12 April 1999
Edited by Bruce Robinson (email@example.com)
Robert Franks (TelesnapGuy@csi.com)
|THE LION ROARS AGAIN ... PART TWO|
|RECON RAMBLINGS – A NEW COLUMN|
|THE DOCTOR WHO CLIPPINGS ARCHIVE|
|THE LION – A FEW COMMENTS|
|NOTHING AT THE END OF THE LANE UPDATE|
Firstly, a word from Bruce – it is with a big sigh of relief that I’d like to welcome you to a new issue of the newsletter. Why do I say “big sigh of relief” – surely America wasn’t THAT bad? Well yes, while I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to America (Robert will tell you more about that later), I was greeted with a very concerning message when I switched on my PC on returning home:
Hard Drive Failure
It’s incredible how three simple words can have such a major impact! Apart from the obvious problem of not being able to check my E-mail properly, there was also the rather major concern of losing some valuable data, reconstruction files included (some of the files were backed-up, but not all). However, in the end, a faulty controller cable was diagnosed as the cause of the problem, resulting in no major data loss.
Of course, this minor technical problem has caused a number of side-effects, including the delay of this issue. Normally, we would have released the issue almost a month ago, but with the American trip and assorted dramas ... Speaking of the American trip, how do you think it all went, Robert?
Well, where do I start – LA, the Las Vegas strip, Route 66, the Grand Canyon, The Lion, new DOCTOR WHO audios, Disneyland, Universal Studios ...
While that description barely scratches the surface, it does include most of the highlights. Suffice it to say that your two editors had a couple of fun-filled weeks – Bruce got to play in the snow and I got to build a TARDIS! We also met up with many friends, both old and new. Somewhere in the middle of all this, we also found time to discuss possible improvements to the reconstructions – please read the Reconstruction Updates section below for the end result of what we talked about (most of this discussion took place during a wonderful nine-hour road trip!).
By the way, everyone needs to ask Bruce about his “boogeying down” to a classic Ian Levine tune ...
Bruce and Robert
Similar to the previous issue, a single update will be provided on each reconstruction group. Oh, and in case you’re wondering why these recons are constantly delayed, then please refer to the new section below called “Recon Ramblings”.
CHANGE OF IDENTITY RECONSTRUCTIONS (update by Bruce Robinson)
Currently, Michael Palmer (from the “JV” team) and I are discussing some ideas to improve the quality of the COI recons. In particular, we’re chewing over the idea of having Michael complete the recons using his PC and VCR, although I’ll continue to create the individual reconstruction files. This has a number of obvious benefits – Michael will be in a better position to improve the timing between slides, video footage can be inserted more precisely, and multiple master copies can be produced directly off Michael’s PC (in the past, I’ve only been able to create a single master off the PC).JOINT VENTURE RECONSTRUCTIONS (update by Robert Franks)
Although the plan hasn’t been 100% sorted out (and probably never will, until the first story has been completed), we’re keen to give it a go on the next COI recon, which will definitely be The Abominable Snowmen. Due to some of the complications that we might discover, a release date is very difficult to estimate. However, sometime in June or July is looking like the best bet at this stage.
As for the other proposed recons, The Crusade will of course be put on hold until the BBC Video becomes available. As a result, the enhanced version of Marco Polo will probably be the next story completed, followed by the first six episodes of The Daleks’ Master Plan.
With a newly restored audio, as well as copies of the camera script, the task of photo-scripting The Celestial Toymaker has begun. Richard Develyn has taken a break from processing the telesnap scans to make this his first work on a non-telesnap story. With recent developments of other Toymaker reconstructions, the JV version will be delayed to avoid confusion with the other releases.LOOSE CANNON RECONSTRUCTIONS (update by Rick Brindell)
The next reconstruction from the JV team will be a special “double” release – all four episodes of The Underwater Menace and The Ice Warriors Two and Three will be released on a single tape. The existing episodes of Ice Warriors are available from BBC Video (catalogue information will be provided on the recon). Also, to make use of the restored audio released on CD, the reconstructed episodes have been structured so that the CD-audio can be played on a stereo, and “kept in time” with the recon. An on-screen countdown will be provided to assist in timing the CD with the reconstruction.
Although not previously announced, The Moonbase has been completed in between the delays of other projects. The recon should be released approximately one month after the Menace/Warriors tape.
The reconstruction work on Fury from the Deep is nearing completion – however this release has been delayed due to an exciting new project. Recently, Richard Bignell approached the JV team about the possibility of including a documentary on the making of the serial. Richard has worked closely with both the COI and JV teams in the past – he wanted to branch into the reconstruction world, but didn’t want to just duplicate other people’s efforts.
The Making of Fury from the Deep will comprise interviews with several people involved in the original production, and will also include many other “special” selections. Among the confirmed interviews are Hugh David (Director), John Abineri (van Lutyens), Michael Briant (Production Assistant) and Margot Hayhoe (Assistant Floor Manager). There will also be several new behind-the-scenes photos, and shots of the locations as they appear today. Also included will be excerpts from The Slide, the radio play on which the story was based. The entire documentary will run about 40 minutes, and will be included as a bonus with the Fury recon.
Two previews of the documentary can be found on-line at:
I have recently completed LC versions of The Savages and The Smugglers. Also, I have started distributing the Paul Cryer version of The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve.
Future projects of my own include :
For more information, please visit the Loose Cannon home page at <www.recons.com>. If you would like to be put on the LC mailing list, please E-mail me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
- The Highlanders – currently being worked upon, with a tentative release date of May 99.
- The Celestial Toymaker – this project is almost completed, however, it is temporarily on hold to acquire more source material. Release date – to be determined.
- Galaxy 4 – Pre-production work has been ongoing since Nov ’98. Production should start in April 99, with a tentative release date of July 99.
THE LION ROARS AGAIN ... PART TWO
Following the interview with Paul Scoones (editor of Time Space Visualiser) in the previous DY issue, we now continue to examine the roles played by the various people behind the discovery of The Lion (the first episode of The Crusade). This issue features a short interview with Steve Roberts, BBC employee and member of the “Doctor Who Restoration Team”. Next issue will see the third and final part of the series – an interview with Neil Lambess, the New Zealand fan responsible for bringing the episode’s existence to Paul Scoones’ attention.
(1) Firstly Steve, how did you first hear about the possibility of The Lion existing? Was this something that was completely “out of the blue”?
Yes, it really was completely out of the blue! I returned home from work one Sunday evening, checked my E-mail, and discovered a message from Paul Scoones. Although we had never communicated before, I knew him by reputation and the way he described the circumstances left me in no doubt that he was telling the truth.(2) What was your initial reaction on seeing the print for the first time?
Paul Scoones sent me a VHS copy made by pointing a camcorder at the projection screen in Bruce Grenville’s house (Bruce being the film collector who possessed the reel). It was obvious even from this VHS copy that there was considerable damage to the film, particularly some deep vertical “tramline” scratches. A couple of days later, the print arrived, so I was able to assess it on a real telecine. The actual quality of the print was very good, it was just in bad condition. Once I had cleaned it in our ultrasonic film cleaner, I transferred it to digital videotape via our wetgate telecine. This effectively removed a lot of the more superficial damage, such as scuffs and light scratches on the surface of the film, leaving just the worst of the damage to deal with electronically.(3) Briefly, what sort of work has been performed by the Restoration Team to increase the quality of The Lion?
All the restoration work has been carried out digitally from the videotape transfer. The first job was to manually “deblob” the print, a process in which large single-frame problems such as scratches and projector burns are repaired by patching in pieces of the picture from adjacent frames. We were hoping to be able to use a prototype video restoration tool called AURORA to automatically detect and conceal the tramline scratches, but it was in France and we couldn’t obtain access to it in the timescale required by BBC Video. Therefore, I used another method to try to reduce the damage.(4) And finally, can you provide us with a brief run-down of how The Lion will be released on BBC Video? When will the video be released in the UK?
Two tapes were made from the deblobbed version. The first was using a digital dirt reducer on a normal setting to effectively remove the smaller bits of dirt and sparkle as per any normal telecine session. Then another tape was made, this time with the dirt concealer working flat out – this made a real mess of the pictures in general (lots of movement artefacts etc), but was quite good at killing the black and white sparklies in the scratches. This version was then soft-edge wiped in thin vertical strips into the damaged areas of the first tape, reducing the damage in the affected areas without spoiling the picture in the clean areas.
At the same time as I was working on the pictures, Mark Ayres was working on the soundtrack, removing hiss, crackle and other damage. The two will then be remarried onto a final master tape.
The Lion is being released in the UK in June, as part of a special rush-release boxset. The box will contain a single tape including the two Crusade episodes and all four episodes of the subsequent story The Space Museum. The missing episodes of The Crusade have been linked by William Russell, in character as Ian Chesterton, recalling his adventures in the Holy Land to camera. Like The Ice Warriors, the box will also contain a CD of the audio of the missing episodes, but this time in a proper CD jewel case. The release will also feature a booklet containing information about the story, the background and the restoration.
NOTHING AT THE END OF THE LANE UPDATE
At last, the light is at the end of the tunnel ... or should that be the end of the lane? In any case, our proposed magazine, Nothing at the End of the Lane, should be available in the very near future. In fact, it is hoped that the next issue of the newsletter will contain ordering details.
Currently, layout work on the magazine is still progressing – a majority of the articles have now been completed (or are in the process of being completed). We’ve also turned our attention to photographic material, and are pleased to see that the magazine will contain quite a few never-before-published images (this include photographs, as well as some “other” material).
So, can we count on your
support in a couple of months time?
Although this newsletter regularly features updates and reviews on the reconstructions, it’s been some time since we’ve actually mentioned anything about the actual production of the tapes. Some readers may recall a “history” article which was featured back in issues 12 and 13 – although this was greeted with a positive response at the time, little information has been published since as to how the reconstructions are produced. And in fact, many readers have asked for more info on how the videos are put together.
Therefore, we’ve decided to start an irregular column which will answer some common questions received on the reconstructions. These questions can cover a wide range of areas – such as how the videos are physically produced, what materials are used to research the reconstructions, and what sort of improvements are planned for the future. If there’s something about the recons that you’ve always wanted to know, then please send us your questions.
This issue, we’ve decided to start with a question that many readers have asked – why do so many of the reconstructions (especially the more recent ones) always seem to be delayed?
Well firstly, this is a very good question with no simple answer! The most obvious reason is due to technical difficulties with PC and VCR equipment. VCRs, in particular, are notorious for mechanical problems, and with some of our recorders having to put up with continual use, they do frequently suffer from problems. In fact, as of writing, JV team member Michael Palmer has been suffering from never-ending problems with both his VCRs, resulting in a delay in the completion of the next JV stories.
However, technical problems aside, the most common reason for a delay is that “new” material is just around-the-corner. When creating a reconstruction, there is nothing more frustrating than completing the video, and then realising that extra (useful) material is now available which could have been utilised in the recon. Of course, we also realise that there’s no point in hanging out forever, and the line has to be drawn somewhere as to when the video should be completed. However, these days, we are prepared to be a little more patient when it comes to waiting on the arrival of new material.
Another good reason why the more recent recons tend to take more time, is that further time is now spent in researching the actual story. In the “early days”, the recons were completed with the limited material that was commonly accessible. However, now that we have access to further material (such as the BBC camera scripts), extra time is now devoted to ensuring that the recons are just that little bit more accurate when compared to the actual episode.
There are other possible reasons why a recon may be delayed, but the three mentioned above are certainly the most common ones. Oh, and let’s not forget an important reason – the reconstruction creators DO have personal lives as well. After all, this is ONLY a hobby ...
THE DOCTOR WHO CLIPPINGS ARCHIVE
The Internet has always been recognised as something of a curiousity by many people, but with interest in the electronic medium increasing at a phenomenal pace, the volume of DOCTOR WHO related web-sites is similarly expanding. Below, UK fan Roger Anderson provides details on an innovative site that he has recently set up ...
Although The Doctor Who Clippings Archive (DWCA) is a relatively new web-site (having started in July 1998), the site has gone from strength to strength – at the time of writing, approximately 15,000 “hits” on the site have been made. Due to this success and the influx of new scans, the Cuttings Archive has recently had to move to a new web-server.
The DWCA aims to document the last 35 years of DOCTOR WHO in the medium of newspapers and magazines. At first, I decided to simply set up the site, scan my collection of Radio Times articles and newspaper cuttings, and then respond to the occasional offers of scans from a few generous fans (at this point, experienced web-masters may be muttering words like “naïve fool” ... and how right they’d be!). However, the DWCA now has listings and articles which represent all eras of the programme – the earliest date is from 1963, with the Radio Times coverage of 100,000 BC; the latest is from March 1999, with the coverage of the recent Comic Relief sketch.
The idea for the DWCA came to me a while back, when I first went “on-line”. I noticed that, despite the large number of DOCTOR WHO related sites, I could not find items such as newspaper articles, listings and magazine covers. I’ve been fascinated by these transient items of ephemera for a long time – way back in the seventies when I first became a fan of the programme, I collected a scrapbook full of cuttings from the Radio Times. (At a later point, I started collecting articles from newspapers as well.) All of this provided me with the idea, and the initial material, to commence the site.
Perhaps one of the happiest events of recent years (in WHO terms) was the rediscovery of The Lion in January 1999. In response to the wonderful news, I endeavoured to collect all the newspaper coverage of the event that I could find – this involved scouring the shelves of local newsagents for well over a week. The next stage involved scanning all the articles I could find, and then uploading them to the web-site. This meant that the site provided, what I consider to be, the valuable service of making as many articles available as soon as possible. In addition to my own contribution, I received the kind help of fans in the UK and from around the world, who all sent in articles about the discovery. All of this prompted me to create a new section of the site dedicated to the missing episodes. This page tells the story of the BBC’s destruction of so many classic early episodes, as well as collecting together all of the articles on the discovery of The Lion.
Unfortunately the Hartnell and Troughton eras have been the least well represented on the site. Given my interest in the early years of DOCTOR WHO, I’d very much like to rectify the situation – this is particularly the case with early newspaper coverage. I have one article from the whole of the sixties – this provides details of the news that companions Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) and Ian (William Russell) were leaving during, the then forthcoming story, The Chase. It’s an interesting example of the early newspaper coverage of the programme, but sadly a solitary one.
The situation with regards to the Radio Times is more promising, but there are still a great many “holes” in the coverage. At present, the archive has RT listings and articles representing the following stories:
- 100,000 BC [two articles and listing for the first episode]
- Marco Polo cover [dated – 22 to 28 February 1964]
- The Dalek Invasion of Earth cover [dated – 21 to 27 November 1964]
- The Web Planet cover [dated – 13 to 19 February 1965]
- The Romans [article and listings for episodes 1, 2 and 4]
- The Web Planet [article and all listings]
- The Crusade [article and all listings]
- The Space Museum [all listings]
- The Chase [article and all listings]
- The Time Meddler [article and all listings]
- The Savages [article]
- The Power of the Daleks cover [dated – 05 to 11 November 1966]
- The Power of the Daleks [two versions of the same article]
- The Highlanders [two articles]
- The Macra Terror [article]
- The Evil of the Daleks [article]
The covers listed above represent all of the Radio Times covers from the sixties (in fact, ALL of the Radio Times DOCTOR WHO covers can be found on the archive.) In addition, the site also features US TV Guide listings for all of the complete Hartnell and Troughton stories.
- The Tomb of the Cybermen cover [dated – 02 to 08 November 1967]
- The Enemy of the World cover [dated – 20 to 26 January 1968]
- The Web of Fear [article]
- Fury from the Deep [article]
Recently, some exciting news has come my way. I have just been contacted by a fan who has a copy of every Radio Times issue that features some sort of coverage of DOCTOR WHO. In fact, I have just received the first batch of scans – this comprised all the coverage for 100,000 BC, as well as the first few episodes of the original Dalek serial. Over the next few months, the archive will grow more comprehensive as further Radio Times articles are added to the site.
Apart from mainstream media coverage of DOCTOR WHO, the site will eventually see coverage of many regional variations as well. During the sixties, the listings and articles which covered the programme varied from region to region. For example, the coverage of The Daleks’ Master Plan was far more extensive in the areas that, at the time (November 1965), did not have access to BBC2. These areas (Northern Ireland, Scotland and the North of England amongst others) had a quarter page article on Master Plan, whereas other parts of the country had no coverage. I hope to create a new page on the site in the near future which will provide details of these variations, as well as providing a comprehensive listing of all the Radio Times coverage of the programme over the past 35 years. This, in conjunction with the other items on the site, should hopefully make it an increasingly useful resource, both for serious researchers, and for fans with a general interest in how DOCTOR WHO has been covered by the print media.
For details of any updates and additions to the site, keep an eye on the web-site and the newsgroups. You may also be interested in joining the Doctor Who Cuttings Archive Updates List – I frequently mail out updates to members, as well as details of future plans for the site. If you would like to visit The Doctor Who Cuttings Archive, then please follow this link:
STOP PRESS : Complete listings
and larger Radio Times articles are now available on the DWCA for
ALL stories in Season 1. These include full details of the issue numbers,
volume numbers and cover dates of the Radio Times in which they
appeared. Details of future site updates will be posted on the newsgroups
and mailing lists – with members of the DWCA Updates List being notified
SEASON 2 STORY 4
Episode TX TI DU VA CP AA The Slave Traders 16 Jan 65 17.40 24’14” 13.0 7 53 All Roads Lead to Rome 23 Jan 65 17.40 23’14” 11.5 15 51 Conspiracy 30 Jan 65 17.40 26’18” 10.0 28 50 Inferno 06 Feb 65 17.40 23’08” 12.0 13 50
Total Duration = 96’54” (approx)
Average Viewing Audience = 11.6
Average Chart Position = 15.75
Repeat Screenings — nil on BBC1, although the story has been repeated on UK Gold.
Countries Sold To — Australia, Caribbean, Ethiopia, Gibraltar, Jamaica, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Zambia(b) VIDEO FOOTAGE
Status — The Slave Traders (1) and Conspiracy (3) existed on 16mm film when the BBC Film and Video Tape Library was inventoried in 1978. Later that same year, 16mm negative film prints for all four episodes were recovered from a vault at BBC Enterprises.(c) AUDIO RECORDINGS
Clips — n/a
- An unedited version of the story was released on BBC Video in 1994 (BBCV 5378) as a two tape pack (along with The Rescue). A North American release, also on two tapes, followed in 1996 (CBS/Fox 8338). The Australia release contained both stories on one tape.
n/a(e) PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL
Telesnaps — PasB (Programme-as-Broadcast) documentation indicates that John Cura did provide his services for all four episodes. Despite the telesnaps not existing in the BBC’s Written Archives Centre, director Christopher Barry does possess the contact sheets for all four episodes.(f) AUSTRALIAN CENSOR CUTS
Behind-the-Scenes Shots — unknown
Publicity Shots —
- 18 Dec 64 – photocall at Studio One, Riverside (regular cast in the Roman villa)
(g) OTHER NOTES
Episode DR FT RA CUTS The Slave Traders 13 Oct 65 917 G no cuts All Roads Lead to Rome 13 Oct 65 879 G no cuts Conspiracy 13 Oct 65 997 G no cuts Inferno 13 Oct 65 877 G no cuts
REVIEWS AND COMMENTS
Due to the lack of new reconstructions to review, we’ve ask a few fans to send us their thoughts on the recently discovered episode of The Crusade, which received a premiere screening at Gallifrey 1999. Following are some comments from fans who were in attendance ...
It was a magical moment at Gallifrey One to sit in a room with hundreds of buzzing DOCTOR WHO fans, and to witness the newly recovered episode of The Crusade. Like most people, this was the first time in ages that I had the opportunity to see a “new” televised adventure of the first Doctor. And in fact, The Lion holds up well as a single episode simply because it is the first episode of story, meaning that it sets up the background and tone for what’s to come.
In many ways, this episode is horribly misdirected – scenes of William Hartnell swordfighting produced roars of laughter throughout the crowd. Sadly, all of the fighting scenes are fairly hideous. The two examples that stick out painfully in my mind both involve William Russell. In one scene, Ian is supposed to punch a Saracen – instead, it is painfully obvious that there was no contact whatsoever between the two actors (the scene continues with the stuntman dramatically reacting to a punch that landed some three or four feet away from him!). Later on, as Ian runs from a Saracen, he is able to knock the Saracen off his feet by snapping a twig back into his face. This has to be some of the worst choreographed fighting in the history of DOCTOR WHO.
However, the overall episode really does shine through. The scenes of the Doctor shoplifting clothes from the disreputable trader made for a wonderful and memorable impression for not only the first Doctor’s character, but of the entire spirit of the programme. Upon viewing this episode, it became clear that you are not only watching a fun story, but are experiencing one of the true classics in the series’ history.
After the episode had been screened, I talked to other fans about what we had seen. I agreed with everyone I talked to – the episode was strange, badly overacted on several counts, but something that should not have been missed.
It has been a little over a month since I saw The Lion, but the following scenes are among those I particularly remember and enjoy.
The scene in which the Doctor and Vicki liberate some clothes from the shopkeeper, is classic comedic Hartnell. Hartnell is in great form throughout the episode – in fact, I think it may have been one of his best performances in the entire series. Hartnell has the chance to perform both dramatic and comedic scenes, and he does both very well.
The swordfight at the start of the episode is certainly not classic swordplay, however, I still enjoyed it – as I don’t associate action sequences like this with the Hartnell era, it was fun to watch, and certainly better than the ones from the Pertwee Peladon stories.
With an excellent script and great performances all around, this was a real joy to see, and a great recovery for the series and for classic television generally. I can’t wait to see the episode again, and I can only wish that the remainder of the serial is unearthed.
The Lion is a brilliant episode that includes William Hartnell in a surprisingly nimble swordfight, well-crafted dialogue, and Julian Glover (arguably the best guest actor to have appeared on DOCTOR WHO). All of the performances are top-notch including the Saracens, who are portrayed in a more balanced fashion than I was led to believe or indeed expected from 1960s television. The well-paced direction manages to pack a lot of action into a 25-minute episode. All in all, WHO fans have something to be thankful for with the return of another piece of this underrated story, and can look forward to the video release and reconstruction.
LETTERS AND OPINIONS
It was mentioned in The Ice Warriors article about sound problems on one Australian fan’s tape. Well, my tape also suffers from this, and I have been told by just about everyone in Western Australia who I know, that the very same problem exists on their tapes. Was there a major problem with the audio on the tapes, and is it possible to get them replaced with newer copies?
[STEVE ROBERTS responds: I know that there are some faulty copies out there, but certainly not all of them are faulty. My own Australian copy, which I bought at the ABC Shop in Sydney, is perfect all the way through. I presume that the duplication job was performed in batches and one or more of these may have been faulty.]
I recently got in touch with Walter Randall, an actor who appeared in six DOCTOR WHO stories, including the recently discovered episode of The Crusade. In fact, Walter considers his role in The Crusade (that of the cunning El Akir) to be his favourite. I asked Walter a few questions about his time in DOCTOR WHO, including what he thought about the discovery of The Lion.
Walter’s first role in DOCTOR WHO was as Tonila in The Aztecs – “I met the secretary of the director John Crockett, at a friend’s dinner party one night, and she suggested me to him”. As for the show itself, “It was very interesting and exciting. William Hartnell treated me very well and we became quite friendly – we had lunch together a few times. The only change I experienced was when it went from black & white to colour”.
What was Walter’s reaction to the discovery of The Crusade? “While I knew about the discovery of a lost episode in New Zealand, I didn’t know it was The Crusade until Philip Newman, who wrote the article on me in Doctor Who Magazine phoned me up and told me it was the first episode. Naturally I was very excited, as the BBC had wiped off a lot of the DOCTOR WHO series.”
As for Walter’s career generally, “I have played many roles on television from Jesus Christ to Abraham Lincoln with various nationalities such as Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Italians, Spanish etc too many to mention. I have also appeared in quite a few films. I have been in the business for over 40 years and have now retired.”
(ROBERT DUNLOP – aged 14)
THE MEMORY CHEATS
The first episode of DOCTOR WHO I ever saw was at a Christmas party in 1963 – it was the first episode of the original Dalek story, and I was eight years old at the time. Most of the other kids there were already fans from the first story, and in fact, the party stopped so that everyone could watch the show. Since I had never heard of the program before, I was not especially enthused at the prospect of watching it. However, by the end of the episode, I was hooked, and I remember everyone, even the adults, speculating what was on the other end of THAT plunger which was approaching Barbara.
Well, from that point on, it was a sad fact of my family life that whatever we were doing on a Saturday, we had to race home by 5.15pm so that I could watch DOCTOR WHO. In fact, some of my clearest memories of the program are not of the episodes themselves, but of the very few times that I missed an episode and the grief that it subsequently caused me! One particular time where I had to make a difficult choice was the final episode of The Dalek Invasion of Earth – I had to choose between my father’s office Christmas party for children, or watching the episode. In the end, I chose the party, however I made my mother promise to describe every detail of what happened when I returned home. Of course on my return, I discovered I had missed Susan’s departure – I remember being most upset that she had left.
Another memory I have of The Dalek Invasion of Earth are the comments that appeared on JUNIOR POINTS OF VIEW after the first episode had been transmitted. Many writers were very upset that after all the build-up, the Daleks had hardly appeared in the episode – “One measly dripping-wet Dalek!” was one comment. JPOV often featured DOCTOR WHO at that time – I also remember that for The Web Planet, they had specially created a set of miniature Zarbi puppets which played as a Beatles-lookalike pop group! (Incidentally, I also recall that there was a BLUE PETER article about DOCTOR WHO immediately prior to Dalek Invasion – this featured a recap of the original Dalek story.)
As children in those days had nothing like the sophistication of today’s ten-year-olds, we expected television to be cheap, and accepted that we would have to use our imaginations a fair bit. Therefore, the sight of the same three Daleks moving around and around to simulate a multitude, as in The Chase, did not disappoint us in the same way that it does a modern viewer.
My final memory of the second season is from the end of The Time Meddler – I recall that there was no announcement of a next story or of a further season. As a result, I was left on tenterhooks throughout the summer until DOCTOR WHO did indeed reappear in September.
A particular memory I have from the third season is the Christmas special episode from The Daleks’ Master Plan. This is because our family spent that Christmas in a hotel, as our house was being worked upon by builders and decorators. It was actually a very special and exciting Christmas for me in many ways, but I still remember the nervousness I had that the other hotel residents would object to me watching DOCTOR WHO; the relief I felt when I was able to watch the program; and the surprise I had when I discovered the nature of the episode. Interestingly, I never understood the meaning of the episode title The Feast of Steven – at the time, I had assumed it referred to the character of Steven in some way.
As time passed, although DOCTOR WHO lost its initial novelty and popularity, there were still particular stories that stood out. One such story was The Trojan War (aka The Myth Makers) – the combination of humour and mythic allusion went down well with both child and adult audiences (my teachers in particular). At the same time, it also boasted a strong cast and a well-created story. For some reason, I particularly remember the end of episode 1, where the camera zooms down on the “horse medallion” lying in the sand where the TARDIS has just disappeared. This is still one of my favourite episode endings.
However, there was no denying the fact that both the program as a whole, and William Hartnell in the main role, were losing their “edge”. It was still a shock to hear though, during one Saturday in the summer of 1966 when we were staying with friends on the coast, that their father (who knew I was a DOCTOR WHO fan) pointed out a story in The Times that William Hartnell was being replaced by Patrick Troughton in the title role. Hartnell was very established in my (and everyone’s) mind as the Doctor, and I remember our profound scepticism as to whether anyone else could successfully take on the role.
Many of the episodes from those days are, barring the creation of a time machine, lost forever. However, it’s also true that even when watching those episodes that remain, it is still impossible for modern day viewers to experience them in the same way that their original audience had in the sixties.
Thanks to the following for
help with this issue : Roger Anderson, Richard Bignell, Steve Boyce, Rick
Brindell, Dominic Jackson, Michael Palmer and Steve Roberts.
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
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