Planet of the Daleks Audio Edit

As long term visitors to this site will know, I did a version a while back of State of Decay, combining the best bits of the original audiobook version, narrated by Tom Baker, and the TV Soundtrack. Planet of the Daleks now gets the same treatment.

Originally I only planned to do the video version of this story, having already edited Frontier in Space. But I managed to find the old audiobook – originally released on cassette – online and decided I`d tackle this as an audio edit too. Narrated by Jon Pertwee, this is a slightly truncated version of what we saw on TV but I liked the idea of combining the audiobook and soundtrack versions and at least this one had clean backgrounds on the narration.

Part one came out at 14 minutes, slightly longer than the video version. Luckily there`s lots of fairly clean music from Jo`s extended wanderings to put behind some of Jon`s narration to help with the atmosphere. There was a fair bit of patching to be done, including lots of looped cues, nearly all of which came from this episode`s soundtrack.

My initial idea was to do one episode at a time for both versions – video part one, audio part one, video part two, audio part two and so on – but I ended up completing the video edit before I started on part two of the audio version. That meant I had the Video Edit to refer to in terms of what we could lose without compromising the storytelling.

The cliffhanger to part one is the Dalek reveal. There`s no recap at the start of part two, which is the shortest at 8 minutes, and includes the Doctor playing the tape of Jo`s voice recording, something missing from the video version. It ends with the “10,000 Daleks!” cliffhanger.

Part three lasts 16 minutes and features an equally shortened version of the escape up the ventilation shaft to what`s in the video version – I cut out all references to the parachute/balloon to move things along quicker. There`s no natural cliffhanger at this point so I dropped in the initial “bacteria” scene from earlier on at this point to make one up. This subplot was cut from the book so it never gets mentioned again in the narration but it does get mentioned again in the TV dialogue and it gives a nice dramatic ending to the episode.

Part four opens with the Doctor`s party at the plain of stones with Vaber buggering off on his abortive attack with the bombs. We then follow the video edit pretty closely until the end.

There are a few additional music cues across the four episodes to bump up the atmosphere in places. Mostly these are to the action sequences, where the narration on it`s own felt a bit empty, and to cover the transition from soundtrack to narration. This part of the edit was much harder to do compared to State of Decay, where I had the isolated soundtrack to work from.

I`m quite pleased with the way this one has turned out but be warned, Pertwee doesn`t giving the most professional reading of the material to say the least. Okay, so he`s much older and his voice is clearly not as strong as it was but as an actor who has done paid voice work myself, I can tell you it`s a very poor rendition.

In the original the drama of the story gets totally undermined by his silly Dalek voices, which are whiny and nasal – was it really beyond them to treat his voice to make it sound more like the real thing? And then there`s his mispronunciation of the Thal characters` names. It really grates quite quickly with Ree-beck instead of Reb-eck, Lay-tep instead of Lah-tep and Tare-un instead of Tah-ron. He even manages to get “Thals” wrong, pronouncing them as “Tah-ls”! Speaking of which…

There`s a wonderful moment early on in part four of the edit – at about seven and a half minutes in – where he delivers the line “one dalek, three fur-clad spiridons, a thal and a human” as “one dalek, three fur-clad spiridons, a towel and a human”. That`s what it sounds like to me anyway!

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