The Silurians

Doctor Who Big Finish Silurians
The thing people know Dr Who And The Lizard Men for most is that Barry Letraset altered the ending where the Doctor is outraged that the Brig has blown up aforesaid Lizard Men. We know that the Doctor stuck with UNIT throughout his exile but I’m sure there’s a parallel universe version of this story where the Doctor takes the complete hump with the Brig and buggers off to work for Doomwatch instead. And thinking about Doomwatch gave me the answer to Mac Hulke’s oft-quoted assertion that Exile On Earth meant Who could only do alien invasion and mad scientists.

This is, of course, complete and utter nonsense. Just look at the afore-mentioned Doomwatch, I can see the Pertwee Doctor, with his Letts inspired eco-friendly credentials, fitting right into that set up, and sharing Dr Quist’s concern for what humanity is doing to the planet. The very first story, The Plastic Eaters, could have come about as a result of the search for an Anti-Auton chemical that would have inhibited their ability to use plastic as a weapon against humanity, only for the experiment to go horribly wrong, as these things always do, and produced an Anti-Plastic [like what Dr Eccles had in Rose] instead.

silurians covers

Or what about Timeslip? With a few tweaks, that could easily have been a Doctor Who story, with the Pertwee Doctor chasing about after Liz and Simon, who could have been, say, Liz Shaw’s sister’s kids or something. To say that Doctor Who can only be about Monsters shows an appalling lack of imagination. And if we’re talking about the monstrous, then why can’t humanity be the biggest monsters of all?

Of course, where they really missed a trick was in having the Doctor exiled to present day Earth. If the Tardis was still able to travel in Time but not Space, that would have opened up more storytelling possibilities, and given the BBC`s reputation for costume drama in the Seventies that would surely have been just as cost effective to do.

A simple change like that could have helped open up Series Eight a bit more instead of over-using the Master. Even if they hadn’t introduced that element from the start, they could have brought it in after Series Seven, and if so, it would have been nice if the Doctor’s ability to travel in Time had been restored to him as a result of his constant tinkering, giving him a tiny victory over the Time Lords.

I think an alteration between pseudo-historicals and present-day adventures would have worked a lot better than ITMA – no, not Tommy Handley, It’s The Master Again! Even going down the rather obvious route of parallel worlds other than the one in Inferno would have provided other alternatives but for some reason Bazza and Tewwy didn’t go with any of them. But they so easily could have and Marxist Hulke was 100% dead wrong.

Having completed Death To The Daleks, this was the next story I worked on. And this has got a bloody awful soundtrack by Carey Blyton too! Funny that I should end up doing two soundtrack replacements in a row for music by the same composer, not deliberate I can assure you. Doing the first one was bad enough, let alone two in a bloody row. Still, I just need to do Revenge of the Cybermen now and I`ve got a complete set! And before you ask, yes I have dropped “Doctor Who And” from the title!

I was really keen to see how much or how little of the music would need replaced when the final edit was compiled. In the end there`s a lot more music than in the original. I ended up putting lots of additional cues in for atmosphere as the story felt very sparse without it.

Replacing the soundtrack wasn`t that difficult, although there were a few places where there was dialogue as well which made it more of a challenge. It was a case of fiddling with the volume levels on the original and sometimes making the new music loud enough to cover the original cue underneath. There were also quite a few places where I had to loop background sounds or copy cues from elsewhere to plug gaps where the music had been removed. In particular I`m thinking of footsteps in the caves and the dinosaur`s roar that wasn`t loud enough!

complete-history-24It was also nice to be able to find cues that fitted with the music I just couldn`t get rid of so the two blended together. If you listen carefully and know the story, you`ll be able to spot which technique I`ve used where. There are a few places where you can still make out the original cue but it was impossible to get rid of every single one so a blending option was the best solution and I think it works.

Unlike the last Bye Bye Blyton Edit, where I used McCoy Music in a Pertwee Story, here I`ve used Davison Music in a Pertwee Story. The music cues come from two stories by the same composer. I`ll leave it to you to spot which ones they are!

As for the story itself, it was quite easy to tighten up the action and eliminate the padding. The story even opens with a scene from episode 2, which is a recap that also serves perfectly well as an introduction. The rest of the story is cut back to the absolute minimum we need to move the plot along and it`s a nice tight piece of storytelling as a result. A vast improvement on the original – especially the soundtrack!

silurians dwm

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2 thoughts on “The Silurians

  1. A very nice edit overall but look out, here come my quibbles! Maybe a little too short for such a mammoth story. For example I don’t think it was very clear how the Doctor knew what to sketch for the farmer’s wife in the hospital. Also the incidental music was often slightly too loud masking the dialogue. I thought the climax was very nicely put together, pacy and exciting but for me it lacked some narrative early on.

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