THE NEWSLETTER ON EARLY DOCTOR WHO
26 September 1999
Edited by Bruce Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) &
Robert Franks (TelesnapGuy@csi.com)
From Robert ... you may have been wondering what’s happened to the newsletter recently – after all, it has been over three months since the last issue. Well, we’ve all been busy on other things. Whilst Bruce has been gallivanting around Europe on trains, buses and automobiles, I’ve been left to start the preliminary work on assembling this issue.
It certainly has been a challenge to squeeze in a mention of all the many things that have appeared over the past few months. Since last you saw us,
The Crusade/Space Museum has been released on video, The
Massacre has appeared on audio, at least three new reconstructions are out, another DWAS
Chronicles book is also out, and last but not least, our magazine has finally returned from the printers.
I think an exhausted Bruce might like to say a few words as well ...
Yes, I would just like to quickly say a BIG thank you to all those UK people who put themselves out to accommodate an Australian interloper. Any feelings of homesickness that I may have had were quickly dispelled by the sheer friendliness and hospitality of all the people I met along the way! And for those thinking of heading over to the UK ... I highly recommend it. If nothing else, it’s a bit of a novelty to actually see Dr Who merchandise on the shelf the day it’s officially released!
Enough from us – you now have a newsletter to start reading ...
Robert and Bruce
Before we move into the update section itself, it should be noted that the main recon web-page, as maintained by Robert Franks, is changing (in location, content and style). Further information about the change is provided after this section. It should be emphasised that apart from the change in web-page, the distribution procedures for obtaining the tapes will still essentially remain the same.
MARCO POLO [COI3 enhanced] (update by Bruce Robinson)
At the moment, discussions are taking place between various people involved in the reconstructions – depending on the outcome of these E-mail exchanges, the COI recon of Marco Polo could feature some new innovations (although supporters of the COI style will be relieved to hear that the traditional “full script” will still definitely be there!). Since the discussions are still in full swing as of writing, further details cannot be provided for now. However, rest assured, all will be revealed in the next issue of the newsletter!
Regardless of how these discussions conclude, the recon of Marco Polo will be the first COI release to be created in a video-editing program called ‘Media Studio’ (which is in line with the software used by the other recon creators). This change in software will allow greater flexibility in picture changes and presentation. Similar to the COI recon of The Abominable Snowmen, the Marco Polo recon will essentially be a joint effort between myself and Michael Palmer (of the JV team). The time for completion of Marco Polo is still uncertain – in fact, it will largely depend on the amount of time it takes to master the new software!
THE CRUSADE [COI7] / THE DALEKS’ MASTER PLAN [COI8] (update by Bruce Robinson)
Although both these recons are still in various stages of completion, no further work has taken place since the last issue of the newsletter. This is due to most of the available time being spent on devising the new techniques to be used for Marco Polo. However, it is expected that if Marco Polo is a success, then the same style will be adopted for the future non-telesnap stories (although it’s now incorrect to refer to Crusade as a non-telesnap story!).
THE TENTH PLANET [enhanced] (update by Robert Franks and Michael Palmer)
When the BBC announced plans to release this story on video next year, we immediately stopped distributing the existing episodes. However, this brought a few complaints from people who had just discovered the recons and had never seen the first three episodes. Although we weren’t ready to produce a full JV version, we were keen to take advantage of improvements in the source material since the previous Michael Palmer version was released.
As a result, the new release will feature a shortened reprise of episodes 1-3 – this runs for approximately fifteen minutes. A new version of episode 4 has been produced using all the existing video footage, as well as new scans of the telesnaps. Please be aware that this is not being released as a JV story – the recon still consists of all the video clips, and does not contain any text captions.
To round out the release, Michael has created a special “recreation” (as opposed to reconstruction) of a 1976 DOCTOR WHO story (Exploration Earth – The Time Machine) produced for BBC schools radio. Clips have been used from various sources to create a representation of how the story may have appeared if it had been produced for television – the episode is put together from a mixture of clips, video stills and rapid picture changes.
THE MOONBASE [JV6] (update by Robert Franks)
The standard update to the original Richard Develyn reconstruction adds improved telesnaps and audio. This, along with The Tenth Planet, should be available by the beginning of October.
THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN [COI6] (update by Bruce Robinson)
It can now be confirmed that this recon has been completed and is available for distribution. Please consult the main recon web-page for further details.
FURY FROM THE DEEP [JV7] (update by Robert Franks)
By the time this issue is released, the Fury recon should be available (or close to being available). Apart from enhanced audio and telesnaps, the new release of Fury also features the inclusion of all the existing video footage. And similar to The Wheel in Space, the episode cliffhangers have been recreated by closely following the camera scripts. The release also includes the acclaimed documentary, The Making of Fury from the Deep, by Richard Bignell (an article on which should appear in the next DY). Please consult the main recon web-page (refer below) for further details on distribution.
LOOSE CANNON RECONSTRUCTIONS (update by Rick Brindell)
Galaxy 4 is progressing wonderfully and the beta versions are better than my original expectations. I expect it to be released sometime in October. My producers, Derek Handley and Dean Rose (and their wives), have worked for almost a year preparing the new source material for the reconstruction – and they have done a superlative job! The lack of source material is now not a problem with Galaxy 4. Actually there is so much source material that I will not be able to use it all! If anyone wants to be on the Loose Cannon mailing list, please E-mail me – email@example.com.
THE NEW RECON WEB-PAGE
The original website for the “Doctor Who Reconstructions” was set up over three years ago. After existing at two different locations, the site is finally moving to its own domain – www.telesnaps.com. As a result, the existing US and UK main recon pages will merge into one location, thus making it easier to find details on the COI and JV reconstructions. Any personal pages will still exist at the old locations, however the new site will offer a permanent home for the reconstructions, as well as other details on early DOCTOR WHO. In the coming months, it is hoped that many new features will be added to the site (DY will provide further details about the new additions).
The new site is currently up, and the old one will still be around until the end of October – please remember to update your links. In the meantime, the site will be revamped and made easier to use. The new site will feature a new, brighter design as well as a full archive for this newsletter – offering text, Word 6 and HTML versions of all the back issues. The site will still be maintained by Robert Franks, with contributions from Dominic Jackson and Bruce Robinson. If you have any ideas, or problems with the new site, be sure to E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTHING AT THE END OF THE LANE ... IT’S HERE!
The first issue of our magazine, Nothing at the End of the Lane, has finally been completed. Most of the initial feedback has been very positive, and the three editors (Bruce Robinson, Robert Franks and Richard Bignell) are all looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the magazine. In fact, the next issue of the newsletter will feature a sample of comments about the magazine – therefore, please send us a message with your views!
For further information about the magazine, send an E-mail to email@example.com or visit the following web-page :
Incidentally, the editors have received a reasonable number of requests from people asking if a copy of the magazine can be reserved while a cheque or money order is sent. At the moment, it is not really a problem to reserve a copy, since there are still sufficient copies left of issue #1. However, if we get to the stage where a limited number of copies remain, priority will be given to those who actually send us the necessary payment. Therefore, if you are thinking of reserving a copy (or have already made a request to do so), please be aware that we do require your payment as soon as possible. Making a reservation alone is not necessarily a guarantee of receiving your copy!
Note that distribution has now been completed for all pre-orders of the magazine – if your copy has yet to appear, please contact one of the editors as soon as possible.
THE MASSACRE ON AUDIO
After a gap of about six years, fans are finally able to experience another “missing” DOCTOR WHO story on audio. In this issue, we talk to the two people who played a significant role in the BBC Radio Collection release of The Massacre – Steve Cole, executive producer of the DOCTOR WHO range, and Mark Ayres, audio restoration guru.
First of all, we talk to Steve ...
(1) Can you tell us anything about the decision to release The Massacre on audio? Was there any reason why Massacre was chosen ahead of other stories?
The Massacre was released because (a) it’s a lesser-known story for most of the fan populous as so little connected with it survives; and (b) I wanted it to be brought to a wider audience! It was a toss-up between that and The Crusade at first – then The Lion was discovered! The other main contender for me was Galaxy 4, but the historical stood out as real quality.
(2) Did you have any difficulties in preparing the linking script? In particular, did you find that much narration was needed as the story is known as a “talky” one?
It was tricky to decide on an approach. Sue Cowley and I (we co-wrote the material, she’s an excellent researcher) realised we couldn’t have Steven in character with the Amboise/Doctor sub-plot, as of course he spends much of the story under the illusion the Abbot is the Doctor – and if he was retelling the tale after the event, there would be no ambiguity. In any case, we wanted the soundtrack to be the main attraction – the narration would only provide pointers to aid understanding of what is quite an involved plot.
It’s worth noting the timescale in episode 4 is very off. We put a line in to say the Doctor calls at the shop in the afternoon – Steven must’ve spent from dawn to early evening looking for the key, as they send Ann out into the curfew!
(3) Are there any plans to continue the series of missing episodes on audio? How much depends on the success of this release?
Radio Collection have asked me to make further suggestions for the range – if The Massacre performs as well as the other WHO spoken word audios like Out of the Darkness, then the range will hopefully go on, probably on CD only (Massacre is on CD and cassette). Likely titles will be The Highlanders, The Web of Fear, The Myth Makers or Galaxy 4.
[Editor’s note : since this interview was conducted, The Web of Fear has been confirmed for release in March 2000]
Mark Ayres now talks about the restoration work required for the release ...
(1) What source material did you have to perform the audio work? (was it just a case of working off one main recording, or were you able to utilise a number of recordings?).
I was supplied with a single recording of all four episodes, except for episode 4, of which there were two recordings. Episodes 1-3 were OK, although each contained a lot of clicks and pops – episode 1 especially. Episode 4 was in a poor state – for the purposes of the release, I took all of the required material from the recording which is undistorted. However, this still had a number of other problems.
(2) Briefly, what were some of the major tasks involved in enhancing the audio? Apart from the volume distortion problem in episode 4 (see below), was it a fairly “normal” restoration?
Each episode had to have the clicks and pops manually drawn out. These were so varied in form that no automatic process would touch them. For episode 1, this took a solid two and a half days staring at the computer screen – by which stage, I assure you, a kind of snow-blindness sets in and one’s mouse hand starts to suffer from RSI! And, on listening back to the final masters a couple of days later, I hear that I still managed to miss a couple of pops!
After this, broad band noise reduction and filtering was used to remove a fair amount of tape hiss and mains hum. I’m always careful not to overdo this process, so some hiss remains – one doesn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. It is important to remember that these recordings were not (by today’s standards) exactly “hifi” to start with, and one cannot seriously hope to “improve” the original recordings.
(3) Of course, most fans of the missing episode audios would be familiar with the unusual distortion problem that exists in the final episode of Massacre. How did you go about fixing this problem?
One of the recordings, which was marked as a “mic” recording (ie microphone pointed at the TV speaker), suffered from a number of problems. It had a peak distortion problem (it has, at some stage, been through an “auto record level” device – a killer!), some crosstalk from another source (extraneous music can be clearly heard on a couple of occasions), and some distortion which sounds like a dodgy electrical connection somewhere down the line. It is also a touch muffled. I didn’t use that one.
The other recording has far more intelligible dialogue (which also matches the quality of the first three episodes) but however has two other problems (other than the multitude of clicks and pops, the mains hum, and the tape hiss). Firstly, the tape suffers very badly from print-through (where the magnetic flux on the tape leaches through onto other layers causing a long pre-and-post-echoing). Secondly, the level on the tape oscillates wildly up and down by as much as 15-20dB. It’s difficult to say what’s caused this – either the tape’s been left near a heat source, or it was cheap tape with an uneven coating to start with. The oscillation is not totally regular, though even if it were, it would still be near impossible to remove totally.
I’ve managed to filter out some of the print-through, and also smoothed out the level fluctuations as much as possible. Manually tracking this would have been impossible, so I developed an automatic process to cope with it, with a little manual help at the final mastering stage – I’ll explain more about this when I write the web page!
I must stress, however, that this process was not perfect, and no-one should expect miracles. It was a close call, but I still felt that this recording was preferable to the other one – I’ll probably explain more about the factors influencing my decision on the web page.
[And for those interested, Mark’s web page is :
MORE DWAS CHRONICLES – SEASON 2
For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, the Chronicles books are a series of DWAS produced volumes. Each volume covers a season of DOCTOR WHO and contains scene by scene synopses of the episodes (often reprinting long out-of-print work by the likes of Marc Platt and John Peel, amongst others), a wealth of screen grabs, and notes of changes to the episodes made during production. An appendix to each volume contains the fullest possible details of unused stories, the origins of each story and various relevant “trivia” that draws from the wealth of fan discussions. Imagine a much more detailed version of the fiction sections of the Howe-Stammers-Walker Handbooks, and you’re there.
A word of warning regarding this review – I was sold on the DWAS books as soon as I chanced upon the Production Guides. I’m also a fan of Andrew Pixley’s work – any work with his name on the cover is bound to please me. I’ve recently discovered the same to be true of David Brunt’s work. In short, I could review the volume in five words – buy this book, it’s excellent!
For those of you requiring further persuasion, I’ll try a little harder. Special treats in this volume include a synopsis of the four part Planet of Giants (with the excised scenes clearly indicated as such), a whole page of notes for each of the (twenty five minute) Dalek episodes and some particularly pleasing design work. Where the camera has panned across a scene, screen grabs have been linked together – thus showing us “widescreen” shots of the crashed spaceship from The Rescue and the eponymous Space Museum, as well as a “tall screen” (!) shot of Hartnell from The Time Meddler. There’s also a wonderful set of grabs from the end of The Space Museum showing Skaro in its place in the universe. And finally, thanks to the notes, we can compare the different approach Whitaker and Spooner took towards Terry Nation’s scripts (at least, I think he was still producing scripts at this stage, rather than the extended synopsis that he wrote for Master Plan).
When I received the first volume in the series, I raved about its content. It’s staggering to think that each volume has managed to improve upon its predecessor.
The downside? Very little. Reproduction of some of the pictures is a little blurry and the (excellent) artwork on the front cover appears to be pixellated. There are still a few typos (my favourite being Andrew Pixley’s god-smacking abilities). All of these are merely a result of the book’s desktop origins and are not indicative of any sloppiness on the editor’s part.
If you’ve missed earlier volumes (Season One and Six have been covered so far, with Season Five in production), start here and then nag David Brunt to reprint the earlier books. As for me, I’ll continue to buy them and I’ll look forward to the single volume, hardback reprint of the whole series (with index) ten years down the line.
This is the ultimate in WHO scholarship. Buy, buy, buy ...
The cost of the Season 2 Chronicles book is as follows:
UK — £9.00
Europe — £10.00
Worldwide — £12.00
To order your copy, please send a cheque or postal order (in UK pound sterling only), payable to “DWAS”, to :
DWAS (S2Y), PO Box 519, London, SW17 9XW
Alternatively, most credit cards can be accepted, noting full card number, expiry date (or on certain cards, the issue number or start date). Please give the cardholder’s name and address if different to your own.
Card orders can also be faxed to (07050) 622401 or by e-mail to DWAS@DWAS.drwho.org (though this line is not secure).
Other DWAS reference books are also available – however, note that the Season 6 Chronicles book is now in very short supply.
A couple of issues ago, we featured a “Recon Ramblings” column which discussed the reasons why a recon can be delayed. Since this always seems to be a perennial cause of concern for a number of recon “consumers”, co-editor Robert is now interested in putting forward his own views on the subject ...
When you hear about “rush” releases, the new Crusade/Space Museum video immediately comes to mind. While it is admirable that the BBC wanted to release the recently recovered episode (The Lion) as soon as possible, one could argue that if they had waited a couple more months, they could have also included a reconstruction of the missing episodes, similar to what appeared for The Ice Warriors. The BBC could also have ensured that the CD audio was complete (the reprisal scenes were not included).
While none of the “Restoration Team” are really to blame (they simply weren’t given enough time), that extra time seems to be a factor that many people overlook when talking about the reconstructions. Just a couple of years ago, one of the main philosophies of the creators was just to “get the stories out”. Although the same still holds true today, we have now learned to be a lot more cautious.
Did you know there were three different versions of The Reign of Terror:5 prepared within a span of a couple of months? There was also a different variation of The Power of the Daleks put together by Richard Develyn and I that only saw the light of day at a special convention screening. The point is that we have many varied versions of early reconstructions – personally speaking, I have so many tapes now that it’s almost impossible to tell in some cases which was the earliest version. This wasn’t helping us or the fans – instead of producing new reconstructions we were eternally updating old ones.
Then we struck upon an opportunity to re-scan all the telesnaps – but now on a professional-grade scanner and with stunning results. When it became clear that it was now worth our time to revisit each story and start from scratch, the creators pondered a number of issues. Apart from the telesnaps, what else could we do to improve on the old recons? As a result of the subsequent discussions, the JV team was born (and later on down the track, COI started to make some changes as well). One point agreed upon by all was it was pointless to spend months working on a project, only to have a better audio or clip turn up shortly after. Therefore, we decided that the overall quality would now play a major role in any release (in other words, creating the best recon we possibly can at any one point in time).
In practical terms, if this means waiting for a clearer audio that may be about to appear, then so be it. If it means a delay to scan a whole new set of photos, then this is another valid reason for delay. In most cases, this has meant only a slight delay ... however, I can hear people muttering about The Celestial Toymaker as I speak! The honest truth with Toymaker is this – the audio has now been cleaned up and repaired and is on par with most of the Graham Strong recordings. However, the photo situation is slightly different – a private collector has now come forward with a lot of unseen photos. While we have close to a hundred photos now, this extra material would be of enormous help with the recon. At the moment we are still waiting for this benefactor to find time in his busy schedule to scan the photos for us. Until this occurs, we are content to sit on the project.
Another major feature now has also been research into the stories themselves. This involves everything from the mundane (checking that the credits run in the original order) to complex (finding mistake in the scripts – check out The Faceless Ones:5). This means hours of pouring through scripts to work out what happened on screen. It’s not a simple matter of checking the Target novels as most of the time these scenes were altered for the books.
Does this mean it might be years before all the reconstructions are complete? Well yes, it probably does. However, keep in mind that these stories have already been missing for thirty plus years now – waiting for a couple more years to ensure the best possible recon is worth it (at least in the COI and JV teams’ humble opinion). So if you send us a message with a question like “when will this story be out”, you will generally get the response of “when it’s actually finished”. We don’t place specific dates on releases because anything can happen – and usually does. The most up-to-date information can always be found on the web site or the latest issue of this newsletter.
In the end, we prefer not to rush anything – it’s the final result that counts.
STORY GUIDESSEASON 2 STORY 6
|The Lion||27 Mar 65||17.42||2456||10.5||16||51|
|The Knight of Jaffa||03 Apr 65||17.43||23’28”||8.5||29||50|
|The Wheel of Fortune||10 Apr 65||17.42||2451||9.0||32||49|
|The Warlords||17 Apr 65||17.40||2348||9.5||27||48|
Total Duration = 9703 (approx)
Average Viewing Audience = 9.4
Average Chart Position = 26.0
Average Chart Position = 26.0
Repeat Screenings — nil
Countries Sold To — Australia, Barbados, Gibraltar, Jamaica, Mauritius, Nigeria, Singapore, Zambia
(b) VIDEO FOOTAGE
Status — Episode three has been held by the BBC Film & Videotape Library since inventoried in 1978 – as a 16mm telerecording negative. The first episode was returned to the BBC in January 1999 following negotiations with a private collector in New Zealand. The BBC retain two copies (a “raw” version and a restored version) of episode 1, both on Digital-Betacam. The remasted episode 3 now exists on Digital-Betacam as well.
Clips — n/a
- The Wheel of Fortune (episode 3) was originally released as part of The Hartnell Years video special in 1991 (BBCV 4608). The CBS/Fox release followed later the same year (3403). In 1999, after the discovery of The Lion (episode 1), the two existing episodes were restored and released on a single tape with The Space Museum. Links for the missing episodes were provided by William Russell (in character as Ian Chesterton).
(c) AUDIO RECORDINGS
Although more than one complete recording exists of The Crusade, the “best” recording is believed to be the one recorded by David Holman.
A fan reconstruction of episodes 2 & 4 is currently not available.
(e) PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL
Telesnaps — For many years, no telesnaps were thought to exist from this story (ie nothing was discovered at the BBC’s Written Archives Centre). However, following an interview performed by Peter Griffiths for DWM, it was discovered that George Gallaccio, one of the production assistants on the show during the seventies, was given copies of some telesnaps during a routine clean-out of the production office. This batch contained (amongst other things) all four episodes of The Crusade. The telesnaps for the missing episodes were subsequently published in Doctor Who Magazine #280.
Behind-the-Scenes Shots — a collection of set photographs exist as taken by designer, Barry Newbery.
Publicity Shots —
- 05 Mar 65 – photocall at Riverside Studio One (hunting party, marketplace, and the Doctor and King in the palace)
- 19 Mar 65 – photocall at Riverside Studio One (King Richard, Safiya, and the Doctor / Vicki / Joanna)
(f) AUSTRALIAN CENSOR CUTS
Episode DR FT RA CUTS The Lion 26 Jan 66 943 G no cuts The Knight of Jaffa 26 Jan 66 886 G no cuts The Wheel of Fortune 26 Jan 66 942 G no cuts The Warlords 26 Jan 66 895 G no cuts
(g) OTHER NOTES
REVIEWS AND COMMENTS
THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN [COI6]
It’s a shame that the closer a product approaches perfection, the more the few niggles and criticisms seem to stand out. This is certainly true with the immensely enjoyable version of The Abominable Snowmen which is now available. I had been looking forward to seeing this new edition from Bruce on two counts. Firstly, it is a story which has never captivated me on audio tape, and has left me feeling that without the visuals, I am not getting the full effect. Secondly, as a devotee of Bruce’s presentations – preferring the frequently changing images and full script – I was keen to see exactly how he had changed his already successful format.
I have been satisfied on both counts. The story itself was more enjoyable than ever before – in particular, the climactic material in Padmasambhava’s sanctum was rather gripping, and more than ever before, I was able to appreciate the wonderfully rich performance that Jack Watling gives as Travers. To see the images filling my whole screen was also a delight, allowing me to admire Gerald Blake’s picture composition – particularly on the extensive film sequences. The sound was crystal clear as I have come to expect and the reproduction of the title sequences is very faithful indeed (although I did wince every time I saw “Producer: Innes Llyod” I’m afraid).
The new format of full-screen images with overlaid text was my main worry – and it works very well for the most part. At first I was worried that the text would appear all over the screen, requiring one’s eye movement to be rapid to guess where the legend would appear next (akin to some sort of reactive skills test). However, Bruce has wisely retained the text in the same position through a sequence, which works very well. At times, there is an image at the bottom which has been obscured when there was space at the top, and vice versa, but these occasions are very few!
It seems churlish to criticise such a wonderful venture, but the faults are so few that they do irritate. That’s why it’s easier when you see something that you don’t like at all – you can just write it off as useless. Unfortunately, the mix of images from different parts of the serial to bolster up some scenes can be disorientating in a narrative where people change costumes – one moment the Doctor is wearing his Tibetan scarf, the next he is in his fur coat. Personally, I’d rather have a repeated shot with a character in the same garb. Anyway, who am I to moan? I couldn’t even begin to assemble anything as well made and informative as this.
The serial is very easy to watch and benefits immensely from this treatment. The clear images and sound add to the pleasure. As usual, the packaging with introduction and trailer is very enjoyable (although I’m sure at least The Smugglers had no incidental music either!), and although the results of all the reconstruction teams are really something to be marvelled at, the “with script” format which Bruce has hit upon is the one that still works best for me!
Well worth three hours of my time – and highly enjoyable!
LETTERS AND OPINIONS
There were a couple of questions in the latest Disused Yeti regarding things such as edits in the official BBC Video releases. People may be interested to know that I currently have a website about things such as these, covering a season by season guide of BBCV releases. The URL is:
So far I have completed seasons 1-11 and 24-26. The rest should be completed in the coming months.
THE MEMORY CHEATS
I was 19 when DOCTOR WHO started, so definitely no “behind the sofa” for me! After having recovered from the Kennedy assassination shock, I remember looking forward to this new science-fiction adventure series. After missing the second episode of the show (simply because not all one’s relatives had TVs in the sixties), I saw the third and fourth episodes, and do remember the chase through the Stone Age forest (I found this boring after the scientific start). I therefore didn’t like the historical stories – I remember being angry when Tegana stopped the Doctor escaping to the TARDIS during this endless seven week adventure (of course, at the time, we didn’t know how long a story would last).
Since I was interested in ants, I enjoyed the Zarbi (also unique as a planet where some of the inhabitants didn’t speak English). I particular remember the amusing moment with Ian’s tie, and the terror of Barbara being dragged out of the TARDIS by some unknown force.
Although my 21st Birthday didn’t fall on a Saturday, I took the family to the cinema and remember looking in a shop window to catch a glimpse of episode 3 of The Chase. Onto the next story, I guessed the Meddling Monk was a time traveller from the clues, even though (at that stage) we weren’t aware that the Doctor was a Timelord. I didn’t see Mission to the Unknown, but I did enjoy The Daleks’ Master Plan with Mavic Chen and the Meddling Monk. I think some of the sixties effects stand up even today, eg the moving iris of a Dalek.
Not being a football fan, I was angry when Germany caused extra time in the 1966 World Cup, thus delaying DOCTOR WHO. I also remember seeing a BBC Welsh schools science programme which featured a Welsh Dalek – unfortunately, I didn’t know what it was saying!
The first regeneration was very good, and I found Patrick Troughton to be a fine actor. We had an audio reel tape recorder at the time, which meant I was able to record excerpts from the episodes (and thus relive the sound of the 2nd Doctor’s painful change). I also remember finding Ben and Polly a great team, and being glad that the Doctor lost his tall hat!
Each time the Cybermen appeared, they were different (but I still consider them better than the versions which appeared in the 70s and 80s). I was pleased when The Tomb of the Cybermen was found – I had not seen episodes 2 & 3 originally as I was abroad on holidays at the time.
I remember the trailer for The Web of Fear, when the Doctor stood in the Underground telling us that the Yeti were a bit more frightening this time than last. Later, I obtained a portable reel audio recorder of my own, and was able to record episode 6 of The Seeds of Death onto a 30 minute tape at my sister’s place. I remember we were having tea in the front room while this was on, and when I played back the tape later on, I found that five minutes was missing as the tape had run out before the end of the episode (groan!).
I remember the horrible scene in Fury from the Deep with the two maintenance men breathing gas. I also enjoyed The Mind Robber, finding it a very unusual story (and I do remember taping the entire story on audio). I always remembered the fact that Gulliver was from Nottingham, and that the story featured White Robots.
The Invasion had the return of Kevin Stoney (I obtained his autograph when he appeared at the end of a convention to dispel rumours of his death!). I also enjoyed The War Games with the SIDRATs and the War Chief, especially the Doctor trying to escape his trial, and not knowing what the third Doctor would look like. Pat brought many happy times to DOCTOR WHO, and I’m sorry that so many of his stories were destroyed.
By the time Pertwee started, we were lucky enough to own a colour TV. I remember being disappointed in the minimal amount of colour that was used for the Daleks when compared to their cinema version – I also missed seeing the TARDIS in action with the Doctor grounded. I was surprised by Pertwee playing the Doctor straight after knowing him from his comical part in THE NAVY LARK. Tom Baker was good, and it’s a crime that Shada was never finished. Peter Davison shone in his final hour. Then came the brusque 6th Doctor played by Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy was different again. I remember giving him a computer picture some years ago of Captain Kirk outside the TARDIS shouting “Come out McCoy I know you’re in there!”
My first convention was in 1978, it was great to meet fellow fans and the stars. I never got the chance to meet Hartnell, but I did see Troughton twice – at a Birmingham anti-litter campaign and the Brighton convention.
In more recent years, I played one of the conference people in The Airzone Solution video, which I still think is the best spin-off story so far, and one that would appeal to the general public. I thought Paul McGann played a good Doctor, pity about the script. The “Red Nose Day” story was also very good. I’m sure the Doctor would enjoy the Internet – it has certainly let us share our enjoyment of the series with fans throughout the world.
Thanks to the following for help with this issue : Mark Ayres, Steve Cole, Dominic Jackson, Andrew Pixley, Steve Roberts, Simon Simmoms, and Trevor Wells.
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!
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