The Time Meddler is an important story in the history of Classic Who, but one that often gets overlooked. At the time, for anyone who had followed the show since the beginning, the revelation that the Monk has a Tardis too must have been, in its own way, as big a shock as regeneration would be a year or so later. As the first pseudo-historical, it`s only other real selling point is little Peter Butterworth from the Carry On films as the Monk. Butters does a nice little turn as the “villain” of the title but old Monky lacks any real menace. But then again perhaps that`s the point – he`s a little kid playing soldiers, only these ones are flesh and blood, and he never considers the consequences of his actions. Or maybe he does but doesn`t care, making him a much bigger villain than he appears…
Either way, when it came to the Fan Edit, I had to resist the temptation to keep scenes in just because old Monky was in them. But if anything, when I watched back the 71 Edit I felt, like this Edit`s predecessor The Chase, that I`d cut the story back just a bit too much and had to re-instate things I had initially cut. But you can`t always tell that you really do need something you thought you didn`t until you view that whole project. Here`s just one example to illustrate what I mean;
when the Dr, Steven and Vicki get untied by Edith, she says they would never have worked out the Monk was a spy without the Dr`s help. Well, that line occurs slap bang in the middle of the scene, so there`s no way you can edit round it. In the 71 Edit I left out the scene she is referring back to for timing reasons. But watching it back, I realised that her line didn`t make sense, so I had to reinstate the scene.
That`s one of the challenges of Fan Editing, working out exactly what you do and don`t need to make sense of the story. And sometimes you catch yourself out and forget you`ve left in a reference to something you`ve cut, only to realise that you need it in after all. The other thing to watch out for is not to get hung up on timing. Sometimes I have to remind myself that these Edits don`t all have to be between forty-five and fifty minutes; you have to let the story tell itself at its own pace and not get hung up on how long it`s taking.
When it came to the end credits, in the 71 Edit I didn`t use the spacey-facey ending of the TX version but on reflection, I decided to put it back in but with the order reversed so that Hartnell came up first. And, since this is the last complete story for quite a while, I thought it a nice touch to add in the Next Caption for Galaxy 4 – they had announced the recovery of the third episode, Airlock, a few days before I finished this edit. The end sequence involved reversing and changing the timing on the Space Face shot and redoing the Tardis takeoff as the TX one is still a bit unstable. Completely unnecessary but it`s a nice little sequence and was very satisfying to do.