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Watershed Productions


Released
Title
Narrator
Format
Release Code
June 1995
Jon Pertwee
Cass
ZBBC 1769
June 1995
Peter Davison
Cass
ZBBC 1771
July 1995
Jon Pertwee
Cass
ZBBC 1768
August 1995
Doctor Who: Attack Of The Cybermen
Colin Baker
Cass
ZBBC 1776
August 1997
Peter Davison
Cass
ZBBC 1770
November 1997
Colin Baker
Cass
ZBBC 1832

In early 1995 the BBC Radio Collection set themselves a proposal to produce a series of high quality audio books, using original music and sound effects, based upon the Target novelisations of televised Doctor Who stories. Aiming to release a selection of titles, some of which were already available on video, the single cassette format was chosen to keep the price low (to avoid the stereotypical middle-class audience), and to appeal to an alternative market than the video releases. With a selection of suggested titles from Virgin books, texts were abridged to 90 minutes, removing all unnecessary sub-plots and obvious cliff-hangers. Using the appropriate actor to read the abridged scripts, two books were recorded per day in an initial batch that included two stories from each of three Doctors.

"Oh it's great fun", enthused Jon Pertwee in DWM 227. "I enjoy this kind of work, doing all the different voices. I do light voices for the girls, a mechanical voice for the Daleks and all kinds of interesting things for the monsters. Whatever comes to me as an interesting way of bringing the words to life, really". The recordings were produced by Chris Wallis of Watershed Productions, who concentrated on making the cassettes appealing to fans and casual buyers alike. "The major constraint is that you have to get the buggers into ninety minutes. That is very difficult, so we looked for stories that were, in novelisation form, short enough that an abridgement wouldn't reduce them to such a skeletal structure that they would be of no interest. We want to create a product that stands on its own and has its own integrity."

The first two cassettes were rush-released in June 1995, with further releases in July and August, and received fair reviews from Doctor Who Magazine, where Shelf Life columist Dave Owen described them as "an excellent introduction to the series for listeners who have never seen it on television" (DWM229). Kinda and Vengeance On Varos failed to appear until after the Doctor Who merchandise-drought surrounding the Fox TV Movie (an intervention by BBC Worldwide, who wanted did not want their new product to be confused with nostalgic releases), finally appearing in re-designed double cassette cases bearing the new Black Sheep logo. Wallis had planned to produce another six cassettes, but following the Fox TV Movie, BBC Worldwide reclaimed their right to release original Doctor Who fiction, and planned a complimentary audio range independent of the television series.

The cassettes were compiled onto two mp3 CDs in July 2004, titled Tales from the TARDIS: the first contained The Curse of Peladon, Kinda and Attack of the Cybermen (along with the later readings Out of the Darkness and Short Trips), and the second Planet of the Daleks, Warriors of the Deep and Venegance on Varos (alongside The Novel of the Film and Earth and Beyond).

Planet of the Daleks

Planet Of The Daleks
Read by Jon Pertwee
Written by Terrance Dicks
Abridged and Produced by Chris Wallis

Alone with the injured and unconscious Doctor, Jo Grant ventures onto the planet Spiridon to find help. But in the lush undergrowth there lurks disease, poisonous plants, invisible enemies and, most sinister of all, an army of Daleks waiting in secret for the signal to mobilise... and conquer.

The atmospheric introduction to Dominic Glynn's Doctor Who - Terror Version (from the 1989 Metro Music EP Variations On A Theme) is used as uncredited incidental music throughout the cassette, with occasional edits made to the music to provide a dramatic chord at the end of a chapter. Original sound effects of the Icecano eruption are used at two appropriate points, as is a stock explosion effect. The 1970s Doctor Who theme opens and closes Side One, whilst the TARDIS take-off effect is merged with the 1980s theme (the stereo radio edit) to close Side Two.

Chris Wallis cut approximately 14,500 words of unnecessary dialogue and excess description, removing about 20 cutaway scenes (such as Vaber being attacked by a tentacle and scenes at the Plain of Stones involving the Spiridon animals) and simplifying and shortening the general narrative, removing double superlatives, changing many nouns to pronouns and removing speech interjections (several sentences begun by one character and finished by another are given entirely to the latter speaker). Vaber's arguments with Taron are significantly reduced, Taron and Rebec's relationship is completely cut (besides Vabers mention of her in an attempt to provoke Taron) and so is Jo and Latep's, besides their parting kiss. Most importantly, the Daleks' bacteriological weapon is thoroughly removed, with Westers attempt to rescue Vaber, his eventual sacrifice and the trapping of the Dalek scientists entirely absent. In his reading, Pertwee begins many lines with And, So, Now and Thens that are not present in the text. His pronunciation of Taron fluctuates between Tar - ron (correct) and Tair - ron, and he consistently pronounces Thal incorrectly as Tarl. A presumed mis-reading of a line in Chapter 6 results in the first clause of a narrative sentence, "Gun-sticks at the ready", becoming a line of Dalek dialogue, and he accidentally misses a "the" and calls the Doctor's ship TARDIS in Chapter 12.

Warriors of the Deep

Warriors Of The Deep
Read by Peter Davison
Written by Terrance Dicks
Abridged and Produced by Chris Wallis

When the TARDIS materialises on Earth in 2084, the Doctor meets some old enemies, the Sea Devils. One the masters of this planet they are now forced to live in the murky depths of the sea. But their intention is to reclaim their once-mighty position of dominance, and their associates in this deadly plan are none other than the sinister Silurians.
Several short cues from Jonathan Gibbs' original music score to Warriors Of The Deep are used throughout the cassette to add to the atmosphere of the narration, emphasising the end of occasional paragraphs before gently fading out. These cues have been taken from the original master tapes, not simply the suite prepared for Doctor Who: The Music II in 1985. The music goes uncredited on the sleeve. The 1970s Doctor Who theme opens both sides and closes Side One, with the radio edit of the 1980s theme closing Side Two.

Approximately 11,400 words have been cut from the novelisation, most noticeably from Chapters 7 and 8 where the crews' attempts to fight-off the Myrka have been severely trimmed. Of the 38 scenes that are missing in their entirety, those involving the scheming Nilson and Doctor Solow are the most significant, while cuts within otherwise intact scenes remove a great deal of background information and character history, especially concerning the East and West Blocs and the events of the previous Silurian and Sea Devil adventures, information of which has been edited down only to what is heard on-screen (removing large amounts of narrative from Chapters 5 and 10).

Many short scenes from the text have been edited together by removing their interjection scenes, forcing a structural alteration in Chapter 4 where Tegan's reunition with the Doctor is moved to follow an edited collection of scenes in the Silurian ship. Tegan and Turlough's escape from their cell in Chapter 10 has also been dramatically edited, the removal of the cutaway scenes on the bridge meaning that little time has passed before Turlough agrees to follow her, and their conversation beforehand has been rearranged within the paragraph.

Peter Davison reads faithfully from his script, although his voices for the Silurians and Sea Devils - all of which are spoken in deep, heavy tones - are extremely distant from the Kandy Man Silurians and reverberating hisses of the televised Sea Devils.

The Curse of Peladon

The Curse Of Peladon
Read by Jon Pertwee
Written by Brian Hayles
Abridged and Produced by Chris Wallis

The Doctor and Jo simply meant to take a test ride in the TARDIS to check that it was working. But instead the TARDIS takes them to Peladon, a medieval world which is seeking membership of the Galactic Federation. Delegates have gathered on the planet from all over the galaxy and among them are representatives from Alpha Centauri, Arcturus and Mars, some of whom are the Doctor's oldest and most dangerous enemies.
Several short cues from Jonathan Gibbs' original music score for Warriors Of The Deep are used throughout the cassette, as well as 0'11" of Dominic Glynn's Doctor Who - Terror Version from the 1989 Metro Music EP, Variations On A Theme. Neither are credited. As before, these incidental cues are sourced from the original master tapes, and much of the music heard here does not feature on the actual Warriors of the Deep cassette! Also used are the 1970s Doctor Who opening titles, which open both sides and close Side One, and the radio edit of the 1980s theme, which closes Side Two.

30,900 words are missing from the novelisation, with almost every page reduced to less than a quarter of its original content. Descriptive language, unnecessary dialogue, obvious padding and character history has been edited throughout, notably in the descriptions and interaction of the alien delegates. For example, the cliffhanger to the televised Part One has been entirely removed, including the red-herring suspicions that follow it and the relocation of the delegates to the conference room - they simply appear to stay where they are. Jo's relationship with King Peladon is no longer evident - she is not likened to Ellua the Earth Princess, there is no suggestion of marriage, and Jo does not talk with Peladon "as a person" in later chapters - and Aggador is kept out of sight, removing descriptive references to the legend and several appearances of the beast until the Doctor encounters him in the tunnels. Finally, nearly all major arguments between King Peladon and Hepesh have been removed, while all preparataions for the fight and the final climatic scene have also been cut.

Many drastic cuts call for paraphrased dialogue or narrative to cover the gaps, and summarising text is added liberally throughout. Nouns have been moved within certain sentences to simplify the language, but Pertwee independently adds Well, Then, And, Yes, Oh, Er and But to the beginning of numerous lines. He also sings the Venusian lullaby, the words of which do not appear in the text.

Attack of the Cybermen

Attack Of The Cybermen
Read by Colin Baker
Written by Eric Saward
Abridged and Produced by Chris Wallis

On twentieth-century Earth the Doctor's old enemy, Lytton, appears to have allied himself with the ruthless Cybermen who have devised a scheme to bring the human race to its knees. When the Cyberplanet Mondas was destroyed in 1986, the Cybermen were forced to retreat to the planet Telos. Now they have journeyed back in time to prevent the destruction of their home world and for Mondas to survive, the Earth must die.

Kinda

Kinda
Read by Peter Davison
Written by Terrance Dicks
Abridged and Produced by Chris Wallis

The Doctor and his friends materialise in the jungle paradise of the planet Deva Loka - but soon discover things are far from what they seem. Members of an Earth survey team are disappearing one by one. Those that are left suspect the Kinda, a peaceful native tribe. But the Doctor suspects are far more deadly influance is at work... Tegan, the Doctor's companion, is taken over by a sinister force known as the Mara that seeks to plunge Deva Loka into destruction and chaos - a particularly nasty snake in this Garden of Eden...
Several short cues from Peter Howell's original music score and Dick Mills' sound effects for Kinda are used throughout the cassette to add to the atmosphere of the narration. Neither sound effects nor music are credited. As before, the 1970s and 1980s (radio edit) Doctor Who themes are used opening and closing the sides.

Approximately 9,700 words have been cut, mostly in descriptions of visual elements not necessary on audio (such as Adric's coin trick). Sanders appears friendlier after cuts to his regimental barking and patronising references to the ILF, while the reverse is true of Doctor Todd after the removal of her predictions of Todd's breakdown and the Kinda's concealed intelligence. Much of Tegan's dream is cut, including the old couple playing Chess and her conversations with Tegan Two, and edits have been made throughout to Hindle's hysterical and childish behaviour, particularly as he and Sanders build the model city, all references to which have been removed until the Doctor discovers it in Chapter 10, where several cut sentences from the start of Chapter 9 reappear. The role of Adric has been dramatically reduced - he does not suggest the failure of the TSS in Chapter 3, befriend Hindle and recieve his punishment in Chapters 4 and 5 or escape only to be recaught in Chapter 9. Additional cuts simplify the story to what is seen on screen - there are no narrative descriptions from the Mara's perspective, nor references to Dark Places of the Inside, the Curse of Time or detailed elements of The Prophecy.

Structurally, many cutaway scenes have been removed to simplify the narrative, particularly during Tegan's dreams. Some of the cuts reappear directly afterwards, such as the previously intercut scenes of Tegan throwing apples at Aris and Sanders returning in the TSS. One of Hindle's commands in Chapter 6 is paraphrased with a shorter sentence.

Vengeance on Varos

Vengeance On Varos
Read by Colin Baker
Written by Philip Martin
Abridged and Produced by Chris Wallis

Varos is a cruel world where the descendants of a prison planet are force-fed a diet of endless video nasties... where execution is a spectacle and torture high entertainment. The TARDIS is desperately short of Zeiton 7 ore to power its engines, and the Doctor and Peri know Varos is the only place they may find it. But soon they become involved in the deadly politics of the planet, and the machinations of the sinister Sil, a slug-like alien who wants the price of Zeiton 7 lowered, and the Doctor - along with the governor - out of the way for good. Fighting for the freedom of Varos and for the ore he needs to continue his journeys, the Doctor faces death many times - whilst being constantly filmed for the pleasure of the viewers at home...
Several cues from Jonathan Gibbs' original music score for Vengeance On Varos are used throughout the cassette, as well as 0'55" of Dominic Glynn's Doctor Who - Terror Version from the 1989 Metro Music EP, Variations On A Theme. Neither are credited. During Side One a vocal effect is applied to a line of dialogue spoken to a guard in the Punishment Dome via communicator - a rare moment of vocal treatment on these cassettes! The 1970s and 1980s (radio edit) Doctor Who themes are used, once again opening and closing each side.

20,500 words have been cut from the novelisation, in an effort to simplify the complex narrative style. Many cutaway scenes have been removed in their entirety, often several at a time, particularly as the Doctor and his companions make their way through the Punishment Dome (cutting five lengthly conversations in the Control Room regarding the price of Zeiton ore and fifteen short interludes with Arak and Etta discussing the events on screen). Dangers inside the Dome are also noticeably shortened, with the green eyes and End Zone ghosts removed. General conversation and visual description has been trimmed throughout. Elements unique to the novelisation - such as Sil's faulty translational voice box - have been edited back out again, with Chapter 8 (showing a contemplative governor taking a bath and being visited by the Chief) reduced to two short paragraphs. A structural change occurs after an edited collection of scenes showing the governor's second public vote forces an important cutaway to the Doctor to be moved in Chapter 7. Several scenes have been substantially rewritten rather than edited, among them the materialisation of the TARDIS, Jondar's rescue, their reunion with Areta (without Rondel's death), the mock-executions and the governor's plea to Maldak before his final broadcast. A line of Jondar's dialogue at the start of Chapter 15 ("I wonder why we have been allowed to travel this far into the Dome without being apprehended?") is inexplicably spoken by Areta instead.

Colin Baker's reading produces a Welsh Maldak, a Brummie Oza and Az and a Bax who sounds like an excited Ben Elton - all very different from the televised characters - but his impression of Nebil Sheban as Sil is surely unsurpased.