The distribution information contained in some of the early issues of the newsletter is now out of date. Please consult the main reconstruction website for up-to-date information on obtaining copies of the reconstructions mentioned in the various issues of the newsletter.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
|TENTH PLANET 4 FOUND (OR MAYBE NOT ....) !!!|
|BBC DESTROYS SCRIPT ARCHIVE !!!|
|POWER OF THE DALEKS COMMENTS !!!|
|SURVEY RESULTS !!!|
Welcome again to another issue of “A Change of Identity”. Yes, thank you to those who reminded me that the newsletter is starting to become a little large. This time, I will be much more conscious of length ...
Thanks to all those who responded to the survey. The results have been tabulated, and are included in a supplemental to this issue. If you have any further comments you would like to make on the survey (or any other opinions/suggestions for that matter), please write in. Starting from this issue, the newsletter will contain a general letters/comments section.
And cheers to all those people who have sent in comments for the The Power of the Daleks reconstruction. It’s pleasing to know that the interest is still there in sixties Doctor Who.
I’ve just got two things to say.
One, if you’re totally against the idea of having the script in the reconstructions (or any other feature for that matter), could you please at least see an episode before writing in with criticism? I believe that people are starting to get the wrong idea, e.g. by believing that whole script pages are displayed on the screen at once.
Two, remember that I, like all others who do the reconstructions,
are not professionals. If a reconstruction appears deficient, in most cases,
we are simply making the best of what exists. Better still, we are learning
as we go along, so for instance, please don’t think that Savages
is the best I can do. I am aware that some parts of the reconstructions
CAN be improved (e.g. the soundtrack). In fact, enhanced versions of Savages
and Power are already in the pipe-line (see below).
This issue sees the debut of the Word 6 version of the newsletter. If you selected Word 6 on your survey response, you should receive the newsletter in that format. For all other E-mail people, the newsletter will continue to be sent out in plain text. Therefore, please write if you prefer to be added to the Word 6 mailing list.
The Word 6 version was created out of the desire to start
a snail mail distribution service for the newsletter. Therefore, it can
no longer be assumed that everyone reading this has E-mail access.
As a result of the survey (see supplemental), it has become apparent that many people are confused as to the different reconstructions that exist. This is probably not surprising as there are now THREE separate versions of The Power of the Daleks! So here is a quick summary of the four types of reconstructions currently floating around:
(a) the old Power of the Daleks slide reconstruction. This is a old copy that has been circulating through fandom for a number of years. My copy is at least six years old, so the reconstruction was probably created some time during the 1980s. Does anyone have any idea who created this???
(b) the Richard Develyn reconstructions. This issue, I’ll be having a closer look at this series of reconstructions, but basically, they can be identified by the full-screen telesnaps, and the authentic opening titles. So far, Richard (with the help of a few others) has produced a wide variety of telesnap stories from Season 4 and 5.
(c) the Michael Palmer reconstructions. Michael has produced Tenth Planet 4 and Mission to the Unknown, and is currently working on The Reign of Terror. Michael will basically be working on the non-telesnap stories, so his reconstructions are often a little more “creative” (eg by using clips from other Doctor Who episodes, or even other TV shows/films).
(d) the “Change of Identity” reconstructions. This is my own production venture, which has so far produced The Savages and The Power of the Daleks. The next story to be produced is Marco Polo. CI reconstructions are identifiable in two ways – (i) the video commences with a “Change of Identity” screen and a short introduction to the story, and (ii) the reconstruction incorporates on-screen captions to display the dialogue and narrative.Actually, I do know of one other person who has decided to give the reconstructions a go – in fact, he has just completed The Nightmare Begins (the first episode of The Dalek Master Plan). Hopefully, more details can be supplied in the next issue.
If you’re still confused, please write to me, and I will
try to clarify things in the next newsletter.
Around about 30 December 1996, a message was posted to the Doctor Who mailing list (DRWHO-L), announcing that Tenth Planet 4 had just been discovered in Hong Kong. The message went on to describe the difficulties in obtaining the episode due to the Chinese government’s imminent takeover of the country.
Although this will probably come as no great to surprise to anyone, unfortunately it is just *ANOTHER HOAX*. The BBC extensively searched the Hong Kong TV station after the discovery of The Tomb of the Cybermen, and employees of the BBC have not heard anything about the discovery. Besides, it is unlikely that the BBC would announce the finding of an episode until they actually had in their possession.
Furthermore, the post originated from the USA (and not the UK). In fact the poster has never made any posts before to any sort of discussion group, and is not listed in any AOL (America On-Line) account. This appears to suggest a temporary account set up solely for purpose of playing a prank.
So, I’m afraid it’s just another case of Roger K. Barrett
Visions is a major SF convention held in the USA every year (in Chicago). Although concentrating primarily on Doctor Who, the con expanded this year to also look at Babylon 5. Because very few stations in the US screen Doctor Who anymore, the organisers felt this was the only way to attract more people, without mentioning the dreaded Star Trek. This year, the guests included Colin Baker, Lalla Ward and Debbie Watling.
There were also a number of interesting happenings in regard to the missing episodes and the reconstructions. In particular, Stephen Greif (who played the original Travis in Blake’s 7) had an interesting story about the destruction of BBC scripts.
At the charity auction, Greif announced that the BBC were intending to burn their entire script archives. The scripts, approximately 30,000, dated back to the 1940s. On finding this information, Greif and two other people rushed through the archives to collect as many scripts as possible. Obviously, Greif concentrated on Blake’s 7, but did manage to rescue a few Doctor Who scripts. Three of the scripts were auctioned at the con. The Savages episodes 2 and 4, and Day of the Daleks episode 1 all fetched $300 (but could have gone higher, as Greif cut off the bidding).
The scripts were the BBC’s archival copies. They included sign-out cards (saying they had to be returned), as well as hand-written notes. However, electronic copies of the scripts still exist (probably in microfiche format).
As noted last issue in Stop Press, The Savages was one of the reconstructions screened at the con (at Sunday 9.30 am, for the two of you who are interested ... :-) ).
The other reconstructions screened were all of the Richard Develyn stable – The Wheel in Space, The Ice Warriors and The Moonbase.
Unfortunately, the video organisers failed to show any of Michael Palmer’s reconstructed episodes, and only showed episode 1 of Messrs Develyn and Franks’ latest story The Power of the Daleks (which was only recently completed, in fact, for the very purpose of being screened at the con). It must be stressed that this was *NOT* the “Change of Identity” version.
On a personal note, I have to give a huge message of thanks
to Robert Franks who pushed for the inclusion of The Savages. At
one stage, it appeared that Savages would also be bumped off the
schedule. However, Robert most graciously pulled his own Underwater
Menace from the schedule so that Savages could be screened.
In previous issues, a few details were provided regarding the John Cura telesnaps. However, because of uncertainty with the details, some of the information provided was incorrect (or more accurately, incomplete). So hopefully, a full and correct version can now be supplied (but corrections will no doubt be provided next issue!)
John Cura was an independent contractor, and not an employee of the BBC (although he did work on other BBC programmes). His occupation was to create a series of mini-photographs (“telesnaps”) from television programmes. As there was no such thing as personal video recorders at the time, people in the television industry saw this as an ideal way to keep a visual record of their work. It should also be noted that Cura was not the only person offering such a service.
It now appears that Cura actually telesnapped more Doctor Who episodes than originally thought. In fact, nearly all episodes from Marco Polo to The Seeds of Death were probably telesnapped. Doctor Who : The Sixties reports that The Daleks was also telesnapped. Although technically correct, the resulting telesnaps are not in the same format as the rest. This suggests that this story was attempted by Cura for experimental purposes only. Cura was officially commissioned by the BBC to start work on producing telesnaps from The Roof of the World (the first episode of Marco Polo) onwards.
One episode that is definitely missing from the Cura collection is The Enemy of the World :4, probably because Cura was sick or on vacation at the time.
It appears that the Cura telesnaps were compiled into three separate volumes (possibly even four). The exact contents of each of the volumes is not entirely known at this stage, but it appears that Volume 1 contained the telesnaps from Marco Polo to The Gunfighters. Some paperwork exists to suggest The Invasion was also telesnapped, but no actual evidence exists of the telesnaps.
Apart from Volume 1, the remaining volumes were discovered by DWM’s Marcus Hearn at the BBC’s Written Archive Centre in Caversham, Berkshire. The problem with the Archives is that no material can actually be removed from the building – the only way to access the material is to submit a written request two weeks in advance.
Fortunately, an employee of the Archives realised the significance of the find, so allowed Marcus access to the volumes that very day. Obviously, Marcus and the other DWM staff were delighted at the find. However, they would have been disappointed to have not found ALL of the volumes. The Archives records indicated that all volumes *DID* exist, and were last looked at in 1977. More importantly, the records indicate that the volumes were *ALL* checked back in. The most likely scenario is that the missing volume(s) were “smuggled” out of the archives at a later date. However, the current whereabouts of these volumes is still unknown.
Anyway, back to the DWM guys. They were obviously keen to obtain copies of the material, but as stated above, none of the material was allowed to leave the Archives building. However, an agreement was reached between Marvel, the BBC and the Archives. Marvel were allowed 48 hours to copy the original contact sheets. This resulted in a very hectic two days for the DWM boys, as they arranged for all the copying. However, things worked out well in the end, meaning that Marvel now holds pristine negatives of all the available telesnaps.
Obviously, if anyone reading this has any idea what could have happened to the remaining telesnaps, we’d love to hear from you!
As a final word, it should be noted that the word “telesnaps”
is frequently used to describe any screen grabs/photographs taken from
an episode. For instance, reports are made of “telesnaps” currently existing
from Marco Polo, The Feast of Steven, and more recently,
4. Strictly speaking, these are not “telesnaps” – as this term should
only be used for the official John Cura shots.
Thank you to all those who wrote in with Power comments. There isn’t enough space to list all the comments, but more will be provided next issue. And, of course, if you have any comments you would like to make on Power, please write in. For now, here’s a selection ...
Apart from brief plot summaries, my first encounter with The Power of the Daleks was the DWB photo-novel. I was impressed then, and have since read two novelisations and the Titan script, as well as listening to the BBC audio numerous times. I was thrilled to hear that Bruce was considering reconstructing it with all the available 8mm and video material included, and helped in the only way I could - transcribing the dialogue as accurately as possible for some of the episodes. After all this, my concern was that I would have exhausted my enjoyment of the story by the time I saw the reconstruction.
This just wasn’t the case. I found it quite engrossing, with the mood and tensions within the colony on Vulcan wonderfully conveyed. The Daleks here are at their most devious and menacing. Much of the credit belongs to the writers of the script – David Whitaker, Dennis Spooner and Gerry Davis – who gave careful consideration to the introduction of the new Doctor. The story continually returns to themes of renewal, rebirth, impersonation and distrust (precisely some of the themes dealt with less successfully in the tele-movie). Who is what they seem, and who isn’t? Even some of the characters who appear somewhat cliched – Lesterson as the mad (Frankenstein-ish) scientist, Bragen as the power mad security chief, Janley as a devious and manipulative women, and Quinn as the voice of reason – have their subtleties, making them more than they appear. Indeed the whole of the original production seems touched with this kind of attention to detail (and Troughton is like a duck to water).
So what of the reconstruction? Fortunately it also displays an attention to detail. The 8mm footage, which occurs early in the story, is great (I particularly like the clips of the Doctor walking away from the capsule, Lesterson with the Dalek, and the scene in Hensell’s terrace). The soundtrack itself is of a high quality, and the script helpful and clear. The telesnaps are well used, cutting from one to another appropriately, with images not reused too frequently. Amongst the video clips it was great to see the much mentioned ‘production line’ clip
The first regeneration story. A strong example of the emerging ‘Troughton era’ formula. And one of the better Dalek stories (with some scenes and ideas remarkably similar to those later used in Genesis of the Daleks). What more could you want? The highest recommendation I can give the reconstruction is that it is richer than any other format in which I’ve devoured this great piece of Who.
I thought it was the best reconstruction of Power that I have seen. In fact, I never really knew the plot to Power until I saw this. With the second reconstruction Bruce has done, he has again outdone himself on a well planned and well reconstructed story. The use of writing, stills and video is a Who first. It will take a lot to out-do Bruce’s idea to bring back in some part these missing stories - they are world-class fan productions. Cannot wait to see his work on “Marco Polo”.
I have watched Power – I liked it a lot. The increase size in writing should increase the number of copies before it is unreadable. I liked the information at the beginning, and the script stayed in line better with what was being said, although I would personally prefer just descriptions. All in all, I enjoyed it greatly, and it was nice to see where those clips fitted in.
I was so excited to finally receive a parcel post from Australia as it could only mean one thing - The Power Of The Daleks has arrived at last. I ripped open the package, ejected whatever tape was in the VCR at the time. I poured a nice glass of a vintage 1977 Smith Woodhouse Port and sat down in front of the television to enjoy Power. I was not disappointed. I must say that you have really caught the essence of what Dr Who must have been in the sixties.
The pictures were clear, the audio superb and the script put the final touches on a great production. Just having the pictures, sound effects, dialogue and music are not enough for me. The script provides the emotions of the characters as well as the action that cannot be distinguished otherwise. The clips that you have included were quite a treat also. I kept waiting for the next clip to come. I must commend you on an excellent production that is by far the very best telesnap reconstruction available of any story in the Doctor Who series. Verity Lambert would have been proud of this work. Keep up the good work and I can’t wait for Marco Polo.
The reconstruction for Marco Polo has well and truly started. In fact, most of the hard work is already out of the way. A script now exists for all seven episodes, and the process of matching photographs to the soundtrack is 75% complete. No work has been started on the map scenes, but hopefully any day now ...
The actual photo count has basically stopped dead at around about 130. However, I am still in the process of obtaining better copies of some of the shots, and in many cases, are obtaining colour stills where previously only black-and-white ones existed. Obviously, not all of the scenes are covered by stills, so I have had to resort to just having a few close-ups of the characters involved. Personally, I think the story is so strong that this isn’t a huge problem.
I’m hopeful that the story can be completed in a month’s
time (say mid-February). So keep a look out for the next newsletter if
you are interested in seeing the reconstruction.
A few people have reported audio problems with both The Savages and The Power of the Daleks. I have now realised that this was mainly due to the cable problem reported in the last issue. The problem is much more detectable when the soundtrack is played through a stereo – it is not so obvious just by using TV speakers.
Therefore, after the completion of Marco Polo, enhanced versions of both Savages and Power of the Daleks will be created. The major aspect to be improved is the soundtrack – hopefully, I will shortly have access to better quality soundtracks (i.e. second generation copies). More importantly, I now have a new audio cable, which should remove the static that appeared during the first two stories.
There will also be a few other miscellaneous improvements. In particular, Savages will have larger text, larger video footage, and less text on some of the screens. I am also hoping to display the reconstruction at a much higher resolution (800 x 600 for those interested) – this should hopefully make the telesnaps and text clearer.
If anyone has any further suggestions for improvement, I would be interested to hear them.
When the enhanced versions are officially released, special
arrangements will be made in regard to obtaining copies. For those in Australia,
you will only have to send back your existing tapes to receive copies of
the new versions (with postage if necessary). However, there might be an
extra charge if you wish to have the improved video cover, etc. For those
of you overseas ... we’ll work out something later!
Last issue, Michael Palmer contributed an article about his efforts to reconstruct the missing episodes. This issue, there will be a closer look at a group of TRs (telesnap reconstructions) created by Richard Develyn.
Richard started the reconstructions about two years ago. His original project was to complete sixty-four episodes (all telesnap episodes). So far, forty-seven episodes have been completed, with the remaining stories being The Savages, The Macra Terror, The Enemy of the World and The Faceless Ones.
Not all of Richard’s stories have been “officially” released at this stage – some work is still required on the credits/video footage. Currently, the following stories have been completed, or are near to completion :
The Web of Fear
Fury from the Deep
The Wheel In Space
The Ice Warriors
The Underwater Menace
The Power of the Daleks
The Abominable Snowmen
The Evil of the Daleks (very recently scanned)
Richard himself does all the work with the stills, while others complete the work on the credits. The credits for the first four stories were done by two fans in the UK (David Clarke and Stephen Cranford), while the remaining stories have had the credits completed by Robert Franks (in the USA). However, Evil will have the credits completed by another fan in the UK.
Here is a short piece by both Richard and Robert on their respective stages of the reconstruction process :
Every still is hand scanned at 400dpi. Then I perform the following transformations: Average 3x3 pixels, Histogram Equalisation, Large Spot Removal, Histogram Equalisation again.
Each episode is then scripted. Typically there will be about 100 picture changes per episode. During this time I might decide to “construct” a few pics myself, typically by removing people from an existing picture where I haven't been able to find a suitable one elsewhere. I’m generally reluctant to use picture ahead of their natural appearance, though I break this rule for pictures from existing episodes.
Finally, each picture is individually “picture inserted” from PC onto normal VHS video. I check each insertion to make sure that it is timed correctly before going on to the next one.
All in all it takes : 1.5 hours to scan pics, 1 hour to process pics, 1.5 hours to script episode, 3 hours to insert episode onto video.
Rich sends dubs of his work to me in PAL format. This is then converted to NTSC SVHS and then my work starts. Using a Hartnell credit sequence I place this at the beginning of each episode and crossfade into the video of Richard’s reconstruction. Then I use a titler to fade in titles to the episodes. At the end of each episode the credit roll begins over the last shot and as it rolls the picture slowly fades to black.
When at all possible I try to use video footage from existing episodes. An example would be episode 4 of The Underwater Menace which begins with the final footage from episode 3 before going into telesnaps. The equipment I use includes a Videonics MX-1 mixer and TM-3000 titlemaker and a Panasonic AG1980 SVHS VCR.
(ROBERT FRANKS : TelesnapGuy@compuserve.com)
I am sure Richard and Robert would love to hear any comments
you have on the reconstructions. Or better still, send any comments to
the newsletter so we can all hear them! Note that Richard does not distribute
the TRs himself – this is done mainly through Robert.
So far, this newsletter has only contained reviews and
comments of my own reconstructed stories. From next issue, this will change
– I am now willing to receive comments and reviews on any of the reconstructed
episodes. Once again, I stress that even though reviews of about 200 words
are great, one or two lines of comment might be enough for publication.
Some significant changes have been made in regard to obtaining the “Change of Identity” reconstructions. In particular, distributors in the UK and USA have now been found. If you are interested in knowing more, please write, and I can send you further details.
Another change that has also occurred is that I am now able to provide a selection of other reconstructions. So far, this is restricted to the two Michael Palmer episodes (Tenth Planet 4 and Mission to the Unknown), but this should hopefully change in the future to include a selection of the Richard Develyn TRs.
And, of course, it goes without saying that all people
working on the reconstructions operate under the same non-profit philosophy.
Those of you who have seen the “Change of Identity” reconstructions will be aware of the on-screen script. These scripts are compiled by a small, but dedicated, group of fans who spend hours of their time performing this process.
A list of the transcribed episodes is kept by myself,
and frequently updated. E-mail messages are occasionally sent out to all
the people involved in the scripts to advise them of any recent changes.
However, if anyone else is interested to know more about the transcription
of scripts, or how to obtain the finished products, please write.
From next issue, I hope to start a new feature on the missing episodes. Each issue will concentrate on a particular season of Doctor Who, starting from Season 1 next issue (however because of space restrictions, this might be reduced to half a season per issue).
For each story of the season, there will be an extensive list of details, such as existing video footage, telesnaps, script and soundtracks. In other words, basically everything about the episode!
If anyone believes they might have information that will
help in compiling these guides, please write in. I hope to provide the
most comprehensive guide available on the first six seasons of Doctor Who.
Eventually, all the guides will be compiled into one document, and hopefully
be available for distribution on the Net (and updated when necessary).
In Issue #3, mention was made of Galaxy 4 screen grabs now on display at a web site. These snaps were taken from the longer version of the clip that exists from episode 1. Three separate clips actually exist from episode 1 :
(a) the first is 2 minutes 31 seconds (held by 3 private collectors) (b) the second is 30 seconds (this was the clip screened by the BBC in the Whose Doctor Who documentary) (c) the third is 2 minutes 52 seconds (held by 3 private collectors).Therefore, the combination of all three is approximately 6 minutes. The second and third clips could almost be joined to one another – unfortunately, there is one line of dialogue missing between the two. After the third clip, there is another gap of 28 seconds to the end of the episode.
Just a very quick update of my own “Change of Identity”
web-page. The page has now officially started development, but it will
probably be many months before it is available for public access. Since
I am new to the world of HTML-publishing, it is taking more time than expected
Unfortunately, because I only decided on this idea a few weeks ago, there isn’t much to include at this stage. If there’s anything you’d like to say on the reconstructions, or the missing episodes (whether they be questions, opinions, or suggestions for improvement), please write in.
It’s such a great idea, putting slides and clips over the soundtracks, I’m not sure why it hasn’t been done before. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I think it’s a great idea, and I really like them a lot. I’m impressed with the quality of the production, especially considering the amount of time it must take to do – transcribing the story, selecting and synching the pictures with the soundtrack, converting to videotape – *really* nice!! Keep up the really really great work!!
Thank you Jean, but it has to be said that the idea
isn’t really mine - others had already attempted something similar by the
time I became involved. However, I was keen to try something a little different
What? Absolutely nothing? Surely some of you people want something? The service is completely free, so please write in if there some particular item of Doctor Who merchandise you've always wanted. That reminds me, anyone out there got a copy of Mindwarp to complete my Target book collection! :-)
This might be a good time to mention a convention I am currently involved with. CSO – Convention of the Sunshine CapitOl - will be held in Brisbane, Australia from 24 to 26 April 1998. The guests will be announced very shortly. If you are interested in finding out more, check out the convention homepage at :
I hope to include something in the con timetable about
the missing episodes and reconstructions. In particular, some of the reconstructions
(not just my own) will be screened in the video room. If you live in Australia
(or even overseas for that matter :-) ), I’d love to see you there!
Thanks to the following for providing contributions to this issue : Robert Franks, Richard Develyn, Brian Pearce, Craig Fuqua, and (indirectly) Gary Russell.
If you have anything about the missing episodes or reconstructions
that you think others might find interesting, please write in. In particular,
I am interested to hear people’s ideas on who they would like to see interviewed
in future issues. Obviously, the person should have some connection to
sixties DW, and in particular, the missing episodes.
OK – I’ll keep this short! If you’re interested in knowing
a bit more about the reconstructions, the next issue of the Brisbane fanzine
will have an article written by yours truly. For Australian readers, keep
an eye out for details in Data Extract. As for the overseas people, one
of these days, I might break the article down into parts, and publish bits
at a time (that’s assuming people want to read this sort of thing ...)
Doctor Who is copyright the BBC and worldwide affiliates. “A Change of Identity” is a completely non-profit venture. No attempt is made to supersede existing copyright. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the editor. Some editing of contributions has been made.