When I came to Fan Edit Jon Pertwee`s final story, Planet of the Spiders, I deliberately ended it on a cliffhanger. The reason was that the start of the next story, Robot, carried straight on from the end of Spiders and I had always wanted to see the two halves of that regeneration scene joined together. It`s great to have finally done it and it gives you the full impact of Dr Jon changing into Dr Tom.
The dialogue exchange between Dr Jon and Sarah has been trimmed back and the actual regeneration itself has been fixed to make the cross fade between the two actors less obvious. I was tempted to do a morph but decided against it. I also fixed the continuity error with the Tardis` door and made the whole thing a pre-credits sequence. Going straight into the Tom Baker title sequence after the Brig`s line “it all seems pretty quiet” didn`t work, it just didn`t have enough impact.
The need for a big impact made me think of the Sid Sutton sequence which, while not a patch on its predecessor, does have a great opening to it. I wanted to do something similar for this FE and incorporate the end scream at the beginning. That worked much better and meant some careful cross fading of the two elements of Da Feem Toon. This in turn meant I had to do something a bit special with the titles for the story, which ended up being a combination of both the Jon & Tom – S11 & S12 to 17 – versions of that classic Bernard Lodge sequence.
Onto the story proper and the first challenge was the cliffhanger to part one. It`s slightly different at the start of part two so it took a bit of time to work out the crossover point. After that it was all pretty simple really.
There were more scenes that I personally would have edited out if I could but doing so resulted in some nasty jump cuts so they had to stay in. There`s a lot of back and forth as you`d expect in a story with limited sets and locations but very little of it takes place in isolation, making it hard to edit out.
For instance, two countdowns – one by the SRS and another by the Robot – is a clear case of padding but there was no way to remove it without the sequence no longer making sense. Similarly, there was no way to remove the scenes with Dr Tom mixing his metal virus in Kettlewell`s lab without him driving off in Bessie only to reappear thirty seconds later! Robot turned out to be one of those stories where you spend more time cutting things back than cutting things out, which is why it comes out longer than most at just under an hour.