The Invasion of Time

Doctor Who Big Finish Invasion of Time
This story is one I`ve wanted to tackle for a while but the sheer amount of work involved put me off. I knew I wanted to use the CGI version to avoid having Gallifrey being invaded by tinfoil but that meant an awful lot of shots to replace. The sheer amount of work involved in that was what put me off until now.

invasion of time covers

We open with the usual New Series clip of Gallifrey and straight into the Doctor`s arrival. I didn`t want the Doctor`s “betrayal” to be as up front as it was in the TX version and couldn`t find a way to make it work as a pre-credits sequence. Once again, the music proved to be the big problem with removing scenes, requiring some ingenuity and re-ordering of the material to make it all fit.

To give you an idea of the work involved, the long tracking in shot that closes part one required 25 separate clips to be joined together. When you do the CG, you can`t just drop in the section with the new FX shot over the top. For some reason the aspect ratio of the CG sections is slightly different; you can tell by the black bars down the side of the picture, they`re slightly thicker. 

If you go straight from TX to CG you get a one frame ”bounce” which you eye will detect. So your two options are one, to use the entire shot or two, to stretch the CG insert section slightly to make it match the original and then slowly cross fade between the two. The entire story was edited using the TX version and then I went back and added in the CG shots I wanted to use. This involved ripping the story twice; DVD Shrink for the TX version, DVD Decrypter for the CG version.

Each episode has about 14m of material in the final Edit, which is quite a lot by comparison with other stories. That it comes out at just under an hour isn`t unusual for a six-parter but this is only a four-part edit. In the TX version, the Vardans are replaced as the villains of the piece by the Sontarans, something that provides a great cliffhanger ending to part four but very little else. The mask for the single Sontaran we see – Stor – is a bit rubbish compared to Linx and Styre and dear little Derek Deadman is pretty dreadful. I just couldn`t face the prospect of two episodes of a pretty rubbish run-around in what is clearly not the Tardis. Why couldn`t they have just taken the Tardis set walls on location and leaned them up against whatever hospital corridor they were filming in? Would it really have been so hard to do? So in this version there are no Sontarans – the Vardans get Time Looped and that`s it. I really don`t see that the absence of the Sontarans is any great loss.

As for the Vardans themselves, well they were always going to be replaced with the CG alternative but the voices still bugged me. So I took the soundtrack of the edit, isolated the Vardan voice sections and pitch shifted them down by two whole tones. I then overlaid the deeper voices on top of Stan McGowan`s awful original. Mind you, bad though he is, he at least had enough talent to fool director Gerald Blake into thinking he was an actor!

The other major difference is that Leela no longer stays behind because she`s got the hots for Andred. That`s a pairing that makes even less sense than Peri and Yrcanos! In this version she stays behind with the character they should have paired her off with – Nesbin. How the hell did they miss that one? To achieve the change all I had to work with was a couple of screengrabs of Nesbin. Visually it`s not the most effective retcon but I reckon it`s the best that could be achieved with the resources available.

Invasion Time DWM




2 thoughts on “The Invasion of Time

    1. Thanks yminoh – it`s not perfect but it works. Still don`t know how nobody thought of it at the time, I mean it`s so bloody obvious! I would have preferred some rotoscoped moving footage but the only really usable shot of Max Faulkner was on location with the wind blowing his wig all over the place. Still, that`s one of the challenges of working with pre-existing material and no pick-up shots!

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