Genesis is probably the most well known Doctor Who story of them all to the general audience, outside of possibly City of Death, due to the LP release. Alongside The Pescatons, this made it one of only two adventures you could revisit any time you wanted to. A bit like some Monty Python sketches, the result is that you can quote huge chunks verbatim, great fun when you’ve had a few.
For every other Dr Who story, in those pre-VHS days, if you wanted to revisit it all you had was the Target novelisation, if there was one. Nowadays we tend to forget that there was a time when Doctor Who wasn’t anywhere near as accessible as it is now.
This is rightly regarded as a “classic” Classic Who story but, as we saw with Tomb of the Cybermen, that doesn`t mean there isn`t room for improvement or padding that can`t be removed. The main reasons for starting a Fan Edit are either to fix something – such as the Mind Bending Contest in Brain of Morbius – or imagining a sequence that wasn`t in the programme – such as joining the end of Mindwarp to the start of Trial of a Time Lord.
In this case the inspiration was Davros` extermination.
In the TX version, he hesitates just a bit too long before trying to hit the handily-labelled Total Destruct button. (If he’s that determined to ensure the Kaleds’ survival, why have a Total Destruct button in the first place???) It looks as though he`s actually waiting for the Daleks to shoot him and it always irritated me. So the desire to fix that particular sequence was the driving force behind doing this Fan Edit.
So I did something I`ve never done before – I started at the end of the story and worked my way forward. It was an interesting way of working, one that makes sense as it`s the end of that final episode that you`re working to and one that I may repeat. But back to Davros getting zapped…
Essentially I sent the picture into negative earlier and, if you compare it to the version on your DVD, I`ve totally recut the sequence. I prefer the flow of it now but it was quite tricky patching the various gaps with music cues. Luckily I`ve got that Heathcliffe Blair CD to help!
Another consideration here was to make sure the Doctor didn`t have his overcoat on to avoid the continuity error with the next story, Revenge of the Cidermen. Partly this was to deal with all the continuity issues with the Time Ring and the Beacon before the tin men turn up and partly because I like the “throw forward” aspect. It also means that when I come to do Revenge that we can get straight into the action.
So in order to avoid that continuity error with Tom`s coat, I had to chop the scene where the Time Ring falls off, the one where they tackle Nyder in the corridor, in half and slot a scene with Bettan in the middle. That way they can destroy the tape and head back to the beacon, continuity error avoided. But that created a new problem – how to mask the music cues either side of the gap I had created. It was one of the hardest parts of the entire edit and probably the single hardest fix yet. But the way I look at it, if there`s a simple solution that`s not too time-consuming then you should make the effort. So I did.
The rest of the edit was fairly simple and when the first chunk – Episodes Five and Six – was completed, I took a break and tackled some other stories instead. When I came back to the project a couple of months later, I started with Episode Four and got the Dr & co back to the bunker as fast as I could for the interrogation scene – I was happy with the edit beyond that point so any further tightening up would need to be prior to that.
With this additional footage, Episodes Four to Six came in at about forty-three minutes so next, I went back to the very beginning to see how quickly I could get the Doctor to the Kaled rocket. I knew before I even started that, much like the chase sequence in Planet of the Spiders, Sarah`s climb up the rocket gantry was going to be the first thing to go. Aside from being an obvious story loop, there`s the infamous continuity issue of Sarah`s fall that can be avoided – so avoid it I did!
This second chunk to be edited – Episodes One to Three – was fairly easy to cut down, coming in at just under twenty minutes. Although, due to its familiarity, you will probably be more aware than usual of which scenes are missing! And there`s an awful lot missing from these first three episodes. In terms of total footage in the final edit, Episode Three has about seven minutes worth and Episode Two about ten. And poor old Episode One has just one minute fifty-four seconds of footage in this Fan Edit, which must be something of a record!
Partly this is due to the introductory sequence with the Time Lord being shunted to the end of the previous story, The Sontaran Experiment. And, unusually for Classic Who, there`s no recap of the cliffhanger at the start of the next episode. I wanted to keep Davros back until his big entrance so that was easily ditched. Once the Doctor and Harry get captured all we really need is them talking to Ronson, the bloke who makes the cigarette lighters.
And we don`t really need the whole Sarah subplot either, so she disappears from the story until she gets rescued at the rocket silo. That was the joining point for the two halves of the Edit and the last thing to do was recut the Doctor Electrocuted cliffhanger to Episode Three. If you look at the original sequence, the guard takes an awful long time to hit the button so I`ve tightened that up. Then it was simply a case of sticking the two chunks together and putting the titles on.
So all in all, an Edit of two halves, in more ways than one! But I still had one final fix to complete – the Daleks` lights. They`re badly out of sync with the voices and don`t light up at all for “we obey no-one, we are the superior beings”. So I took the opportunity to animate some of the missing lights frame by frame for a couple of shots. This fix was completely unnecessary but it had always annoyed me so why not take the time to try and improve it as much as you could? The end result is certainly worth the time it took and watching it I think you`ll agree.
And since the artwork for the original LP release is so iconic, I`ve knocked up a version of the exterior of the little booklet if you`d prefer that as your CD cover. I`ve left the interior blank so you can fill it with whatever illos you like!