At one time I had the idea of combining Traken, Logopolis and Castrovalva into one big, feature length story called The Return of The Master but decided against it in the end as it would have been way too long. However, I do like to run the end of one story into the start of another where they follow directly on, so that was the inspiration behind editing this trilogy.
Keeper is a story that looks great, has hardly any bloopers and made me smile on numerous occasions as several of the actors struggle with various pronunciations. For instance, the Master sounds like he`s swearing when he says “now this Traken web of harmony is broken” just before his reveal and insists on pronouncing the word “Consuls” as “Consoles”…
First thing was to cut all the Keeper`s info dumping in the Tardis and get straight into the story, that way we can pick up what we need to know for ourselves instead of having a ten minute piece of scene setting telling it to us. Also, the Tardis scenes are pointless and don`t advance the story. Plus they`ve got Adric in them, which was an even better reason to cut them…
With the various trims made elsewhere we hit the end of part one just under eight minutes in, slightly earlier than normal. There`s a heck of a lot going on in part two and there`s 13 minutes of it in the final edit. One of the things that never made it was the cliffhanger ending to this episode. The reason it got cut is that it leads to the Doctor spending most of part three locked up. Cell scenes suck big time – all the characters do when they`re locked up is tell each other the plot – so of course that had to go. In this cut down version, Seron gets zapped and the Doctor and Co hot foot it back to Tremas` gaffe instead.
When it came to the Keeper himself, one of my pet hates is when directors have characters suddenly pop into vision instead of fading in or out – remember the Tardis in Colony In Space? Well, here the Keeper is a fader not a popper!
As for Melkur, I wanted to hold back the revelation that there`s someone inside the statue for as long as possible, something which I felt was given away too soon in the TX version. So we don`t find out that there`s someone inside Melkur until just before the Master gets revealed too. One consequence of this was that I had to edit around the monitor shot before Seron snuffs it, meaning some mucking about with the isolated music track to cover the join.
When it comes to the music for these JNT stories, you rip the broadcast soundtrack first and then go back and rip the music track. Depending on your software, the soundtrack is track one, the commentary is track two and the music is track three. Not always, but that`s usually the way it is. So you line up your iso music track alongside your soundtrack and make sure you keep them synced each time you make a cut so that you have the correct track already to hand if you need to cover the missing scene.
Part three was the hardest of the four to edit due to the sheer amount of material that got cut and moved around but the end result was well worth it and there`s nine minutes of it that made it. Once the Master takes over the Keepership we`re at exactly half an hour in and there`s not really a lot left to do – the Doctor visits Melkur & finds out he`s the Master and Adric & Nyssa bugger up the power supply, kyboshing the whole grand scheme. And all of that takes place in just 6 minutes!
When the Master gets “electrocuted” I put in some additional FX as I always thought this sequence in the TX version lacked something. It was fairly easy to do – screengrab the frame, duplicate it, create a negative layer in between and then flood erase part of the image from the top layer, allowing the middle negative layer to show through. The effect is really quite simple but very effective.
Of course this story will always be known for the Master’s return, the first indication of what was going to go wrong with the show as the JNT Era progressed. Yes I was genuinely surprised that it was The Master who was inside Melkur and no, I didn’t see it coming at all. All credit to JNT for pulling off the surprise reveal, and of course he would go one better the following year with the Cybermen. But this marks the point where the show starts to fixate on it’s past at the expense of it’s future. And nobody could have forseen where the obsession with Continuity Porn would lead.
Not that Ainley’s Master was bad as such, but he was completely bonkers and having him look like Delgado was always going to invite unfair comparisons. Each Doctor is completely different to his predecessor so why bring back the Master and have him look so similar to the last bloke who played him? Because JNT deliberately wanted to consciously echo the past in the present, but that’s a road fraught with danger and if you’re going to do it then, as with Julian Bleach’s recent turn as Davros you need to be at least as good as the original. Sadly, on the journey Ainley takes from Traken to Perivale just eight years later, that would never be the case.