When I heard that they were releasing a Special Edition of this story, with new Dalek Voices and FX, I knew this would be one of the most anticipated DVD releases of the entire Classic Who range. I also knew that I would want to Fan Edit it the minute it came out and so this became Fan Edit #52. Of course, with the effects being so good, the temptation would be to keep them in just for the sake of it but the way round that would be to edit from the TX version and then replace the appropriate shots from the SE version. In the end, I worked from the SE anyway.
We all know that the Daleks weren’t originally in Louis Marks’ storyline but were added in later. And it shows. But this story would have been even worse if it was just a bunch of human bad guys who were oppressing the population, as is the implication of the collapse of Styles’ peace conference. The conference collapses, leading to World War 3… and that’s it. Oh, okay.
So then the humans somehow develop time travel tech and pop back into the past to stop the conference failing and thus prevent the war. Which then leads to the inevitable paradox of there not being a war for those same people in the future to need to change. Hence the famous, or infamous, Blinovitch Limitation Effect, whatever that is.
Day of the Daleks without the Daleks would be just another episode of Timeslip, which I used to watch and quite enjoyed at the time, but it had no monsters in it, which is what made Doctor Who better than almost anything else. And still does. And I don’t know about you but I do think the new Dalek voices, courtesy of Nick Briggs, are a vast improvement. I don’t have a problem with them being replaced, something that will doubtless come as no surprise whatsoever. I’m not a purist when it comes to these sorts of things, if you can come up with a more enjoyable version of story then I don’t see what harm it does. See, even the BBC like to do a bit of Fan Editing of their own from time to time, only they call it a Special Edition instead!
Part One has about 12 minutes of footage included, with the initial attack on Styles becoming a pre-credits sequence. I added in a music cue from elsewhere in the story as we go into the titles as it felt a little empty without one. After that it was the usual tightening things up and dropping scenes that didn’t advance the plot.
The first major problem came with the cliffhanger. For some strange reason, Director Paul Bernard retained part of the sting into the end music on the reprise of each of the cliffhangers. It still strikes me as a curious decision and of course it simply doesn’t work in a compilation edit like this. So the Daleks’ end rant gets cut short before all those alternating crossfades.
There’s slightly more footage from Part Two in the edit, about 14 minutes worth. I’ve made some trims to the initial scene between the Doctor and the Guerillas to keep the pace up as well as losing the intervening scene between Yates and Benton. I’ve cut back the scenes in the cellar but don’t worry, I’ve left the Blinovitch bit in! There are lots of other cuts and trims from the original but the main difference in this episode is the gunfight, where the Doctor’s no longer so trigger-happy when it comes to shooting Ogrons!
The cliffhanger into Part Three I could happily have lost altogether but the Doctor references the Dalek in a later scene so it had to stay. The solution to getting rid of the sting here was simply to take the materialisation effect of the guerrilla’s time box from elsewhere in the story and drop it into the scene. This is the episode of the story with the Loop of captured, escape and captured again. Cutting it out so the Doctor simply gets captured and subjected to the Daleks’ mind probe is the main reason why this episode has only 6 minutes worth of footage in the final edit!
Though the new DVD flashback sequence is an improvement on the original TX version, there are still some frankly bizarre image choices in there. So once the Edit was complete I went back and rebuilt this entire section from scratch. It was the hardest part of the edit to do but certainly the most satisfying, as it allowed me to fit in as many Hartnell and Troughton Dalek related clips as I could in the time available. Getting those clips onto the screen involved the use of two masks, one to isolate a circle in the middle of the pulsating background and then another to insert the clips. Since the mind probe is retrieving the Doctor’s memories of encountering the Daleks, it made sense to me for his most recent memories to be conjured up first. That’s why we start with Evil of the Daleks and work our way back, in reverse order, to Billy’s first encounter with them eight years earlier in The Daleks.
Part Four starts at about 33 minutes in and needed some trims to the scene between the Doctor and the Controller to remove references to the cut scenes with the manager who was a rebel spy. All in all there’s about 17 minutes from this episode in the final edit, including the attack on the house, which I’ve left virtually intact.