I`ve been looking forward to this one for ages and was keen to get cracking on it as soon as the DVD came out. It`s one of the Pertwee stories I remember clearly from the original transmission – eight years old, in my Gran`s bedroom, watching on a little black and white portable tv. On my own! No hiding behind the sofa for me, I was always on the edge of my seat…
Although there is a compilation version on the DVD I deliberately avoided it, not wanting it to influence me while I was doing the edit. So this is 100% my own cut-down version. I still haven`t watched the compilation and have no intention of doing so. I knew straight away that the chase sequence was going to be cut completely but what about the rest of it? I decided to start with Professor Clegg`s visit to the Doctor`s Lab and get straight into the story as Mike Yates meets Sarah at the meditation centre.
You can’t help but wonder what this story might have been like if dear old Roger Delgado hadn’t been killed so tragically, and it was The Master and not Lupton who nicked the crystal. Perhaps, instead of Lupton getting zapped, and we assume, eaten, there would have been some sort of final confrontation in the Great One’s cave with the Master getting fried along with Shelob. Sadly, we’ll never know. The other curious thing about this is that spiders have never appeared in Who since. Just think how much scarier the buggers would be now if they were done by the Mill!
As it was Jon`s last story I couldn`t resist the temptation to do an alternate take on the flashback sequence when Clegg holds the sonic. It`s much more now than just a few poxy Drashigs and serves as a nice wee nod to the Pertwee Era with several more sonic-related clips than before.
Once the spiders turn up things really get moving and I took the opportunity to correct several of the crossfades in the story. The first one, where Lupton`s spider appears on the mandala was very poorly aligned and I took the time to fix this. It turned out so well that I fixed some of the others in the story too – see if you can spot them!The biggest cut I made in the story was Metebelis Three itself. There are no villagers sequences at all. That’s right, none. It`s all padding that we don`t need.
In a moment of inspiration I came up with the obvious solution, which was simply to have the TARDIS land inside the blue mountain and have the Doctor go straight to the Great One`s cave. It was quite easy to achieve, simply requiring a couple of masks and I`m really pleased with the result. I also did some corrective work on the Great One`s cave sequences. If you`ve checked out the bloopers for this story over at Whopix, then you`ll know that you can clearly see the head of the bloke operating the puppet over at the upper left of the screen. A simple mask to hide the truth and there you go!
Unlike the TX version, which closed with the regeneration, I decided to instead end this edit with a cliffhanger – the Doctor gets into the TARDIS just as the blue mountain explodes. I know that might upset/disappoint some people but it seemed to me to be a far stronger ending. Fan Editing is, after all, about doing something new with old material.
And I did have an ulterior motive – I`ve always liked the idea of running the end of Spiders straight into the beginning of Robot so I`ve held back the regeneration for the start of that story instead. After all, in terms of the narrative, it has been a while since the Doctor left to go back to Metebelis Three and the Brig and Sarah haven’t seen him for ages when he finally makes it back. So it makes sense to me to start the Robot story with the two halves of the regeneration scene joined together, which gives us the full impact of what happens to poor old Dr Jon as he turns into Dr Tom. The Doctor is dead, long live the Doctor!