed over the high shot of the console and quickly the entire scene fades to black. The closing credits then appear.
Notes – A 35mm film insert of this cliffhanger appears at the start of ‘The Edge of Destruction’.
Scene – The Doctor and Ian prepare to join Barbara and Susan outside in the snow. A sudden shout from Susan stops them. As they look back at the scanner, they notice that Susan and Barbara have discovered a huge footprint in the snow, seemingly made by a giant.Marco Polo – ‘Assassin at Peking’
Caption – The picture fades to black and ‘Next Episode THE ROOF OF THE WORLD’ is shown over a black screen. This is then followed by the closing credits.
Notes – The shots of Susan with the giant footprint are re-enacted for ‘The Roof of the World’.
Scene – Kublai Khan and Polo stare in amazement as the TARDIS disappears. As they gaze at the spot where the “flying caravan” had stood, Polo muses, “I wonder where they are now ... the past or the future ... ?” A close-up of Polo fades to a slide of a starfield - the TARDIS console is superimposed over it for a few seconds. The console fades away, leaving just the starfield background.
Caption – ‘Next Episode THE SEA OF DEATH’ starts over the space shot. The scene slowly fades to black, followed by the caption fading, and then the credit scroll.
Notes – The above description is described in the camera scripts for the final episode. There is no reprise of this scene in ‘The Sea of Death’.
When discussing the world of missing episodes (or indeed television in general), one can sometimes become overwhelmed with the technical terms thrown about, such as 16mm telerecording, or 405 line videotape. In the first of a two-part article, Dominic Jackson explains the technical details of the video and film formats used during the Hartnell and Troughton eras ...
By the time of ‘Doctor Who’ in 1963, videotaping was the most common way of making a programme. Videotape was however still very expensive and difficult to work with, meaning that programmes were still played out and recorded with a minimum of breaks (as if they were being transmitted live). This is one reason why the Hartnell era has apparently more line fluffs and recording mishaps than later eras. It simply was not practical to stop and start again as to do so would have meant cutting the videotape and splicing it back together. This meant that the tape could not be wiped and reused. It must be borne in mind that these early video recorders had very primitive editing facilities compared to even modern VHS machines. Winding back the tape to make a clean join between the old recording and the retake of a scene was not a practical proposition.
The format of tape used was 2 inch, 405 line monochrome, often referred to as “Quad” (as the machines that played it had four heads). Later (from The Enemy of the World Episode 3 onwards), 625 line tape was used in preparation of the switch from VHF 405 line monochrome broadcasts to UHF 625 line transmissions (again in black and white).
As strange as it might seem, recently uncovered documentary evidence points to the switch of format for ‘Doctor Who’ occurring halfway through The Enemy of the World. The Programme-as-Broadcast documentation indicate this, and the wiping forms for the original videotapes of episodes 1 and 2 described them as 625 line. This has then been corrected by the person wiping the tapes – 625 is crossed out and “No – 405” is written over it. This might explain why Enemy :3 was kept by the BBC Film Library — as the first episode made on 625 line tape.
It should be pointed out however, that at the time, BBC1 was not broadcasting in 625 line. BBC1 was still using 405 line monochrome until November 1969, after which it switched to 625 line colour. BBC2 started in April 1964 with 625 monochrome and transferred to 625 colour in July 1967 (colour broadcasts were intermittent until November 1969). The BBC maintained four line-converters during the sixties, all located in the Central Apparatus Room (“CAR”) at TVC. Three were 625 to 405 line converters, and one was 405 to 625 line. 405 line material could be played into BBC2 (and BBC1 post November ’69) via the CAR’s line converter. 625 line material could be played into BBC1 prior to November ’69 via one of the three 625 to 405 line converters. The monochrome 405 line service was continued into the eighties by line-converters at the transmission sites, which down-converted from 625 to 405 and broadcast on VHF. In the case of a Birmingham transmitter, the 405 line facility was not decommissioned until 1982.
It seems that for some reason, The Power of the Daleks episode six was made with 625 line cameras. However, it was transmitted from 35mm film (and not videotape), with the cameras being linked to a telerecording suite rather than the episode being recorded on videotape. The reason for using the 625 format could have been to increase the resolution of the telerecording.
Usually the episodes would be transmitted from the master videotape they were recorded onto. However some exceptional cases required complex editing work. This was easier to perform if the episode was recorded onto film (or sometimes it was a matter of directorial preference – some directors preferred working with film). It was also important to reuse as many videotapes as possible to cut costs.
To this end, a method of transferring a programme originally shot on videotape to film was developed – this was known as telerecording. This allowed a programme to be preserved on film and the original videotape could be wiped. Film was used only in cases where complex editing was required. For normal studio recordings, videotape had the advantages of instant replay and better picture quality than telerecorded film. The ability to re-use a tape, although not used for editing purposes in those days, probably contributed to slightly lower internal costs. This helped to further swing the balance in favour of videotape for undemanding recordings.
Telerecording had been developed in the late 1940s and was also capable of recording live broadcasts. The marriage of the then Princess Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten (now Duke of Edinburgh) was preserved for posterity in this way. By the time it was employed on ‘Doctor Who’, mainly by BBC Enterprises to facilitate overseas sales to countries whose television systems might vary widely in specification, specially designed equipment was employed. This was far more sophisticated than common reports of film cameras pointing at flat screen monitors. The BBC film recorders were advanced devices comprising a built-in fast film transport mechanism and a high resolution monitor screen, together with a set of very complex electronics to keep the two devices synchronised to each other. The telerecording process produced a master negative which could then be used to strike any number of prints for viewing or sales purposes.
Two types of film were in common use by television companies at this time – 16mm and 35mm, both monochrome (for the purposes of this article, 35mm telerecordings will be denoted as TR35 and 16mm telerecordings as TR16). Both were employed in the telerecording process. 35mm film gives higher quality than 16mm, due to the larger frame size. Episodes that were broadcast from film for domestic transmissions were invariably recorded onto 35mm film. Examples of this are :
(a) ‘Crisis’ (Planet of Giants :3). This was compiled from separate TR35s of the original ‘Crisis’ and the scheduled fourth episode ‘The Urge to Live’, rather than the videotapes of the two episodes. However, the TR35 of ‘Crisis’ was not selected for preservation by the BBC Film Library and the episode now exists as the TR16 recovered from BBC Enterprises in 1978.It should be noted that BBC Enterprises dealt exclusively with 16mm film. Any TR35s held nowadays stem from other sources, such as those detailed above.
(b) The Wheel in Space Episode 6. This was telerecorded onto 35mm film out of studio, as if from a live broadcast, although the episode itself was NOT transmitted live.
Confusion often arises between telerecording film and film used to shoot such things as location or model sequences for episodes. To the naked eye there is no difference, but playing the film (either on a projector or a telecine) shows that telerecorded film almost always has a much poorer picture quality than film which has been shot directly (that is, film that has been used to record, for example, location sequences). Compare the picture quality of the two existing episodes of The Daleks Master Plan (which are held on TR16) with that of the surviving film inserts for episodes 1 and 2 (which are held on directly shot 35mm monochrome film). See also the “Remastering for quality” article on the Restoration Team homepages for a comparison shot between picture quality of the TR16 and the 16mm monochrome film inserts for episode 2 of The Abominable Snowmen.
16mm film was the telerecording medium chosen by BBC Enterprises to make film copies of episodes for overseas sale. Episodes such as ‘Crisis’, which were transmitted from TR35, would have been copied onto 16mm film by Enterprises before being returned to the BBC Film Library. Once Enterprises had negatives prepared from a videotape, the tapes were later wiped by Engineering.
Telerecording is a rather inexact science and the results would not be known until the processed master negative was returned from the developing laboratory. This meant that the quality of the finished product was often highly variable – as can be seen from viewing various surviving sixties episodes. Telerecording invariably introduces a degree of noise to the picture and often crops it slightly, due to the aperture of the film transport not exactly matching the screen it points at – so the finished image appears slightly zoomed in. For these reasons, it is always preferable to source a programme from videotape, if the original quad tape still exists. This is not the case for any sixties ‘Doctor Who’ episodes. However for a few sixties BBC programmes (and for a surprisingly large number of sixties ITV programmes), videotapes do exist, and the picture quality is invariably superior.
Hartnell and Troughton eras: existing episodes are held mainly on 16mm monochrome film, telerecorded from a 405 or 625 line monochrome source. A handful of episodes are held on 35mm monochrome film, telerecorded from a 405 or 625 line monochrome source. Some filmed inserts and location film are held: these are shot directly onto film (i.e. they are not telerecorded). These inserts are held on a variety of 16mm and 35mm monochrome film. No videotapes from these eras exist.
Episode TX TI DU VA CP AA The Roof of the World 22 Feb 64 17.15 24’12” 9.4 33 63 The Singing Sands 29 Feb 64 17.15 26’34” 9.4 33 62 Five Hundred Eyes 07 Mar 64 17.16 22’20” 9.4 34 62 The Wall of Lies 14 Mar 64 17.15 24’48” 9.9 31 60 Rider from Shang-Tu 21 Mar 64 17.16 23’26” 9.4 37 59 Mighty Kublai Khan 28 Mar 64 17.30 25’36” 8.4 49 59 Assassin at Peking 04 Apr 64 17.30 24’48” 10.4 22 59
(Note — durations for the final three episodes were calculated from the Start and Finish times on the Programme-as-Broadcast documentation. No “official” duration exists for these episodes.)
Total Duration = 171’44”
Average Viewing Audience = 9.47 million
Average Chart Position = 34.14
Repeat Screenings — nil
Countries Sold To (in order of sale) — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Uganda, Ghana, Zambia, Jamaica, Cyprus, Kenya, Thailand, Mauritius, Rhodesia, Venezuela, Bermuda and Ethiopia.(b) VIDEO FOOTAGE
Status — all 7 episodes currently missing (junked by the BBC between 1972 and 1977).
Clips — nil
(c) AUDIO RECORDINGS
- there is BBC documentation from 1974 which lists the stories still available for purchase. Because Marco Polo is not on this list, this suggests that the entire story was junked somewhere between 1972 and 1974.
All 7 episodes exist in audio format – David Holman is believed to have the best quality recording. However David’s recordings are missing a few seconds from ‘Mighty Kublai Khan’ (episode 6) and ‘Assassin at Peking’ (episode 7) – these have been patched from other copies.(d) RECONSTRUCTIONS
All 7 episodes reconstructed by Bruce Robinson (‘A Change of Identity’)(e) PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL
Telesnaps — PasB (Programme-as-Broadcast) documentation indicates that John Cura created telesnaps for all episodes. In fact, receipts exist for the first two episodes documenting this fact. The current whereabouts of the Marco Polo telesnaps are unknown.
Behind-the-Scenes Shots — colour and black/white rehearsal scenes exist for many of the episodes. Designer Barry Newbery holds photographs of a number of the sets designed for the story. These were published in ‘The Frame’ issue 17. Carole Ann Ford also holds a collection of photographs from the story.
Publicity Shots — ‘The Radio Times’ held a photocall session for the issue that would feature Marco Polo on its front cover. Although photographs were taken of all four regulars, ‘The Radio Times’ eventually settled on a photo consisting of the Doctor, Marco Polo and Tegana (much to the annoyance of William Russell).
- 31 Jan 64 – photocall at Lime Grove D (caravan scene consisting of Tegana, a Mongol warrior, Susan and Ping-Cho. A photograph of the Mongols confronting the four time travellers appeared in the BBC’s internal magazine ‘Ariel’)
- 14 Feb 64 – photocall at Lime Grove D (the Doctor and Ping-Cho)
- 28 Feb 64 – photocall at Lime Grove D (a publicity photographer was present for the final studio recording of ‘Rider From Shang-Tu’)
- Week of 2 Mar 64 – photocall at Uxbridge Road Drill Hall (publicity photos of Jacqueline Hill)
- 6 Mar 64 – photocall at Lime Grove D (Tegana, Susan, the Doctor and the Khan, at the way-station)
Many of the publicity shots were published in DWM’s Marco Polo archive (#240). DWM also published a nostalgia feature on the story, which contained a collection of photographs (#162).
Other Shots — at least eight photographs were taken by an Australian fan during the story’s original broadcast (i.e. directly from the television screen). All shots appear to be from ‘Mighty Kublai Khan’. The photographs were published in DWB #57 and the DWB Compendium.(f) AUSTRALIAN CENSOR CUTS
Episode DR FT RA CUTS The Roof of the World 28 Oct 64 910 G no cuts The Singing Sands 28 Oct 64 1011 G no cuts Five Hundred Eyes 28 Oct 64 938 G no cuts The Wall of Lies 28 Oct 64 932 G Cut A Rider from Shang-Tu 28 Oct 64 879 G no cuts Mighty Kublai Khan 28 Oct 64 957 G no cuts Assassin at Peking 28 Oct 64 930 G Cut B
Cut A : “cuts ... 5ft. At end of reel delete chop to guard’s back.” [just before Ian discovers the guard’s body]
Cut B : “cuts ... 4ft. At 2 mins – delete knife in thief’s back.” [refers to stabbing of Kuiju]
(g) OTHER NOTESThe above are verbatim descriptions of the cuts as recorded by the Censorship Board. Additional comments appear in square brackets.
I think I am a Cybermen fan. I have added The Moonbase to my Doctor Who favourite episodes, along with The Tenth Planet. I don’t understand why, but these stories are quite different than the others. A lot less boring than stuff like The Savages (the story itself, not the reconstruction) or The Rescue, and with more mystery than the historical serials. Unlike the Daleks, the Cybermen do not sound and look so silly. They have a credibility that the Daleks do not have – you cannot escape a Cyberman by climbing a stairway!
What about this, then? Very good, I must say, production-wise. I really got the feel of life on a polar base. The Cybermen, if somewhat silly looking designs, were a good enemy. The scenes of them walking through the snowy landscapes were very atmospheric. The story was perfect at four episodes.
The reconstruction, on the other hand, was very strange. First of all (and not a fault of the creator), was the rather poor quality of episodes 1-3 – its soundtrack was rather difficult to follow at times. Episode 4 was even worse. The reconstruction was however intriguing. It was the poor quality of the sound that put me off at times. I will have to rewatch this one, with the script in my hands!
Long ago, circa 1983, my class at school studied the text of a BBC play called ‘David and Broccoli’ which I think was broadcast about 1960. The school edition we used was illustrated with what I now think must have been Cura telesnaps, though its difficult to be certain at this distance. I don’t remember the exact broadcast date of the play as I don’t have my reference guides with me, but it certainly doesn’t exist.
Also, my father has a copy of a ‘What’s My Line?’ book with photo illustrations credited to John Cura. This must have been about 1953, though the quality is much poorer than usual. Perhaps at this relatively early date his equipment was not so good.
Thanks to the following for help with this issue: David Butler, Ian Edmond, David Holman, Dominic Jackson, Michael Palmer, Andrew Pixley, Steve Roberts and Graham Strong. Thanks also to Derek Handley and Ken Robinson for their invaluable assistance with the UK distribution of the reconstructions.
And ‘The Memory Cheats’ will return next issue – sorry,
we ran out of space!
The Doctor Who reconstructions are fan-produced endeavours completed without the consent of BBC Worldwide, BBC Television, or any holders of the Doctor Who licence. No infringement on any such copyright holder is intended nor are the tapes produced for any sort of monetary compensation. Tapes are distributed through the worldwide Doctor Who fan network. Support the BBC releases!
All material published in this newsletter is copyright ‘Change of Identity’ Productions. Please do not reprint any of the contents in other publications (whether electronic or print) without obtaining the prior permission from the editors.
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